This Green and Pleasant Land we call home, or the U.K., has contributed its fair share of totems, idols and institutions to the dance and electronic music scene. And, although it’s easy to argue that our fresh input has been less prevalent in recent years, there are still plenty of great young parties, characters, labels and tracks worth cherishing.
Sometimes, though, it’s important to look back and appreciate heritage too. Take Wiggle, for example. The London event and imprint founded by Terry Francis, Nathan Coles and (a slightly later addition to the fold) ‘Evil’ Eddie Richards, has welcomed committed revellers to its bashes for 20 years now, with double-decade celebrations ongoing. Plenty has changed during that time, but there’s no arguing that one thing has definitely remained the same: tech house grooves (bounces, rolls, jacks and propels) all night. Or so the saying goes.
In honour of this mighty organisation passing the fifth of a century mark we thought it only right to try and grab one of the main men behind the set up, and ask them (politely) to answer a few questions about clubbing in Britain today, yesterday, and where the hell they think this cultural runaway train destined for next. Enter Mr. Richards then, a chap who is more than cut out for this particular task- one of the country’s finest DJs and most respected producers, not to mention a central figurehead in the story. This is what he had to say…
Hi Eddie, hope all’s well with you today. Have you recovered from Wiggle’s London birthday party yet?
Haha yes… I had a disco nap before setting off for the party, I’m quite good at pacing myself these days, I’ve had a lot of practice. It was great to see lots of familiar faces, and plenty of Wigglers who normally only make it out occasionally came out specially for this party- the place was packed.
Obviously 20 years is a long time to be promoting a session, are you any more concerned with stuff like logistics and ticket sales these days compared to when you guys began in 1994? There often appears to be more of a business mindset amongst promoters now.
Nathan is the man to answer that question, I help out here and there but I don’t get involved with logistics or ticket sales. Although Wiggle is associated with all three of us, Terry and Nathan actually started it off and I was brought in as a resident DJ after playing for them at one of the early parties.
During the time Wiggle has been running, Britain’s club scene has seen many peaks and troughs, but has arguably never been bigger than it is today. Does this increased attention and larger audience make it easier for promoters to survive, or, given it also means much more competition, is it more difficult to make a party work?
Overall I would say it’s more difficult to run a successful party these days. Thinking back, I don’t remember being concerned about attendance, we had built up a loyal following through word of mouth and we always seemed to be busy. But as time has gone by we’ve had to adapt.. Many of our original crowd have had families and don’t go out as often, unique venues have been harder to come by, marketing and promoting has radically changed from the days of giving out flyers on the street. Music tastes have changed too, but one thing that hasn’t changed at all is that Wiggle parties have always been reliable. Good music, good sound and nice vibes.
The prominence of dance music is unarguable right now, but do you think Britain has a healthy electronic scene?
The UK has always had a good electronic scene- we are a pretty small country and there’s always been loads of variety, and particularly with dance music. Over the years I’ve seen the focus move to Chicago, Detroit, New York and Berlin. But not for long, it always comes back to the UK.
We really enjoyed the 20 Years of Wiggle release, is that something work has been underway on for a long time?
We’ve talked about having us all on a Wiggle release together but it was only properly conceived late last year. Whilst we were making plans for the birthday we thought about having a release to coincide with the party
Was there a specific idea behind the kind of tracks you wanted to present, or just the sound of a Wiggle party?
We didn’t really discuss how the tracks should sound, and we individually decided on what to present. I wanted something old school sounding, so I pulled out a part-finished song from about 13 years ago and developed the idea. I like the way the EP turned out, each track is different but characteristic of our taste.
In terms of the label itself, what else is being planned at the moment?
Apart from the regular monthly release schedule, we have been working on a special compilation featuring original unreleased tracks from previous Wiggle guests over the past 20 years. That’s shaping up nicely, with a lot of people already submitting tracks for inclusion. It looks like being a big project so we’re really pleased to have Fabric involved with promoting and distributing for us, and are aiming for a September or October release date.
Finally, other than the Wiggle celebrations, do we have much solo Eddie Richards business to look forward to in the coming months?
I’ve had a lot of interest for my old tracks from DJs like Cassy, Guy Gerber, and Subb An, so I’ve had them remastered for a series of EPs coming out on vinyl and digital on my label Storm, with remixes from Tigerskin, Mihai Popoviciu, Kate Simko, Dachshund, Jordan Peak and Radio Slave. I’m also working on new original material to follow on the series later in the year. The first EP, Storm 1203, was released on vinyl at the beginning of March and the digital release is due in May.