Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Angel Moraes came of age listening to the great radio stations of New York City throughout the 1970s and 80s. Never out of touch with the sounds he loved, It was around this time that young Moraes realized what he wanted to do with his life. Always on the prowl for cutting edge sounds, he was a regular for the late night underground groove at “Jellybeans Fun House”. However, it wasn’t until a friend introduced him to the magic of the “Paradise Garage” that he discovered home..
You are a legendary house music DJ and producer. Could you tell us something more about the early days of your career and how that compares to the house movement in 2012?
When I started producing back in 1991 it was by chance. I was playing a birthday party for a friend of mine who was a fellow garage head and this guy came up to me and said “I love the music you’re playing, have you ever been to a studio?” to which I replied no. That guy was Victor Simonelli. A week later he invited me to the studio and that inspired me to start my production career. Their are vast differences between then and now. Considering that in my opinion the music we create is a direct result of the clubs that we go to. I would say that the biggest difference for me is the way everything about the clubs back then would inspire me. The music, the sound, the DJ, the crowds, it was all about the music so that in turn would create excitement and therefore inspire. Today most club owners are pressured so much by their over heads that it leaves little room to truly inspire, be pure and create just for the love of music. You have to sell out constantly to commercialism and crap crowds that wanna show of their new Mercedes or their Louis Vuitton hand bag. That way of doing things that does not inspire musically.
You are from New York, but fell in love with Montreal where you founded the world renowned club stereo afterhours. What is the magic behind this club that keeps it one of the top notch locations to play at for any DJ?
Stereo was a mecca for exactly what I just said was missing from the club scene. “inspiration”. Most people that went to Stereo can tell you it was one of the grandest and one of the most inspirational experiences of their life. The first 8 years of Stereo were magical because it was about music and togetherness period. Nothing else mattered.
Would you be interested in opening other Stereo Afterhours clubs at different locations around the world?
Of course but I don’t think I would call it Stereo. I would open up a new place in a heart beat if I thought that the city was receptive to something like that. The main problem with a new room is that people who can open them think that the type of sound that I prefer has to be bulky and that I have to do stacks and they think it looks out of date. To those people I say “just because it’s new doesn’t make it better”…But they want a more modern look which I understand completely.
Truth be told I love my stacks because I have great memories of rooms that had stacks that sonically were and still are unsurpassed. The garage, the original sound factory and the original Stereo were kick ass sound systems. But I don’t have to do stacks. I have a lot of new and innovative ways to get the sound I had at Stereo and even better without the use of stacks.
Does house music sound better with vocals in your opinion? Or are instrumental tracks equally cool?
I come from a place where a song was everything because it usually had a message or someone’s trying to convey their feelings to those who can relate. For me nothing compares to a great song with a great melody and arrangement. But I also like the darker side of music with the chunky beats and awesome basslines where you can close youre eyes in the middle of the dance floor and lose yourself.
Do you understand dubstep?
Yeah, but it’s not for me.
Is there any club you would never play again?
There are a few but I’d rather not name names, haha!
What do you invest your earnings in?
I spend my money at home. On good times with family and friends. I love to cook so every now and then I go out and buy some top ingredients and wine create a gourmet meal for everyone.
When was the last time you cried?
When I saw the devastation left behind by hurricane sandy. Very sad.
Which composer or songwriter outside dance music moves you?
In my opinion the greatest composer in the history of music is John Williams. If you look at his body of work it’s just unreal what this man has accomplished. Although I have great respect and admiration for Quincy Jones, David Foster, James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith as well.
Your thoughts on the current New York club scene?
If you would’ve asked me this question 5-10 years ago my answer would have been very different. but today I think there is a renaissance oozing up through the streets of NY. The powers that be seems to be loosening up the chokes and letting people go about things in a more free way. It’s a good thing and it’s about time. After all this is America, land of the free they say. Lets hope it continues to move in that direction.
Name a producer that has been forgotten but who made an everlasting impact on the scene.
There are a lot of people who just because they haven’t had the right distribution for their music have been overlooked in recent years, myself included. Just this weekend I played an afterhours here in NY and a day earlier this girl posted on the promo page “who is this guy?” I started laughing because I know it’s not her fault. Then I played the night and according to the promoters, the owner and the staff I rocked the place just as good if not better than anyone else. People tend to toss you aside because you’ve been doing this for a while so they think you have nothing left to contribute. And that’s not the case. You know what, just because it’s new doesn’t make it better. Some of us guys that have put our time in can still kill it just as good if not better than the new jacks. Who by the way have no sense of the history of dance music. I for one plan to do this for a very long time. I ain’t going anywhere 😉
Is there a final thing you would like to say to our readers?
I truly appreciate and respect the support you give to me and my music.