Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett's Grooveyard 1081

Ben Lovett's dance Grooveyard column 1081
Ben Lovett's dance Grooveyard column 1081 David Morales The Hydra logo Atjazz: Track 6 (Mix 1) (UK Atjazz) David Morales pres. The Face ft. Nicki Richards: Don’t You Want My Love (Glitterbox Mix) Marathon, Not A Sprint! 10 Years Of Greco-Roman (UK Greco-Roman) Dimitri From Paris Presents Salsoul Mastermix (US Salsoul) DJ Spinna feat. Phonte – Tonight We Ride (UK Reel People Music) DJ Deep: For The Love Of Kaoz EP (US Kaoz Theory)

David Morales is a true clubland pioneer, embarking upon his epic career (still going strong) in late Seventies, early Eighties New York when (and where) the major tectonic plates of house music first pushed and pulled, and eventually carved out a conducive landscape for contemporary dance music.

Born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican immigrants, Morales lived within a particularly rough neighbourhood. He dropped out of High School after ninth grade before grabbing work as a cook and, in turn, supplementing his low wages with DJ work – he’d been collecting music since his early teens.

The rest was very quickly history. Morales developed his considerable talents as a DJ via some of New York’s (and dance music’s) must important dancefloors, including the Paradise Garage. Early studio production Do It Properly (recorded as 2 Puerto Ricans, a Black Man and a Dominican alongside Chep Nunez and classic club duo Clivilles & Cole) opened the door to a lengthy string of influential studio work across the Eighties and Nineties – indeed, Morales has remixed and produced for over 500 artists including Mariah Carey, U2 and Michael Jackson, as well as underground heads Robert Owens (I’ll Be Your Friend) and Satoshi Tomiie (Tears).

To this day, Tomiie remains part of the mighty Def Mix stable Morales established with Frankie Knuckles (and Judy Weinstein) in 1987, and is responsible for a lorry load of soulful, sweeping, totally classic house cuts and remixes. He has released his own albums (The Program, Two Worlds Collide and, in 2011, Changes), dropped global crossover anthems as The Face (1998’s Needin’ U) and won a Grammy.

David Morales continues to inspire clubbers, young and old, all over the world, both as solo DJ and impressive triumvirate Kings Of House (rubbing shoulders in the booth with Louie Vega and Tony Humphries). And, of late, has found fresh production impetus - not least with new release as The Face, Don’t You Want My Love. Said record is currently tearing Ibiza asunder, in all the right ways…. Time to find out more!

You’ve been a hard man to track down this month David…

The summer is always super busy for me. If you look at my last week, I’ve played back-to-back in Marbella, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Portugal and Amsterdam. It’s been a lot of fun but tiring…

Considering the work-load you’ve had over what is now nearly 40 years of sparkling career, how do you keep yourself energised and motivated?

I still love what I do. Over the years, our scene has changed and had its ups and downs but, look, the music has allowed me to make an enjoyable living all this time and for that I’m truly grateful. I’m living the dream…travelling the world, meeting amazing people, making and playing the music that I want to. I’m 55 this year but life keeps me young – there’s no shame in my game. Of course, I have learnt to pull the reins back where necessary and do things in moderation. I can’t live every single day like that kid who started out in New York all those years ago but I’m still so, so focused and happy.

Which brings us on to your new smile-inducing single as The Face – tell us about it:

I’d done a mash-up and edit of Debbie Jacobs’ disco record Don’t You Want My Love? [released in 1979 on MCA] for my set at Ministry of Sound’s Glitterbox party in March, adding drums and filters. The video of me playing that record went crazy, and all these people were suddenly asking how to get hold of a copy. I posted it to Soundcloud but quickly realised that I wanted to properly re-record it. So I took it down, went into the studio with Nicki Richards on vocals, and now it’s getting a full release.

The reaction has been incredible this summer…

I know, it’s funny - Needin’ U was two disco records mashed-up - fast forward two decades and I’m doing the same thing and hearing the same kind of buzz.
Glitterbox aside, where else have you enjoyed playing this year?

My best gig of 2017 so far, without a shadow of a doubt, has to be Def Mix’s boat party at SuncéBeat [in Croatia]. I cried on that boat. The emotion from the crowd and the music was incredible.

Do you often cry when you play?

It depends on the moment but, yes, I like to share my emotions when I’m playing. I don’t shy away from that. The scene has changed a lot. A lot of the young DJs coming through are only prepared to play for an hour or so and they have no real message to give. They’re straight into banging out their tunes and trying to create an immediate spectacle. There seems to be a loss of focus. I’m a DJ first, producer second. Playing out is a calling, it makes me whole. I like to play those long 12-hour sets in places like Tokyo and really take control of a night. I get the greatest satisfaction from affecting peoples’ souls on the dancefloor – it’s a really big responsibility.

How do you view the rise of technology in electronic music?

