The Summer Of Erick Morillo

Posted on August 8, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

You would be forgiven to feel a little nervous when being granted an exclusive audience with electronic music royalty like Erick Morillo. Yet, within ten minutes of the house music icon jumping out of his car in front of Croissant Show, he has made us feel completely at ease. This summer, his presence on the White Isle is more prolific than ever as he returns to play some of his favourite events, as well as ticking off some Ibiza debuts like his first island sets for Jamie Jones’ Paradise at DC-10 and techno fest RESISTANCE at Privilege.

Having witnessed Erick open the renowned Blue Marlin Ibiza back in May, we were struck by how much he enjoyed the music and playing to the crowd, happily dancing along behind the decks. Outside of the booth, his personality is just as infectious as he talks and cracks jokes at 100 miles an hour. He tells us, “I really love what I do and I have my passion back. It had disappeared for a while because I wasn’t making the music I love, but once I worked that out it returned. Now I feel like I did when I first started DJing. It’s a labour of love again.”

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal006

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal005

By the time we have made the ascent into the historic walls of UNESCO World Heritage site Dalt Vila, our nerves have disappeared and we feel like we are chatting amongst friends. Despite his international superstar status, Erick couldn’t be more down to earth as he follows us up on even the most winding, steep pathways in the sweltering afternoon heat. Warm, friendly and funny, he only stops the conversation to take a photo with starstruck passers-by who recognise him (this happens several times) or to pose for the next shot. He laughs, “When I was about to turn 30, I told all my friends that when I get to 40 I’m going to slow down. Now I’m closer to 50 and I feel the best I have in a very long time – so who knows what’s going to happen. I just take it one day at a time, but I am very happy with where I am right now!”

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal007

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal009

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal008

The struggle of doing a walking tour of the highest points of Ibiza Town in the burning July sun unites our little trio and we decide to finish the rest of our chat over a refreshing juice on the Plaza del Sol. With a new record – the highly acclaimed Fifth Element – released just a few weeks ago and several more Ibiza shows to come, we have a lot to talk about. Erick reveals, “It’s a different moment in my life and I always wanted to do a melodic record that tells a story, something reminiscent of Knights Of The Jaguar and Plastic Dreams, something that is consistently building. I’ve been talking about it for years and with this record, I wanted to create something quite orchestral with a big crescendo. It’s been received really well, and I’m over the moon with the reaction!”

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Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal018

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal019

As we are passing the halfway point of the season, we have to quiz the US producer about his busy summer, which has seen him play several high profile gigs not only on the island but also overseas. Speaking about the eclectic mix of parties he has booked on Ibiza, Erick tells us he feels blessed to be able to be part of his favourite events as well as uncovering new ground. He says, “The first time I played for elrow was in London on December 30th last year. We had never even worked together before that, but it was such a great party and since then they have asked me to play all over the globe with them. For me, their energy is so great and I’m always very lively and bubbly when I’m playing, so it’s a great fit. ANTS is another party that I had wanted to play for ages, and Pete Tong Sessions at Blue Marlin Ibiza are always great, so I’m really happy with what’s happening here in Ibiza. I love to be able to play a bit harder, too, because my musical tastes have evolved and opened up. Now the difference between house and techno – and tech house – is not really what it used to be. 10 years ago the genres were so segregated and you were put in a box as a DJ. But now, the industry has opened up a bit more and the general vibe is a lot friendlier. It’s more inclusive.”

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal013

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal012

Talking about a particularly epic eight-hour set he played for elrow, we want to find out more about the logistics and preparation it takes to stand the course during such a marathon! He laughs, “Some of my DJ friends are telling me that I’m absolutely crazy because my system is to just keep adding music to a USB stick. The new material, for example, is in a folder titled ‘August 2014’. So I don’t have the records organised by name, I just know where they are. For the rest, I just feel it. I read the room and depending on what I feel, I go and take the crowd on a little adventure. And the time really flies when you’re enjoying it! People always ask me about going to the bathroom, but it goes so fast I don’t even have to think about it. My longest set was 24 hours at Space in Miami and the last four hours were a bit of a strain – but only because they brought out these egg sandwiches and when you eat, your body starts to digest and you get tired!”

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With a globe-spanning career as iconic as his, we have to ask Erick about the first time he played on the island and his all-time favourite sets. He reminisces, “The first place I played in Ibiza was Space. I Like To Move It had just blown up and I kept telling the people who were doing my bookings that I didn’t like playing the kind of places that expect me to just put on that one track for two hours. So they booked me for Space on Sundays and told me I would love it. I flew over from Leeds on a no-frills airline and I just remember that it was absolute mayhem, with people drinking booze, walking around and shouting. And for some reason, the airhostess picked a bone with me, and when I got off the plane she kicked me in the butt!” He laughs and continues, “I was staying in a hotel in Playa d’en Bossa and I was shocked when I was told they would pick me up at 7am the next day – because Space didn’t even open until 6am. I still remember walking into the club and it had no roof, there were these big fans and I just saw a sea of happy people. It was a crowd of people from all walks of life, men and women, black and white, hippies and ravers all partying together. And I had never experienced a day party like that before, with so many like-minded people who love music. It was so fulfilling as a DJ and I was hooked. Some of the best sets of my life have taken place on that terrace.”

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal015

As juices turn to Margaritas, we cast the conversational net wider and end up chatting about everything from management skills to countryside restaurants, lazy afternoons in Formentera to Erick’s secret recipe for lamb chops. A real foodie, Erick talks about his favourite pastimes and culinary hotspots when he has some rare time off. “I love to take a boat out and go over to Formentera to have lunch at Beso Beach or Juan Y Andrea and then watch the sun go down. And it doesn’t really matter how many people there are – of course, if I have a boat full of women, that’s the best – but for me it’s just the perfect escape from the norm. I also like to check out new restaurants. Before I used to go to Balafia all the time, but now I like to try people’s recommendations and discover new places. I love the vibe at countryside restaurants such as La Paloma and the new A Mi Manera, which is one of my favourite places right now. The food there is absolutely ridiculous, the thing that they do with the peppers stuffed with ricotta cheese…” he swoons, before we uncover his own kitchen skills.

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Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal027

Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal023

“I like to have people over at my place, too, and cook for them, “ he says. “My paella is the best! I started with the traditional version from Valencia with meat, and now I have graduated to seafood. And my lamb chops are amazing, too. I marinate them in a secret mix of Latino spices for three days and when I barbecue them, they melt in your mouth. You’ve got to prepare food with love!”

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Erick Morillo Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal014

After all that talk of good food, we finish with ice cream close to the Ibiza Town harbour. As a legendary afternoon comes to a close, it’s fair to say all our wildest expectations have been surpassed. With a final invite to come over for a paella some time, Mr Morillo hops in a cab and sets off for his next adventure…

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