A stalwart of Nottingham’s music scene, Lukas Cole has undoubtedly been a driving force behind the city’s underground nightlife, helping to put it on the map with his Wigflex parties, which have been running since 2006.
Wigflex has continued to snowball over the years, with Lukas adding a record label, several merch and design projects, an audio-visual TV station called Fleximodal, and a two-day multi-disciplinary festival to the party’s ever-growing arsenal.
With almost two decades worth of warm up and peak time sets under his belt, and a fearsome reputation behind the decks to boot, he’s a perfect candidate for, and no stranger to, an (Extended Mix). He goes above and beyond, supplying us with a whopping 8 hour long mix, that moves effortlessly through electronica, bass-driven cuts and experimental rhythms, proving exactly why he’s been at the top of his game for so many years.
(Extended Mix) is a new charitable series that celebrates all-night specialists and more simple, carbon-friendly lineups. Instead of paying on the door for this extended experience, we invite listeners to donate to the DJ directly while their gigs are cancelled, or to a chosen charity.
For this one Lukas has chosen MNDA, a charity close to his heart that supports people effected by Motor Neurone Disease. To donate directly to the Nottingham Branch, please use the following details: MNDA Notts Branch, sort code 30-96-09, acc. no. 02970596.
We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.
First off, how have you been finding lockdown? What has been the biggest challenge and more positive outcome you’ve experienced through extended time at home?
Everybody knows how crap the last year has been for us all so I don’t need to get into all that. It’s worrying that the longer this goes on the more desensitized we’re all getting to it and I really hope this carrot of an ending that’s being dangled in front of us actually becomes a reality some time soon and we can start getting back to living our lives. We’ve got a year + of catching up to do!
I was quite lucky (or unlucky depending how you look at it), but two weeks before the first lockdown me, my mrs and some business partners got the keys to our own new venue / Arts space in the center of Nottingham. Trying to navigate around the excitement of starting a new venture but then not actually being able to get moving on any of the plans that we’d been cooking up for over a year was pretty hard.
On a personal level though, my new studio is housed in the venue so moving into that at a time that I can focus on music without many other distractions has been a huge blessing. I’ve been making so much new music in the spot and it’s been great being able to focus on the things I previously didn’t have as much free time for. I do miss my mates and the pub though.
Thanks for recording an extended mix for us. How did you find the recording process?
I really enjoyed it, thanks for asking. At first it was quite daunting as in my head I thought it needed to go in a million different directions and I probably over-thought the process, but once I’d got a selection together and realised I should just stay true to myself I got excited about having a go at weaving it all together.
How did you approach the mix? Did you have an idea in mind beforehand? Was there much pre-planning or did you just trust your instincts?
I wanted to follow the idea of doing an all night set inside an imaginary club. 200 capacity, one room, dark and smoky with subtle undulating lighting, great sound and you can smoke inside… basically just the perfect venue. Thought I’d pack for the usual party circumstance; the awkward silence at the start, not wanting to burn-out the bar staff too early, the peak time slot etc. So I dug out a few piles of records and made a few playlists to fit this vision, but then the combination of not being in an actual club and trying to make my mrs and the dog vibe, it ended up turning out like an organic club/home hybrid thing. I never plan anything this long as I’d get bored of it eventually and just end up doing something else so think this way actually worked quite well.
Could you talk us through a couple standouts from set?
There’s a bit towards the end, about six hours in when it got quite steppy and the dog seemed to think it was a bit of a viber so maybe that.
In Nathan Barley there’s a classic scene where one of the characters starts making this funny experimental music and says ‘the best bit is in 20 hours’ or something along those lines. I remember whenever someone was being pretentious about music my friend and I would always give each other the look and be like best bits in 20 minutes yeah? Can’t believe I just did a “best bit’s in 6 hours” on myself.
Where’s been your favourite place to play an all-night set, and why?
The all night b2b that I did with Ben UFO for our 10th birthday was a really special one. We had it in a secret 100 cap loft/art studio that our resident installation wizard Matt Woodham uses to tinker on his installations, so you can only imagine all the mad little touches throughout and bits to explore etc.
Who are some of your favourite all-night specialists, and why?
Saw a few lengthy James Holden sessions back in the day that blew my mind as a young lad. I was lucky enough to have been there for a few Andrew Weatherall all nighters as well. Lena Willikens & Vladimir Ivkovic are also incredible – either together or on a solo one.
By celebrating DJs with a penchant for all-night sets, the (Extended Mix) series hopes to encourage a more stripped back, carbon-friendly approach to lineup curation. Reducing our footprint as a globalised underground community is a massive challenge as we try to rebuild the scene after Covid-19 lockdown, and we hope progression can be forged through sharing our challenges and experiences. Are there any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion?
We need to take a really serious look at the impact that our work has on the environment, but I think that stripping back line-ups and aiming for carbon neutrality wouldn’t just be a step in the right direction for sustainability; it would also pave the way for some progressive shifts in the mentality of party-goers, agents, DJs and promoters alike.
Pre-Covid, the industry was working for a select percentage and if I’m honest, it wasn’t until I was able to pause from promoting all together that I realised how unsustainable and detrimental that way of working was. Headliner focused parties with stacked line-ups might appear to give you more bang for your buck, but long-term that way of working will just kill off whatever independent promoters are left after all this.
It might seem overly utilitarian, but we should be aiming to emerge from this with a whole different approach to partying that puts a greater focus on relishing the DIY experiences over the hype we’ve been spoon-fed by algorithms. Aiming for that will enable the whole eco-system (relative to industry and planet) to have much more longevity.
Tell us a bit more about your chosen charity – what work do they do and why is it so important to you?
My grandma died of MNDA and my Dad’s the chair of Nottingham branch so it’s a charity pretty close to my heart.