It’s great in some ways. I mean, I can work on ideas on a plane between shows literally minutes after hearing a new sound or inspiration. Technology has also given the scene more than one thing to say; it’s easier to access so many different sounds now. My only complaint would be that there is over-saturation. I can wake up now, grab a cup of coffee and sit in my underwear record shopping online. That’s fine but the experience of talking ‘shop’ in an actual physical shop, and socialising with other shoppers is gone. It’s easy for people to get lost online.

Where do you think dance music will go next?

There are amazing DJs and artists coming through but, generally, the music is getting more and more uptempo. Like I said, some of the younger DJs are looking to make a quick impact in shorter sets. Having a message is so important but perhaps it’s me, perhaps the title of ‘DJ’ has evolved and clubbers just have a different expectation of their night out? We’re seeing a lot of celebrities and models having lessons now and thinking that they can switch into this profession…dress like a clown, play a pre-recorded set and entertain that way. Certain crowds seem to accept that. But I’m still able to do my thing so I’m OK with everything. I see myself as a professor these days, educating the younger generations where I can. And there are still amazing parties to play. Often, the cool gigs are for no real money – the promoters do it for the love of the music, and I love that.

What would your advice be to yourself if you were starting out today?

I do actually advise a couple of young DJs. There is a pressure for DJs these days that you’re not anyone unless you produce as well. I tell my guys ‘don’t feel that pressure’; it’s particularly the case in the summer when you’re really busy and not in the best frame of mind to be creative in the studio. Our industry moves so quickly now and it’s easy to get caught up in a spiral of releasing something every week. I work when I want to, because that’s when the inspiration is there and things really happen. You have to be consistent to standout.

Finally, David, what else have you got coming up?

The Face will have another outing. I co-wrote a track for Jellybean’s [Benitez] label in the early Nineties called The Lover That You Are and was due to re-release it in 2011 but ended up leaving it. The track’s back now, with Nicki Richards again, and I’m excited to finally put it out. There’ll be some more Red Zone material and the track, Father, on Def Mix. That one has a host of singing talent on board including Kenny Bobien, Melonie Daniels and South African vocalist Toshi. I’m really into the afro-house thing right now; I’m working with a few different South African artists.

So no slowing down…

Definitely not. I’m still enjoying the ride. I’m in a very happy place.

David Morales Presents The Face Ft. Nicki Richards: Don’t You Want My Love is out on Def Mix Music.


Cult London club brand The Hydra – masterminded by Electric Minds label head honcho Dolan Bergin and former programmer for The End Ajay Jayaram – has announced a winter party season In Stereo at Ministry of Sound. Dates and full line-ups haven’t yet been confirmed but special guest DJs will include Planet E legend Carl Craig and Twilo titan Danny Tenaglia; not to mention similarly expansive house and tech talents Moodymann, Theo Parrish, Omar-S, Move D, Leon Vynehall, DJ Koze, Daphni, Dam-Funk, DVS1, Galcher Lustwerk, Mafalda, Willow, Floating Points and Bergin himself.

In just five short years, The Hydra has earned a peerless international reputation for forward-thinking dance quality. Bergin and Jayaram promise that their new “stripped back Sunday parties” will prioritise “artist and sound”. The guest names announced so far, combined with Ministry’s top-dollar soundsystem – one of the best spec’d systems in the world – certainly suggest they mean what they say.

Really can’t wait for this one – in particular, Danny Tenaglia’s appearance…


Atjazz – Track 6 (Mix 1) (UK Atjazz)

Atjazz’s Martin Iveson continues his numerically-titled EP series with another deep dance beaut. Track 6, on an ultra-limited release right now with key tastemaker DJs, moves convincingly through percussive gears, layering immaculately programmed drums beneath moody synth stabs and afro-chants. The resulting cut is as hypnotic as it is soulfully heartfelt. Track 6 marches towards its dramatic, atmospheric coda in fine, nay transcendent fettle.

DJ Deep – For The Love Of Kaoz EP (US Kaoz Theory)

Gallic 4-4 veteran Deep hooks up with Kerri Chandler’s Kaoz Theory imprint for an EP of chunky, drum-instructed goodies – as one might expect. Deep’s resurgence as producer has taken in assured releases on labels such as Rekids, Tresor and L.I.E.S and For The Love… maintains his penchant for cut-through rhythm. Thai mixes organic percussion and field recordings to bewitching effect before Tuesday Record Shopping In Paris’s switch into deep, driving house groove. Cavalier Drums ups the intensity with crisp interplay between kick drum and hi-hat, whilst Guardian slinks seductively upon the kind of gorgeous, stabby, low-slung production made for rapturous 3am celebration.

