Rick Wade has an almost superhuman number of irons in the fire: in addition to his day job (he works in an IT capacity in the automotive industry), Wade's a Detroit-based DJ, label head of Harmonie Park and Bass Force, freelance animator (variously known as DarkSkills and The Graphic Alchemist) who specializes in 3D characters and cel-shaded animation, and is a father to two boys. Somehow Wade also squeezes in releases for other labels such as Yore, which has issued two EPs and now the full-length The Good, the Bad, and the Deep. Wade, who grew up listening to Al Green and Isaac Hayes and began producing his sleek and soulful tracks in 1991,recently found a few moments to share with textura readers his take on trends, time management, and the music industry, among other things.

Harmonie Park, Bass Force, and Yore

The material on Yore and Harmonie Park is pretty much the same: Deep Delights for grown folk. Bass Force, on the other hand, is a completely different genre. Bass Force is Ghetto-Tech, straight-up street-style booty and electro. Most cats that are into Deep stuff don't like booty and the cats into booty don't like house. I love ‘em both.

Wade's “timeless” sound

I stand alone in the darkness. No one understands me, no one but the music. I listen. I feel. I learn. I love. The music: no secret formula; it's how the music naturally comes together. I simply make what I like to listen to. Besides occasionally hanging out at a local house gig, I'm not involved in any scene at all. I just make my tracks and take care of my boys.


I don't keep up with ‘em. I just make what I like and when I'm spinning, I spin what I like, how I like, and that's it. I don't hang out at many clubs and the few that I might venture into don't play minimal techno so I haven't heard much of it; however, the few minimal tracks I have heard are devoid of any soul or feeling, and very sterile sounding. I mean, if I was still spinning Ghetto-Tech I might be able to run some of it as a transition or filler, but that's about it.

Esteemed colleagues

Two that immediately come to mind are Huck and Theo: Huckaby because I dig his tracks and DJ style, and Theo because no one can rock classics like he does.

Synthetic vs. natural sounds

I use whatever I can get my hands on to bring my creations to life. Everything from Loop CDs to hiring live orchestra players; nothing is off the table when it comes to breathing life into tracks. Nowadays I use custom loop libraries that Huck and I have created throughout the years. I fire up the Korg, play a few notes, record them into my laptop and voila! Instant loop library. I can play a little bit of keys, but only by ear. I don't know how to read music or anything like that.


First, I get a groove in my mind then I lay it down. Next I hook up the drums and add a bass line. Once that's cookin', I add in a couple of spices, sweeten it up with the trademark Rick Wade strings, and there you have it.


I'm all about the groove. The groove is what gives substance and soul to a track. Without a meaningful groove, you're left with nothing but some abominable machination, ignorant of its own lifelessness ... kind of like minimal techno.


I still use all the same gear I started with back in the early 90's: Korg T3, R8 with the 808 & 909 cards, Vintage Keys module, Roland S750 Sampler, Alesis MMT8 sequencer. The only difference is I now use my laptop to put it all together now instead of my MMT8.

Making tracks

One of my favourite things to do; I've been fortunate in that I don't run into writer's block that often when making music. Just like some people like to play video games in their spare time, I like to make tracks. If I ever find that I do need inspiration, I'll listen to some of my favourite tracks or surf some of my favourite haunts on the web. When all else fails, I'll go out on the town and talk to women. I've said it before, but just like the artists of old, there's something about women that energizes me and lets my imagination soar! I don't know what it is, but Huck and Theo will vouch for me when I say that some of my deepest (and angriest) tracks are a direct result of my interaction with women.

Favourite records

Too many to mention, but here are a few:
Gene Page: “Stalkway” (theme from Blacula)
Dennis Coffey: Theme from Black Belt Jones
Mr. Fingers: “Can You Feel It”

Fitting it all in

Ah, my friend, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do all that I'd like to do, but if you're serious about your passions and truly want to pursue them then sacrifices must be made. For me, the main sacrifice is sleep. On any given day, I'm running on about two or maybe three hours of sleep. My friends will tell you, once I get going in the lab, there's many a night when I simply pull an all-nighter and don't go to bed at all.

Favourite place in the world

Sitting in a candle-lit restaurant looking across a table into the eyes of a beautiful woman.

The music industry

It does look bleak, but I'm not sweatin' it. That's life. Things change, people change. You carve out a niche for yourself, roll with the flow and adapt or hang up your cape. Look, I'm sure back in the old days, cats that used to make and drive stage-coaches were saying the same types of things when automobiles first came on the scene. Everybody from the horse breeder to the buggy whip maker was singing a song of gloom and doom, but that's the way of the world. Time marches on whether you want it to or not. Just like back then, people will always need transportation, people will always need music. I'll always be here to give ‘em the deepness.

March 2008