DJ Winggold: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix


Despite nightlife coming to a standstill over the last year or so, it’s been a privilege to see many emerging talents coming to the fore and getting the recognition they deserve. 

London-based activist, DJ and radio host Charles Olisanekwu AKA DJ Winggold has been putting in some mileage over the last few years with his Unbound parties and Netil Radio show, but 2020 saw him gather even more steam; not just through his musical activities but as an active voice for pushing forward cultural and social change, within the industry and further afield — all while holding down a day job as a lawyer. 

His sets are a treat, pulling from a vast array of influences and keeping you on tenterhooks for what’s round the corner: you’re just as likely to hear dream pop and jazz as you are UKG, electro and grime. But it isn’t just about the music, it’s about the principles that guide it. Much of Charles’ musical work is steered by Afrofuturism, as well as the concepts of identity and self-determinism; in particular how these intersect with the experience of being a minority.

What’s special about his outlook is that, although he’s pushing his own musical output, working a tasking job and being a voice for change in the industry, he still manages to find the time to bring up, support and push his contemporaries, giving them a platform wherever possible.

Now, anyone who knows Charles will know he does not do things in half measures, and his mix for us is evidence of that. Coming in at a whopping two and a half hours, he takes no prisoners on this one, leading us down a murky path through jungle, acid, electro, broken rhythms, dubstep, grime and techno, with tracks that speak to his personal past, present and future.

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you

I’m Charles, I’m from East London and I’m currently in my room (as we’ve all been for the past year!). In order of how I see myself, I’m a cultural activist, DJ, writer, radio host, promoter and above all, just a human being trying to make it through this weird thing called life. Oh, and my day-job is as a lawyer; was wondering recently why I’d constantly felt tired for the past few years – makes sense when I see it listed out like that..!

My work is all about concepts of identity and self-determinism and exploring how this intersects with the experience of being a minority, with sound being used to help craft new realities. I’m heavily inspired by Drexciya and Underground Resistance, so Afrofuturism is a large part of what I’m doing, but it’s just one component. I started my party Unbound Events after being severely depressed and saw it as an outlet; it was, and still is, a deeply personal project.

There are a lot of lofty ideals that I’m representing and I want to help push minorities to the forefront of the industry but, at the end of the day, I just want to get people moving and hopefully open up their hearts and minds at the same time, getting them to consider life in a new light.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)? 

Ummmm, in my brain it’s a huge abandoned spaceship drifting/hurtling through the cosmos with a lot of different rooms and compartments + loads of labyrinthine turns, but I also think a pitch black swirling vortex shot through with different colours works. I recently found this image that NASA posted of Galaxy M61 and I think it’s a good representation.

Where was the mix recorded?

In my living room. 

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

It starts off pretty full-throttle and gets quite gnarly at points but, funnily enough, I recorded it with nature in mind, so maybe a long walk or on a run? It’s pretty pumping, so would work well in the gym/while exercising OR if you need to sit down, concentrate and smash through a task.

It’s pretty ravey but it flows quite nicely, so would also be pretty perfect for a nice long pre-drinks before going to a party or before hitting up the club (whenever they do return…)

What should we be wearing?

Prefs something light and airy that’ll leave room for movement. Or perhaps even, if you’re in a comfortable enough environment, nothing at all, nothing at all…

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

I had a forest rave in mind when recording this, with everybody under the stars dancing as one and letting go of ego, so definitely somewhere like that or just out in nature in general, by a lake or on the side of a mountain. Labyrinth Festival in Japan and Terraforma in Italy look insane, so that kinda vibe. System-wise, anything tight, punchy, bassy and immersive – can’t go wrong with a stack of perfectly calibrated Funktion-Ones placed in the right spots.

The alternative dream setting is the complete opposite lol – a small-cap dark, grotty basement club with simple effective lighting and a rowdy, yet friendly, vibe. Unsound and Atonal holla at me, yea?

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

So hard to pick just one! The mix is so hefty ‘cos I basically put together some of my fave tracks I’d listened to over the past year and tracks that have helped me stay sane. Didn’t really have a conscious narrative in mind at first but then realised that all the tunes subconsciously spoke to my personal past, present and future. 

First off would be BlackTek Industries by Kareem Ali from his EP BlackTek Ultra. The track just has such a wistful, optimistic feel and listening to it fills me with so much hope. He’s supremely talented and insanely prolific, so it’s v heartening to see a black man in the industry steamrolling his way through and pushing to the top. 

I’ve chucked in a few unreleased tunes from an unreal producer called Lewi Boome and there’s one in partic called Crash Reporter 360 that I’ve been playing on radio/in mixes nonstop for the past 6 months. Both him and his label Twin System are worth a look, he’s on another level!

