Hold a tête-à-tête with a jaded clubber long enough, and you will witness a surfeit of club venues and DJ names spew out – Larry Lavan, Junior Vasquez, Sasha & Digweed, Hector Romero, Club Exit, Studio 54, Twilo, Webster Hall, Filter 14, Roxy, and the Palladium to name a few. Without those spots and performers, New York’s nightlife would not exist.
In the early days, he started out spinning hip-hop and Latin flavored records at his high school jams. Given the fact he began pumping records at the young and tender age of 13, while his peers were playing Nintendo, Hector Romero was promptly dubbed, “Baby-Hec.”
Yet, Hector’s career span has come a long way from the days of yore, whether he is performing in the Mediterranean, abroad in Scandinavian lands, or at annual galas, Hector will undoubtedly rock the masses to a cheering ovation. This is why it gives great jubilation and joy to conversation with one of the men to a great extent, responsible for NYC’s unique and vibrant club life - Part-time businessperson and half entertainer who still discovers time to cope a societal life in the mist of it, all while being an all around pleasurable & modest guy.
When did you clutch an aspiration to “gyrate” LPs for a living?
Initially began playing records at the age 13, but only became conscious of the professional phase when asked to play at the high school dance. However, at that point in time I did not have proper equipment per-say to play at a school dance. As a result, hooked up with this DJ Company in Queens that had this amazing sound system and worked out a deal (with now good friend) Miguel Mendez forming a mobile DJ outfit. After acquiring suitable performance gear, started playing all my high school dances, which was a relatively huge deal. That is when I developed aspirations towards turning this skill into a professional venture.
Seeing how this demanded many hours of your youth, how did this dream tip over with the ‘rents and where they accommodating of your endeavors?
Well my parents were social folks, parties and street jams they would attend had DJs or live acts. While the other kids were running around playing and doing whatever, I was gazing and observing the DJs, more or less mesmerized by their actions. They soon figured out I had an eager curiosity in learning the craft.
In the beginning, they were like “sure-sure, we’ll buy you some turntables.” In view of the fact, possessing tables and a mixer was another medium of keeping me off the streets; they saw not harm to it. However, when I entered high school and started deejaying every single day, coming home late at night, only to practice with no schoolwork time whatsoever (apparent in grades), it swiftly became a crisis. I can recollect a clear-cut night my father came home and threaten to demolish the decks with a hammer pie if I did not get my act together.
Nonetheless, it has paid off and they are proud of my work. Mainly due to the fact, it has manifested into something I can make a substantial living off, grants liberty to traveling the world, and so forth. In addition to conveying beautiful Christmas gifts. They both love that portion of the trade.
Situation with Definity Records is, Label Manager. What exactly does this position in entail?
Well Def-Mix Productions is the mother company or parent entity which facilitate with the management area of the company, as far as David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Bobby D’ Ambrosio, and Satoshi (Tomiie) go. I deal with anything that necessitates the day-to-day task of the label, Definity Records (co-owned by David Morales). Followed by SAW Recordings in which a partner of along side Satoshi.
Businessperson by day and world renowned, jet setting DJ by night. How do you lead and live the best of both worlds, yet still find juncture for a communal, social existence?
Actually, it has been straightforward. Do not produce or remix, so am not required "x" amount of time cooped up in a studio; this makes it radically painless. To boot, have a love for it. Never wake up dreading work like a typical 9-5. Furthermore, I am not complete if I do not spin at some point in the week, for the reason it is a passionate love affair.
Example, there are times at home were I’ll start craving the opportunity of listening to a fresh, new tune, but since I am a family man, basically cannot get up and do such a thing as one has to give up such liberties for this particular roll. This has taken some getting used to in the rationale of growing up, but it is not an issue I am bitter over.
At the end of the day, it is all a labor of love. Thus, having no complaints.
At the outset, started performed in the belly of the big apple, home of the mighty Yankees baseball team, “da Bronx” playing at various locates within the neighborhood. Now hit the fast forward button on the movie of your life and your passport is a testimony to stews of locations – Amsterdam, Canada, Greece, Italy, and Portugal to name a few. Of all your worldly treks and expeditions abroad, which location(s) would be your “home away from home?”
Two favorite spots to play at are one Canada’s Stereo (previously known as Industry) and two Italy’s “Angels of Love.” At those two venues, people really know how to give it up and show love.
In Europe for example, they grew up with the dancing culture, in the same sense people grew up with Rap & R&B here in America. Though, to an extent here in America, dance music is still “secondary.” So, when I go out to those two locations, they show the affection and gratitude for the work I generate.
Angels of Love for instance, throws some of the most marvelous festivity in the world – People appear in their finest outfits and suits, whether it’s Gucci, Prada, or some other designer wear, and do not trouble over swearing or ripping it off. Those people are not there to be stared or ogled at, other than to merely party, an uncontaminated true be devotion!
