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Guilty:: DJ Sin Morera
New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 6, 2008 Bookmark and Share

With a name like Sin, you know he’d better be good—and fortunately for him (as well as his fans and listeners), this Jersey (City) boy of Dominican-Peruvian heritage, chose his pseudonym wisely.  The combination of his Latin roots and his proximity to New York made Sin one of those Jersey boys who cross the river—to conquer.  A wunderkind who wound up with a deal at Warner-Chapell Music, a subsidiary of Time Warner, Sin worked his magic through Europe with his 2001 hit, “Watching You,” his first gold record.  Since then, he’s collaborated with a bunch of industry biggies, such as Tony Moran, Shep Pettibone—and Junior Vasquez. 

Sin’s many residencies have included stints at Splash/SBNY, Krash, Gypsy Tea, Vlada, as well as Fur (D.C.), and Hot&Dry (Montreal), but of late, the sinfully delicious spinner has been on a rampage—with upcoming appearances at G Lounge, Pride New Jersey @ Paradise, Pride D.C.@ FUR, Roadtrip @ Paradise, and the Crown & Anchor for Carnival in P’town.

EDGE:  So you’re on a roll these days.  Things going well for you?

SIN: I guess so.  I mean, I work every day. I manage myself [so] I [have to] push and push.

EDGE: No one’s gonna do it for you, right?

SIN: I’ve always [been like that].  If I don’t do it, [if I don’t] get the gig, there’s another deejay that will.  [Nowadays] everyone’s a deejay, or wants to be a deejay.  [Then there’s] that whole computer stuff.

EDGE: That’s not your style? 

SIN:  I’m a wax man [though] sometimes I [do] go back and forth with CDs and wax.  I’m not saying I won’t ever do it, but I was schooled watching [guys like] David Morales at Red Zone and Frankie Knuckles at Sound Factory Bar. And Mister Junior Vasquez on West 27th Street.

EDGE:  The original Sound Factory—

SIN: Yeah, Sound Factory is where it all went down—at least for this half Peruvian/Dominican deejay. There definitely was a spirit at Sound Factory.  It was very strong, but it faded after it closed.  It’s somewhere [out there still, but] we gotta wake up the beast.

EDGE:  You make it sound like a lost world.

SIN: [They’d be] playing wax on 1200s, turntables, and reel-to-reels. [And there I was] watching Madonna in the deejay booth with Junior.

EDGE:  You and Madge in the booth.  Now there’s a photo op.

SIN: I met her for the first time at Sound Factory in August of 1992 for Junior’s birthday—and we danced.  Junior doesn’t know this, but he and Frankie were my therapists, when I couldn’t afford one. [Laughing] 

EDGE: Therapist and mentor—two for the price of one.  Did Frankie and Junior help you come up with your handle?  Or is Sin Morera an anagram?

SIN: It’s my middle name—Sin.  But don’t tell anyone, sssh. [Winking]
I was a bad kid—what can I say?—but I turned out to be a good kid.

EDGE: Your maternal grandmother was extremely influential in your formative years.

SIN: My grandmother Maria was a special lady.  She was my all—my mom, my dad, sister, brother.  I mean, she was my all.  When you lose a mother, it just never goes away. I am grateful to her staring down on me from up above.

EDGE: Did she have music in her home?

SIN:  She played salsa, merengue, Peruvian music.  The house was very festive.  She was a happy woman.  She would always ask that I perform for her: sing, dance, deejay.  I do this for her—simply for her—because she loved music.

EDGE:  Did she push you?  You know, like in Gypsy?  Was she a stage mother?

SIN: She put me in piano school.  [That’s] when I realized I was a songwriter.  It’s a long story, but later I had the privilege to write with so many songwriters over at Warner Brothers Music. [People like] Tony Shimkin [who wrote for] Madonna, Junior Vasquez, Peter Zizzo [who wrote for Celine Dion], and Jimmy Greco [who wrote for Jennifer Lopez].  The list goes on and on...

