Rick Simpson keeps a low profile. Not one to promote or push his skills on anyone, he has been a staple in the regional DJ scene for almost a quarter century under aliases like Ricky Silk and R9. He's collaborated with local wunderkind Cygnus and dropped a track on wax for seminal Dallas techno label Down Low. Simpson is also very much a historian of classic house and techno and, fittingly, is still most comfortable spinning vinyl.
In the old days of underground techno, DJs would often put tape on their records to keep their favorite tracks as secret weapons. In keeping with that tradition, there's no tracklist to go with Simpson's mixtape this week.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How Long have you been at it?
Simpson: While dancing at teen clubs falling in love with synth-pop and Industrial dance of the '80s, the first idea of DJing came into my mind about being able to control what songs to blend together. A few short years later me and my friend Jason Sparkman would go in halves on DJ gear and start buying records. I have been at it for roughly 24 years now.
You spin vinyl as a DJ. Do you still buy Vinyl?
Yes, it is my go to standard most of the time.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
Local shops like Josey Records in Dallas and Half Price Books. I shop lots on the web because I can usually get the records faster than a shop can. I download a little music but just mainly for a reference to see if I would want to buy the record or to study music I own on vinyl.
Do you have a preference between DJing and production?
I love both, but with the busy life I live and limited time DJing is a quick and easy music fix. I hope to free up time to work on my own productions in the very near future. I'm taking a break from the parties this summer.
What DJs and producers have had a significant impact on you as an artist
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In terms of DJs, Jeff K, Robert Vaughn, Cle, Bill Converse, Ron Trent, Traxx, Theo Parrish, Derrick Carter, Derrick May and Jeff Mills. Producers or groups, I would say Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, the Prodigy (early years), Altern 8, Juan Atkins/Cybotron, Convextion/ERP, Plastic Sleeves, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Robert Hood, Chez and Ron, Drexciya, Dopplereffekt, Lil Louis, Gino Soccio, Legowelt, Patrick Cowley, Ten City, Larry Heard and Basic Channel.
What other genres or artists do you enjoy outside of club music?
Punk and post punk, metal, soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, classical and ambient to name some, but I have a place in my heart for all types of music. I enjoy the stuff I loved as a teen still to this day, like Joy Division, Bauhaus, Skinny Puppy, the Cure, the Smiths, Depeche, and classic hip-hop from the '80s and '90s on a regular basis.
How did your residency at Disco's Revenge come about?
Its Founder Alvin Booth asked me and Brandon Ayala a.k.a. DJ NekstOne to join him to DJ at Crown & Harp for a record swap event. It went so well we were asked if we would want to do a weekly and in the end decided that a monthly would be best for all of us. We had known each other for years and did past gigs together, so it made sense.
What is your relationship with Down Low Music?
I did a classic style electro track on their 2001 compilation named Satellite Cities. Me and the label's co-owner Minto were already friends from our love for techno and the rest was history.
How did you get started making your own music?
I have to give credit once again to pal Jason Sparkman. He was already making techno with Roland and Moog gear and helped me to seek out a Mackie mixer, Atari sequencer and Emu sampler and showed me how to setup and learn MIDI connections. That's how it went down.
Do you have any favorite cuts that you always keep in your crates?
I have lots of favorites but I try to mix things up all the time.. Drexciya, Robert Hood and Larry Heard music seems to be in the crates often but no one track in particular.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
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I try to think of the venue setting and who might be showing up or who I'm playing with.
Disco's Revenge takes place at 10 p.m. this Saturday, February 21 at Crown & Harp.
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