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Erick Morillo- Too Many Blaggers Are Spoiling the DJ Stew

Author: Benedetta Skrufff
Monday, 16 June 2003
"Everybody who owns a pair of turntables calls themselves a DJ these days and if they can blag a gig in Colombia saying that they're big in England, they will. And that's the problem today: There's too many blaggers."

Speaking down the line from his New Jersey studio complex, Erick Morillo admits he thinks the bubble has burst for house music in the last two years. And as a glob-trotting DJ, record label chief and former teen idol pop star (via Reel 2 Real) he's ideally positioned to call the health of the scene.

It's impossible for this kind of music to survive if you've got 850 million labels… everybody has a label, everybody is a producer, everybody's got a studio. In some ways it's good, but in other ways it's a real bad thing."

Despite such reservations, Erick's own particular corner of club-land remains fertile and even prosperous, with an upcoming Ibiza season of Wednesdays at Pacha kicking off imminently (June 18) followed by the release of his latest Subliminal Records compilation, Volume 5. Markedly more retro than previous mix CDs (anthems include Lil Louis' French Kiss and Dan Hartman's Relight My Fire) the collection is both uplifting and highly entertaining, reflecting his own DJ still massively popular sets.

Skrufff (Benedetta Ferraro): You've opened Sessions 5 with the full length 9 minute version of Dan Hartman's late 70s disco classic 'Relight My Fire', how much was that intended as a statement of intent-

Eric Morillo: "That track has always been one of my favourite records and I still drop it when I DJ, in fact I did the other night. I know in England it has a slightly bad connotation, ever since it was covered by Take That, but Take That were never big in the US and the original was the only version I've ever personally known. The reason why I included it was because I wanted to turn on the younger generations to it by mixing it together with modern music. I'm not sure I wanted to make any particular statement apart from the fact it was just one of my favourite records."

Skrufff: Tony Humphries told us last week that when people run out of ideas, they always go back to the past for inspiration, do you perceive any sense of crisis in house music-

Eric Morillo: "Well, there's definitely been a shortage of quality tracks coming out lately, and it's been that way for the last two years. I don't know if that is necessarily the reason why I included the Dan Hartman track, since I always incorporate a classic in my compilations. I would say 80-85% of the CD represents completely what I play right now, I might or not include the Dan Hartman track, if I'm DJing in the US I would. It all depends on the crowd, on how knowledgeable or educated they are… even so it's a track that if I played it would have to be at the end of the night."

Skrufff: How are Subliminal record sales doing at the moment-

Eric Morillo: "They're not as good as they were two years ago, but we're still doing well. We have the Harry (Romero) record, for example, that shipped 1,000 at the box with 'I Go Back', so certain records, if they're good records, will shine right away. But I believe the music industry is not in a good state. Somehow this shake-up was needed as there have been so many people taking advantage of it, and now the bubble has burst in house music. It's impossible for this kind of music to survive if you've got 850 million labels… everybody has a label, everybody is a producer, everybody's got a studio."

Skrufff: Everybody's a DJ these days as well…

Eric Morillo: ""Absolutely. Everybody who owns a pair of turntables calls themselves a DJ these days and if they can blag a gig in Colombia saying that they're big in England, they will. And that's the problem today: There's too many blaggers."

Skrufff: You're doing your first season in Ibiza as a pure Subliminal night; what will be the key differences between this year and last year's co-produced season with Darren Eme
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