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Smoking Session: Hector Moralez

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Ahead of the upcoming release of the Lotus Se7en album on Apollonia records, DT had a thorough chinwag with Hector Moralez about working with Chris Carrier on Lotus Se7en, the duo’s new live show and Hector’s take on electronic music.

So Hector thanks for talking to DT, what are you doing at this present moment in time?

I just got to Arras France, I’m in my hotel getting ready to head for dinner with friends and my wife in about 2 hours. I am here for work I guess, DJing here tonight at Vertigo.

You’ve recently played in Berlin with Chris (Carrier) and in a couple of weeks you’re playing at Treehouse in Miami. That looks pretty big, Apollonia and Mobilee under one roof with yourself and Chris playing a live set based around the Lotus Se7en album. Excited?!

Yes! Very excited! It should be great!

How did it come about that you would be working with Chris on an album?

It kind of all came together when I moved to Paris in Feb 2011. Chris called me the day I arrived and by the next day I was at his studio making the first track for the album, which was “Island Breeze”.

No time wasted then! How did you guys originally meet?

I met Chris in the summer of 2002 through a friend of mine from Chicago who was in town. Her and I hungout that weekend, she was in Paris visiting and I had asked her if she knew of anyone I could buy some weed from, she put me in contact with her friend that knew of someone I could get some good smoke from. Her friend turned out to be Chris! I didn’t know who he was and he didn’t seem very friendly and maybe didn’t even like me. He was very quiet, we didn’t really speak much the first time we met, I bought some weed off of his guy and neither of us found out that we made music. It wasn’t until the second time that I came over and asked Chris to take me to the guy again that we realised that we both made music and were both involved in the music scene. We put it together and both of us were kind of thinking, wow it’s a small world how we met by luck almost, and the rest is history.

So you guys have been working on Lotus Se7en for a while. Did you start on it before Dan, Shonky and Dyed came up with the concept of Apollonia?

Yes we started it in Feb 2011 and finished the album in March 2012. It’s been a long time coming but well worth it. We didn’t tell anyone about it or announce it to anyone that we were working on the album, we just did it. And yeah, we started working on it before Dan, Shonky and Dyed started their label and Apollonia concept.

I remember seeing Dan in 2011 after I had arrived in Paris and he had mentioned to me that he was going to start a new label, he told me the name of it “Apollonia” and he showed me the artwork and logo for the label and I loved it and the concept, I thought it was great and fresh but Chris and I had already been working on the album and we didn’t say anything about it until it was done. Now looking back, Apollonia is the perfect home for the album, it just fits.

How did it come about that the album was to be released on Apollonia?

Here is how it went down… We had a few labels in mind but I knew I wanted to release the album and keep it with a French label. When the album was done, Chris played it for Dan. I was in the States touring, I got a text message from Chris saying Dan and the boys are interested in signing the album. I guess they were all together in Italy or London, something like that, and they heard it, all of them together for the first time and they loved it. From what I heard, they played it over and over a couple of times. When I got back to Paris I got a message from Dan saying him and the boys love the album and wanted to talk and have a meeting about signing the album to Apollonia. So when I got back home we talked, had the meeting and the album was signed to Apollonia and we were on board…the rest is history!

What did each of you bring to the table that made working on the album as a duo so valuable?

To begin with we both have something in common and that’s working hard. We kind of just did what we always do and created something that we like together. You know, just get together and make music until we can’t anymore! We’d get together every week and work maybe 2 or 3, even 4 days a week until we had some strong tracks. It would start with us having lunch together, smoking and going through samples and sounds. Then we would record and I would sometimes get on the microphone and we’d have fun with it until we got something we both agreed on and would put it into a track that we thought would fit best.

We just have fun together and make music when we’re working together. We both bring our history, knowledge and connection.

What was the main objective behind the Lotus Se7en album?

The main objective was to really just make the music first I guess, we had no plans or label in mind when we started and finished the album. It kind of all came together naturally after the album was complete. We just wanted to make good music… that was the main objective I would say. We for sure wanted to express ourselves through the music and it all came together very nicely I think. We also wanted to make dancefloor tracks but at the same time we wanted to create tracks for people to just listen to as well. We wanted to find the right balance between the two with the overall goal being good music for people to enjoy in any situation.

What were yours and Chris’ inspirations and major influences for the album?

