The rise and rise of HAAi
It’s winter time, and we’re feeling the cold winds and chills, so the Wifey collective have made Dummy an exclusive knockout, pumping mix to stir up the heat and keep us nice and warm.
Wifey has been running since 2008. As a club night, it takes places every two months at east London hothouse, The Alibi, and focuses on bassline, grime, garage, funky, and house bookings from all over the country. As a radio show, it happens bi-monthly on Fridays on Deja Vu FM, and is operated by residents Ralph LTF – one of the men behind the social music sharing site This Is My Jam – and ROBN, label boss of Niche ‘N Bump and occasional contributor of The Wire, as well as Badge Attic, who also goes by Badga Tek – the third and newest member and one of the founders of the highly respected Leeds-based club night Ruffage. Wifey has brought London an exciting amount of DJs, offering a sweaty, underground, niche clubbing sensation. While their previous line-ups include impressive guests such as Youngstar, DJ Funk, Marcus Nasty, DJ Champion, DJ Q, Slackk, Bass Clef, Altered Natives, Mr Beatnick and many more, their next installment on 30th November will welcome the return of Nightwave – formerly known as 8Bitch, who released on labels like Svetlana Industries and Unknown To The Unknown, as well as London newcomer Traxmatik.
Unlike our previous offerings, this is an enthralling, niche mix, expertly veering between old and new sounds, melding heavy basslines and hip-hop futurism. It also includes a bunch of unreleased material from Semtek, Palace, Beneath, Hagan, Samrai, Cc, a cut from Spatial on ROBN’s Niche ‘N Bump, and a slice of production from Ralph LTF himself, forthcoming on DJ Haus’ Unknown To The Unknown label. Now dive in, let loose, you will be rewarded.
Hey Robin and Ralph, how’s it going? Please introduce yourself to Dummy readers.
Robin: Hi, I’m Robin and I run Wifey with Ralph and our mysterious colleague who goes by the aliases Badge Attic, Badga Tek and sometimes Jim.
Ralph: Hi, I’m the other one.
Why did you start Wifey and how do you want it to be different from other nights happening?
*Robin: We started because we thought we could do something different from other nights in London. When me and Ralph shared a house we used to listen to bassline in the mornings before work, and ended up getting really into it. You could buy the records from Rhythm Division on Roman Road and Uptown on D’Arblay Street. (R.I.P. both of them.) It wasn’t easy to see bassline DJs down South, though, so we started a night.
Ralph: I think when we started it was just us and Night Slugs booking bassline/ niche music in London. Northern Line (now defunct label run by DJ Paleface – who would subsequently become 1/3 of the Crazy Cousinz) did a few showcases at The Egg and one at Mass in Brixton. Other than that you were all out of luck.
Can you tell us more about this mix?
Robin: It was recorded live using Serato. I mixed the first segment at 130 BPM and Ralph did the second at 140. It’s sliced in half if you like by Death Grips’ Guillotine. These days the music at Wifey is fairly diverse, so we don’t usually stick to one tempo.
Ralph: Hopefully it’s not too weird sounding to most listeners. Anyone who’s been to the night will get it. We’re not an ‘anything goes’ night at all – everything has a kind of aesthetic and a pace and a vibe – but we’ve changed a lot throughout the last couple of years.
Please highlight a couple of tracks included and why?
Robin: I’m going to be cheeky and pick out Book Down, Way Round by Spatial, because it’s coming out on a label I’ve started called Niche ‘N Bump. I think it deserves highlighting anyway. I suppose it’s a vocal techno track but I’m not sure what to call it, which has to be a good thing. Overall I think there’s lots of great music in the mix by relatively unknown producers, like Hagan, Cc and Semtek. Beneath is getting some recognition now, which is good to see. Samrai is better known as half of Swing Ting but he’s started to come into his own as well. It’s all individual sounding but hopefully works together.
