Known as a solo artist, for his Fries & Bridges collaboration with Phil Weeks and as the impresario behind Minority Music & The Factory, Hector Moralez (facebook, soundcloud, discogs) is that rare producer whose versatile approach to making music pulls together the fragmented genres of House Music today. Identified for years as a bulwark for House Music in the Bay Area, San Francisco’s loss is Europe’s gain as he recently relocated to Paris, where 5 Mag caught up with him …
I saw that you recently moved to Paris. How long were you thinking about this and why did you make the move?
I made the decision back in 2009. I’ve been coming to Europe for about ten years now and felt this was the next step for me. I realized that Europe has a lot more to offer than the States, career-wise, because of all the different countries. … And I really feel the love here.
Was it hard to leave Oakland behind? Do you feel like a tourist or do you see staying there for the long haul? What’s the progress report so far?
Oakland wasn’t hard to say goodbye to. As I said before, my heart’s been in Europe for the past ten years, and I was ready for this move. I definitely don’t feel like a tourist! This is my home now, so I’m looking to stay for the long haul!
I feel as productive as I’ve always been, just more inspired from being in France. It makes it easier for me to get together with my friends, on a regular basis, to work on beats! My schedule has been picking up with demand for both gigs and production… this is again, why I made the move from Oakland to Paris.
One thing I do miss though: the trees in California, and my boy Zeit, if ya know what I’m saying!!
Maybe a coincidence, but Carlos Mena recently moved out of Oakland as well (to Miami). Is there a “brain drain” going on out in the Bay Area of the talented folks moving on?
I can tell you that there’s definitely a drain for real underground House Music in the Bay. I’ve spent my life there, and contributed to the music scene and culture for the past 15 years. I’ll always have love for the Bay, but I felt I had reached my limit. So I packed up my studio, and jumped on an Air France flight straight to Paris…
Fries & Bridges is one of the few collaborations that really seems to be greater than the sum of its parts – I’ve interviewed a few “groups” and it became clear that one partner was carrying the load… How have you and Phil managed to get such a tight sound working thousands of miles apart?
Today, we live a walking distance from each other. Back in the day, I would come to Europe maybe two to three times a year and we would find time then to work in the studio and knock out as many tracks as we could while together. This was our method, and still is! Our styles and personalities can be different in some ways… but, really when we’re together, it’s magic!
What’s the difference between the stuff you release on Minority vs. Factory? Did you have any inspirations in mind for them?
My inspiration for Minority Music and The Factory comes from Classic and Music For Freaks. My model is to release quality underground music, from new and unknown artists.
For me, I feel its all about the New Generation, and I love discovering new talent that have something to offer to House Music. That, to me, is keeping things underground. That’s my vision and style.
There’s no real difference for the two, to be honest – it’s more of a timing and schedule thing. They’re sisters and they don’t mind sharing. The only difference: one is digital and the other is strictly vinyl.
To be exact: Quality is the main goal. I only release music that I would play myself, and try to stay away from trends and “flavor of the month” types of music.
I saw you got your feet wet working at Primal Records. Between then and now, on the retail level, what are your thoughts on how the industry has changed and do you see much positive (or negative) in that?
It’s all positive – things are constantly changing, but you have to embrace it and move forward. Primal for me was one of the best experiences in my life. I learned a lot from working there, and met a lot of amazing people. I learned to develop my own ideas and creativity from being at the record shop every day – all day!
Out of the other labels you’ve worked with, which ones do you think are advancing the sound of House Music today? Like, whose A&R work do you respect?
Personally… Phil [Weeks] at Robsoul. For me, it’s the perfect fit. Everything the label does stands out, and I’m happy to be part of the family since Day One. I feel I’m doing my part to contribute to House Music today with Minority Music and The Factory as well!
So what sort of stuff do you see coming out next for yourself and your labels?
A bunch of new stuff from myself, original tracks and remixes, and a couple of new artists to add to both labels. Strong EPs by Sneak, Craig Hamilton, TBF and some Fries & Bridges shit.
I’m currently in the studio with Chris Carrier, working on our first album that’s dropping this summer! There’s also another project with DJ W!ld, on a follow up track to “Take A Trip”. And I have a big release coming out very soon with Sneak and Monoman called “El Underground” with a Phil Weeks remix on Magnetic.
Last but not least, I’ll be playing a couple of Fries & Bridges sets coming up in London, Paris and Rome this summer. We’re gonna uprock the place!
In the mean time, I look forward to playing my new beats I’m working on at parties all over Europe! I’m excited, aren’t you?