Before starting WANG Lula had been involved in running The Drome under London Bridge (which became SE1) and had previously been working at various record distribution companies for the five years since moving to London. She was actively involved in the London squat party scene DJing with the Tiamat crew.
Electro Elvis had previously been the main protagonist behind Electrophonic, which came into being when Electro Elvis and Disco Dave purchased Kingsize Records old JBL Soundsystem (which was used at WANG for many many years) and much inspired by Brett Youngs (RIP) began throwing a series of illegal outdoor allnight rave parties in collaboration with The Fear Teachers, at lots of weird and wonderful sites, including in a valley, on a beach, in the woods, and in a field right next to the M25 motorway overlooking a huge lake.
a flyer for an electrophonic outdoor rave party
Inspired by seeing Hex at The Big Chill, in 1997 Electro Elvis began experimenting with live video mixing. Providing visuals at every Electrophonic party and also for Warp Record's Two Lone Swordsmen UK tour and various club nights including Sonic Mook Experiment and Haywire in London and Voodoo in Liverpool.
Electrophonic and Tiamat teamed up, being some of the first people to play the new wave sounds of Detroit Electro, to a london squat scene dominated by acid techno, drum&bass and gabba, and also threw another series of outdoor parties (including taking the rig to Glastonbury festival for over a week in 2001).
Lula and Hardcore dancing in front of the rig and giant screen at Glastonbury 2001
The first ever WANG was held on the 27th November 1999 at what was The Clinic in Gerrard Street, Soho. DJs on the night included Charlie Hall from The Drum Club (who played UR's Nights of the Jaguar, despite a sign banning the record, which had crossed over into the mainstream dance scene) and John Reynolds (who's probably played more WANGs than anybody except Elvis and Lula). Lula hit her head and concuss herself on the way to the club and Elvis spent the night sat on the stairs projecting kitsch 60s and 70s Super-8 porn films over the top of the DJs. The venue was full to capacity by 12 o'clock and people danced and were merry. When the club shut at 4am, nobody wanted to stop, and so the entire club, went back to Elvis and Lula's infamous Swallowfield Road home, and carried on partying for two whole days!
flyer for the first ever WANG
It was decided that a bigger venue was needed and so Lula searched high and low across the whole of London to find somewhere suitable, until she discovered The Premises. The first party was held on Saturday 8th April 2000, and the full WANG experience was unleashed on the world for the first time. DJs included Keith Tenniswood as well as Jeff Nagle & Kris Krause from Outside Recordings in the USA. Electrophonic supplied full-on video visual mayhem, and the boys from Process Records jammed for eight hours non-stop in what became the chillout room. Again nobody wanted to leave and the party ran over by several hours, WANG had found it's spiritual home and The Premises didn't know what had hit them!
flyer for the second WANG (first at The Premises)
The party at The Premises was such a success that it was decided to make WANG a monthly event. For the next four years WANG was held on the first Saturday of every month at The Premises recording studio on Hackney Road (just down the road from Shoreditch/Old Street). It was a very intimate venue with a very friendly/up for it crowd. There were three rooms of music, a bar area and an internal open air courtyard. There was no back stage/VIP areas (it was kind of like a big house party).
WANG was initially started as a laugh and a bit of a joke (some might say it still is), but we feel that dance music has been 'clubbed to death' with extortionate bar prices, totalitarian security, and heartless, soulless corporate super clubs, and so have tried in our own small way to make a change. In London, the free party scene had in our opinion, been pushed so far underground by the criminal justice bill, that parties seemed to take on a dark scary atmosphere. Being relatively young we had never experienced the now legendary acid house raves, but tried to take on board the ethos of these pioneering parties, as well as the best elements of the club and free party scenes. We have tried really hard to keep an underground scene alive, initially pushing the underground sound of electro before any of the dance press decided it was trendy again, and also keeping a different side of techno alive in the capital, as all the big techno clubs shut down or put less and less events as techno's popularity declined along with press interest. We try to combine the latest cutting edge sounds with great music from the past, combining legendary DJs with totally unknown stars of the future.
