The biggest label in house music is making a comeback, and to say that we’re excited is an understatement.
It was in 1997 that Subliminal first opened their doors, back when music was still traded on CD and vinyl and polyphonic ringtones were the latest hype (yes, we all had them). Founded by Erick Morillo, it reportedly took eighteen months to get everything right, from the message down to the logo. “We didn’t want to look like any other US label and this wasn’t going to be just another label,” said Erick. “I wanted the label to be known for quality music, so when you go into the store and buy a Subliminal record, know you’ve got a quality record.” And it’s safe to say that the man has remained true to his word.
Given his reputation as a DJ, it is unsurprising how quickly Subliminal evolved into an admired outlet for New York-style house. Erick soon snapped up a coveted residency at Ministry of Sound, which helped spread the sound of Subliminal to Europe. Since its conception, the label has dropped some of the greatest house tracks of all time. Artists such as Robbie Rivera, Eddie Thoneick and Jose Nuñez have featured on their books, and names like Basement Jaxx, John Dahlbäck and Tommy Trash have all made one-off appearances. Morillo has also released a series of truly seminal mix albums under the same name as his club nights, Subliminal Sessions, which have captured the attention of house fans worldwide.
It is great to hear that after a brief haitus, Subliminal is back, especially considering the history it has with Ministry. “In the past, we sometimes went for quantity as much as quality but now we’re only focusing on quality releases, whatever the genre,” adds Erick. “This time, I can promise you that all our output will be ridiculous. House records with good drops don’t seem to exist anymore – it’s either deep house, progressive house or tech house and I want to bring that real house back - to where it used to be.”
The first release is by Erick Morillo and features his long-term friend and fellow producer Harry Romero. Aptly named “The Restorer”, it was premiered by Danny Howard over the weekend, and has already been tipped as one of the hottest sounds of the summer. “I connected once again with the person who helped me launch the label back in 1997,” Erick said, “so it’s fitting.” And fitting it is. “The Restorer” is classic house music at its best – its very best. The soulful vocals are evocative as much as they are accessible, and the beat is so seductive you could easily have this track on repeat for an evening and forget you even looped it.
The house of God stands in need of revival, so the song says. Preach, Erick. Preach.
Erick Morillo is playing at the club on Saturday 27th June. Tickets are available here.
Words by Katie O'Leary