Rick Simpson is a veteran of the Dallas DJ scene dedicated to the old school craft of mixing tracks. He is most often seen playing with his crew Disco’s Revenge, who have had a vinyl-focused, monthly residency for the last few years that recently moved to The Nines.
Simpson’s focus is on house music, but he can be spotted dropping everything from classic electro to techno to new wave to disco to industrial. His near encyclopedic knowledge of classic dance floor tracks can be intimidating, but that knowledge is driven by a deep love of music. In this week’s mixtape we get a taste of the tunes he’ll drop Friday at The Nines for Disco’s Revenge.
Dallas Observer: It’s been two years since you made a mixtape for the Observer. What new DJ experiences have you had in that time?
Simpson: Recently Disco’s Revenge, a monthly DJ night I’m part of, brought in Dallas underground hero DJ Cle. I knew it would be a good party, but we packed out the Crown and Harp. We deejayed in the upstairs bar and they had a line outside ’cause we were over capacity.
What is your relationship with electro?
Well, I thought I was a b-boy in elementary school in the ’80s and got my first taste of hip-hop and loved the faster tracks with the robot voices and synth sounds that came out that would eventually evolve into what we now call electro.
Years later it would come back into my life. I thought it was a lost art until I heard AUX88. By this time I was already starting to deejay a little and was hooked again, with Detroit artists leading the way.
I have released a few small things over the years. My track “The Modernmind” was put on a vinyl compilation for Down Low Music along with another track, under the name “MKG Systems Obsolete Future,” on tape. Electro is very much a part of my soul, growing with me over the course of my life.
What is your relationship with house?
I was already dancing at teen clubs when a friend gave me a Mr. Fingers tape and also introduced me to Lil Louis’ famed “French Kiss” track, and the rest is history. It has been more than just a type of music to me. I think it’s very much a mindset and a feeling, as some say. ...
House as a name came out of the Warehouse Club in Chicago where Frankie Knuckles would take the clubgoers on a musical journey that was not a set style of music ... and that’s the way I perceive it as well when I think about house music. It’s very much in the spirit of what I do.
How did you get involved with Disco’s Revenge?
Alvin Booth had been doing it for many years and at the time most of the scene and promoters assumed I was all techno, because many people think if you play one thing that’s all you’re about. But I did a one-off party as a guest with Disco’s Revenge and it all clicked so well that we just continued it as a monthly.
Your crew recently changed venues to The Nines. Should we expect anything different at the new location?
Yes, and much needed. Expect big sound, lights, a proper dance floor and vinyl mixing at its finest. It’s called Disco’s Revenge, which is a nod to the godfather Frankie Knuckles when he explained how house music evolved from disco in an interview. We play a lot of house, but we mix it up with techno, disco, acid, ’80s synth and many other styles throughout the night.
What is new on your production front?
I’m always working on stuff, searching for the perfect beat. I’m still slowly adding pieces to my studio and learning gear and programs etc. ... I’ve sent some demos out and really want to do more and get something out soon.
Where do you like to dig for tracks? Online or in stores?
Josey Records, All Day Records, Downtown 304, Juno and Clone.nl.
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Which new producers have been getting you excited?
I used to really follow producers, but now I just listen to a million tracks and just select what I think is cool. There are so many that I don’t know the names.
What has been your most significant music experience of the past year?
Probably the b2b set I did at a warehouse party with Bill Converse, and opening up for DJ Traxx.
What gigs do you have coming up?
Disco’s Revenge on Feb. 24 at The Nines (2911 Main St.) and that’s the only one on the books for now.
Ob Ignitt — “Space Age Steppin”
Vin Sol — “It’s House”
Zadig — “Reflection N”
Blaze — “Paradise”
Bruce Trail — “Beatrice”
Alden Tyrell — “Touch the Sky”
Andrea Carissimi / Lt Brown — “Why”
Anthony Nicholson — “Removable Objects”
Bjorn Torske — “Nitten Nitti (Harvey’s Not Normal Mix)”
Don Carlos — “Alone”
Erykah Badu — “Honey (Ron Trent Mix)”