For those of free mind and discerning ears, London’s Wiggle brand has represented proper, underground dance music for two decades now. Infused with the original spirit of U.K. Acid House, Wiggle DJs Nathan Coles, Terry Francis and “Evil” Eddie Richards wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a label and semi-regular party, Wiggle long ago became synonymous with tech-house—that delicate balance between house music’s deeper inclinations and techno’s more rugged rhythms. Of course, that mixture was often spiced with an anything-goes ethos in the music and on the dancefloor. Luckily for younger fans searching beyond the cookie-cutter world of modern EDM, elements of these sounds seem to be cropping up in output from DJ/producers like Seth Troxler to Patrick Topping and others.
So, for those seeking the originators, Wiggle For 20 Years offers an excellent starting point. The mix comp delivers 74 quality minutes of heady flavors, complete with bulging basslines and taut kicks from Wiggle guests like D’Julz, Pure Science, Just Be and more. We recently caught up with Nathan Coles to discuss Wiggle’s impressive journey.
DJ Times: What was your approach to this anniversary mix compilation?
Coles: We decided it was only right to ask the artists that had either produced for the label, or played at Wiggle over the years and then pick 20 tracks for 20 years from what was submitted. It was a tough decision making the choices from all the great tracks that were sent, but we got there in the end.
DJ Times: There’s a direct link between what you guys have always done and the U.K.’s original acid-house scene. How have you maintained that legacy?
Coles: They were amazing, magical times—and you really did feel part of something new and a bit of a rebel at the same time. You were hearing new sounds you’d never heard before and I was caught, hook line and sinker. From my very first party—Spectrum at Heaven—to the crazy, hazy days of the M25 warehouse do’s… Sun Dance and Biology, I started my mission to organize my own parties.
DJ Times: Wiggle became really synonymous with a lot of the late-’90s tech-house that was going on in London. How did that scene get up and running?
Coles: We were just doing our thing, playing upfront music and putting on monthly parties, which soon picked up a really strong following. Terry and I started making music under the name of Housey Doings with Justin Bailey, David Coker and Laurent Webb, at their studio called Strange Weather in Greenwich. Shortly after, that we started Wiggle Records. Can’t believe it’s 21 years now and we’re on our 70th release.
DJ Times: What’s your DJ-gear evolution been like?
Coles: I had always played with turntables from Day 1, and went over to Serato about 10 years ago, as I like the feel of vinyl and using decks. I started using Traktor about seven years ago and I’m still really happy with it today.
DJ Times: In your mind, what makes a great party, something that lasts over time?
Coles: You’ve got a love what you’re doing, like anything in life, as that’s what keeps you going through the down points—and there are certainly ups and downs with promoting parties. It’s the passion that drives you on and that’s part of what makes a good party and one that stands the test of time. Good music definitely helps also.
DJ Times: Which producer/remixers are you really feeling these days?
Coles: Tigerskin/Dub Taylor, Dachshund, Bravofox, Mihai Popoviciu.
DJ Times: What are your favorite current club venues?
Coles: Fabric, as it’s kept that magic going for all this time. Also, No. 90, a great venue and restaurant in Hackney Wick.
DJ Times: What do you make of the current dance/DJ scene, especially this version that’s taken over America? Do you think that rising tides raise all boats? Or is this something alien to you?
Coles: One man’s shit… is another man’s gold!
DJ Times: Simple question: What’s a DJ’s job?
Coles: To get people doing the funky chicken without even realizing that their doing it.
DJ Times: Which DJs do you find the most inspiring?
Coles: There are too many to mention, really. But it goes right back to the journey and the funky-chicken answer again.
– Jim Tremayne