BC: So guys, how long have you been throwing parties for now?
WU: Nearly twenty-five years, man and boy! After being introduced to what’s now referred to as ‘golden age’ hip hop in the early 90s, Sparky decided to put his fast-growing record collection to good use, DJing at student parties. Edd started throwing parties after he moved up to Glasgow in 94. We reunited in London in at the end of the millennium and wasted no time getting some South London parties on the go.
BC: How did playing at Big Chill come about?
WU: We’d both been going to the Big Chill Festival since around 1999 and, while working at Ninja Tune, Sparky had developed contacts at the festival and elbowed his way onto the line up in 2004. Later that year, when the Big Chill Bar (Brick Lane) opened, we were invited to put on a monthly night… and here we are, some 14 years later! We like to think that we’re a link back to the festival’s past, as well as having helped to develop the Bar’s sound as its own thing. Welcoming, discerning and funky!
BC: What have been some of the weirdest requests you’ve gotten as DJs?
WU: “Got any Marvin Gaye?”
“This is Marvin Gaye that’s playing now.”
“No, not that Marvin Gaye.”
Also people trying to make Justin Bieber or Toploader’s ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ happen. Neither of those are ever going to happen. Or heavy metal. Metal has its time and place, but that time isn’t when you’ve got a room full of people dancing to Moodymann!
Generally though, we find that the Bar attracts a more discerning and musically open-minded crowd. We get more people asking what we’re playing, rather than making requests.
BC: You’ve thrown some epic Sunday parties at Big Chill Brick Lane, do you have a favourite memory?
WU: Loads! A dance-off with some excellent jazz dancers that turned into a limbo contest; dropping Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’ one Easter Sunday and everyone place going absolutely bonkers. Also being tipped a quid for writing down the name of the tune playing. Bonus!
BC: What’s your drink of choice when behind the decks?
WU: Early doors, we like to ease ourselves in with a pint or two of IPA and, as the night gets more lively (and opportunities for loo breaks less frequent) move onto whisky or rum and Coke. As well as some tequilas with the staff – it’d be rude not to.
BC: And lastly, if you could eternally be stuck in one year's music scene, which year would it be?
WU: We are old, so we’ve lived through some great times for music! Hip hop, indie and baggy in the early nineties; the development (or Logical Progression) of jungle into D&B a few years later, as well Mo Wax and the first coming of Ninja Tune; Daft Punk and French filtered house sound in 97; garage (both times); San Fran and Chicago boompity house in the noughties; punk funk and LCD Soundsystem. All amazing – and right now is awesome, too. Great music never stops! The nu-disco/deep house movement of the past decade has really influenced our DJing, as it’s a melting pot of genres and tempos, much like our record collections!
But if we really could go back to anytime, anywhere it would have to be New York in 75/76. Disco was just getting going, David Mancuso and the Loft parties were well underway (not to mention the opulence of Studio 54 – if we could get in!), hip hop was on the wind… just imagine being at those early parties, that would come to set the template for what was to come!
Work Up's Playlist
1. A Tribe Called Quest ‘I Left My Wallet In El Segundo’ (Vampire Mix)
A killer early Norman Cook mix of the Tribe classic. Sunshine vibes.
2. Shuggie Otis 'Strawberry Letter 23' (One Rascal Extended Mix)
The perfect Sunday tune, given a bit more space to grow in this remix.
3. Creative Source ‘Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?’
We often used to start the Sunday gigs off with this, as it’s a great mood setter.
4. Salsoul Orchestra '212 North 12'
Disco band's don't come much bigger than Salsoul Orchestra and this instrumental is just epic!
5. 6th Borough Project ‘Do It To The Max’
That beat always gets people in the mood to groove. Perfect bar track!
6. Michael Jackson ‘I Can't Help It’ (Todd Terje edit)
One of the greatest edits of all time. This was played loads at the festival and the bar.
7. Gregory Porter ‘1960 What?’ (Opolopo Kick and Bass rerub)
So many good memories of dropping this towards the end of a night. Deep funky music with meaning.
8. Soldout 'Wazabi' (Kolombo remix)
Never fails to tip the dance floor from 'bumpin' to 'jumpin'!
9. Street Corner Symphony 'Street Corner Symphony' (Harvey remix)
A humungous 14-minute work out that just builds and builds into a percussive monster.
10. Prince 'I Wanna Be Your Lover'
To be honest, we usually end up playing Dimitri from Stoke On Trent's 7+ minute re-edit of this Prince classic (but that's not on Spotify) – but you can't go wrong with the original, either. The perfect singalong to end the night on!