In the crowded market that is Glasgow's clubbing scene, one small night has managed to make quite an impression with a no-nonsense music policy and an anything goes attitude. ANDY McCOLGAN talks to the brains behind Wrong Island
Glasgow club night Wrong Island has been throwing intimate and sweaty underground raves in Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s and, for a short while, the V Club for the best part of two years now, drawing comparisons to the parties Basement Jaxx hosted in the mid-90s in terms of the electric atmosphere and the genre-bending and unavoidably party-starting music. The duo responsible for Wrong Island, Teamy and Larry, are no strangers to the Glasgow club scene – between them they’ve been involved with some of the most legendary and exciting nights the city’s seen in the last decade. Which might explain how they’ve pulled in such notable guests as James Murphy and Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem, techy dubstep innovator Ramadanman, Supersoul Recordings underground disco aficionado Xaver Naudascher, Dissident Records boss Andy Blake, and Glasgitalo boys Den Haan and Prince Language.
Generally, the nights at The V Club were reserved for talented tastemakers while the monthly Sleazy’s residency was for Larry and Teamy to concentrate on their own revelry-rousing tendencies. But now it's Sleazy's all the way, with the parties there playing host to guests and the boys' own sets. Musically, pretty much anything (good) goes, but expect to be dancing to the finest techno, disco, dubstep, house, electro, hip hop and everything good that comes in between – with plenty of surprises thrown in to boot. EQ caught up with the boys for a chat about the night’s beginnings, triumphs, the clubbing scene, and their plans for the future…
When did you start up Wrong Island?
Teamy: A few years back… err, September 2007? But we’d done a very similar night at the Sub Club with Shit Robot in July of that year. I share a birthday with Marcus Lambkin (Shit Robot) so we decided to have a birthday shindig.
Larry: I was on my way back from living and working in Dubai (for the only record store in the Middle East no less) when Teamy asked me if I wanted to take over at his Smash Team Disco night – his DJ partner was leaving to concentrate on studies. When I returned we were offered a monthly night at Sleazy’s, which had just got a 3am license in the basement. The venue was ideal for what we had in mind. Teamy had always wanted to call his night Wrong Island, which I loved, and so began our partnership.
You had both been involved in the Glasgow clubbing scene for a while though, right?
Teamy: Yeah, I’d been working for Optimo since 1999, doing bits and bobs for the club and OSCarr (their record label) as well as a short lived but very fun night called Smash Team Disco, which was a bit like Optimo but more focused on the guitar-based stuff.
Larry: I’d been weaving in and out of the Glasgow scene for about eight years. I was one of the residents at the weekly Thursday night party Soulshaker in a club that used to exist called MAS. Then I moved on to a residency at the Art School’s Saturday nights along with a few renowned legends of the city including Twitch and Wilkes from Optimo and Martin from Rubadub Records. It was called Eskrima, which took over from My Machines. I held down a few bar residencies as well and got asked to guest at various nights including Kinky Afro at the Sub Club.
Tell us about the sorts of guests you book for Wrong Island.
Teamy: They’ve mostly already been friends or acquaintances – Marcus, James and Pat from LCD, Xaver, George Issakidis, The Niallist, Prince Languagem, Den Haan and Truffle Club were all people we knew in one way or another before we booked them. The only people we didn’t know already were Ramadanman and Andy from Dissident, though Andy and I hit it off immediately and through that I started working for Dissident.
Larry: The ones who don’t overcharge and are willing to stay in Teamy’s spare room for the night are always good! Yeah, so far it’s been guests we love and respect and who don’t have the ‘just remember who I am’ mentality. Folk who are down to earth and fun to play with – sounds a little kinky… Ones without agents really! Ha ha!
What have been the stand-out Wrong Island moments so far?
Teamy: Without a doubt, my favourite moment was the time we played The Micronauts bootleg of R fucking Kelly called High Rye. I played this out one night as the last tune and had a few guys and girls up the front bumping and grinding against each other, I mean really sleazy like. The song’s called Sex Me and has the most preposterously filthy lyrics. Not sexy, just hilarious. “Fellas grab your ladies and make it real wet.” Then it goes into insanity mode, the bit that’s less R Kelly and a shitload more Micronauts – loads of squealing synths and some weird microsamples. Suddenly I had one girl screaming at me: “You’ve ruined it, you’ve ruined my whole night you basturts!” Larry and I were too busy laughing to respond.
