Interview by Graham Lynch/Cork Independent

GL: Let's start with the generic 'how did you guys get together' question – were you involved with other projects prior to the formation of Wiggle and, if so, who and what were they?

Wiggle: Wiggle began in 1999 when three of us (Toby, Colm and John John) all shared a house on Sundays well with Lilly the cat and Jim (aka VJ Present). We had a music room where we used to jam. Toby got himself a Roland 505, Colm played guitar and John John played Double bass at the time. We did a gig for the end of Toby and John Johns end of year thing for Togher Music Project and that was the first Wiggle gig ( in the Deanrock pub in Togher). Claire from the Yumi Yuki club gave us a weekly slot and that really got the ball rolling in terms of regular gigging. That’s where we first met up with Rory who was also playing music in the Yumi Yuki with Nuca and Harry J at the time.

We were all in various groups before Wiggle, John John played bass with lots of bands, most notably Hooky and Sangré Latino. Toby played in various bands; Moontan, Brigadoon and Jellyfish, also playing percussion with John John in Cork bands Hooky and Sangré Latino. Rory has been in more bands than you've had hot dinners, Nuca, Downtown Crossing, Anonymous groove and studied music in UCC and UCL. Colm was guitarist in David Hasselhoffs' Legion of Doom, The Club Foot Inbreds, and the Flaming Drongos, as well as learning 'how to do Art' in the Crawford College of Art and design.

GL: Was the band initially conceived as a studio project or was it always your intention to have Wiggle perform as a fully functioning live act?

Wiggle: Wiggle began in the music room but quickly became (almost exclusively) a live entity. The live element is integral to Wiggle. Early Wiggle gigs were jam sessions involving Toby, Colm and John John with various guests (singing/ drumming/ flute/ keys) turning up and joining in.

GL: You guys have recently released your first EP – can you tell me about the four-track record, namely the recording and song writing process involved. How does the group work when composing - is there certain roles assumed within the band and is everyone present?

Wiggle: We recorded with the more than capable Simon Widdowson from Are you Listening? (Cork based record label) in his lovely wee cottage near the Kerry Pike. It was a great spot. We recorded 6 tracks in total (I think). We also recorded the tracks simultaneously, to keep the live ethos going. There were a few over dubs and not everyone was present for those but the majority of the work was done as a group effort. There is no one fixed approach to composing for us.

GL: Dub has, over time, become a hugely influential art-form, notably in the dance music scene but also among punk/hardcore and post-rock – it helped transformed the studio into a musical instrument of its own and contributed to the furthering of experimentation in sound-recording - is there a particular stage at which time musicianship give way to production techniques in Wiggle? Do you look for an equal balance between the two or does it even become an issue?

Wiggle: Dub music is a huge influence on all of us. The ethics and ethos of Dub music contribute to this. Wiggle feels that conscious reggae music is necessary in society. The social gathering aspect and dancing to Dub Soundsystems creates a sense of well being within and we like to nurture that feeling as much as we can. Obviously we owe a lot to Dub music technically. The likes of King Tubby, Lee Perry, and Augustus Pablo and their studio antics certainly resonate with and inspire us. Unlike many Dub soundsystems, where they play back pre-recorded material and add effects, vocals and EQ live. Wiggle's sound is created and manipulated completely live. Everything you hear is created live by someone at an instrument on the stage. Musicianship is completely central to the Wiggle performance. As there is a high level of improvisation, good musicianship is essential. A good ear and response to what is going on around you is vital to the music making. A song can go in any direction and your allowed to make as much noise as you want (well... within reason).
Dub is not our sole influence however, we listen and are influenced by lots of other music; Roots reggae, Breakcore, Dubstep, Hiphop, Metal, Punk, Country (the Johnny Cash kind) as well as a plethora of Cork bands too numerous to mention.

GL: When playing live there is an element of improvisation, right? Has this always been the case, or have you begun experimenting more live as you continue to play more and more together? How important is that improvisation element at your shows and is something you guys thrive on?

Wiggle: Improvisation is essential. The focus on improvisation has always been there. That is why the sound and performance of Wiggle is so alive. Every gig is different. Faithful repetition does not appeal to us. We play for the dancers, a symbiosis happens where the music feeds the dance feeds the music feeds the dance and on until we're told to stop.