Untitled 909 Podcast 180: DJ Winggold

The all round legend DJ Winggold returns to 909 with a live recording of his closing set at Headroom Festival in 2022.

Based in London, DJ Winggold is the founder of the party series Unbound which he launched 7 years ago and has since collaborated with the likes of Tropical Waste, KALLIDA, Loose Lips and Killekill. Hosting parties both in the UK and Berlin, over the years Unbound has booked DJ Nigga Fox, Nazar, Amor Satyr, Tristan Arp, Lee Gamble, Jossy Mitsu, Voiski, Batu, Hodge and more with the curation focused on sounds that exist within the hardcore continuum and a more introspective, trippy side of techno.

All of DJ Winggold’s work is closely tied with his interest in the concept of Afrofuturism – a topic that he has written about deeply across his socials, for 909 and now his new hybrid project which he debuted last month at Diasporas Now party in Hull where he’s experimenting with a techno/rap format. The second hybrid performance will take place in London this weekend for Out Of Body Pop at EartH.

An unstoppable force, alongside his work with Unbound, DJ Winggold has been booked across the UK and beyond including gigs at Transmissions, Cellar Door, Waterworks Festival, Dialogue x Cabin Fever and More Cowbell to name a few and hosts a monthly radio show on Netil Radio.

Surprisingly, this is the first time we’ve interviewed DJ Winggold on the platform and in the accompanying Q&A we get to know all about his early influences, moving into hybrid performances, the journey of Unbound and more.



Hey! How are you doing? What have you been up to lately? 

All good here! Just coming off the back of a hectic start to the year, so been trying to prioritise wellbeing. This is gonna be the busiest year for me since I started Unbound, so I’ve just been giving myself space to breathe and spending time with family. Oh, and lots of therapy!


Let’s start from the very beginning, what was your first introduction to music in general and then more specifically electronic music? 

I grew up in the church and my parents were very strict, so I didn’t actually have much experience with secular music at an early age. I remember always dancing to gospel CDs, but I have strong memories of being obsessed with the music videos on MTV Base when my older cousin would look after my siblings and I when my parents were out. We’d spend hours watching and dancing to them 🙂 

Electronic music came along when I was around 14 or so, back when Borgore and brostep was blowing up. I cringe listening back to some of it, but taking in those alien sounds was v formative for me. Growing up in London meant I could go to those ridiculous U18 nights, soaking up D&B, dubstep and UK funky. By the time I got to uni, I’d delved a bit deeper and discovered Burial, Four Tet et al (tho also had a soft spot for Porter Robinson, Madeon and that ilk)


Who was the first artist or band that you were a fan of?

Thx to MTV Base, golden era old school R&B is my first love, but I was (and still am) a hardcore Paramore stan. It’s funny ‘cos I used to mock them and my friends at school who were into them, then I gradually just got into them. 

I used to be a bit ashamed of liking them, but my love for them has only grown as I’ve gotten older – there’s a podcast called ‘Black People Love Paramore’ and it’s actually so true lol. Hayley Williams has dat swag!

They were actually the first band I ever saw live – that gig marked a pretty big turning point in my teenage years ‘cos music then became a huge part of life after that. 


Was there a formative moment growing up, whether that’s seeing your favorite band live or an incredible DJ set, that led you to this path? 

I quite literally never in a million years imagined that I’d be on this path ha. I’d always enjoyed participating in music purely as a consumer/observer. My approach to this has always been to explore creative expression with a sense of curiosity and see what comes of it, but a few formative moments stick out. 

They didn’t even lead me to this path per se, but they’re just etched in my brain. First was a live set by Evian Christ at WHP in 2015 when I’d first started *properly* going out. He was on a mad lineup with SBTRKT, Koreless + Special Request and the sheer visceral NRG of his set was INSANE, like a physical wall of sound being blasted at you – it’s something I try and encapsulate in all my work.

Another was seeing Bruce play for the Hessles at Bussey Building and drop ‘LMK’ by Kelela. I don’t even think the dancefloor fully appreciated it but, before then, I’d thought there were rules about what you could play on a dancefloor. That set the tone for me having an ‘anything goes’ approach, as long as I was representing my taste fully. It’s also a bit mad ‘cos we became good friends a few years after that (life is crazy, huh)

Finally, there’s no way I could leave out the impact of Rustie’s Essential Mix!! Discovering Rustie’s music genuinely changed my life and informed so much of my taste, then his Essential Mix completely rearranged my brain. I know that mix front-to-back from listening to it so much – I didn’t realise at the time, but it was forming the foundations for my creative approach and has dictated everything I do musically with Unbound!


You recently debuted your hybrid set at the Diasporas Now party – could you talk us through the inspiration behind this set? What motivated you to start building this hybrid world? 

It’s the synthesis of everything I’ve sought to represent thematically through Unbound + my wider creative pursuits. I didn’t think I’d be doing it this soon into my creative journey, but it just feels right, so it’s been very re-energising.

My ultimate goal has been to create a live rap/techno project, ultimately producing the tracks myself. I truly adore DJ’ing, but there’s a lot I want to say through art and DJ’ing is pretty limiting in that sense. 

I just started turning my journal entries into poetry, exploring themes of blackness, masculinity, vulnerability and mental health. Rap is an artform I respect so very deeply, so this is my way of fumbling through and trying to put my own spin on it.


