Photos by Tasya Menaker /
Def Mix 25th Anniversary/Smart Bar Metro 30th Anniversary Event: Frankie Knuckles David Moral photo gallery
WE PROUDLY PRESENT: A Def Mix 25th Anniversary event in conjunction with Smart Bar's 30th Anniversary Year
About Frankie Knuckles:
Nicknamed “The Godfather of House,” Frankie Knuckles is known as a true originator of the House Music genre. Some of his numerous accomplishments as a DJ, artist and remixer over the last 30+ years are as follows: In the early 70’s Knuckles DJ’d at the infamous Continental Baths in New York City. Moving to Chicago in the late 70’s he became the resident DJ at The Warehouse until it closed in 1983. Along with contributing to the birth of House Music in the mid 80’s, Knuckles began his production career with remixed versions of “LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER” by First Choice. While on tour in Japan, Knuckles met DJ Satoshi Tomiie. The pair collaborated on the track “Tears” which was released on ffrr / Polygram UK. The song has since become a classic. After moving back to New York, Frankie Knuckles joined Def Mix Productions in 1988 and formed a partnership with David Morales and Judy Weinstein. Signed to Virgin Records, Frankie’s first artist album entitled Beyond The Mix is released. The album’s first single, “The Whistle Song,” reached #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and Top 5 on the UK Pop Chart. This success led to a performance on the infamous Top of the Pops TV show. The track was also featured in a Lipton Iced Tea ad campaign produced for 1992 Summer Gay Games in New York City. Frankie released an updated version entitled “The Whistle Song Revisited” in 2007 on his label “Noice." Sophomore album, “Welcome to the Real World,” was released on Virgin Records in 1995. Resident DJ at The Sound Factory Bar nightclub in New York City until its closing in 1996. 1997 Grammy Award Winner for “Remixer of the Year” – first recipient of this award. Honored in Chicago for his contributions to music and to his adopted home with a street named “Frankie Knuckles Way” was established on “Frankie Knuckles Day” August 26th, 2004.
Frankie Knuckles 2004 album, A New Reality, featured the track, “Back in da Day,” which hit #1 on Billboard’s dance chart.
About David Morales
Dance music in the second decade of 2000 is about one word – BIG. The tracks and remixes are big, the new breed of big room DJs are akin to demigods and live events have reached a scale never before seen. However the global sensation and penetration of dance music into top 40 radio would not have been possible without a foundation built by David Morales – one of the first true superstar DJs.
A native New Yorker, David Morales grew up during dance music’s most influential era and frequented its legendary clubs. While the music in such famed establishments as the Loft and the Paradise Garage was inspiring and new, there was also a large social element to what made these clubs unique. There were few clubs in New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s that catered to everyone – black, white, Hispanic, gay – but The Loft and Paradise Garage welcomed everyone with open arms. These clubs represented the only places where you could truly “let go” and “be yourself” during a racially tense period in the city’s history. At the controls in the clubs, the DJ, who was more of an educator and less someone who came to play the hits as is prevalent in today’s scene. “The entire concept of DJing has changed so much over the years. Back in the day, the DJ was not the focal point; the DJ was someone off to the side or in a corner and people just danced throughout the night. Having experienced that, I get the greatest appreciation when people dance, not when they stare at me like I’m a god. People don’t dance as much anymore which is sad,” Morales says.
After honing his skills at New York City’s most popular clubs David Morales embarked on a remixing career in the mid- 80’s – right when the art really started taking off. With opportunities starting to fly in Morales teamed with Chicago house music legend Frankie Knuckles and For The Record DJ Pool founder/NYC nightlife impresario Judy Weinstein for the creation of Def Mix Productions to help manage remix requests and handle artist business affairs. Today, Morales along with his manager/partner Judy Weinstein represents Frankie Knuckles and Hector Romero. Morales looks back fondly, “The name Def Mix was born when I began remixing records and it’s slang for “good” in that old school way. We had a team of musicians and engineers and the name became a name we did remixes under. There were no plans or intentions and I never knew the impact. We just did stuff we loved to do which was making and playing music. It wasn’t about playing live because there was no traveling back then. We knew New York. We were just a family. We were remixing so many records that we lived in the studio 24/7.”
To date, David Morales remixed and produced over 500 releases for artists including Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Eric Clapton, Pet Shop Boys, U2, Whitney Houston, and Jamiroquai. Morales was the recipient of the 1998 Grammy Award Nominee for Remixer of the Year after being nominated for the same award in 1997. Since first remixing Mariah Carey’s "Dreamlover" in 1993, he’s gone on to become one the pop diva’s go to remixers. To date Morales has remixed Mariah Carey songs "Fantasy," "Always Be My Baby," "Honey," "My All," "I Still Believe," "It's like That" and "Say Somethin.'" He went on to receive a 1996 Grammy Award Nominee for Producer of the Year on Mariah Carey’s album Daydream for the song “Fantasy.”
David Morales made his solo production debut in 1993 with the Mercury Records album David Morales & The Bad Yard Club “The Program.” In 1998 Morales released “Needin’ U” on his own label, DMI Records, under the alias “The Face.” The track licensed to Mercury Records UK soon became a #1 Dance Record and video which is still being licensed and covered around the world. Ultra Records releases Morales’ second album entitled “Two Worlds Collide” in 2005. The first single, “How Would U Feel,” proved successful on the dance floor while “Here I Am” performed by UK artist Tamra is prominently featured in the smash 2006 film, “The Devil Wears Prada”. “Feels Good,” performed by Angela Hunte landed a major position in the end credits of 2008 film “Don’t Mess with the Zohan”.
On June 28, 2011 Ultra Records released “You Just Don’t Love Me” as a setup for David’s “Changes” album featuring the vocals of Jonathan Mendelsohn. This massive anthem accompanied Morales throughout his summer tour. His next single “Holiday” featured the dreamy vocals of Polina released at the end of 2011. This is a classic Morales club tune which topped the Traxsource sales chart over the Christmas “Holiday” season. Just prior to the release of his new album “Changes” will be the next single entitled “Golden Era”. This song is a collaboration with Roisin Murphy formerly known as “Moloko”. The results are a flashback to the future; one mix overflowing with strings and horns of days gone by and another infused with an essence of electronica. Other featured artists are Ultra Nate’, Janice Robinson, Tamra Keenan, Jonathan Mendelsohn and Polina.
David is considered by many to be one of the first true superstar DJ’s. Thanks to his remix/production work Morales was among the first DJs to actively tour the world becoming a favorite at Montreal’s Stereo and Pacha, Ibiza. David is also known as one of the most versatile DJs currently on the scene. Whether it is playing a pool party in Las Vegas, an edgier European club or an event geared to a predominately gay crowd, Morales feels comfortable adapting to each situation. “I like to be part of creating a trend as opposed to following a trend. My identity is my culture in music. I’ve lived through different eras. I’m into my fourth decade and all that influence adds into the mix. I take what I experience and create my own thing.” Morales says, “You expand people’s minds by being able to expose them to different things. It takes a good DJ to take a record from one place and take it somewhere else. When a crowd trusts the resident DJ, people adapt to it.”
In addition to his work as a DJ/Producer/Remixer, David Morales has modeled for Iceberg Jeans; participated in “Aldo Fights Aids” campaign; appeared on numerous TV shows and documentaries; and hosts a Sunday night radio show on Paris station FG.
David Morales not only defines the superstar DJ, he is a talent that has so much more to give in a world that constantly “Changes”.