The world of Rick Wade, Detroit’s immaculate underground deep house legend, is vast but quiet, like long stretches of snow-dusted road. Wade’s timeless formula was developed early, as he puts it: “Punchy drums, and a standard house tempo, so you could dance to it, but the melody and the vibe was very melancholy.”
Wade has released on classic labels such as Moods & Grooves and Track Mode and in recent years has found new life on up and coming imprints like Shall Not Fade. It’s arguable that his hybrid sound could be chalked up to his outsider status, stuck between worlds of sound. Rick grew up in the farming town of Buchanan, Michigan, near the Indiana border, and was informed by the radio of nearby Chicago. The transmissions of house, as well as Detroit techno, set his mind ablaze.
When finally moving to the city, Wade started working in the ‘Dance Room’ at Detroit’s Record Time shop in 1993 alongside a cast of the city’s most esteemed DJs and producers including Mike Huckaby, Claude Young, and Daniel Bell.
Wade had been developing his sound in bass (booty or Ghettotech, in Detroit parlance) music sound with the alias of Big Daddy Rick (thanks to Ectomorph’s BMG), gaining favor as both a bass and hip-hop DJ. But it was Wade’s friend Dan Bell who encouraged him to put out the house music he was making, and later the two of them established Harmonie Park, Wade’s label, which became one of the most beloved Detroit imprints of the decade. The late Mike Huckaby encouraged Wade to start getting his music out, and quickly. “Whatever moment in time and space you are in...you need to put out your best stuff,” Huckaby implored. He acted as “the network” for Wade’s music, helping spread the word and making sure the right DJ’s had it. “People all around the world would call Record Time to ask about it.“
After releasing two EPs from Huckaby next on Harmonie Park and an EP, Night Trackin’ on Bell’s new Elevate label (with some uncredited production by Parrish). Wade returned to his own imprint, the second of which is 1998’s Late Night Basix Vol. 2. The release seems to reflect all sides of Wade’s house trademarks.