Within the course of only a few years, Erick Morillo used his world-renown DJ status to propel his own record label, Subliminal, to international prominence. Yet long before Subliminal became one of the most equitable brand names in house music, Morillo had experienced international success. He first tasted fame in 1993 with the chart-topping dancefloor sensation "I Like to Move It" for Strictly Rhythm. At this point in time, Morillo led the Latin house group Reel 2 Real, which recorded several other hits, though none as international in scope as "I Like to Move It." Following the demise of Reel 2 Real, Morillo began focusing his efforts on DJing. He started the Subliminal label in the late '90s and progressively became known as one of New York's top house DJs, not just locally but around the world, particularly London. By the end of the '90s, he held international residencies and operated one of the world's most successful house labels. In subsequent years, he maintained his lofty status as a DJ, and also his label's status, with several volumes in the Subliminal Sessions series and yet more residencies.
Though born in the United States, Morillo spent most of his pre-teen years in Colombia, where he lived with his family and grew accustomed to salsa and merengue music. He moved back to the States at age 11 and lived with his mother in New Yok. Following high school graduation, he studied at Manhattan's Center for Media Arts and began DJing at local clubs. Building upon the studio skills he learned at the Center for Media Arts, Morillo began producing reggae music and collaborated with reggae/rap artist el General on the song "Muevelo" in 1991. The song became a surprise hit and Morillo continued working as a producer. His next big song came in 1993, when New York's premier house label at the time, Strictly Rhythm, released his "The New Anthem"/"Funky Buddha" 12". Later that year, Strictly Rhythm released the "I Like to Move It" single, which became a monumental hit, and not just for Morillo and his Reel 2 Real project, but also for Strictly Rhythm.
Few songs reach the hit status that "I Like to Move It" did. It became a global smash hit and the label rushed Morillo into the studio to record a full-length album. The resulting album, Move It!, came out in 1994 and spawned several singles that did particularly well in England. Another Reel 2 Real album arrived shortly after in 1996 and again spawned multiple singles, the most noteworthy being "Mueve la Cadera (Move Your Body)." Despite all his success as Reel 2 Real, Morillo brought the project to an end and concentrated on DJing. He became a favorite in Ibiza and, in turn, built up a substantial reputation throughout Europe.
Morillo launched Subliminal Records in 1998 and embarked on a new phase in his brief yet already incredibly successful career. Given his reputation as a DJ, it didn't take long for him to transform Subliminal into a widely recognized outlet for New York-style house music. He earned a coveted residency at Ministry of Sound in London, which helped break the label in Europe, and continued DJing in New York, where he similarly familiarized listeners to his label's style of house. Among many of the producers affiliated with Subliminal are Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, Constipated Monkeys, Bob Sinclar, Richard F, Jose Nunez, and Pete Heller. Most of the producers are from New York and most veer toward the Latin end of the house spectrum. In particular, Morillo expanded his label's reputation during the early 2000s when he held a weekly residency at New York's elite Centro-Fly club called Subliminal Sessions and released a series of mix albums of the same name. ~ Jason Birchmeier