The happiest (and sweariest) man in house music talks dark days, lucky breaks, and staying true to his art
“Dance music is in my DNA and rhythm is in my blood. I didn’t know that it was going to give me so much joy, but I always knew it would be part of my life. Man, I’m so fucking lucky!”
Erick Morillo might have been around long enough to get jaded, cynical or just plain bored by music, but, even after 30-odd years of DJing and producing, he’s still surrounded by an impish, infectious aura that automatically puts a big smile on your face.
He enjoys a bit of effin’ and jeffin’, too, and his chat with is liberally sprinkled with twinkly-eyed profanities. Don’t get us wrong – this isn’t angry Erick. The cussing seems to be a genuine struggle to find words that describe just how happy/lucky/thankful he is for the life he’s led… and is usually followed by an ear-drum bursting peal of laughter.
Although he’s been DJing since his teens, he’d only been messing around in his bedroom studio for a couple of years when his first release as Reel 2 Real, 1992’s The New Anthem/Funky Buddha, topped the US Dance Charts. It was quickly followed by I Like To Move It… and Erick Morillo was an international pop star. “Overnight, I made my bank manager a very happy man and my life was turned upside down. And that gave me a solid base for the future… people wanted to hear the music I was making and people wanted to hear me DJ. Fuck me! Some days, I wake up and can’t believe this shit is still happening to me.”
Computer Music: Although you were born in New York, didn’t you spend most of your early childhood living with your aunt in Colombia?