How does this feed into your wider work with Unbound? 

A lot of the work I do revolves around the concept of Afrofuturism, so this ties into that. Representing the tumultuous experience of being a minority, it’s musically quite visceral but in a way that sparks catharsis. 

Unbound is all about limitless possibilities, and this is reflected in the music policy, but the fact I can express myself directly and not just through other people’s tunes makes it feel *truly* limitless. Down the line, I’ll probs start performing it at Unbound, but I’m just taking it all step-by-step rn.


Unbound has been running for 7 years now, how has the party evolved over the years?

Musically, from the second event or so, it’s actually stayed fairly consistent. I’ve got a pretty clear vision, which has been to create a musical melting pot of tuff UK-inspired and hardcore continuum sounds, marrying this with headsy techno. 

The plan was always for it to be pretty irreverent, fun and fluid, so it’s always been pretty future-proofed and ahead of the curve – stuff like the resurgence of dubstep, edits and incorporation of international sounds are elements that have been baked into Unbound since 2018. It’s all very serious, heads down, no frills stuff, but with a focus on letting go and having fun – I like contrasts!

The biggest change has been using it as a platform to make space for minorities and to cultivate grassroots culture. My longsuffering collaborator Aidan Ray (shout out him btw) must have the patience of a saint ‘cos I’ve been shocking at communicating this, but having always wanted to use art as a form of activism, in late 2018, it just clicked that I wanted to carve out a path for the marginalised. 

IMO, there’s no point doing any of this if you’re not trying to contribute to culture and give deserving, underlooked talent a leg up.


You’ve hosted your fair share of collaborative parties over the years, most recently with Tropical Waste, why is collaboration important to you? What does it allow you to do with the parties? 

I could bang on about this, so I’m going to try and keep it concise ha. This all started out as a fairly insular project for me and – over the years – I’ve had to actively force myself to open up to others and be less precious. 

Ironically, I think we’re all stronger together and that the best results come from collabs, but I’ve realised that I’m a control freak and I’ve had to relinquish the idea of complete control (it doesn’t exist!) Collabs allow you to explore the overlapping sweet spots between both of you. I used to view creation as a purely solo pursuit, but there’s so much to be gained from learning from a different perspective. 

Now that I’ve achieved most things I wanted to with Unbound, this is the year of collaboration! Have a lot of cool stuff coming up + love that I can use the platform to give some visibility to other collectives, whilst also exploring new territory.


Where do you look for sources of inspiration outside of music?

Everywhere! Just the day-to-day rhythm of life, friends being iconic and caring, interesting visual art, history, nature etc. 

I really believe in the sanctity of creativity as a tool that can be used to transform lives and channel emotions, so also a lot of film, TV + books, particularly in the sci-fi genre (how original…) 

I’m pretty easygoing and upbeat, but I’m drawn to stuff on the margins and in particular stuff that’s quite twisted and…other. 

My therapist would probs say this is ‘cos I’ve always felt on the margins myself, but basically I get a LOT of inspiration from dystopian novels and horror movies. The more intense, the better – again, it ties into the idea of catharsis through visceral emotion.


You’ve also contributed a mix for the 909 series, what’s the story behind this one? 

It’s a recording of my closing set at Headroom Fest in 2022, a wonderful community-focused festival in the lush Welsh countryside. It’s quite hard to describe what I play since I have such broad taste, but it’s a great snapshot of what you can expect from me in the club: you’re dropped straight into the thick of it with this one. It’s deep, psychedelic, headsy, tribal and banging, yet playful.

It’s me in full flow and it’s a set that holds a special place in my heart since it’s pretty formative for me as an artist – it was largely unprepared, but everything slotted into place *perfectly* and I could literally feel myself stepping into another level creatively as the set unfolded. It’s still one of the best sets I’ve ever played.


What is your approach to club mixes versus approaching mixes for an online platform or radio show? 

My online mixes have seen me going for an almost ‘anti-mix’ approach, where I’ve tried to bring the energy of a listening mix, but still making it dancefloor-friendly. Started doing this over the pandemic when my ears were burnt out from dancefloor sounds and I was pumping out a lot of mixes. 

The mixes I have online don’t really represent what you’d hear from me playing out since I lean towards hard, fast and rowdy vibes, but I’ve tried to let online mixes inform how I play out and vice versa. This means I’ll still play quite aggy in a club, but I try and balance this with a sense of deepness whilst throwing curveballs that give a sense of disorientation. 

This untitled mix is actually a pretty good representation of both sides!


What are you looking forward to the most in 2024?

SO MUCH. This hybrid thing has really sparked something in me and, yeah, there’s now a lot going on. All I ever wanted from this was to explore many different strands of creativity, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

Have some cool collabs incoming later in the year, inc one with Corsica Studios. Have some wicked transatlantic exchanges incoming with some American legends as well. Lots more hybrid stuff to come, inc the London debut for Out of Body Pop at EartH Kitchen on March 13th.

DJ-wise, I’m very hyped for Waterworks Festival later this year as well as a few other fests. I’ll also be doing some more writing this year aaaand, after needing to tap out last year due to exhaustion, I’ll be back at Amsterdam Dance Event this year where I’ll be curating a few panels in collaboration with an artist I really admire.