As he stands in London’s Crazy Beat records, digging for records in a Fabric promo video, Dr Banana addresses the camera. ‘Sometimes you just pull out a record, you’ve never seen the artist or label before… there’s nothing familiar on there, but you just know that it’ll be a belter – and more often than not, it is.’
To say the good Doctor simply possesses a certain je ne sais quoi is doing him a disservice, but it’s hard to put into words. That instinctive, innate understanding of which tunes simply – work – is on show throughout his label catalogue, and allows him to enrapture crowds large and small alike.
Having cemented himself in the UK garage scene via a string of sturdy releases and reissues on his eponymous label, Dr Banana – real name Sandy Hagenbach – has played a key part in ensuring that UKG originators receive their shine, and developed his own sound in the process.
K-Lone – MC [Dr Banana]
Delving through long-defunct AOL email addresses and home phone numbers to track down the now-family men who had once produced these forgotten dubs, Hagenbach has etched out his own niche in the scene, paying homage to the old school but for the most part independent of the NUKG scene inhabited by the likes of Sammy Virji and Conducta.
His b2b partner is cut from a similar cloth; Nottingham stalwart Lukas Wigflex, the pioneer of Wigflex City Fest and certified party starter, selects tunes with comparable flair and nous. A giant in his city, the open mindset that characterises the Wigflex party series is displayed in the sounds that rattle speakers during his sets.
‘It’s electro, garage, breakbeat, early grime bits… it’s melodic, it’s progressive, it’s Wookie!’ remarks the man himself in a feature in the Guardian. Bestowed with the one-size-fits-all (but surprisingly accurate) moniker of ‘rudeboy techno,’ his sets bend genres but retain a cutting-edge sharpness that has a habit of blowing people’s heads off.
Lukas Wigflex & Son of Philip – Curtains Nine Tales [Trouble Maker]
And yet, from the way that he carries himself, to the sense of community at his parties, to the selections you’ll hear during his sets, it’s evident that fun comes first. There’s no pretentiousness, no inflated ego, despite the irreverence in which he is held throughout the scene. Rugged beats and robust low-end come as standard during his sets, but he’s been known to spin a curveball or two, so expect the unexpected.
Having engaged in a series of b2bs over the last few years, these two are no strangers to sharing a booth. We’ve seen them throw down at parties across the country, where their eclectic range of left-field and often frankly nonsensical blends have had ravers and other DJs alike questioning reality.
We can’t wait to welcome them down to our spiritual home for an extended b2b in the Ape Cave…
The last few tickets are available here.
Words by Ethan Jones