Celebrating ten years of World Unknown

Renowned DJ Andy Blake talks to HUNGER about throwing 25-hour parties in London’s most unique spaces.

You will definitely know if you’ve attended a World Unknown party, it’s a magical experience free of bad energy, full of the weird and wonderful – a festival in a city setting. Founded by DJ Andy Blake in 2009, World Unknown has been legendary from the start. Repeatedly taking the term ‘party’ to new levels, whether it’s in music, themes, venues, or duration (last year’s birthday event lasted 25 hours) World Unknown is a thriving community precious to the country’s underground party scene. 

Blake has rightly racked up a reputation as not only a veteran party-thrower but also as one of London’s most knowledgeable DJs. From 2007 through to 2009 he ran a label called Dissident, an outlet for alternative disco, electro and house, alongside running World Unknown. Blake also created the World Unknown record label in 2011. He has been present in the UK underground rave scene for over the last thirty years, notably at the late 80’s acid house parties in London.

It’s been a decade for World Unknown, but by no means is this a signifier of it slowing down, in fact, its future is looking towards some of its wildest and biggest parties. Blake now runs the event with his girlfriend Amy and a small, but mighty team. From venues including Brixton’s archways, disused stripper joints, forests only accessible by canal boat to World Unknown’s venue this weekend, which is “locked off like a disco fortress”, nothing is impossible for World Unknown.

Scroll down to read our interview with Blake talking about World Unknown’s past, present and future…

courtesy of World Unknown

World Unknown has been a staple in London’s underground party scene for a decade now, its evolved into something so much more than just ‘a party’ – what does WU mean to you?

Now we are here it seems obvious it would have happened, but that wasn’t always the case. The current incarnation [of WU] is by far my favourite version, we’ve got a really good crew who run it and it feels like pretty much anything can happen. 

How has WU changed over the last ten years?

It’s changed a huge amount and I hope it keeps changing and developing. The music we play is constantly changing and I think that’s really healthy. When I first properly got into clubs and parties in the late 80s things changed at an incredible pace, musical styles would come in and out very rapidly. People’s appetite for anything new, innovative and exotic was huge. 

The period before the [dance] industry worked out how to control and regulate events was very inspiring to me and Amy, especially now as everything is so well-formatted and predictable. Personally, I’m hoping that we have some sort of paradigm shift in the game again, but I’m realistic enough to concede that it’s seeming fairly unlikely at the moment. But maybe that’s just the push it needs to bring it on. The future is unwritten, after all.

courtesy of World Unknown

Ten best moments from 10 years of WU?

What happens at WU very much stays at WU.

Ten best records played at WU?

An impossible question to answer but a skim through this Youtube playlist that I just made for Test Pressing will give some idea.

Longest WU?

 That would be the 25-hour event we did for last year’s WU birthday. It started at Fold with me and Jane Fitz DJing, we then went to Grow Tottenham from Sunday morning until midnight. Amy and I woke up Monday morning in a bed made of two huge leather sofas pushed together at the club next door, the Cause. I’ve slept in a number of nightclubs over the years in all kinds of states and that was by far the comfiest and warmest one. 

courtesy of World Unknown

From archways, canal sides, basements to old strip clubs you’ve had your fair share of unconventional venues, what is the dream WU?

I guess the real dream is to keep on going with it and constantly be surprised by what happens next.

What can we expect for Saturday?

By some miracle we’ve got Fabi Paras, one of the best London DJs, fresh out of his 20-year retirement as our main room guest. Check out Sound Clash Republic, his Shiver Shanti and Junk Rock labels plus the countless remixes Fabi has done to see what he’s all about, you won’t be disappointed. We also have Netil Radio’s ambient ambassador Miro Sundaymusiq leading the charge in the ambient ‘wuumb’ [room]. The venue is also genuinely amazing.

And the next ten years?

Not the faintest idea, that’ll be 2029 which I think I’m OK in saying freaks me out a bit.


Purchase tickets for World Unknown’s 10th birthday party on November 9 here.

wordsPhoebe Gardner
covervia WorldUnknown