‘I was on this road trip to Chicago and right as we rolled through the city we had the radio on B-96 and that’s when I heard Dance Works’ ‘Time to Work.’ The beat just blew me away. I finally heard something I really liked, it was fast, it was hard and that was only the beginning.’
Richard Walker, aka DJ Recharge, one of St. Louis’ greatest hard-house DJs, was kind enough to spend some time with me to explain a little about how he got into DJing, his hip-hop group Midwest Avengers, and even his infatuation with Hot Wheels.
Where did you get the name DJ Recharge?
My friend Hillary was throwing this Rave back in 1994 and a friend of hers, Gene Farris from Chicago, was headlining the party. We were all hanging out at Hillary’s apartment and Gene and I were talking and started raggin’ on each others names. So from this came the name Recharge and somehow it stuck with me.
How long have you been DJing?
For about six years. It all started when I was 15 years old. When my brother Mike and I were making mix tapes. While recording our favorite songs from CD’s my brother suggested that I should start buying records.
Where are you currently DJing?
At this club called the Cheetah in downtown St. Louis, MO. And as many clubs and parties I can get my butt into.
In your opinion, what makes you on of the best DJs in St. Louis?
I’m sure that there are a lot of St. Louis DJs here that are just as good as I am. I think that I’m one of the few that really loves the music that I play. Most of the other guys out here just wanna DJ because they think it’s the ‘In’ thing to do. If your going to be a DJ, you need the years behind you before you try to headline some party or before you try to hold down some resident gig in your city’s top clubs and basically you need something really original.
You need an original style that people aren’t use to. Something better than the last guy! All of these things are what brought me to be who I am now. To be really good at something you need the experience and that’s exactly what I have and that right there is why I’m the best at what I do!
Who helped you out along the way?
If I said I did it all by myself, it would be a lie! I probably would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for this dude named Brent. He has done more than I can remember. Recharge would be a myth without him. The list just goes on and on, it would take all week to describe what he has done for me. So my answer would have to be yes I’ve had a lot of help along the way and it is appreciated. And to all those peeps who bought me records when I was broke THANK YOUUUUUUUU!
What other styles of music have you played with and why do you play predominantly hard house?
Back when I first began spinning, it was nothing but Hip-Hop. I needed something faster, a little more upbeat. I knew this guy Kid Droid, who at the time was the only Jungle DJ in St. Louis and when I heard him play, I had to give it a try. But that only lasted for about two weeks. Back in 94 my friend P.J. (The Contra) and I got heavily into House thanks to Gene Farris and that went on for several years until I discovered something a little bit ‘Harder’. My friend Johnski and I where on this road trip to Chicago and right as we rolled through the city we had the radio on B-96 and that’s when I heard Dance Works, ‘Time To Work’. The beat just blew me away, I finally heard something I really liked, it was fast, it was hard and that was only the beginning.
Who is your favorite DJ and why?
I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite DJ but if I had to pick one, it would have to be DJ Irene. When she came to St. Louis to spin at the Cheetah, it just blew my mind. The first record she played kicked my ass and the vibe she threw out was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time! She reminded me what Hard House was all about.
What role do you play in the Midwest Avengers and what is M.W.A.?
The Midwest Avengers are a group of six guys who are freakin’ nuts and they don’t believe in stereotypes. You have almost every shade of skin color combined in one shape and form to conquer every scene known possible to man. It would take many moons and several strange days to describe my role as a Midwest Avenger. To make a long story short I’m probably part of the most original thing to come out of this city in the last ten years.
How do you find the time to DJ and be in the Midwest Avengers?
Sometimes it gets really hard because I’ve had days where I was booked to spin at some club and that same night I had a show to do with the avengers at another club. I think you just have to be organized. I mean there was several times that I got caught up and had to deside which one was more important and that’s the part that really sucks because you got this club promoter breathin’ down your neck and on the other hand you have these guys telling you that you were an Avenger before you started DJing. So it all comes down to which one is more important to you. It’s a tuff choice when your stuck in the middle.
Do the members of M.W.A. support you DJing?
Sure they do, they where all there from day one when I first decided to play records as DJ Recharge. And I’m sure their going to be there when it’s all over.
What other things are you involved in besides DJing?
Lately, I’ve been producing tracks at my home studio and The Midwest Avengers have a new CD coming out in early 2000. Other than those things I’ve been kicking it with my girlfriend, hanging out with friends, and getting my web page together. That’s about all, just having fun!
Whats up with the Hot Wheels?
For Real whats up with the Hot Wheels. Every man needs a hobby! It’s a constant search that never ends and it’s actually pretty much fun. I’ll always know how to play my records you know. That’s something that I will never forget. My music is who I am. Collecting Hot Wheels it’s just a hobby.
Is music it for you or are you planning to go for some other dream?
I think that music is it for me, whether it’s DJing or being an MC with the Midwest Avengers. I just love what I do and I hope it will actually go somewhere . I’m sure I’ll have many interests in the future but for now I’ll stick with what I’ve worked hard for.
This interview took place in 1999 while in Washington DC.