Ralph: There’s a track of mine in there that should be coming out on our friend Rupert’s (Hot City) label Unknown To The Unknown. I was trying to make a standard UK funky track and then all this aggro bass came into it from somewhere. Whatever, I’m into it, and I’m going to push some more tracks soon. I played a Slackk track to finish the mix that he sent over saying it was ‘grime’ which shows how broad that definition is getting (I think this is a good thing).
What/who influence how you run Wifey?
Ralph: I’ll let Robin talk about more general influences musically etc, but I’d like to take a quick pause to give some shouts basically. There’ve been a few really important people involved during the last couple of years. Not least of all Steve Shaw, who was part of our crew for just over a year. He’s left to do Sour Deez, which is an excellent oddball label that puts out experimental dancefloor bangers. Andy Musgrave has been a massive friend to our night, done loads of design work for us and runs pretty much my favourite club night in the UK, Crazylegs.
Robin: It’s just a club night so I’m not sure we have ‘influences’, but obviously the DJs we book are important. We spend most of our time thinking about what’ll make a good line-up. The DJs’ enthusiasm inspires you to keep on going, too. A surprising number ask to come back. Let’s also shout out everyone who’s ever come, especially our friends and the regulars who always turn up. That’s more than we could ask for.
What’s exciting you right now, musically?
Robin: I get excited by music all the time still, but I couldn’t say that some genre or scene is the most thrilling thing out there. These days I find myself looking out for good bits everywhere, often a one-off type of thing. Beneath and Slackk are good examples who we’ve booked. Our night probably looks incoherent now to the casual passer by, but it makes a lot of sense, honest.
Ralph: Both of us have listening lives that are not necessarily directly linked to how we are as DJs. One of my favourite producers right now is Lorenzo Senni who does incredible and abstract things to his favourite tropes in trance music, but I doubt I’d ever play his stuff in a set.
Coming into the fourth year of operation, are there any memorable Wifey moments?
Ralph: Dexplicit had his little sister down to do a live PA of the track Lifey. Those two were so sweet, Dex was a bit of hero of mine because he’d produced Pow and then suddenly turned into this absolutely amazing bassline producer. His EP on Riddler Records still sounds amazing today. Lifey is the track we were listening to when we decided to start a night; decided that this stuff was really good and we wanted people to hear it out and enjoy it in the same uncomplicated raving kind of way we were enjoying it. Even though that was pretty early on that’s still a big memory for me.
What’s your favourite kind of biscuit?
What’s next for Wifey?
Robin: Honestly, that’s up in the air. I think we’ve reached a stage where we feel comfortable, not so much like we’re winging any it more. That means soon we’ll have to decide how we’re going to switch it up again!
Ralph: Robin’s turned into a label boss and I’m working on some more releases, but as far as Wifey the club night goes we’re planning a few one-off parties in very different spaces. The line-ups might end up being a bit different to what our regulars have come to expect as well…
1. Geeman – BangT (Clone)
2. Semtek – AFTUM (unreleased)
3. Palace – Trust (forthcoming UTTU)
4. Spatial – Book Down, Way Round (forthcoming Niche N Bump)
5. Beneath – Bellz (unreleased)
6. Ralph LTF – Huff (forthcoming UTTU)
7. Hagan – Mulfunktion (unreleased)
8. Cc – Half Day Road (unreleased)
9. Martin Kemp – Heavy Heavy Heavy (Frijsfo Beats)
10. Samrai – Hear Me Now (unreleased)
11. Death Grips – Guillotine
12. SpaceGhostPurrp – Raider Prayer
13. Joe – Studio Power On
14. Logos – Devils (Palace Remix)
15. Woz – Brick Wall
16. Nguzunguzu – Drop Cage
17. M.I.K – Mor£ (Spooky Remix)
18. DJ Pantha – Dutty
19. Rossi B & Luca – E10 Riddim
20. Trends – Green Forest VIP
21. Spooky – Murderer
22. Deft – No Solace
23. Slackk – Blue Sleet
Tracks 1 – 11 are mixed by Robin. Tracks 12 – 23 are mixed by Ralph.