David Morales - A Morales High Ground
As one of music’s most prolific remixers, NYC DJ David Morales has reworked everyone from Madonna, The Spice Girls and Aretha Franklin to U2, Basement Jaxx and Technotronic. In Sydney for New Year’s Eve, he talked Grammys, pitbulls and doin’ it for himself to 3D’s Cyclone.
There are generations of actors, or musicians, in the same family, but the DJ gene isn’t necessarily inherited – or so believes David Morales. The garage don secretly wishes that one of his sons would pick up the headphones. So what are they into-
“I really don’t know,” Morales laughs with a father’s exasperation. “The 15-year-old, who knows what he’s interested in at this moment- As far as my older one, God knows what he’s interested in! I wish he’d find something to be interested in. Right now he’s into breeding pitbulls and I’m trying to tell him there is no future in breeding pitbulls – or dogs, for that matter. If you wanna do that as a hobby, it’s one thing, but you have to find something else to fall back on – [something] from reality.”
Morales’ passion for music is such that, after moving, the first thing he does is set-up his decks. The New Yorker doesn’t need to prove himself. Morales, born to Puerto Rican parents in rough-and-tumble Brooklyn, built his reputation as a DJ in fabled NY nightclubs like Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage. He formed the Def Mix production team with Frankie Knuckles in the late ’80s, the two then recruiting Satoshi Tomiie. A decade ago Morales launched Definity Records.
As a remixer, Morales has lent his club cred to countless pop identities, the most important being Mariah Carey. He’s turned out consecutive house mixes for the superdiva, starting with Dreamlover. Morales transformed Fantasy into a mega crossover hit. He last tweaked Carey’s Touch My Body, but it never surfaced. At one stage David hinted at the pair collaborating on a dance album but, to his dismay, Carey has increasingly fallen under the spell of hip hop.
The muscular, tattoo-ed and eternally vital Morales has even capitalised on his underground celebrity, appearing in an Iceberg Jeans campaign.
Today David misses the era when dance music spawned songs, vocals falling out of fashion in the 2000s. The straight-talker wonders if anything on Richie Hawtin’s minimal M-nus Records will be remembered.
While Morales is celebrated as a remixer – the DJ won a Grammy for his efforts – he’s also enjoyed success with original tracks like How Would U Feel. His Here I Am found its way onto The Devil Wears Prada OST.
David first released an ‘artist’ album, The Program, back in 1993, following with the tribal 2 Worlds Collide on the Ministry of Sound offshoot Data (Ultra in the US) four years ago. The American, now focussed on singles, intends to unleash more music in 2009. “I’ve been working in the studio, I really wanna put out a lot of music next year – all kinds of music. I’m really excited to be in the studio again.”
Nevertheless, Morales is doubtful about accepting future remix commissions. “I’ve mixed too many [records],” he says. “I’ve fixed enough records for people, and I’ve remixed enough records that went platinum – but other people made them and other people took the credit. I’m not down with that anymore. I’d rather spend the time making my own music – so watch out ’cause here I come!”
WHO: David Morales
WHAT: Plays SHE NYE at The Argyle
WHEN: Wednesday 31 December