Hailing from the North of England, wAFF had the taste of the club scene and began his craft in his native city of Hull, and then moved onto tearing things up in Leeds after the beginning of the Koala parties. Now a beloved member of the Hot Creations and Paradise family, wAFF spreads his fun loving, party starting persona internationally, alongside having various releases with the likes of Drumcode, Moda Black, elrow Music and more. Within this interview, we capture who wAFF is as a person, and how this pairs so incredibly well together with who he is as a DJ.
Catch wAFF at The BPM Festival Portugal 2019 within the Faro District, Portugal from Thursday 12th - Sunday 15th September.
What are your early musical influences - have they changed? Who are your musical influences now?
I’d love to say I had more influences growing up to create a better history of myself through music, but I never really started to embrace it until I was about 18, when I started going to raves for the first time. Back then I used to love funky house, Bob Sinclair, Roger Sanchez, Joey Negro along with tons of other artists. At one point, Fedde Le Grande - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit was gonna be my funeral song and everything! It wasn’t until I started getting into minimal around like 2008 or something; I would listen to Luciano, Magda, Marc Houle, Audion amongst many more all the time - I just loved that sound. With all that said, the actual main thing that influenced the way I make music now is the Tania Vulcano, Loco Dice - Circoloco DC10 Radio One Essential mix. If you haven’t listened to this already I strongly suggest you do - it’s my all time favourite mix.
But recently, I have got a lot more into the minimal/house sound, so my musical style has changed. The people I love to listen to at the moment are all the Slapfunk DJ’s, Samuel Deep, his Brother Julian Alexander and the Real Gang guys - they’re all really good, along with another friend of mine named Ferro who is also great. I also absolutely love the Fuse guys. I’m good friends with all of them and they all inspire me a lot. Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton, Seb Zito & Rich NXT are all amazing producers and DJ’s.
And, last of all, I think Jamie Jones influences me a lot. We’ve been mates for years now and every time I see him play he inspires me so much. My choice of music has definitely changed from listening to Jamie so many times. He is unique and has so many interesting tracks. It does my head in when I don’t know the names of them all!
Favourite moments from Hull & Leeds nightlife? How do they differ?
When I was like 18/19 years old, I would go to Deja Vu at the Welly Club, listening to funky house and electro. Hull nightlife then really was class. I started to put events on in Hull with my two friends Matt Thornton and Phil Wilson. For some reason we called it Koala. F*ck knows why, but somehow I came up with the name and said to my mates, “ere, why don’t we call it Koala?” Without question they both were like… “F*CK YEAH!” - so that was that. We had some great times doing parties, but it was difficult as we were putting on minimal techno events and not many people were into it: it was a slow start. Eventually, we actually changed the scene in Hull and everyone started getting more into that sound. The other nights started up like Different Language and they went on to become really successful. Deja Vu is still going and they now play tech house/techno, and also a good friend of mine has a really successful party called Illicit, so I think Hull is doing great now!
However, Leeds really was next level for me. I stopped doing Koala and started going to Leeds every week and had some mental nights there. Dirty Disco was always a favourite of mine, and then the mental afterparty Very Very Wrong Indeed (and it actually was). There was loads of random shit everywhere. Some girl was ironing her top on an ironing board with an actual iron in the middle of the club. People were getting rolled around in huge tyres and people sat in shopping trolleys. Mint Club had endless amazing parties I will always remember.. They were some of my favourite nights out ever. Mono_cult was as sick minimal party which was run by Ray Mono and Matt Long. I There’s way too many to pick from!
How does your upcoming release differ from previous?
I never really have a certain sound that I go for or try to release, I just make music and when I think some of it is great, I just put it out. I just released a free download of my Time Deluxe - It Just Won’t Do, b. Alan Fitzpatrick has taken a liking to some new stuff of mine so possibly will be seeing a release on his label We Are The Brave before the end of the year. Richy Ahmed has also taken 2 tunes from me for his label 432 so fingers crossed that all this will be out before the end of the year. But, each release is completely different and has a mixture of genres and sounds. And, there's more techno to be heard from me.
Regarding Drumcode release - would you continue to producer similar?
My answer to this is yes, 100%. I've been focusing a lot recently on getting more made and perfecting my sound. I absolutely love techno. Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman, Jonas Kopp, Zenker Brothers, Rodhad, Nina Kraviz to name a few. Their sound really influences me when I come to make or play techno. So yes, very soon will be more techno from me.
Thoughts on the scene in Ibiza at the moment. Do you think it is changing? Is it less about the music and more about the party now?
