It seems clubland has finally caught up with Wes Baggaley. For years the self confessed vinyl addict has been familiar to promoters, record store staff and gay clubbers in Manchester and London, but it now seems he is set to become as familiar a face to a much wider audience.
In the 12 months preceding summer 2017 he has played some of the best regarded underground parties across Europe including NYC Downlow, Horse Meat Disco, Tama Sumo and Lakuti's Your Love, Trough, Handsome and repeat appearances at Dalston Superstore. The second Sunday of the month also now sees him host his own show on Netil radio, an outlet for his reggae, jazz, soul, slower disco and electronica. It's been a notable 12 months, but Baggaley's success is hardly overnight.
As an early teen Wes had no other hobby than music. His collection of pop music 7” singles included the house music hits of the day; at the time they were his only exposure to the music exploding in popularity on dancefloors like The Hacienda's, just a few miles from his home. When old enough to start clubbing himself, Baggaley singles out a coach trip to see Derrick Carter play at Back To Basics in Leeds as a revelation. Having been exposed to such sounds, the offerings at local clubs in his peripheral town would no longer suffice and Manchester, to where he would eventually move, became his exclusive destination. In Manchester, Wes's record shopping increased dramatically and he would frequent its gay clubs socially but, unsatisfied with the music they played, also sought out sounds he preferred at techno and deep house nights like Bugged Out. Caught between these two worlds, his first residencies, which began in the early 2000s, were not altogether successful. He had been embraced by and given opportunities on the city's gay scene, but his Chicago house and other refined, American house sounds weren't what the gay clubbers of the time wished to hear. It's fair to say it took him several years to find a niche within the city, which he eventually did, not least as support to Horse Meat Disco when the London disco crew held a residency in the city.
But, just as he was beginning to receive the kind of bookings he'd long craved, Baggaley threw it all away to move to London. There, he would have to begin breaking into a city's scene all over again. Opportunities arose at places like The Eagle, home to Horse Meat Disco, where his stellar selections, deep knowledge, faultless programming and ultra smooth transitions were instantly recognised. But it was only in 2016, when he was invited by Gideon Berger to play multiple sets within the Block9 area at Glastonbury Festival, including at the famed gay club NYC Downlow, that he began to receive the respect of the city, and further still, finally regaining the kind of attention he'd had in his latter days in Manchester.
Block9 and NYC Downlow is now recognised as one of the leading clubbing destinations in the world with DJs such as Masters At Work reducing their fees and personally approaching them in order to play. As a gay clubbing experience, its soundtrack is far different to that which was in vogue on Manchester's gay scene when Wes first started. Wes Baggaley's underground house sets, inspired by a lifetime of musical knowledge, were incredibly well received there alongside those of Hannah Holland, Horse Meat Disco, Dan Beaumont and Chapter 10, Midland, Gideon, Prosumer and Michael Serafini.
All of a sudden, underground gay club sounds, presented by gay DJs, have returned to the progressive and popular forefront of the club scene, just as it was during the genesis of both disco and house music. This is a domain in which Wes Baggaley has long existed. With a fledgling production career just having started, this exciting and highly experienced DJ looks set to join the aforementioned in spearheading the movement.