Wriggly Scott aka DJ Solo (born Neil Andrew) is a Dubai-based hip hop DJ and producer. Originally from High Wycombe, he discovered hip hop at an early age after a brief stint playing the piano and guitar, then took up DJing at the age of 16. He was soon playing on his local pirate radio station Storm FM, and also performing at parties in and around his hometown.
In 1998 he moved to London to study, where he continued to play out and his appreciation for music broadened. During this time he hosted shows on internet radio stations Interface and Gaialive alongside DJ Daredevil, as well as holding down various residences around East London. He was also the scratch DJ for drum & bass trio ?White Noise?, with whom he performed across the UK, including warming up for the Scratch Perverts.
Around 2004 he moved to Dubai. He quickly became part of the burgeoning music scene, helping to establish the first ever internet radio station based in the U.A.E., while also hosting the first ever underground hip hop show on FM radio. Artists he has shared the stage with in Dubai include Quantic, Florian Keller, Jazzy Jeff, Jazzie B, DJ Format, DJ Woody, Aaron LaCrate, the Kyoto Jazz Massive, Phil Asher and Cash Money to name a few.
Along with fellow producer Solphonic, and MCs Jibberish and Toofless (now known as Feras Ibrahim), Scott founded ?Diligent Thought?. Their conscious lyrics and infectious beats quickly gained them popularity amongst fans of real hip hop, something which is hard to come by nowadays. After their split Scott continued to pursue his production, enjoying the newly found freedom that being an individual artist provides by experimenting with various sounds under various aliases.
May 2011 saw his first commercial release hit the stores on Dented Records. Who Is Wriggly Scott? is a collection of 8 tightly produced tracks featuring MCs from the Middle East and further afield such as J-Live, Orifice Vulgatron and The Narcicyst. On the EP Scott attempts to bridge the cultural gap between his own upbringing with hip hop in the UK and his personal experience formed living in the Middle East for over seven years.
Greatest musical inspirations or influences?
In terms of influence then I would definitely say my family. My mother and sister were both piano teachers, my brother played the drums, I myself played the piano and then the guitar prior to taking up DJing and music production. Other instruments in the house included the cello, oboe, recorder and violin and as my mother teaches piano form our dining room the air is constantly filled with music.
Nowadays I guess I'm influenced and also inspired by my friends who are DJs and producers, and also my wife who has amazing taste in music and is often introducing me to new artists and sounds. As one of my friend's said there is a relatively small circle of producers in Dubai that are on a similar wavelength (ie. not your Top 40 types) which leads to constant collaborations and sharing of ideas.
Some of my all-time favourite artists include Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and other more contemporary ones like Flying Lotus, Pete Rock, Money Mark really there are too many to mention. In short I respect and look upto artists who are true to who they are and attempt to push the boundaries of music production or as DJs search for and promote good music.
Most memorable set or gig to date?
Probably not the best reason but I'll never forget dropping 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' by Ol' Dirty Bastard at one of my first gigs when I was maybe 17 or 18 and somebody in the crowd threw a pint glass straight up in the air - luckily nobody was hurt. I've been lucky to play alongside many great DJs but for me one of my most memorable sets was when I was warming up for Jazzie B at a club called iBO in Dubai. The club has since been demolished, anyways I remember it being one of the first times I really saw a crowd in Dubai respond to funk and hip hop ad inspired me to go out and play more in the city.
How does living in Dubai shape what you do, and your creativity?
It can be frustrating for the obvious reasons but like most things it just requires you to adapt to your surroundings. I seriously miss going out regularly to live shows or seeing diverse DJs on your doorstep, especially moving here from London it was a massive shock. On the other hand there are less 'distractions' which offers the chance to really focus on what you want to do. Another thing I've noticed amongst my friends is that we judge ourselves against internationally-acclaimed artists which means we maintain extremely high standards and it's only recently with the release of my first EP that we're truly starting to gauge where we are on an international level. Nowadays with the importance that the internet plays in our lives you can be just as upto date, if not more living here than in Europe - a lot of DJs still rely in record shops to feed them new music whereas we are constantly searching on blogs and websites which can keep you ahead of the game.
Upcoming gigs or projects we should know about?
I hopefully have another gig penned for Beirut, apart from that I've actually been laying low focusing on my production. My next release is about 80% complete and I'm really happy with how its sounding so far. It's a lot more diverse than my first release 'Who Is Wriggly Scott?' is, and features a lot more of myself actually playing the music as opposed to the more heavily sample-based production I was into before. It also marks myself finally changing my name to Wriggly Scott. The EP has a more soulful and jazzy progressive undertone, and the one after that - which I also have some tracks underway for - is a lot darker.
How´d you bridge your middle east influence with your UK hip hop upbringing?
To me, music's music so the fact that I live in the Middle East doesn't mean I'm going to start sampling the Oud. Again, I believe when making music it's most important to stay true to yourself and not try to make something different according to the latest trend. I guess if I was of Arabic origin then I would have grown up with those instruments and they probably would feature more in my tracks. All this aside I'm always keen to work with Middle Eastern artists and so I believe that the gap is bridged by way of the content perhaps more than anything else. So far I've only really worked with artists from this region that rap, or sing in English but am looking to work with others who rap in Arabic or any other language for that matter. There are some amazing artists in this region who don't necessarily get the international exposure they deserve, and 'Who Is Wriggly Scott?' features MCs from Sri-Lankan, Sudanese, Iraq, Palestinian and Syrian origins to mention a few.
Anything else youd like to share with our audience?
If you're ever passing through Dubai make sure to check out our club night Freshly Laced. Apart from that check out my website www.wrigglyscott.com for free mixtapes and news of upcoming releases.