Hunky Pier Morrocco joined the salvation team back in 2001, having first cut his teeth at Trade, the legendary London afterhours (first as a barman and then a DJ). Since then, he’s circumnavigated the globe numerous times, spreading his unique blend of feel-good, carnival-style house to thousands of receptive partygoers in cities as diverse as Jakarta, New York, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Paris, and just about everywhere in between. He’s is one of London’s sexiest DJs and he’ll be spinning his magic on the decks during Salvation’s SA national tour in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town. We catch up with this delectable dance floor master…
So, as a top London DJ, is your life all about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll? Okay, sex, drugs and dance music?
I guess all three have featured quite heavily in my life at various points. House music in all its early genres came first, sex appeared soon afterwards, and as for drugs, I couldn’t possibly comment in case they don’t let me into your wonderful country!
How did you get into DJing?
Two belt-driven record players, a Numark mixer, a pair of headphones, and a lot of luck and youthful determination (and a prized first gig at legendary afterhours Trade, back in 1994)!
Do you have any other talents?
I make a mean cup of coffee in as many as five languages!
Who is your favourite DJ right now and why?
Anyone who can hold my attention for more than an hour is doing pretty well. The Panorama Bar in Berlin has DJs who are nothing short of inspiring; they vary from week to week but are consistently outstanding.
After all these years on the decks, is it difficult to stay fresh and enthusiastic as a DJ?
The trick is to limit the number of gigs in a night or a weekend. My days of three gigs in a night are well and truly over. I defy anyone to be at their creative best by the third one, it’s a ridiculous notion! The old adage of quality, not quantity is definitely something I live by. And the result is that I still love this job after 15 years.
What’s the best and worst thing about what you do?
Without a doubt, the best thing is creating the right musical environment for people to absolutely go wild to. Getting a few thousand hands in the air is a powerful and intoxicating sensation and one that absolutely keeps me going, no matter how tired I may be. The worst things are the antisocial hours, and low-cost airline flights at about 11am on a Sunday morning. Vile.
What kind of music do you listen to at home?
Silence is golden.
You were born in Australia. Do you now see yourself as Australian or British?
Actually I was born in Scotland, I grew up in Australia, France and Canada, and have been in London for the last 19 years. I guess I’m basically British but I hold several nationalities and have aspects of each in my character. You’ll have to come to the parties to see which traits come to the fore and when!
Being a hot DJ you must get hit on a lot? How do you handle it?
Thanks for the compliment! It actually is a myth; DJs are usually far too busy to be chatted up while we’re working, and only the worst type of drunkard even attempts it. After the gig, it’s a different story!
How often do you say yes?
Back in the days of carrying heavy bags of vinyl, fairly often. In these days of memory sticks and a wedding ring, there’s far less of a need.
Do you have any groupies at Salivation?
Hopefully none that have followed me this far to South Africa, although I am not ruling out any new ones…
What does it mean to you to be part of a brand like Salivation?
It’s been a huge part of my life for the last 10 years, has involved circumnavigating the globe innumerous times and I’ve made some lifelong friends into the bargain, most notably with Steve Elliott, the illustrious promoter, who has taken me to hell and back. (Only joking!)
“I have a pretty good idea of how much fun can be had in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve under the stars…”
What’s your favourite city to DJ in?
Moscow can be pretty fantastic; they certainly know how to party there. Anywhere where there has been oppression or disaster at some point needs a release; it’s part of the healing process and a way of forgetting your past troubles, at least temporarily. The more harmonious the society, the less likely they are to party hard. At least in my experience.
How has the club scene changed in London since you started out 1994?
Initially, it exploded in terms of its size and diversity, then imploded again not that long ago and became a bit of a homogenous single entity, based around Vauxhall in south London. There are lots more imported brands than we ever had before, and Salvation is one of the few indigenous parties to remain strong and independent. Parties here have become a lot more spread out around the city of late, which is a good thing, and cater for vastly different crowds, but the recession has definitely affected the number of people going out.
Do you have a favourite party or parties that stick out in your mind? Where, when and why?
Salvation at the CafÃ© de Paris when it was monthly there. Each and every party was an event; people made a real effort to dress up, drag up, and buff up. And the venue was just perfect, as you had to ‘make an entrance’ down the staircase to the dancefloor below the balcony. I still get goosebumps remembering looking down at the hordes of beautiful people under that central chandelier! It truly was the perfect party, it ran at Sunday T-dance hours and was only open for six hours, so we always left people screaming for more at the end…which meant they always came back, again and again and again…
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot. Frequent 24 hour flights between Australia and the UK instilled an unhealthy obsession with aeroplanes, which I still haven’t completely overcome.
Are you looking forward to coming back to South Africa?
Very much so, it’s been a while since I’ve played there and only ever in Cape Town. I’m looking forward to experiencing Joburg and Durban, and I have a pretty good idea of how much fun can be had in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve under the stars… I’m counting down the days!
What can we expect from your South African sets?
It’s the party season, it’ll be hot and there’ll be lots of European tourists in town, so I’m planning sets with a carnival, very upbeat feel to them. I think we can leave dark and moody music aside for the cold Northern hemisphere…although that said, I do want to push the boundaries a little, and I’ll be talking a lot more with my fellow SA-based Salvation DJ colleagues over the next few weeks to structure the gigs appropriately.
Will you be taking your shirt off?
Damn right I will be!
Other than working, what else do you plan on doing while in SA?
The majority of our time will be spent in Cape Town, which I have visited about 10 times now, but we do have a few days in Durban, so I’m looking forward to being able to swim in the sea there for more than the 30 seconds that’s possible in Cape Town! Also, possibly a safari outing, plenty of rest and relaxation, as much good food and wine as is possible, and meeting and partying with a whole load of frien