An extended chat with the team behind Wiggle: Terry Francis
There are few club events in London that have lasted as long as Wiggle and that have managed to maintain such a staunch music policy. The club night started out 19 years ago and, like many parties, as a slightly illegal party just for friends but it soon grew into a legitimate promotion, attracting plenty of the most influential DJs within the electronic music world.
From Mr.C to Jay Tripwire, Glimpse, Simon Baker and many many more, Wiggle has maintained a sterling reputation thanks to its great crowds (some of whom have been attending since the very beginning), good atmosphere and staying true to its original ethos. So here is a special interview with resident DJ at Wiggle, Terry Francis. For interviews with Eddie Richards and Nathan Coles go over to my website HERE.
Along with being a resident DJ at one of the world’s most respected and revered clubs, fabric, Terry started Wiggle with Nathan Coles and, of course, has been resident DJ with the party ever since.
When did your love affair with music begin?
My mum was a Motown lover so I guess that was my first exposure to music. In my early teens I shared a room with my brother who was into rock so I listened to Queen, Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix, which I still like. I didn’t find out until my mum passed away that she used to travel with a big band around the country and tap dance, play the banjo and clarinet, so I guess she was a big influence – she always had music on in the house. When I was about 15 my friend Mickey and I used to listen to a lot of northern soul and then sort of moved on to early eighties funk, electro and progressed into early house .
How and when did you get into DJing?
A friend of mine, Julian, asked if I wanted to play a night with him in a bar in Leatherhead. He was really into his music and I had decks so we started a night in a rockers bar, which didn’t really go down very well at first as you can imagine but turned out really good. People used to travel to it from quite a long way away. From there I got a gig at Method Air in Vauxhall with Ben and Andy from Boilerhouse and then I got a gig on the south coast and started playing Sterns, in Worthing, on a bi-weekly residency and just went from there.
What kind of music were you playing when you first started?
By the time I started playing clubs I was playing house; Mr Fingers, Virgo, Warriors Dance, Trax Records… Acid House.
Who were your earliest inspirations?
With house music I suppose Solar Radio with Jazzy M and Kiss when it was a pirate station, that sort of stuff.
How did Wiggle come into existence? Whose idea was it and why did it come about?
Nathan and I had very similar backgrounds in musical taste, we’d known each other for a while and decided to get together and put on a party so we could play music we loved.
What was the original ethos?
We wanted to put on totally unpretentious parties for people who loved to go out and have a good time and enjoy good music. The name comes from a good friend of mine called Tovey whose dad John used to call her his ‘little wiggles’ when she was young. We thought, “What a great name!”, totally unpretentious – the way we wanted it. Her dad used to come to the parties, it was a really diverse crowd. Acid house…
Where was the first Wiggle held and how did it go?
The first Wiggle was a bit of a shambles actually. We had his penthouse suite at Tower Bridge but got let down with it on the same day as a party. It turned out okay because none of us realised it was the day of the London marathon so no one would have got to the party anyway due to road closures. So Nathan found a lock-up in Camden, drove the cars out of there and we got in and had our party.
Who was on the line-up?
Might have to cross reference this with Nathan this one because I can’t remember. Eddie didn’t play this party, we got him on the next one and then asked him to be our resident.
Wiggle is renowned for being held in unusual venues, how did you go about finding these places and then converting them into a space for raving?
Sometimes we just got what we could and decorated it and made it into a party. We wanted the sort of places we could do what you want, no bouncers, so a lot of the time they were pretty raw.
How has the event evolved and changed over the years?
We try to keep it the same really, same music, same reasons why we do the parties. Some things changed – they always do; the crowd, music develops and takes different directions but still has a underlying funk and dirty groove.
What are the key differences between Wiggle in its infancy and Wiggle in the year 2013?
We’re 19 years older!
Wiggle has been going for quite a while now, were there ever any moments where you thought you might not be able to carry on doing it?
There’s been a few moments we’ve thought about doing something new but it’s mainly down to Nathan’s energy for the party that we’ve kept going and I’m really glad we have.
What does each of you contribute to the night?
I don’t have so much to do with it these days, Nathan does most of the organisation for it. We put our heads together to choose DJs and stuff like that.
What do you enjoy most about putting on Wiggle?
What have you learned from doing the event? Or what difference has Wiggle made to your lives and careers?
We’ve grown up with Wiggle and been doing it half our lives. It’s helped all our careers and contributed a lot to the London scene over the years
Why do you think it’s lasted as long as it has?
I think the main reason has got to be a very loyal, strong crowd and the right attitude.
What can a newcomer to Wiggle expect to encounter?
A bloody good party!
What’s your view on the general London club scene at the moment? What changes, if any, need to be made to improve the London scene?
Things always change; new music, new crowds but on the whole I think it’s really healthy. Lots of great music and good fun.Eddie Richards, Nathan Coles, Terry Francis, Wiggle
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