DJ Spinna feat. Phonte – Tonight We Ride (UK Reel People Music)

A super-smooth Spinna exclusive pre-empting the release of brand new Reel People compilation series, Hide & Seek, which aims to showcase the work of the label’s various artists, supporters and friends. For Tonight We Ride, Spinna hooks up with Hide & Seek curator (and one half of The Foreign Exchange) Phonte Coleman and delivers majestic, gently lilting soul-house; Coleman croons with aplomb. Accompanying lick, Pirahnahead & Diviniti feat. Carmen Rodgers’ The Beauty Of Life, delivers similar mellow shimmer and sparkle.


Various Artists - Dimitri From Paris Presents Salsoul Mastermix (US Salsoul)

Essentially, disco connoisseur Dimitri From Paris grabs Salsoul’s revered back catalogue by the horns and fashions a swaggering mastermix from it; all before providing a second disc (download, or slab of vinyl) chock-full of special, standalone re-edits. In truth, Dimitri was here some time ago. The mastermix arrived as Japan-only CD in 2015 before trading on Discogs for £100 a pop; earlier this year, his Salsoul re-edits were packaged for Record Store Day and immediately sold out – the accumulative furore has prompted Salsoul, one of New York’s most influential ever disco labels, to push through an official global release of everything all in one place. This is a collection rich in originality and depth, and high on 24-carat swing. Dimitri’s mastermix moves confidently through stirring Larry Levan, Shep Pettibone and Francois Kevorkian remixes of Bunny Sigler, Inner Life and Rafael Cameron (to name but a few highlights). His own re-edits, lovingly arranged and engineered, cover more familiar Salsoul moments – Double Exposure’s Ten Percent, Loleatta Holloway’s Love Sensation, Love Committee’s Law & Order – but without fatigue or over-complication. This is a soaring statement of mirrorball intent worthy of sustained attention.

Various Artists – Marathon, Not A Sprint! 10 Years Of Greco-Roman (UK Greco-Roman)

Greco-Roman began as the London/Berlin DJ axis of Dom Mentsh, Alex Waldron and Joe Goddard. Soon after they formed, the trio actually split off to pursue solo projects – Waldron running !K7 Records, Mentsh turning to music management, Goddard pushing Hot Chip – but still they threw sporadic, hugely popular underground parties and eventually dropped their first label release in 2007 – David E Sugar’s Oi New York EP. The collective has beguilingly hustled ever since across a plethora of exciting (leftfield) electronic gigs, EPs and albums; all of which, arguably, makes the task of releasing a ‘landmark’ 10th anniversary compilation that bit easier. That’s certainly the impression upon early listens – Marathon radiates Greco-Roman’s trademark wit, originality and dancefloor panache. Outings from label stalwarts like Disclosure (the UKG-flecked Control),Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (the bleepy, arcade-fired Garden) and Roosevelt (hazy sunshine indie-swinger Hold On) still fizz with relevancy, as do guest turns from LA Priest (on Lxury’s Show) and Kate Tempest (Letthemusicplay’s Our Town). Newcomers shine as well – the charming off-kilter swerve of Opal People’s synth ‘n’ vocal combo 2 Channel a super-smart case in point. Don’t let the name fool you – Marathon is anything but a slog. Well-selected, well-paced and incredibly light on its feet, it well reflects Greco-Roman’s electronic flexibility – past, present and future. More than that, it’s an exciting, snappy, refreshingly breezy listen.


1). David Morales pres. The Face feat. Nicki RichardsDon’t You Want My Love (Glitterbox Mix) (US Def Mix)

2). David Bailey feat. HanLeiRunnin’ Me Wild (Original Mix) (UK Good Vibrations)

3). Black Loops feat. Felipe GordonMia Negrito (Ger Toy Tonics)

4). Oliver Dollar & Crazy PLoose Beat (Gr Yoruba)

5). EOL SoulfritoUpright Love (Louie Vega Kat Mix) (US Vega)

6). Girls Of The InternetWhen U Go (MoBlack Remix) (UK Classic Music)

7). Joey NegroMust Be The Music (The Original Disco Mix) (UK Z Records)

8). JozifReclaim The Light EP (UK Rebellion)

9). AtjazzTrack 6 (Mix 1) (UK Atjazz – limited)

10). DJ DeepGuardian (US Kaoz Theory)

11). Van McCoy & Soul City SymphonySpanish Boogie (Sp Pikes Records)

12). RapsonHeat (Exclusive Exgtended Mix) (UK Friday Fox)

13). Lord LeopardAs Gospel (US Dirtybird)

14). Fish Go DeepBaby Tell Me (US Large Music)

15). Low Steppa feat. Alex MillsKarma (Low Steppa’s Basement Mix) (UK Simma Black)

16). AeroplaneLove On Hold (Extended Mix) (UK Glitterbox Recordings)

17). Dimitri From Paris & DJ RoccaOne For Frankie (Ger Gomma)

18). UnderworldJumbo (Rob Rives & Francois K Dub) (UK Universal Reissue)

19). AtjazzTrack 5 (Mix 1) (UK Atjazz)

20). Joey NegroIt’s More Fun To Compute (UK Z Records)



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