On Saturday 1st May 2004, after partying at The Premises on the first Saturday of each month for over four years, WANG held it's last party at The Premises. This was due to a combination of the fact that we had simply grown too big to fit into the space anymore, and the owners desire to cash in on the gentrification of Shoreditch and redevelop the site. To say we enjoyed our time there is a huge understatement and it will forever hold a special place in our hearts. The leaving party was more than we could have ever hoped for, going out in style with a huge party, and the most amazing atmosphere we've ever experienced.
In the morning when the party finally ended, amid much chaos and confusion, we tried to get as many people as possible outside to take some photos. Here is the first of the photos taken (We'll get the rest of the photos up eventually)
This may have been the end of an era, but was certainly not the end of WANG. With all the support we have received over the years, WANG has grown so strong and has really taken upon a life of it's own.
That New Years Eve, we put on our biggest party yet, for over 1400 people at a disused warehouse in Limehouse, and the full force of the Fairshare Unity Soundsystem had the very foundations of the building shaking.
During the following summer months WANG took to the road, galavanting around the country, annoying the local yokels with our sound-system turned up to eleven.
Over the intervening years WANG put on sporadic events in various random venues in and around London, including a disused pub in Hackney Wick (right by the new Olympic site), under railway arches in Brixton (hastily arranged after getting thrown out of a mansion house in the west end on the afternoon of an event) and the legendary Dungeons original acid-house rave cave.
In 2007 Wang's next move was to Corsica Studios in Elephant and Castle, which was a departure in that it was the first venue where we didn't take our own sound system. We put on regular parties for a year and a half, including getting A Guy Called Gerald and Graham Massey (two of the founder members of 808 State and true pioneers of the UK dance music scene) to perform together on stage for the first time in eighteen years for a one off exclusive show with an all analog hardware live set, as they would have had done all those years ago.
We again enjoyed our time at Corsica greatly, the whole crew there are great, and after soo many years of carrying back breaking speakers and amp racks, it was nice to have a bit of a rest, if you can ever really call putting on parties for hundreds of people a rest. Our parties at Corsica culminated in one of our legendary NYE parties, where our new military grade 1980's videowall made it's first appearance.
In 2009 we put on a new night called Balance, in conjunction with tow other promoters Base and Split, this was our first dip of our toes into ‘mainstream’ clubbing. Both events we’re a huge success, garnering loads of press interest and rave reviews from the people who attended. The launch night still to this day is one of the most successful events ever to be held at the Cable club under London bridge.
2009 culminated in WANG - 10 Years Of.... Defending The Dance Underground
Our biggest and most ambitious event yet. We transformed six railway arches into a rave wonderland for nearly 2000 ravers, with the highest production standard we’ve ever achieved. This party was beyond our wildest dreams and a culmination of everything we have been striving to achieve over the previous ten years. Honourable mention must go to Steve Bedlam, whose Noise Control Audio provided two monstrous sound-systems which would put any superclub or festival to shame, and to Twan whose lighting design transformed the venue from a dark dank venue into a rave wonderland, and to Lukey Roots for making sure the Goodvibes we’re in the place, as well as all the acts and most importantly all the ravers who blew our minds...
In 2010 we hosted our first party at Fabric. We took over Room Two for the night, installing the WANG video wall and we got the opportunity to put on an act that had been at the top of our wishlist for many years, Abe Duque and Blake Baxter - Live. We had been a bit apprehensive about how WANG would work in such a big club, but we needn’t have worried, so many friendly faces came down to support us and the vibe was amazing, with lots of smiling happy people and a beach ball getting thrown around by the crowd! Big up to Lady Judy for making it all happen, and here’s to many more in the future!
After hosting WANG at Fabric on the Saturday night, we put on a small after party on the Sunday night at Dalston Superstore, a great little venue on Kingsland road with the dancefloor down in the basement. Chris Rotter had the honour of being the first ever straight person to do the door, at what is normally a gay bar. We have always tried to make WANG about inclusivity of everybody whether white, black, gay or straight, and the WANGers mixed with the regulars and everybody had a really great night.
Since then WANG have returned to Fabric, held small underground specialist electro raves and teamed up with Simian Mobile Disco to put on a big night as part of the Fire ‘In Sessions’ season...
WANG! - Less of a club, more of a party!