Erick Morillo Pumps Positivity Into an Uncertain World on 'Don't Belong': Exclusive

Erick Morillo
Courtesy of Erick Morillo

Erick Morillo

Good music helps us forget our surroundings, but great music reflects our world and gives us the tools to carry on. Today's world is in strange and choppy waters. We as a species are bombarded with crises from the state of the environment to the global influx of refugees and the constant struggle to embrace our careening globalization.

You try to keep up with the news, you try to imagine ways to help, but it can all be quite overwhelming. Columbian-American DJ and producer Erick Morillo feels those strains, too, and his latest tune, a darkly-driving and even melancholy tune called “Don't Belong,” captures that tension while the beat simultaneously punctures a hole through your soul to let out all that steam.

“Things keep happening in the world that gives further evidence that we are just not really cared about, whether it be by politicians or just in general by companies and corporations, but you can't let that dictate who you will be in your life,” he says. “If we can stay positive, and you really put out positive vibes and you work hard, great things will come.”

It's simple, even obvious advice, but Morillo comes by it through decades of hard experience. Since breaking into the scene in 1982, he's had plenty of ups and downs. He's survived hardships in his personal life and been on the sidelines of disaster, but the music and a healthy dose of perspective has been the force to keep him going.

“Sometimes you want certain things, and what you want will come, but you've got to be present so you can see that it's there,” he says. “It may not come the way you want it to come, it may come another way, but be positive. Positivity and letting go of the past are the two biggest pieces of advice I can give a human being.”

Even as he looks around the world and sees the violence and anger, today, Morillo is happy. “Don't Belong” is an eight-minute work out of the world's demons that proves there is yet beauty in the darkest of nights. It's hypnotic beat hooks your body onto the dance floor, its emotions building as singer Ora Solar comes in ghostly waves, her voice smoothly adding onto the groove. It's another piece in Morillo's puzzle that hopes to bring strong songwriting elements back to house music, the way songs used to come in verse-chorus-verse form back in the late '80s and early '90s.

“I'm pushing that ceiling,” he says. “I know it's going to sound differently. it's not going to be soulful diva, it's going to be a different style, but one where songs are appreciated. People are dying for songs in the clubs, and that's what I want within the underground scene, because right now, that's where it's missing.”

“Don't Belong” is a collaboration with Berlin's Junolarc, a young artist Morillo says is “going to be one of the stars of the scene in the future.” They're shooting a video for the track in London soon, and there's tons more work coming from Morillo in the weeks and months to come. He's in his groove, hitting his creative stride once more.

He's also so inspired as to relaunch his old label Sondos, a home for dark tribal techno, and he's set to celebrate 20 years of Subliminal Records at Miami Music Week this March. He's even been in the studio working on some background production for other artist's albums outside of the dance world, something he is excited to share later this year.

“I'm just in a good place right now, just working my little booty off,” he says happily. “I'm a very blessed individual, very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in. I'm just going to keep going, and if people like the music, that makes me happy.”

Listen to “Don't Belong” below exclusively on Billboard Dance.

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