I’d also choose ‘Know Mi’ by Logan (produced by RAKJAY) and ‘Mountain (Wait Here)’ by TMSV since they’re both the perfect representation of the energy I’m trying to bring. Being an East London chap, I’ve got dubstep and 140 flowing through my veins – I grew up just down the road from Plastic People and one of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to make it down :’(

Finally, gotta be ‘Tao’ by the master Donato Dozzy. Ofc him producing DnB would be bloody amazing. I’d always planned on playing it, then took it out and nearly didn’t include it but decided to chuck it in at the last minute. It’s just so cheeky whilst also managing to be an absolute banger.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

Ahahaha, I thought long and hard about this one so I’m going to list several since it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one and it varies depending on mood. My go-to answer is Rustie’s Essential Mix since, even at nearly a decade old, it still sounds so fresh and ahead of the curve. He pioneered a genre-hopping approach long before everyone was ‘eclectic’ and that mix has basically guided everything I do musically – I more or less know it off by heart at this point…

Objekt’s 2014 Freero set had a similar effect of blowing open any preconceived notions of what DJ’ing could be, but there’s also Silvia Kastel and object blue’s FACT mixes, Shackleton’s seminal Fabriclive mix, Aurora Halal’s RA mix, CCL’s Queer Steppa’s mix, Beta Librae’s Daisychain mix, Galcher Lustwerk’s BUTW… Too many! All depends on the mood and present emotional state. All the above are v different but the common thread running through is world-building.

Honestly think I’d also say this mix tbh 🙂 Not in a big-headed way at all, but it came together fairly organically and just covers all the bases I look for when listening to music. It’s quite a ride, so I hope people stick through the whole thing!

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

Firmly forward facing for this one but my baby boi Bruce (manifesting this one!), Veronica Vasika or Batu. DJ Stingray or Josey Rebelle too, but they’d both absolutely wipe the floor with me.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

Pioneer DJ controller on an ironing board, complete with some pretty busted speakers lol. Stay chipping away and working hard at your dreams, kids!

I moved flats around the start of the pandemic, so graduated to my first proper home setup – two XDJ-1000s, two Technics and a XONE-23. Shout out to my housemate James Newmarch, technical whizz and all-round G who puts up with my nonsense and constant complaining about being tired!

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

I personally feel they’re just as important as each other since they’re two sides of the same coin and they both play a part in forming the narrative but starting track just edges it for me. I see it as setting the scene, getting you ready for the journey to come – it’s the same way you get the feeling walking into a club when the music and bass washes over you and prepares you for the night ahead.

What were the first and last records you bought?

First was horrendously embarrassing and was a George Sampson CD from Woolworths with some pocket money (???). Don’t ask lol. After that was Paramore’s Brand New Eyes, which I still stand by tbh.

Last one was Loraine James’ bloody incredible album Reflection – defs my fave album of the year so far, everybody needs to check it out! Managed to pick up one of the last copies of the purple ltd edition on Bandcamp, so v pleased with that.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

70% dark chocolate with popping candy and flecks of chili. 

If it was an animal what would it be?

A sleek black panther or mountain wolf on the prowl (but also making time to snuggle up to its family in between hunting down prey).

Upcoming in the world of … 

A summer of quite awesome gigs, including a few yet-to-be announced things that are genuinely insane and that I’ve spent a good while pinching myself at. Been a bit mad to be firing out stuff from the confines of my room and to have the signals and frequencies picked up. Before all that, though, deleting Instagram from my phone, making the most of IRL hangs with mates, learning how to STFU and just CHILLING HARD.

Anything else we need to discuss?

Black artists and minorities in the scene are here to stay, so any promoters/artists/venues ignoring them are just gonna make themselves look foolish (though sadly their success within the scene ofc won’t be affected). Shoutout to Shannen SP, NIKS, Tailor Jae, Nazar, Nahi Mitti, Mixtress, k means, Anu, Liyo, Amaliah, Helena Star, Toby Dunn, Kikelomo out in Berlin, adab in the States and Azu Tiwaline; all working tirelessly and breaking down doors. Anyone who says they ‘can’t think of diverse artists’ is either lying, lazy or not looking hard enough.

I’ve already gone on quite a bit lol but the community in London and the insane amount of talent working hard and coming through is SO inspiring. Shout outs to the Unbound crew, Aidan Ray, DJ Paramedic & Dr.Blowfin + extended fam members Tom Law and ROUGH. Also my alien mertwin Gigi FM, Alexis, Osc Kins + his label Shubzin, Kit Seymour, Eich, Giulia Tess, FAE, Nolou, Will Bingle (AKA Bingle Beats), Slacker and his label Pseudonym Records, Control Freak Recordings, Kiia, Syz, Fiesta Soundsystem, man like Lewi Boome, furious styles, OS Community, the label Redstone Press and their co-founder Lewis Lowe in Glasgow and top geezer Everett in Manchester.

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