DJ Ron Slomowicz: How's your jetlag?
Hector Romero: Not too bad actually, you know, I'm so used to it I guess. I stayed away from the drinking this weekend, so that helps of course.
DJ Ron: Where were you flying in from?
Hec Romero: Last Thursday we did Amsterdam first and then we went to Germany, so I'm coming back from Germany.
DJ Ron: You were there for Amsterdam Dance Event - how was it?
Hec Romero: It was actually pretty good, it was rather productive and good fun, seeing all my label friends and stuff like that. People always talk to you on eMail and on the phone and sometimes it's just nice to see people face-to-face and just have a little coffee or whatever with them, and just kind of shoot the shit when it comes to like what the state of the business we're in nowadays, you know.
DJ Ron: Yes, that's one way of putting it.
Hec Romero: Right on.
DJ Ron: OK, let's just go back to the beginning... What inspired you to start DJing?
Hec Romero: I started back in '82 - '83. I grew up in the Bronx in New York where hip-hop originated, as you might know. And in my neighborhood there were always some of the best block parties and street jams that ever took place I think in the beginning of hip-hop, you know, Afrika Bambaataa, Cool Herc and all those cats. So in the summertime when it came to being outdoors and seeing DJs playing and the MCs, it intrigued me what these guys were doing behind the decks. So I was like damn, this is pretty cool, I like this, it's nice. At the time I was playing baseball, I was doing little league baseball for years and it was like alright, baseball's cool and all but this is what I really want to do. Of course my parents who had really wanted me to become a New York Yankee were kind of disappointed when I started slacking off the practicing on the baseball field and just sitting in my room playing records. So I think at first they were rather disappointed that I wasn't a baseball player, but they're quite proud of what I do now. So yes, it was back then and hip-hop was my early influence, that was my first music of course. My parents were very social people that always had little get-togethers in the house. Salsa music was played all the time - Tito Puente, Celia Cruz.. The salsa music and Latin rhythms were a big influence, especially today in the way I play.
DJ Ron: So how did the house sound come from the salsa and hip-hop influences?
Hec Romero: Well, I'd say around '85 - '87, this influx of Chicago house music was coming in and the UK stuff was coming in into the record shop where I was buying my records in the Bronx. And it was like oh, this stuff is cool, like Liz Torres original stuff and Ralphi Rosario. It was different from the hip-hop I was into, but the rhythms that were in house music were very similar to the rhythms of salsa and merengue. So it grabbed me, and from there I let go of the hip-hop music because I wasn't very good at scratching and all that. It was cool, but there were kids that were way more talented than me in the hip-hop and battling. So I found dance music was a better way to express myself in mixing the records. I really enjoyed that and kept practicing and practicing and here I am now.
DJ Ron: And so that's how you discovered house music, so where did the name Baby Hec come from?
Hec Romero: Basically because I started so young, thirteen years old playing records. When I was about sixteen or so I was doing a lot of private parties, weddings, and sweet sixteens - those kind of private events. I did this one sweet sixteen in the neighborhood and Maitre D had asked me what was my name so he could announce me to the crown. I said Hector Romero and I didn't really have like a cool DJ name back then. He was like "oh, that's rather boring, we need to give you a real funky DJ name." He said "How about I call you Baby Hec Romero?" I was like alright, and he announced it and it just stuck from there, that's exactly how it went down. It just stuck, became something that just grew and grew and grew. I guess later on in my career also, there was a couple of Hectors happening in the scene also, we had Hex Hector and Harry Choo Choo Romero, so me having the Baby Hec kind of distinguished me from the rest of the pack. But now, I'm thirty-three years old and still being called Baby Hec. I don't know, I started dropping that when I was thirty and now I'm just plain old Hector Romero again.