Ibiza is definitely changing: it depends who you ask as to whether it’s for the better or for the worse. I definitely don’t think it has the heart of what it did years ago. Everything changed and it’s a little weird. It’s still of course amazing and I don’t think that will ever change, but yes there are a lot more VIP table-service clubs. It’s not my thing, but I do enjoy it whenever I’m amongst it. The clubs still really work and they still boot off; Hi Ibiza is still great and I love to play there. Blue Marlin is always good fun, Ushuaia is mint too. The young people still go and rave on the dancefloor and that's what’s important I feel. Along as you still have that then it will be fine. Circoloco and Paradise is still rocking week in week out, that’s not changed. I'm in a different stage of my life now, I’m DJing full time so my experience in Ibiza is different to what it used to be when I was a raver. I still love Ibiza so much and want to live there fully one day in the far far away future - but I’m sure people who were raving in Ibiza before I was even born would definitely say its changed. But for better or worse, I really don’t know. I still think its great and I really enjoy myself every time I play.
In regards to you being a vegan, how long have you been vegan for? What was the turning point, do you think now there is no going back?
I’ve been vegan for five or six years. I decided that I wasn’t happy with my recent knowledge of how the animals were murdered - it really upset me when I finally stopped looking away and accepted the reality of what was really going on - and I’m so glad that I did.
So, I stopped eating just meat at first, but after maybe 6 months it was so strange - my body started reacting to fish. I would never feel right after eating it so I eventually had to stop. Then eggs, and then last of all cheese which was the hardest, as I loved it. But, I quickly got used to it and have since never looked back. I get down sometimes with the lifestyle I have and being vegan means it’s so difficult to eat well. Sometimes I'll be on a 15 hour flight and they forget to bring on the vegan meals and I’m left with no food the whole flight and shit like that. It happens a lot, it's the most annoying thing.
Despite this, I will never go back. I'm never sick anymore, I'm never just ill unless I've actually worn myself down partying too hard or something but never get the cold or flu anymore, I feel great! It’s just such a positive way to live for yourself, animals and the planet as a whole. Vegan food right now is booming, it’s real what you can get now - all the best replacements and vegan cheeses all taste exactly the same.
I mean, I don’t want to eat something that's been tortured all its life and then murdered just so I can have a certain taste. I don’t want to support an industry that's run by evil sadistic psychopaths that enjoy abusing and murdering animals. I feel much better being a vegan. At the end of the day, it’s each to their own, and I'll never force this down anyone's throat or tell someone they are wrong for eating a meal, but do you wanna live a life of compassion towards all walks of life or not? If so, then go vegan and you’ll feel great for it.
Tell me your special moments from Burning Man. What would you say to people who have never been before?
There are just too many special moments to talk about. I think every 2 minutes you’re experiencing the most amazing, beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, then you turn around and something even better is going on - that's it constantly for 7 days. One very special moment was watching Lee Burridge playing sunrise on Robot Heart. There was maybe 2000 people all dancing to this glorious backdrop of the sunset and the mountains in the distance, people are naked, people are kissing and in love all around you, people are just raving, there's things exploding and giant creatures walking around, people are skydiving into the festival and joining the party, huge art cars pulling up to join the party, everything is all going on at once and in such a peaceful way. The energy is just the best i've ever felt there. Lee puts this wicked tune on and it has this big melodic breakdown, everyone’s got their hands in the air, then suddenly to the right of me, a woman is lifted up in her wheelchair above everyone's heads. The crowd are holding her up so she can see, but then the whole desert start cheering for this woman and she’s just in floods of tears; I’m actually emotional writing this because it was such a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget. The whole crowd are just cheering at the top of their voice and Lee lowers the volume, he’s cheering and everyone on every art car is cheering. It was such a celebration of everything but also hugely for this disabled woman.
But I'm telling you, those sort of things happened every day somewhere else on the playa; I can’t express how amazing this place is through words - you have to go yourself to see. I took my mum there for her 60th birthday 2 years ago and my step dad came along too. This was again so special to have her with me and all my friends for the full 7 days. She came to every party and stayed up all night with us all. She would get up at 6am to come watch me play on the playa with Jamie Jones and Lee Foss at Kazbah, I would see her talking in sign language to my deaf friend whilst sharing drinks with him and dancing with everyone. It was the best feeling seeing her so happy amongst all of this stuff. She had the best time of her life and she plans to go again next year with my step dad and build an art car! So fuck knows what that’s gonna end up like, but lets see!
List a few things that remain on your bucket list.
Ahhh so many!!! I want to get back into acting again and do serious film. I wanna do base jumping with a wingsuit... it will never happen, but I'd love it to do it. I wanna do every horror and zombie experience possible as I love them! I want to open up my vegan restaurant sometime soon. I wanna start my own label and do my own parties which i'm gonna start next year. I want to rescue animals and have my own animal sanctuary. I want to help the homeless, and help any people in the world that are in bad situations and that desperately need help. I just want to see good in the world so anything I can do to help that. I wanna play Amnesia Terrace but in the actual original dj booth as that was always my dream. I want to play Timewarp and Kappa Futur festival. But if I’m honest, I have really ticked off most of my bucket list already, I’m constantly everywhere in the world so I’ve seen so much and done so much. I just want to do EVERYTHING and more!
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