In 1991 Morales began participating in the underground nightlife attending an assortment of local events in the greater Los Angeles area. He became attracted to the underground scene, and wanted to get involved in some fashion. Morales began to network with individuals who were DJ-ing, coordinating, and promoting events for clubs. Originally pursuing a role as a DJ, Morales began to collect records, particularly in vinyl. These records incorporated a wide range of music genres, including House, Latin, Jazz, Funk, Disco, and Hip-Hop. In particular, he admired the passion for the music itself exhibited in the underground scene, and its ability to bring people together. It was during this time that the foundation for Soul City’s music background was laid.
At this point it became evident that Morales wanted to begin holding his own events, instead of just attending them. Morales sought to bring something different and more intimate to the existing underground scene. He wanted to fuse together a correlation of music, art, and other creative forms, that could be experienced by all people in one given place.
The name Soul City, and the iconic “Christ the Redeemer” statue as its symbol, developed while Morales was going through some personal soul searching. The image transpired from this period in his life, and was the perfect embodiment of a spiritual, soul connection with the music and bringing individuals together. The name “Soul City” originated from a record label that was a subdivision of the “Submerge” label, out of Detroit. Morales, a collector and fan of the label’s records inquired about using the name, and granted permission. During this early networking period, Morales encountered a variety of DJ’s and producers from all over the country, who were now in the Los Angeles area. Through networking with people with the same vision, and who were collecting similar music, the idea was formulated to create a brand combining the Christ the Redeemer image of the statue, and the already recognizable name. The passion for music, and a deep sense of spirituality was fused through this.
Morales began experimenting by throwing local, small scale parties with close friends and acquaintances. Soon after, he was encouraged and motivated to broaden the scale, and throw an actual event, hence bringing about the first actual Soul City event open to the public. In 1995 Soul City launched its first official party in Morales’s hometown of La Puente, California, at a small local bar. The objective for the first event was to bring a fresh vision to the area, and take the event beyond setting up a DJ in a corner who simply played music. Morales, and those involved, mostly family and close friends, wished to set up an ambiance that incorporated an aesthetic sound and visual presentation, coupled with an atmosphere that promoted all forms of creativity. The first party was small and intimate, as desired. It expanded the existing realm of networking into new territory, and attracted the attention of a few up and coming DJ’s, promoters, and event coordinators, who would play a key role in the future endeavors and success of Soul City. Soul City’s first official event, did not turn a profit, it simply covered overhead. However, the event was considered a great success because it solidified the foundation and vision for Soul City. A realization was developed that an event that encompassed a unique correlation of sound, visual, and creative aspects was something that could be successful and in demand throughout the greater Los Angeles Area.
Over the next few years, the Soul City name, and brand if you will, was evolving and becoming more recognizable. Morales himself continued to DJ, promote, and network with a variety of individuals. He became educated with the operations behind the scenes, and continued to network further with record store owners, distributers, producers, sound engineers, and graphic designers. Through tapping into the potential of networking and building relationships over the early years, the vision and the individuals identifying with that vision grew as Soul City did. As in any business endeavor, it was necessary to filter through different business partnerships and relationships, and determine where individuals’ various visions diverged. Soul City’s key figures began to emerge. Few individuals embodied the same vision that Soul City sought since its founding. Morales was able to cover a vaster territory of the underground scene in Los Angeles to further propagate the Soul City name.
As established, from the beginning Soul City desired to incorporate more at its events than a typical party. From the time of the first Soul City event, Morales wanted to implement an aspect of art in some way. Over the years, Morales acquired a variety of friends in the underground scene and throughout who were gifted and aspiring artists, and in many cases simply needed an outlet for exposure. He began to invite local artists from the Los Angeles area to attend events and to do live art and painting sessions, while displaying and selling their work. Through this approach, an alternate venue to galleries was now available to artists via Soul City. Morales also wished to connect artists in the greater Los Angeles area with one another, and give them the opportunity to network and to maximize potential in all aspects. It was during this time as well that Soul City began to involve visual artists, and the theatrical and performing arts. Soul City’s original mission was assimilating, growing, and bringing something fresh and exciting to the nightlife forum.
Today Soul City has grown extensively, and attendance at its events can range from 100 to 1500 people, at a variety of venues and locations. Soul City has even expanded to other areas, outside Los Angeles, both in California and abroad. Soul City has gained momentum and success throughout the city of Los Angeles, and is interested in giving back to the community. Part of the Soul City mission is to bring people together, and at this venture Soul City is capable and willing to coordinate benefits, fundraisers, and simply parties to raise revenue and awareness for local non-profits and charities.
To this day, Soul City maintains its original vision, providing individuals with not just a party, but a lasting experience. Soul City seeks to bring together individuals in an amicable environment to celebrate a shared passion of quality music, art, and creative expression.