Ever program/map out sets with the particular overseas venue in mind or is there an attempt to bring the “Nu Yawk” House favor to the episode in question?
Granted a majority of LPs are intercontinental, they (promoters, supporters, and fans) unquestionably want that New York sound and sexy vibe.
As for programming mixes, most of it just flows as I feed off the crowd. Spur of the moment rushes trying to predict what is going to make ‘em blow up and explode.
Most of the expected deejay tolls have been paid – Multiple residents at clubs such as the legendary Palladium & Roxy (New York City); copious world tours; redundant interview session (excluding this on of course); et cetera. However, with such prolific admiration and a wide/devoted fan foundation, you have not capitalized on a CD compilation or remixing production work. Why the void of such rewarding enterprises?
Well it is coming… (Laughs) Don’t worry, I’m next in line, and there will be a Hector Romero compilation out, fo’ sho!
It will be the first for SAW Recordings as a double set CD along side Satoshi. The delay has been due to the fact it has taken three years to build up a decent catalog that is going to be properly marketed and so on. In addition, we have also taken a sit back and watch approach to the marketing of such a comp’ and learned from other companies mistakes and faults. Essentially, learning the field and seeing what works.
We will have something out by the end of the summer to coincide with a tour starting in Latin America.
What names have been on the drawing board for the first release?
That has been one of the hardest parts, figuring out what to name it... [laughs] That was also one of the hardest parts for the SAW label as well.
The fundamental aspects of this “deejay-whore-esque” business to the masses are consistency and motivation (not to mention the ability to adapt to the ever-changing musical preferences). Spanning a 20-year career, what is it that has kept you stimulated ‘til this day?
Inspiring, quality music.
Being with SAW has spoiled me from all the countless, un-pressed LPs received directly from producers to the massive wave of MP3s. I hear lots of music, some good, and others unbelievably astonishing. Brilliant music that entices me to man the decks is utter motivation.
Catch anyone at this year’s Winter Music Conference that awed or “wowed” your socks off?
Unfortunately, we were having our own parties’ practical every night, so it was hard trying to see those that inspire me like Danny Howells or Sander (Kleinenberg). But I heard parties by those two were stellar.
The hottest tunes of the annual conference were?
Well the Morales and DJ Pierre track was making some noise down there and garnered great reaction. Unfortunately, since we were doing our own parties and so on, did not get a chance to hear what was big at other venues.
In light of the DJ Rap Twix commercial, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs & Friends “Let’s Get Ill” single, and the ever increasing bombardment of dance tunes linked to some foreign car promising “good times,” do you believe this is a vigorously, healthy approach and method of leading dance music to the populace?
I surely do support it!
Believes it opens up the eyes and ears of the younger generation that think R&B and Hip Hop are the only varieties of music. There are other groups of music and here in America, dance music, house genre, whatever you wish to call it, is strongly growing and gaining popularity. Our music deserves this kind of recognition from advertisements and the likes; it is a legitimate business and deserves all the fruits it harvests.
Just hope others trying to imitate a P. Diddy vibe do not water down or saturate the true sound. With a bit of luck, it will make people more imaginative and not generate a bubble of “me too” artist.
Kazaa, Soulseek, and the likes, often conjurer infinite attitudes and opinions. Some “nay” and many “yay”; care top share yours on the dilemma of file sharing?
Since I know the effects from a business vision, no file sharing. Especial when it comes to dance music.
Another example – We (SAW Recordings) are a singles driven label, currently not promoting albums. File sharing a single released off an album is a good thing, if done correctly. You might hear it off a website and maybe that would rouse emotions to buy the album. However, since we are a 12-inch singles label, that is it… if you trade one of our singles, you give away everything we have to offer. A paid subscription deal would be a nice addition, but trading musical files freely is a no-no! After all, this is a business and artists do have needs to be met.
(Finish the following sentence) In five years, House music will be…
Thriving and still pumping. Hell, we have been here for ages… with so many different variations to the (dance) genre and House music has always prevailed.
Do believe it will be more song, vocal driven music with better production work. Mostly because it is so easy for produces to create music. Therefore, in the coming five to 10 years, think the overall quality will be much superior with nice vocals.
How many more years do you foresee yourself being an “active” jockey on the one n two’s?
Let’s see, Junior Vasquez is what, 50?! (Laugh) See myself deejaying… another 15 or 20 years; why not? (Pause) No wait, let’s be real… (Laugh) I would say another 10 years for sure. (Smirk)
Think you will have a protégée at some point?
Oh yes, for sure! I am here now, because Dave Morales (along with others) had faith in me and assisted direction to my chosen career. I would like to reward another ambitious individual with the same opportunity bestowed to myself.
Words of wisdom to the plethora of budding DJs?
Continue to practice, polish up your skills, and everyday you will learn more and more. I am still learning to this day, it is an endless process… and you can only get better.