Some time within a year or two of meeting Ron Morelli, I came to Philadelphia, where he was living at the time, and got extremely wasted. After the clubs closed, a bunch of people ended up at a makeshift house party and I remember sitting on the floor petting a dog and then suddenly overwhelmingly needing to puke. I raced to the kitchen sink. Generally a teetotaler, I’d never vomited from drinking before and it felt insane. I was so hammered that I had very little idea of what was going on. Ron showed up next to me and told me I needed to unclog the sink, so I did. I slept on his floor that night, but before I did that, I puked all over it. He cleaned it up.
I’ve seen Ron on and off over the past decade, more so since he moved back to New York. He lived for a while (or at least he was always there? I can’t remember) in an apartment on Roebling Street referred to as “Party House,” and I would go there for parties. Ron was always the dude who had better records than everyone, knew more about music than anyone, and always seemed a little mad. I always (and still do) felt kindly towards him because of the vomit incident, but for some time I wondered how he might turn this superior body of knowledge into something tangible. L.I.E.S. was it. I say all this here primarily in the service of full disclosure (we have a long story on him and his wonderful electronic label L.I.E.S. in this issue) but more so to illustrate the wonder I have for what a guy I’ve casually known for a decade has been able to pull off. When I first reached out to Ron to discuss the possibility of a story on L.I.E.S., he was receptive but had a few things he wanted to make clear: this should be a story about the label’s artists, not him, and that he was sick of hearing about his grownup punk ethos. Well, too bad. His artists all had a similar thing to say about him: they like his punk ethos. He is supportive without being overbearing, always pushing them to create better (and weirder) work. In her story on the label, Emilie Friedlander writes that L.I.E.S. output is somewhat miraculous, Ron’s ability to release quality music month after month. She mentions that Ron comes from a punk background and, somewhere in his techno brain, that spirit of freedom and rebellion is still nascent. I’m glad.
If there is any tie between Morelli and our cover stars Sky Ferreira and Mac Miller, along with style subjects Maki Oh and a group of designer’s we’re highlighting for reimagining comfort, it’s uniqueness of spirit. Sure, Sky and Mac move in realms of popularity that super fucked up acid house probably is not going to touch any time soon, but they’re successful for the same reasons L.I.E.S. is: they are working out how to make what they do be the best it can be, as representative of them as possible. If you do anything as a creative person, it’d better be that. I often talk about FADER not necessarily as a set of likes and dislikes, but more as a prism through which to see the universe. And that’s what the prism looks for: is this piece of art as personal, unique, wild and beautiful as it can be? For Ron and everyone else in this issue, I’m proud to say it is. And to Ron, thanks for taking care of me a while back. I never forgot.