Rick Wilhite delivers the second Vibes New & Rare Music on Rush Hour. As a DJ and promoter Wilhite has been holding it down for over twenty years and his Vibes New & Rare music record store has been a main source in Detroit for soulful electronic music. Despite of the fact that the store closed, The Godfather keeps delivering quality music through his own music, his compilations and DJ sets.
The Vibes New & Rare music compilation, in particular, is a compilation that only features music that Rick Wilhite thinks is really speaking for the artists. After releasing Part 1 in 2010, Wilhite offers the sequel. Part 2 includes pioneers and new talents from New York, Chicago and Detroit. We asked the Wilhite about his selection, about Vibes and the Detroit music scene.
How did this compilation arise?
The compilation itself represents Vibes and the people that represented the store. People like label artists who bought records. The cuts I have selected for the compilation are not available anywhere else. Some of the cuts were given to me personally, for me to keep. Or to give it a head nod. Like, yes this could go out. I got some of the other cuts from personal friends, to represent the vibe. Each cut on the compilation has the representation of who the artist is and what he really likes to put out.
Moodymann, Jovonn, K-Alexi just to name a few… Vibes – New & Rare music features a lot of pioneers, but also new, upcoming artists. Can you introduce us to a new talent whose track you have selected?
Yes, I like to tell something about Jon Easly from Detroit. He wrote Lemon Lime and gave it to me a while ago. Easley is an artist that wanted to put out music for a long time, he has been a DJ for decades. I’ve put out one of his tracks on an earlier compilation, but this particular track I specifically wanted to be on Vibes, because I feel that this really represents him and the style of music he wants to do. The same for the K-Alexi track, called Head Banger. I’ve had it for a while… I didn’t want to put it on other compilations. You see… the Vibes compilation is something different. The music fits the artist, that’s most important. This K-Alexi is more of his deeper inner soul compared to the stuff that he has put out lately. True K-Alexi style… Vintage style I would say haha.
You have been around for a long time. If you compare today’s music scene in Detroit to the scene when you started, what has mostly changed?
We always involve in different things… But in the end we just do what we do. There are different types of things we get into. There are a lot of big birthday parties around here that we are used to play at. Well, talking about parties, the techno side of it might dwindle a little bit, but on the house end and any other type of music, it’s going strong. Every week, in the middle of the week as well, there are private parties given. That is what Detroit is about. There is always somebody giving something you wanna go to. Every week.
Detroit. The city that represents artists that have been doing their thing consistently from the very beginning, and are still going strong after so many years. How is that possible?
Yeah, most of our artists and labels have maintained the same groove. Talking about labels like Sound Signature, Mahogany, Unirhythm, Moods & Grooves, for instance, keep going. And Transmat, they are putting out new stuff again. I saw the Karim Sahraoui release, that is a really nice release for Transmat, to respark what they were known for. A good release that I believe will make a lot of noise. Just the fact that we try to promote the music as well here in the city, more so than relying on magazines or different websites in order to promote or market, we try to give free parties or release parties. It’s like, having your people come together for the music in your city is different than doing it in other cities. We just take our cars and drive down the street, you know… hahaha.
Rick Wilhite at his Vibes record store
Could you tell us a bit more about Vibes? For instance, could you give an example of how you and your store contributed to the music scene in Detroit?
I think I’ve been a reliable source to unknown music. Any type of electronic music. Hip-hop as well. It is unknown and the main key to promoting new music is that you need to have the right curator. It is impossible to have everything at your record store. So the selection tells what you represent. There is so much to discover, but a lot pleople just like to be advised. The more knowledge you have of the music in your store, the more business you get from people who trust you. I think it was just a place where people could meet. I had four different stores, I started out big and became smaller, I cut down on a lot of genres. I could have had a big store, but it is hard. So I decided to limit it to very rare stuff, little copies, but absolute must haves.
Since Vibes closed its doors, you continued to select music, now for your compilations… Have you thought of opening another record shop in the near future?
Ahh, I think about it every day… Because of legal issues I had to close, it wasn’t my choice. The building was closing. If I restart again I woundn’t do it alone anymore… So there is always a possibility it might happen again.
VIBES 2 prt 1 2*LP
A1 – JOSH MILAN – ELECTRO DREAMS
A2 – JON EASLEY – LEMON LIME
B1 – JOVONN – RUFF
B2 – NORM TALLEY & RICK WILHITE – 30 YEARS LATER
C1 – TJ DUMAS – GIN GIMLET 3 CHERRIES
C2 – SEAN TATE – A MATTER OF PAIN
D1 – K-ALEXI – I AM N LUST
VIBES 2 prt 2 2*LP
A1 – MOODYMANN – MOMMA
A2 – SEAN TATE – A MATTER OF HONOR (WILHITE REMIX)
B1 – LOS HERMANOS – IT’S THE FUTURE
B2 – DJ STINGRAY – TEMPORARY BOND
C1 – TJ DUMAS & RAYBONE JONES – RUNNIN 2 U
C2 – RICK & CALVIN – MEMORIES ANALIA
D1 – ORLANDO VOORN – THE RECIPE
D2 – K-ALEXI – HEAD BANGER