wAFF – I never planned to become a DJ, I just ended up making music

Grant Richards caught up with wAFF ahead of this weekends gig at Ketoloco, back with it’s big size 12s on February 14th for a party that is sure to get the blood flowing, the fists pumping and the heart warmed through. Taking place at the esteemed and well appointed Warehouse LDN, headliners are to be Cocoon and Hot Creations man wAFF along with a very special guest from Moon Harbour, 2020Vision man Jonny Cade and Ketoloco founder Chris Halliday alongside James Carter.

The party kicks off at 10pm and in many ways will hark back to Ketoloco’s hallowed roots in Leeds, because Warehouse LDN is not only stripped back and raw in character like the LS1 basement in which this party started, but also headliners Jonny and wAFF attended said parties as punters back in the day. The sound system in the club, too, is spot on, having been installed by Tony Andrews of Funktion One, so everything is set for a another fine nocturnal gathering.

ketaloco

wAFF, is a UK producer and DJ who has served up bombs on Cocoon and Hot Creations as well as being a resident at DC10. He has a rolling techno sound that is ripe for big open spaces and has also recently been picked up by the excellent Moon Harbour label. Jonny Cade is a London based producer and DJ with a cultured deep house slash tech sound that is fulsome and buoyant. Landing on labels like 2020 Vision and Black Key, his EPs get played across the board and never fail to move floors.

Chief support comes from one man party maker Chris Halliday and local rising star James Carter, so you can be sure that house, techno and the many shades in between will be rollin from the moment the doors open until past the time then should have closed. For last minute tickets, head here but be quick!

Ketoloco, who you’re playing for at their first party of 2015 at the Warehouse in Edmonton, London, sounds like it has a very similar ethos to your own Koala night that you used to run. Cool parties run by a close knit group without any pretensions. Do you see the similarities yourself at all?

Yeah I guess its very similar. We used to just have such a wicked party when we had Koala because the people that came and made it, there was no pretensions which added to the positive vibe. I used to go to Ketoloco’s basement party’s years ago at some student house in Headingley, Leeds. And its was the best fun I ever used to have, it was great. There was always a good crew with them all and the parties were such a laugh so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all are now years on.

No night can go without ‘One of those moments’ where something hilarious has happened or the decks have fried mid-set, any stand out moments you can share?

Well our last Koala at a certain club, I DJ’d in a bright pink g-string and at the end I nicked the decks and took em back to mine and had a ruddy good party for however long. The club owner went mad and didn’t realise I nicked them, eventually the club found out and I had to take them back to prevent damage to our night, but yeah…..was so close to having a free set of decks, shame I got caught!

I believe you have a new release forthcoming on Drumcode? That’s one you must be excited about, right? How did that come about exactly?

Yeah I’m so excited for this one, I’ve worked really hard on this release and its BIG! So yeah, I think everyone will be very happy with the outcome. Its still completely me, but TECHNO!

I basically messaged Adam Beyer on his Facebook fan page and sent him some tunes, and he got back to me right away and loved the tracks right from the beginning so yeah it happened pretty easy. Since then I’ve made a good relationship with Adam and we speak often, even played together so it will be easy from now on for me to get my music across to him.

Warehouse has a fantastic Funktion One sound system and DJ set up, so I think everyone that’s playing will be happy once it’s pumping. You see a lot of DJs clambering off the Funktion One hype and getting aboard the Void train at the moment. Do you have any preference on sound systems?

Yeah I seen a picture Chris Halliday (one of the lads who runs Ketoloco) sent me of the Function ones, they look bad ass. Cant wait to get plugged into them. I’m one for loudness and think its essential to have decent speakers if your to throw a party, otherwise it doesn’t create the vibe you want. But to be honest I don’t have a clue about anything to do with speakers, I just turn up to places and play. I can always spot Function One or Void but anything else I have no idea. Id say I prefer Function one just because I’ve played with it a lot more but I’ve heard Void in some clubs and its literally the best. I heard Amnesia in Ibiza has its own personally made speakers for the club? Ive definitely never seen them anywhere before and there wicked.

I read in a previous interview that you’re main aim was ‘to make everybody happy’, which I feel is a great outlook to have as a DJ, but one that is so regularly lost amongst the ego and DJ riders these days. Would you say that you have quite an Old Skool view on young shoulders, as that ideology was much more prevalent and was actually adhered to in raves gone by?

Well I’ve never had any background history of music, I never planned to become a DJ, I just ended up making music when I was 15-16 years old and fell in love with music right away. So when it came to me being a DJ and playing to crowds of people, I just wanted everyone to enjoy the music I enjoy and that was it, I was just having such a mint time playing music just to myself, so it makes perfect sense to do the same to shit loads of people.

You had a great time at Burning Man festival the other year, I’ve always been curious but never taken the leap, what was it that was so magical for you? Was it anything within the typically OTT headline in the Daily Mail that read “Wife-swapping. Orgy tents. Drugs on tap. How billionaires and Hollywood stars are flocking to a festival that makes Glasto look SO tame”?

