Clubs Editor, James Dewar, travelled down to Nottingham for its infamous Wigflex night, and to meet the man behind it all, Lukas Wigflex…
Lukas Wigflex is something of a folk hero in and around the East Midlands. His ‘Wigflex’ night, still going strong after twelve years, is widely considered to be Nottingham’s most inimitable, leading the way for the city’s underground scene. As a DJ, he has been described by the likes of Ben UFO as among the UK’s best residents and runs a stage at Gottwood festival, as well as his own Wigflex record label. A couple of weeks ago I went down to Nottingham’s Brickworks, the undisputed home of Wigflex, to see what it’s all about.
I’m welcomed to the Wigflex 12th birthday by the night’s eponymous hero, Lukas Wigflex himself. As we make our way through the crowd to get a beer he pours over his choice of having German DJ, Lena Willikens, open the night, expressing the need for some “early chuggers.” From this point on, we speak at brief intervals before he hurriedly disappears to continue with whatever it is he’s doing. All this does is convey to me a strong sense that Wigflex is very much his night.
The Wigflex night has come a long way in twelve years, the name first surfacing on a mixtape Lukas recorded, titled ‘Wigflex 2000’. Alongside other like-minded Nottingham students, now the Wigflex crew, in 2006 Lukas, or Spam Chop as he was then named, decided to start the Wigflex club night. Since this point, DJs such as Helena Hauff, Shanti Celeste and Craig Richards have all become Wigflex regulars, whilst choice of venue for the night has infamously ranged from pubs to caves to record shops, all in the Nottingham area. One Wigflex party even saw Call Super and the whole of the Hessle Audio crew DJing from inside a caged wrestling ring.
Reflecting on the success of Wigflex, Lukas still doesn’t feel that there’s been a shift away from what he first set out to do:
“The aims never changed. It will always be about putting on and playing stuff I’m heavily into. I still find it weird that people think we’ve got bigger as, in my eyes, I’m still just this small independent promoter fighting his corner to do what he loves. However, I’m eternally grateful for the invite to some of these bigger festivals. Gottwood for example have stuck with us from the beginning and given us some huge opportunities.”
As far as being a DJ goes, Lukas’ style is somewhat hard to pin down. This summer, he played a handful of sprawling sets at Houghton Festival, whilst years gone by have seen him go back-to-back with some of the world’s most lauded DJs. This includes sets with Magic Wire’s Lone, another Nottingham local, but also Ben UFO, who most recently joined him for an 8-hour start-to-finish to celebrate the Wigflex 10th Birthday. As for the Wigflex parties, he himself has defined the Nottingham and Wigflex sound as “rudeboy techno”:
“We love it gnarly and trippy up here and we call it ‘rudeboy techno’ in a tongue in cheek manner. It started as a joke but it’s actually quite onomatopoeic in a way. It’s not all we play though; the parties usually start off with ambience and chuggers and, as the night progresses, things get more twisted…”
This was definitely true of the night in October, where French DJs Acid Arab and Nathan Fake, who played a mesmeric live set, impressed in equal measure. The diversity of the music on show was evident right until the lights came on, as Lukas closed out the night with a bleepy, hard set that moved through techno, UK garage and electro. Backstage there was a real sense of community, with friends of the night dressed in Halloween costumes that ranged from Kubrickian Droogs to the Donald, sharing stories about their affiliation with Wigflex. This seemed to be a special night for the Wigflex name.
“To be honest, the 12th birthday for me was a real highlight musically. Having Lena warm up the room and build into a peak-time frenzy really set the tone. I’d never heard so many mind benders that were as interesting as they were deadly on the dance floor.”
As one of the pioneers of Nottingham’s current party scene, Wigflex is showing no signs of slowing down.
The next Nottingham Wigflex party welcomes the ever impressive Jane Fitz to Brickworks for New Year’s Eve.
(Main image: Wigflex)