Our inspirations came from many different things and music that we were listening to and going through at the time. I’d say our major influence was old 90’s San Fran house music, disco, funk, jazz and lots of hip hop. Those records we were listening to really had a huge influence on us both, in the past and even when we were making the album. Techno and acid house records also played a big role. We were listening to all types of sounds while making the album and you can hear that when you listen to the album.

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Where does the name Lotus Se7en come from?

Dan and Chris came up with the name “Lotus Se7en” together for the album. I’m not really sure what it means to be honest! I just really liked it when they presented it to me…I thought it was perfect! It sounded fresh.

Have you and Chris had much time to prepare your live set?

Yes, since May 2012 to be exact! We started working on the live show then and now we are ready!

What setup will you both be using in the booth?

We will be using the 909, 303, Titra Effects Box, a microphone, a keyboard, a midi controller, an effect pedal for my voice, with a Macbook Pro running Ableton live a MPC and a mixing board!

Sweet setup! What are the major considerations when playing live rather than a DJ set?

Focus. It’s really different, I find it harder, it’s more of a challenge for me. I can DJ with my eyes closed and not even think about it!

Is there less opportunity to interact with your audience?

No, not really because I am on the mic so I am connecting with the people and interacting with our audience. It’s just different and more technical. It has to flow like a DJ set but it’s like working in the studio live in front of people, so no room for mistakes.

Can a live set be just as spontaneous as a DJ set, can you be as flexible when playing live?

Yes indeed, for sure. It’s like DJing, we have an idea of what we can do but in the moment we can change it up and do what’s best for the room and the vibe. We have designed our routine for the live show for it to be flexible. This has been my first time playing live and we have been working hard at it, we put in as much work on the live show as we did into the album.

I love the acidy feel to the title track “Lotus Se7en”. Do you have any favourites or any that you play without fail in every set?

Nice, I’m glad to hear that you like the acidy vibe to it because so do I!! That has been a sound Chris and I have been known for when working together and producing music together. It just goes well on the dancefloor, it’s party time music! I’ve been playing the track “Lotus Se7en” a lot, almost in every one of my sets, I also love “Head Band” and “Disco Remodel”. Those are my favourite ones at the moment but honestly, I love them all, they all have a special time and place.

I know it’s kind of funny to say this but I love the album a lot and dig all the tracks on it. They all hold a place in my heart for real.

Disco Remodel is big!

Yeah, Disco Remodel is BIG!! Disco at it’s finest in a modern way.

Do you have any rescue tracks for a stale dancefloor?

Yes “Island Breeze” works every time, “Head Band” is a great one to drop, it also gets a great reaction.

Moving away from the album and talking a little about your style. You’ve always had a very trademark sound. What’s kept you from giving into the pressure of what is popular at the moment and remaining headstrong and sticking with the sound that you believe in?

I don’t change with the times really, I just make music that I love and believe in. I try to stay true to what I do and stay focussed. I don’t follow trends and stay away from that but always work on developing my sound, it’s evolving but still has my signature.

I’ve never been tempted in making other genres of music, I just like making house and am satisfied with that. I focus on making music for me to play and for my friends. I am very picky when I make music, I guess that helps me stay true to the particular sound that I’m known for. I just try to do my best in the studio and just do me…if people and DJs like it, that’s great but I also know that not everyone is going to like or be into what I make. I am conscious of that and I just make music that I think works on the dancefloor I guess.

What do you like to listen to at home?

I listen to a lot of hip-hop, mostly J. Dilla and Curren$y...stuff like that. I’d say I listen to 95% hip-hop at home, all day, all the time!

Did they sell hip hop when you worked at Primal Records?

We did sell a little bit of hip-hop but it was mostly house and techno.

How integral to your entering the EDM world was the job at Primal Records?

I was already into electronic music before working there but working there was huge for me. It was my dream job at the time and I landed my position there. I was 18 years old when I started working there and it was very important. It did play a big part in my knowledge for music and the music industry and just the record business itself. I learnt a lot working there, met a lot of great people… I’d be there 6 days a week, even on my days off! I loved being at the record shop all of the time, listening to music and didn’t want to miss anything that came through. Even though I knew that place and every records in the shop like that back of my hand!

I was already playing out and DJing out when I got the job in Primal. I started DJing in April of ’95 and got the job at Primal at the end of April ’97. I still remember the day I got hired. I’ll never forget it.

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