Larry: Yeah, that was a quality moment for sure. We do like to mess around with people’s heads from time to time – we are Wrong Island after all.
Teamy: The LCD Soundsystem afterparty at the Sub Club was amazing too. Just OTT fun. I think it was a moment that converted a lot of people back to disco. I think for a lot of people it still had a stigma attached to it.
Larry: And the night we had Andy Blake play for the first time was a cracker – great crowd and top tracks all night. Ramadanman’s set was also one of the best I’ve heard in a long time too. Apart from that I think some of the best moments have come from just Teamy and I doing our thing, those unexpected nights where, for some reason or another, everything just works so well and the place is going off. Oh and the time I made the smoke machine work all night. Damn thing.
I’m sure there’s no shortage of DJs and acts you admire but who would be on the line-up at your dream Wrong Island party?
Teamy: It possibly sounds a bit strange (or big-headed) but I think I’d enjoy a busy night at the Sub Club with just Larry and I playing more than a big festival-type thing. OK, maybe as an after party to an LCD Soundsystem show that Den Haan had supported at.
Larry: I think I agree with Teamy on that one – just a night of us at the Sub would keep me happy. It’s always more of a buzz playing exactly what you want to hear and others vibing off your music, rather than being put through an often disappointing set by someone who you thought would be much more exciting. If we did do a huge party and I had to chose then it would probably include the likes of Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Kode 9, Ramadanman, Aardvarck, Flying Lotus, Andy Blake, Cool Kids, Twitch and Andy Weatherall.
Teamy, I heard that you’re about to set up your own label. Can you tell us a bit about this?
Teamy: Yeah, I’m starting a label with the guys from Den Haan, ostensibly to release tracks by them though we’re also releasing the soundtrack from a straight-to-VHS revenge movie from the 80s called Courier of Death. Matt and Gardi are really into so-good-they’re-bad movies and this one has an amazing John Carpenter/Claudio Simonetti soundtrack. Matt tracked down the guy who did it and bought it. The CD is out now. Somewhere down the line we’d like to re-release the film on DVD too. The next release is a new Den Haan 12” called The Heist.
Glasgow is respected throughout the world for the quality of its clubbing scene. Why do you think it’s vibrant?
Teamy: God only knows? There must be something in the water.
When it comes to techno and dance music it makes perfect sense – the other cities most associated with that type of music are Detroit, Sheffield and Berlin, all large working-class, post-industrial cities. I heard a story that Hi NRG records used to make it into the national Top 40 on the basis of sales in the Glasgow area alone. I don’t know if it’s true, but the fact that there’s a legend like that at all says something.
Larry: Glasgow has always been quite a diverse and raw city – lots of people here are pretty passionate about the arts, music, fashion and so on. It’s also a rough, tough, grim place to be at times, and from this often stems the need for escapism, the need to let loose. I think nightclubs provide the perfect place to do so for many of the inhabitants. You speak to most DJs and musicians who have played in Glasgow and they usually rank it as one of their favourite places in the world. It’s just how it is – Glasgow is absolutely nuts and probably always will be.
What plans are afoot for the coming months and years?
Teamy: We’re going to try to make some tunes of our own this summer. I’ve got a wee studio set-up in my spare room.
Larry: Yes, something I should have begun a long time ago. Always yapped about making my own music, but I guess the time was never quite right. I think it might be now.
Teamy: I also want to try to get an idea for a podcast out of my brain and onto the internet. It’s an idea I’ve had for a few years but never got off my arse and done. A bit like Wrong Island. We’d been talking about doing that for four years by the time we actually started it up.
Larry: I would also like to get to the end of my degree course that goes into its final year in September. Not easy after 10 years of no study, showing my age there. Of course I would love to see Wrong Island continue to stay well above water, you just never know in these difficult times though. Will we sink with the rest of this wrong island? I hope not…
Wrong Island is the second Saturday of the month at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s, Glasgow. The next party is on August 8. And don’t miss the second birthday in September with a very special surprise guest… Visit www.myspace.com/wrong15land