Metro Weekly

House Master

Legendary DJ David Morales will make his debut at U Street Music Hall as part of the venue's 10th-anniversary celebration

DJ David Morales
DJ David Morales

“You’ll have some [guy], who’s in a loud fucking room, trying to have a conversation,” says David Morales, giving an example of something he sees all the time in nightclubs today. He’d like to shout back: “Listen, unless you’re trying to Shazam a record, why are you on the fucking phone?”

And, in fact, that speaks to a fundamental change in clubland from when the legendary DJ came to prominence: the advent of the smartphone. “The new generation on the dance floor now: How many times are they looking at their fucking phone in 60 seconds? What does that tell you?” At the very least, it suggests they’re not fully immersed in the experience — something that’s reflected, Morales says, in their lack of knowledge about dance music in general, and house music in particular.

“The dance music that they are listening to…it all came from house,” he says. “Do they really know the origin, the history? Absolutely not. They’ll say, ‘David Guetta is the founder of electronic house.’ Just as an example. ‘Are you fucking kidding?’ It goes way back to something else.”

It was, in fact, Morales who helped pioneer and popularize the genre, as one of the first touring celebrity DJs; as an influential producer who helped advance appreciation for the club remix, with a Grammy Award to show for it; and as a prominent industry leader, a co-founder of Def Mix Productions with the late Frankie Knuckles, often called “the Godfather of House.”

Next weekend, Morales is expected to make his debut at U Street Music Hall, helping the acclaimed venue celebrate its 10th anniversary. “I’ve been DJing fortysomething years,” he says. “One thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to a new place, I don’t expect anything because expectations can bring disappointments. I don’t have a planned set. I make music, I’m in the studio every day…. And I want to play my new music. I’m not here to play Dave Morales from 20 years ago.” That doesn’t mean the 57-year-old Brooklyn native won’t spin from his repertoire of dance hits and remix classics, just that they won’t be the focus. “Will I incorporate some classics? Listen, who knows? You know what I mean? But I’m not into playing a bunch of oldies.”

Morales will DJ alongside his “good friend” Ultra Naté, the Baltimore-based house music artist he’s featured on several of his tracks over the past decade. Also playing that night is Lisa Moody, Naté’s partner in Deep Sugar. Morales affectionately calls the two his “Sugar Babes.”

“I’m looking forward to coming to D.C. and for the experience,” he says. “And I’m happy to be playing alongside the Sugar Babes.”

David Morales spins Friday, March 20, after 10:30 p.m., as part of the 10-day, “10 Years of U Hall” series at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $25. Call 202-588-1880 or visit for a complete schedule of events.

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