my first club

David Morales' First Club: From the Starship Discovery to the Loft

Where it all began for a house music icon.

by David Morales
14 August 2015, 5:56am

My First Club takes us back to the beginning, transporting DJs and producers back into the depths of their memory, asking them to take us on a trip to those pivotal first nights in clubland. Following entries from the likes of Eats Everything, Herve, MK, and Billon, this time around we spoke to a house legend — the one and only David Morales.

My first time in a club was the Starship Discovery One in Times Square NYC.

I was 15 years old. I wasn't even old enough to get into the club. Me and few friends of mine decided to go out. We were a bunch of undesirables at the time. We all got in by paying off one of the security — it cost us $20 each. We went in through a side door. Once we got in I was amazed by all the lighting and sound. The Starship had an amazing sound system that was installed by Alex Rosner which was something I learned many years later. The DJ booth was in a plastic bubble. The DJ that night was a guy called Ernie Dunda.

At the time I was a break dancer. I would go to battles and by this time the Starship was on it's last legs because they were just letting anybody in. Even us. My attention was totally on the DJ booth; my nose was practically pressed against the bubble. The booth was pretty much an enclosed space. There were three Technics SL 1200's and a Bozak Mixer. At the time the DJ did his own lighting. Which made sense because who else knew the music better than the DJ?

I had left my mates for the whole time we were there, mesmerized by the DJ. I mean I was a bedroom DJ at the time but I had mismatched turntables and a mic mixer. For the first time I saw a real DJ booth setup. We left the club at 7am and took the train home, reminiscing over what I had just witnessed.

My second club experience was the Loft. At the time I was a commercial DJ so to speak — I bought what I heard on the radio and so on. I was asked to play at a house party for a friend of a friend that went to the Loft. They brought me a stack of records that I had never heard before. The Loft was a strictly members only club. You could only get in with a member.

It was the first club I went to that was really a private party at someones house. That someone was David Mancuso. At the Loft I experienced something really unique. It was a dancer's music loving paradise. There were showers, food and drinks — all of which were complimentary. There were no stupid ignorant security personnel to ruin the party spirit. The Loft had minimal lighting and a ceiling full of colored balloons. The sound system was real hi-fi state of the art stuff. The turntables were fitted with handmade moving coil cartridges. There was no mixer and no headphones and each turntable had a preamp. What David Mancuso taught me was that it was all about the selection and not about the mix.

Each record was played from beginning to end. The record would end and the people would clap in appreciation. DJ's like Larry Levan and Francois Kevorkian would be there. Sometimes they would even play. I had the honor of meeting David Mancuso and he talked to me about sound. He was way beyond anything that I could comprehend. In the end he gave me a few books about sound and fidelity which I still have to this day. When I started to do my own parties the Loft was my inspiration.

David Morales' new single "There Must be Love" ft.Janice Robinson is out now on David's own Def Mix Music label.

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