EDGE:  You’re a local boy who’s stayed true to your roots.  How would you say your background has influenced the music you love and play?

SIN:  I’ve been in the business all my life.  I wasn't a model or a truck driver or a doctor—and then woke up one day and thought, Hey, let me deejay.  I’ve been doing this all my life.  I was born and raised in the New Jersey/New York area.  God, I was hanging out at Mars, on the West Side Highway, back in the day.  I was too young for the Garage.  I just missed it!

EDGE:  Some people might say that your style has a bit of Larry Levan.

SIN: Larry was an influence to many old school deejays.  I was friends with Mel Cheren—may he rest in peace.  He always believed in me.  But I don’t know about sounding or drawing from Larry.  That’s a compliment!  There will never be another Larry.

EDGE:  This summer you’re doing Roadtrip to Asbury Park at Paradise with your friend, Shep Pettibone.  It must be like a reunion, you and Shep and Junior.  Do you remember Asbury Park from back in the day?

SIN: [This] will be my first Roadtrip. I use to walk on the beach as a kid but that was it.  Junior’s not doing it this year, I don’t think.  It’ll be me and Shep Pettibone and David Henney, some time in July.  I love them all down there; they’ve been very supportive in my climb up this beastly mountain.  They’ve opened their doors to me in Asbury: the entire Empress Hotel and Club Paradise.

EDGE: Tell us a little about your relationship with Shep.

SIN:  The man himself…  He’s just so talented, Shep.  I mean, the man just didn’t [only] remix Madonna; he wrote and produced with her.  He wins the Grammy in my eyes.

EDGE:  We’re loving your mix of Chaka’s “Disrespectful.” You had fun with that?

SIN: I love Chaka. She’s fierce, simply fierce! [Laughing]

EDGE:  So what else are you doing in the studio these days?

SIN: Well, I’m writing with Ralphi [Rosario] and I did a little intro for Abel for the new Alegria CD.  [And I’m also] getting some real talented girls who can sing their asses off and putting some beats together to see what happens.  It’s all about having fun.  If you can’t have fun at work, leave it!

EDGE:  You’re known for your incense and candles in the booth.  What’s up with that?

SIN:  I call the spirits to come into the room and just be there.  There’s an incense I use [from] my old church.  I can’t mention the name, but it works.  At least for me.  Call it corny, but who cares?  I believe in the powers that be.  But bring me [any] incense [and] it will make my night.  [That] and a white candle! [Laughing]

EDGE:  You’re very connected to the spirit of a party: its space, its people.

SIN: I've always been a poet, a poem guy, a hopeless romantic—and this plays into effect when I spin.  You’ll hear it in my music: my passion, my roots, my soul…  My grandma’s in my booth, guiding me.

EDGE:  According to your MySpace page, you’re playing a 'hot and wet' underwear party for D.C Pride at FUR.  What would your grandma think of you performing in your briefs?

SIN:  As long as I turn it, she wouldn’t mind—but my boyfriend would! I’m shy.  I’ll have pants on—but the shirt will be off!

EDGE:  We look forward to seeing you all over the place—in your boxers and your briefs!  All during Pride month and all summer long!

SIN: I hope so.  I am very grateful that I’m doing what I love, whether it’s at Armani Exchange in SoHo, or a restaurant downtown, or a big gig like Black and Blue [in Montreal].  I get to do what I love.  I mean, if you stare at me for a couple of minutes, it will show.  You’ll see it.

EDGE: Oh, we see it, Sin.  Thanks for giving us the time.

SIN:  And can I just give a shout out to my family, my mom, my grandma, my brother Chris, and my two sisters Janice and Betsy?  And to all the ones who believe in me—and [even] the ones who don’t— because they both give me strength and I am coming. It might be a slow process but I ain’t goin’ anywhere.

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