Its hard to say what was and is the most special thing about it because the whole thing is so special its to hard to separate everything that’s involved but yeah its pretty mental like. Last year me and some friends took a load of magic mushrooms and went on a bike ride, and came past the Gay camp. It was the first time id seen it in the 2 years I’ve been, so was pretty interesting to see what was going on there ha. There was big pink gym called “The Pink Gym” funnily enough, and there was well loud house music blasting out, so we was like, mint lets ride through this camp see if anything weird is going on, and literally as soon as we went into the camp area there was 3 guys having a threesome on the desert floor, all naked covered in dust…..was class! Proper love in your face shit, was so weird and we was all pissing ourselves as were off our face on mushrooms. That is only 1 of the crazy moments I’ve had. The first year on acid me and 2 mates stopped by a midget bonding tent and asked a 6ft 5 tranny where barbie death camp was, like….where else would that ever happen. So crazy.

But its not all like that, its very beautiful and so much amazing things going on there. I remember last year me and all my pals were at Robot heart (which is a massive double decker bus rigged with massive speakers and visuals that drives around the desert with all the best DJ’s on playing none stop) watching Lee Burridge play which was one of the best set I’ve probably ever heard. And right at the pinnacle point Dan Croll – From nowhere (Ame Remix) was playing and there was thousands of people alone the desert dancing, it was the sunrise so everything was very beautiful and the sunrise’s in Nevada desert are like nothing you’ve seen before its like you are on another planet.

Anyways right at the point when I the vibe was at its peak, everyone cheering, cuddling and whatever, all of a sudden I just see this disabled woman in a wheelchair get lifted right up into the air and the crowd all hold her as high as she could go still in her wheelchair and everyone and I mean everyone including Lee barrage all raised their hands for her and started cheering for her giving her as much love as possible and she was crying her eyes out from joy and happiness and its was so so special, I was nearly in tears, we all were it was such a happy moment and it just makes you love humans, for what they are, doesn’t matter who you are, what life you have, whether you are disabled or whatever, it doesn’t matter one bit, everyone is equal and thats what Burning man is all about. BASICALLY GET YOURSELF THERE

If you were only able to spend the rest of your days living at an eternal Burning Man festival or to be stuck on Ibiza forever, which would you opt for and why?

Tough decision but i’d say Ibiza, and the only reason why is because the conditions of being in the desert for just a week its too much, by the end you want to get out. Its so hot during the day like too hot at times, and just so much dust n shit everywhere. There is no showers you gotta use your own in a RV which usually get broken or something or use the communal ones but its just a bucket of water and you stand in a blow up pool thing my bobby! So yeah, Definitely Ibiza, proper nice apartment with air con, loads of swimming pools!

Being part of the Hot Creations familia must have been great for your development as a DJ and producer maybe even in general? What are the best things you’ve learned and/or experienced whilst being part of the HC gang?

Well its not being part of hot creations thats making me learn anything its the whole journey and experience I’m having thats making me learn, and I’m learning loads. Its not an easy journey energetically and emotionally for me, its all amazing and theres no negative 1 bit. Just a huge goal for me is to completely knock drugs and alcohol on the head and I’m so close to getting there, but with this lifestyle it’s so hard because you are constantly around it 2 to 3 times a week intensely so its a HUGE challenge so I’m learning apt about myself, will power, self control, focus, its all amazing and making me a better person but you either take these challenges head don and I believe you will succeed or you don’t face these and fail. Its good because i’m very aware of each weakness and strength of myself so when I’m affected by anything I take step back look at what it is and why its effecting me and see how I can learn from it or understand.

Ive gone through so much already and its only the beginning of my journey I feel so theres just so so much to go through. I’ve gone through experiencing insecurities, low confidence, ego, fear, worry, love, everything its crazy. But Its just all to make me a better stronger person so its wicked I love it :D Give me more of it.

What I’ve learned so far is believe in yourself and never doubt anything you do. and with strength and power you will be the biggest success you can possibly be.

All your early stuff was created in the slightly limited, but no less creative method of laptop, software, headphones. Bosh, job done! Technology has been able to empower people like yourself and budding producers all over the world, to get amongst it and actually have a crack at making your mark in the game. What did learning that way teach you most and now that you have the ability to work in a ‘proper’ studio, what don’t you miss one bit?

I guess its just taught me you don’t need anything, if you are talented you only need basic equipment to get what you want. I still only use headphones and laptop thats it ha. Don’t have a studio, don’t have hardware and my speakers are broken and never actually used them properly. So still exactly the same as I was from the beginning. Its wicked you should try it, you don’t need shit. Just good set of samples and plug-ins!

Well, its been great to meet you; finally, how is 2015 shaping up for you gig and release wise, anywhere we should we look to go in the summer for a great party?

This year is already crazy, its none stop for me. Im going to do a tour in Australia in the next 2 weeks, ill be playing there on the 28th of Feb at Start Cue parties in Sydney and then go to Melbourne and play at Revolver on the 1st of March. Also I’m playing in Queenstown in New Zealand on the 27th Feb too which is exciting. Through the summer I’m doing my residency at Paradise DC10 so you can catch me there, also just been told playing for Marco Carola at Amnesia for Music on too which I’m so so buzzing about. So yah thats just a handful of places i’ll be playing.


About the Author

Resident DJ for Kinky Malinki for over 15 years. Trainer enthusiast, goalkeeper and collector of too much stuff. Have been dipping my toe in to the world of writing for quite some time having written for Azuli Records in the past, along with doing Kinky Malinki’s press work and writing a sneaker spread for an urban lifestyle magazine called 24/7 Live Listings. I’ve always go too much to say, especially when it comes to the dance industry, so what better way than to channel it in to articles for Decoded Magazine.