Words: Alex Caslano
There’s always been something appealing about resident parties; a special connection between DJ and dancefloor which you just don’t get with a headline guest who has cruised in from the continent. A resident DJ is someone you trust, someone who is there from start to finish…til’ the lights come up. That’s how we feel about Sauchiehall St staple, Wrong Island, and after nine years in Nice N Sleazy's notorious basement, co-founders and residents, Teamy and Larry, are about to bow out.
Having launched back in 2007 after Sleazy’s finally got their hands on a 3am licence, Wrong Island proved to be a popular constant on Glasgow’s bulging party calendar, with an anything-goes music policy which saw upfront and underground belters mixed with 80s pop and party classics. “You would get some people who really knew their electronic music and others who wanted to hear cheesy hits” says Larry, “so it was a challenge, but one we revelled in.”
From stage invasions to partial nudity and legendary dance-offs featuring David Barbarossa, Wrong Island epitomised care-free partying in an atmosphere which actively encouraged it. With Sleazy’s reputation as one of Glasgow’s most diverse and thriving late-night boozers, there were always curious punters who found themselves in the basement after a shot of 'Samuel Book' in the upstairs bar. What they’d find was anyone’s guess, but when Wrong Island were in residence, they were guaranteed a fucking good time.
Check out an archived ‘Stage Invasion’ mix from Wrong Island resident and co-founder, Teamy, as well as an interview with both Teamy and fellow resident Larry ahead of the final Wrong Island party this Saturday (10th Sep) in Sleazy’s basement:
SG: Nine years is very a commendable commitment to the sesh, especially considering how consistent Wrong Island has been; what obstacles have you encountered along the way and what kept the dream alive?
T: It’s been fairly plain sailing for the most part. I can't really think of anything I'd call an obstacle; obviously it wasn’t all plain sailing, and with hindsight we might have done a few things differently. Our slight disorganisation caused the odd problem maybe? Keeping it going was easy as it was always fun to do and the ethos was that we'd never take it too seriously.
L: Def with you on disorganisation - pair of scat heads. Trying to print a poster without an error is something we struggled with. Lost count of the amount of times I came close to drop-kicking the smoke machine that never worked. But yeah, simply we would be itching to get the chance to share our favourite records with Sleazys punters every month, so that always kept us motivated and driven.
SG: If we go back in time to 2007 and the moment Wrong Island was hatched, can you tell us what inspired you to give it a go? And what was the first party like?
T: For me it was Optimo - I'd worked there for such a long time and had learned loads and really wanted to try it myself. I'd ran a party for a short time before Wrong Island, but my partner took on a new job and couldn't commit, so Larry and I started at Sleazy's. The first party was as successful as we could ever have hoped; I was worried Sleazy's was too much of an indie boozer for what we wanted to do, but by the end of that night I felt like it was a perfect fit, especially after looking out to the crowd and seeing two teenagers with flashing bunny ears drinking out of four pint pitchers.
L: I had just got back from living abroad for several years when Teamy asked me to partner up with him. I could hardly say no to the man who is responsible for the majority of my DJ breaks/gigs in Glasgow could I? I met Teamy working in a bar together years before (think we both the other was a dick initially, then realised we liked each other) and the idea of putting on WI together seemed like it would be a hoot. The first party? Haven’t a blooming clue. I can’t remember what happened last week let alone nine years ago. I do remember the bunny-eared lassies though.
SG: There was an emphasis on the resident-punter relationship at Wrong Island; do you think that connection helped your longevity? And how important was having a small, basement venue like Sleazy’s to that connection?
T: Yep absolutely. No offence to any of our guests (who were all amazing), but I often got serious envy when other people were on "our decks"; always thinking that, whilst it was great, it wasn't 'Wrong' enough. The basement in Sleazy's is perfect for a party. The right size, shape, layout, soundsystem etc. I was always pushing to improve the relationship we had with them, even suggesting at one point that we go weekly - but it wasn't to be. Maybe it would have been a bad idea anyway.
L: The venue definitely shaped what WI would become. It’s an indie/rock live music venue that started putting on club events with a very varied crowd of people attending. We had to throw everything at them to keep the dancefloor connection. You would get some who really knew their underground electronic music and others who wanted to hear cheesy hits, so it was a challenge, but one we actually revelled in as we loved playing say, the latest Future Times release next to Whitney Houston. There was less of the ‘we take ourselves and our music so seriously’ and more of a ‘who cares what you're mixing with that attitude’. It always seemed natural to have more of an emphasis on it being a resident-focused night due to the type of place it was. Ultimately, I believe that was at the core of our success and longevity. The venue’s intimacy and layout (stage invasions being a thing most months) all added to the riotous, sweaty fun and silliness that most events would become.
SG: We’re sure there have been some extremely memorable moments along the way (and some you’d probably rather forget). What would you regard as some of the defining moments from the past nine years?
T: The aforementioned bunny rabbit girls, the last LCD Soundsystem aftershow (all of them we're a blast but the last one was superb); the one where Larry got so drunk we had to put him in the naughty corner and I did the night solo haha. Oh, and the time we kept beating the Sleazy's record for busiest night. That was a proud moment for sure.
L: The naughty corner ‘one record back to back’ might of been my proudest/most shameful ever DJ excursion. The night David Barbarossa had a dance-aff on stage with some random kid was one of the most entertaining moments for sure. Our guests over the years (few that they were), from Andy Blake, Ramadanman and George Issakidis to Golden Donna, Auntie Flo and Max Dunbar, all delivered memorable sets. Local bad boys and buds Pro Vinylist Karim, Bobby Cleaver and Aleks Jurczyk more than filled Teamy’s boots when absent. The time(s) our Teamy felt compelled to strip down to his tiger pants on stage will never be forgotten (I’m sure the wanger was on full display on one occasion). That time a semi naked ned squad were getting down to ‘Bros - I Owe You Nothing’ with Bobby Cleaver doing an umbrella routine was something to behold.
SG: Wrong Island became more than a party in 2013 when you launched your own imprint, Wrong Island Communications. Did the party inspire the label? And do you have any plans for it in the future?
T: Almost the opposite: I moved to London and felt a bit left out as I could not make every party. Music-wise, I guess the label is a bit like the party but also quite different. The most recent 12" by Scott Marshall is most like the party, ironically. Proper sweaty-basement, booty-shaking stuff.
L: The label is pretty much Teamy’s baby. I decided not to get involved; as much as we are into the same music we can often go off in different directions. I’m also very particular about things and I foresaw disagreements. He’s best for throwing parties and hugging. I’d like to keep it that way.
SG: You’re celebrating your last party this Saturday which will surely be quite emotional; have you earmarked any tunes that absolutely have to be played? And how do you think you’ll feel when the lights come up?
T: I have a feeling it'll be our last party in Sleazy's rather than the last Wrong Island ever once we get to the end of the night. I haven't actually considered what it'll be like. I have no idea. I have spent the last few years buying all the records Larry played that I love, so maybe I'll do a Dirty Larry tribute set.
L: Yeah, there will undoubtedly be some WI classics thrown in and plenty new bits. Not gonna bother giving anything away, you just need to come and find out for yourself. Think we have decided on our last record which is likely to have me greetin’, if not both of us. I quite like the idea of throwing Teamy on the turntable as the lights come up, his pants at his ankles, spanking his bare little arse as it revolves on the platter. That would surely bring a tear to one or two eyes. Then again, I might just do a Larry and not bother showing up. That’s the beauty of Wrong Island - every party is different to the last; you never know what’s gonna happen.
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