Frick Kicks It Old School on “Spin It Back”

Mr. Frick is the alias of Denver-based DJ and producer Alex Frick, who is no stranger to the Colorado house and techno scene. This year alone, he has played venues such as Vinyl club, that Larimer Lounge, that Black box, and Boulders DV8 distillery. He has also played several after-hours events at interim venues that are popping up temporarily throughout the state.

In April, he released his debut EP, and on Saturday, January 1, he releases his second EP, Turn it back, on it Foreign Roots label. Turn it back is designed for the dance floor, with great influence from the 90s rave sound and culture – specifically fast booty breaks, reminiscent of Baltimore club styling of producers such as. Rod Lee.

The title track is heavily dependent on the squelch of an “acid bassline”, which is characterized by the corrosive sounds of the era-defining Roland TB-303 Bassline synthesizer. These caustic sounds are accentuated by reverberating piano, a lukewarm “Oh baby” vocal sample, and an extraterrestrial sound reminiscent of laser-resolved tungsten.

“Bounce” uses a similar formula, but replaces the acid bass line with a thicker, more blunt one. This is equated with the soaring but diminished chords of lush synthesis and vocal samples that wave between Speak and Spell vocalizations that a scandalous woman with confidence orders the listener to “bounce”.

“Wile E Coyote” is the most club-oriented track on the album, clocking in at hectic 155 beats per minute. It features Frick’s distinctive breakbeats, which sprint across an apocalyptic techno kick drum. A spectral synthesizer hovers over the majority of the track, while the listener occasionally tumbles in and out of reality of waves of spiral oscillations.

Westword got in touch with Frick to discuss his one-year whirlwind, the direction of the Denver scene, his new responsibilities in booking talent for one of the more in-demand promoters in the state, and the reasons why he does not believe that the stage is being recognized for its potential, despite booking week in and week out some of the most in-demand talents in the world.

Westword: What inspired you to make an EP that draws on classic rave sounds rather than a more modern-sounding approach?

Alex Frick: I’ve been a fan of older, faster, stranger music for a while now, and within the last few years, I’ve been really amazed at what my sound is. I have a certain versatile sound to my sets due to constant engraving and easy ADHD with music in general. More “in your face” music and head-turning sounds catch me the most. I also think juke, electro, breakbeat, jungle, etc. are not that prominent in Denver, so being able to show people new sounds and genres really means a lot to me.

Despite the style being decades old, is tech house- and minimally-saturated Denver ready for it?

I think Denver is ready for more underground and experimental sounds. There will always be those who are well versed musically, and I certainly think the interest expands. A DJ’s task is to give their audience new sounds / genres and really be at the forefront of where electronic music grows and develops – to show the audience what they did not know they needed to hear. Clearly, this sound is not for the masses, but the music is constantly evolving, and I think soon enough that people will start moving on to different genres. It is inevitable!

You recently started working with The Hundred Presents. What is your responsibility?

I’m extremely grateful to have been included in the Denver scene and to be able to work with Brennen Bryarly, who has made a huge impact on Denver’s nightlife. I basically work as his intern, and learn about what he does behind the scenes – booking talent and the business side of things. I’m also a link at Club Vinyl on the weekends, which I love because it allows me to build relationships and connect with the artists that come through Denver. This has been going on for a few months now and continues to grow. I hope to book nationally and internationally with Brennen with time.

What does it mean to be a contact person?

As a liaison, I escort the artist from the hotel to the club, making sure they get to the booth and get everything they need from their rider. I generally hang out with them or in the crowd and check if they need anything under their set. Then I take them back to their hotel. Ninety-nine percent of the DJs are really dope people, based on my experience as a link so far.

Despite picking up some of the hottest talent in the world, Denver’s techno scene has not exactly exported talent like our bass scene does. Why do you think that is it?

I think Denver has put talent out, just not as much as one might think. As for the house and techno scene, no, not much has been exported and I think it has to do with their reach and opportunities to build a fan base here in Denver. There are certainly many factors in why they have not reached outside the state, but since I am as involved as I am, I hope to help others grow and inspire them to really take their projects to the next level.

How would you personally like to help inspire and take their projects to the next level? And which projects are you most excited about at the moment?

I hope that as an assistant talent buyer I can book shows that have a lineup that makes sense so DJs can really flex the sound they want to express. Having a solid flow for the night is very important for the party. It’s also important to just connect to the stage and give advice wherever I can. While I may have a little influence on stage right now, I want to use what I have to help other aspiring DJs. As for which projects I am currently most excited about, I can not talk about them yet.

What development do you hope to see in the Denver stage and sound?

I hope to see talent from Denver being exported, just as the subway scene is flourishing with better after-hours ideas. [I’d also like to see more] international artists who come through and really get recognized nationally for how amazing the scene actually is. I have been here for about eight years now and have seen a lot of growth and change. Although each scene has its problems, I really see the potential Denver has, and I have high hopes for its continued growth.

What do you think it takes to see it reach its potential? Maybe you’ve seen people try to solve these problems.

I think it will require a lot more collaboration and support from different promoters, collectives and artists. However, I think many are trying, and I know for a fact that Brennen has some solutions to this very problem, with plans on the way – but I can not talk about them yet.

Mr. Fricks Turn it back will be released on Saturday, January 1st through Foreign roots.

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