Renowned DJ Wes Baggaley on the ‘queer’ influence on the club scene
From ecstatic clubbing sets at Glastonbury’s NYC Downlow and Horse Meat Disco to his regular Rinse FM shows, we catch up with Wigan’s finest and one of the gay underground’s hottest DJs, Wes Baggaley ahead of his debut Berlin Berlin at Uncut on Easter Sunday, April 21st.
An avid vinyl collector, known for his extensive and driving sounds, all mixed with seamless flair, Wes plays at some of the coolest parties in Europe, including Chapter 10, Dalston Super Store, Tama Sumo, Lakuti’s Your Love, and Trough. Known for his pummelling back to back sets with Prosumer too, Wes always ensures the party rocks when he’s on the decks.
We’re looking forward to your set for Buttons at Berlin Berlin Uncut! For those that haven’t heard you, can you describe what kind of music you play?
Thank you, I’m looking forward to it too. I hate this question because I have such broad taste and it depends on the party and whether the track works but I guess I’m mostly known for playing house and techno with some disco thrown in. I’d definitely say that the stuff I play stays true to its Chicago, Detroit and NYC roots but that doesn’t necessarily mean I just play old music, I’m always buying and looking for new stuff. I throw a few curveballs in occasionally but I try to keep it funky and soulful whilst keeping it energetic I also love a good bongo.
Is queer clubbing in London/UK in good health right now? How important do you think ‘queer’ influences are on clubbing in general?
I definitely think queer clubbing in London/UK was quite stale and mostly revolved around ‘cis white gay men’ for a long time with exception of a few great nights like Horse Meat Disco and Homoelectric in Manchester, but thankfully that started to change in the late ‘00s and things are getting better and better. Dalston Superstore is a great place and there’s always something interesting going on there (Dan Beaumont and I put on a bi-monthly party there called Bottom Heavy). There’s also Adonis and Chapter 10 in London which are amazing queer raves in warehouse type spaces which attract incredibly diverse crowds and always have great line ups.
There are great queer nights springing up all across the country like Kiss Me Again and Meat Free in Manchester, Love Muscle in Leeds and Shoot Your Shot in Glasgow, all of which are very much focused on quality music and being a safe space. Oh, and of course there’s NYC Downlow at Glastonbury which is the best queer club ever that only exists for 4 days a year in a field. It’s magical. Queer influences on clubbing are absolutely essential. Clubbing wouldn’t exist as it does today without queer culture. Also, there is nothing more boring than a club full of straight chin strokers!
So how did you first get into vinyl?
I have honestly always collected vinyl. I used to get records as presents every birthday and Christmas. When I was 6 I got my first record player as a Christmas present. At the time I used to get 50p a week pocket money and you could get 3 ex-jukebox singles for 50p from a record stall on Wigan market. I used to go there and spend my pocket money every week and I never stopped collecting. I also inherited my auntie’s punk collection when she left home in the early ‘80s which I still have. When I moved to Manchester I lived in a flat in the city centre opposite Vinyl Exchange and Piccadilly Records and used to go in there every day.
I still play vinyl. I prefer playing records. Maybe because that’s what I learned with but I also like the feel of them and the sound. I’m not one of those vinyl only purists though. I also use CDJs and buy a lot of digital music for convenience and affordability. I’ve never actually counted my records but it’s in the tens of thousands. Not exactly sure how many. Couldn’t be arsed counting them all. I’ve definitely got favourites but they vary from day today. There are a few I could never get bored with though.
You’ve also racked up an incredible amount of radio show mixes and features from the Boiler Room, Rinse FM and Mixmag etc. What are the main differences between mixing for a radio show and a club set?
The Boiler Room and Mixmag stuff I approached in the same way as playing in a club because essentially that’s what it is. It’s a bit more nerve-wracking because there are cameras in your face. I have a weekly show on Rinse FM on Wednesdays at 10 am so I tend to keep the time in mind for that and I don’t really bang it out too much. I play some slower stuff that I like at the beginning sometimes. I also talk a lot on the show.
Berlin Berlin Uncut – Day & Dark Rave is at Egg London, 200 York Way, from 2pm to 6am on the 21stof April. For your tickets head over to EggLondon.co.uk.
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