Wakil Ahmed AKA Korzi is well know across Manchester as bringing the party. Through his time he has worked with labels such as Move, TommyClub/Playtest, Sound Freq and Footslog but his concentration is now on his label he co-founded with Connor Cooper (AKA Fassbender) called Left, Right & Centre (LR&C). The label has become a go to for UK techno and bass experiments and the names who have worked with them do not disappoint. Henzo, Josh Scott, Heritage & Delo, Kessler, Craig Walker, Hypho, Everett, Porter Brook, Hedchef, Alexis and Felonezzy have all appeared on their compilations and at their parties.
Their VA’s are where it really all kicked off back in 2018 and since then their parties have only got bigger and better with local legends like Interplanetary Criminal, D. Clemete, Abena, Treece, Lupini, 96 Back, Bruce, SCAPA, Jazz Black and so many more being part of it all. Wakil and the LR&C are truly an example of the power of Manchester and the availability of great communities and great people.
The city seems to be bursting at the seams since the world has reopened with endless examples of amazing local talent and events to see them at. The latest release on LR&C has come straight from Korzi, rather than their classic compilation style release. ‘Terra Preta’ is a low slung, dirty 100 bpm introduction to how Wakil takes the classic dub, techno style and flips it and can add so many experimental edges to proceedings. We already have a full review of the release on our website on new releases in April, head there to read that.
However I want to learn more about Wakil and find out exactly who Korzi is and hear about LR&C straight from him.
So Wakil, tell us about Korzi?
So, I started out as Korzi back in 2015 (ish) when I first started making tunes influenced by that UK sound of techno/bass which was really knocking about around then. I’ve been releasing tunes on and off over the years with the most recent releases being my ‘Footslog EP’ on eatmybeat and more recently my ‘Terra Preta EP’ which came out in April on the label that I co-run called Left, Right & Centre. Right now, I’m working on getting out as much music as possible - all the stuff that I’ve been honing over the years.
What have been massive influences on Korzi? Whether that be environment, food or an album when you were a kid?
A really early memory I have is of my mum, she used to rip CD’s from HMV onto our computer and then return them (we were pretty skint back then and Spotify didn’t exist so I don’t blame her). But I specifically remember there being the odd UK garage CD here and there that she used to have which, looking back, was probably my first exposure to UK dance music.
The best bit for me is the fact that she was a south-asian immigrant that decided to engross herself in UK music. Shouts the Now 99 CD with ‘The Wiseguys - Ooh La La’ on it, that was a heater!
How did everything come together to create Left, Right & Centre?
Me and my co-founder Connor were both working at a venue called Joshua Brooks. We were already involved in separate projects and at the time I was doing stuff in Manchester with a label called Bunk Audio. We both wanted to start something from scratch to fill that UK Bass/Techno sound here in Manchester and also to be part of a project we started ourselves and could call our own. The label came about much later however and whilst having the idea in the air for a good part of a year, it was only the spare time we had in the pandemic that enabled us to get the ball rolling.
Tell us about some of the best parties you’ve either hosted or played at.
The best party I feel like we hosted is when we booked DJ Lag back in July 2019. It was a bit of a scramble to put together as we had a few issues with venues but in the end the kind souls at Soup Kitchen came through to make it happen. To me, it was the best party we’ve hosted because it was pushing a forward-thinking and fresh sound. Something we’ve always prioritised and aimed for in regards to our curation with Left, Right & Centre.
Then, the best party I've played at has to be without a doubt the Loose Lips Bloc Party Stage at Boomtown that same year. The Loose Lips crew seriously knows how to party and have a laugh.
How has lockdown affected your output as a musician and organiser?
Locking down has really taught me about the importance of patience, it's okay for things not to come together. I’ve also become comfortable with the fact that everyone does things at their own pace and that's also fine! Throughout the last year I’ve had periods of being extremely proactive to periods where I’ve had absolutely no output whatsoever and whilst it's easy to beat yourself up over those moments in hindsight they’re needed to enable the proactive periods to happen.
Who do you have massive respect for in Manchester right now?
The Old Abbey Taphouse! These guys have really been holding it down for the music scene over the last year. They’ve hosted all sorts of socially distanced events, workshops and they’re the home to Steam Radio. We held our Left, Right & Centre 3rd Birthday weekender there with Bruce, Henzo, Abena, Myself, JAZZ, Porter Brook & SCAPA.
What does Manchester need now ‘normality’ is coming back?
As normality returns it would be great to see a lot less elitism and snobbery in dance music and events. There's room for a diverse range of genres to co-exist and elitism is something that I find myself coming across more and more of recently, when dance music has historically been an outlet for the masses.
What is coming up for Korzi and Left, Right & Centre?
For me I have a few more EP’s in the pipeline that are currently due towards the end of the year. I can’t say just where they’ll be releasing yet but I’m sitting on a plethora of music that I’m quite happy with. I’m also planning on launching another label soon to self release a lot more music so I can have complete creative control over my tunes. Running Left, Right & Centre has made me really confident in the process of doing this.
For Left, Right & Centre, our next release comes in the form of four 100BPM chuggers from Henzo and a secret remix. Events wise we’re also currently curating a few things at some Manchester venues for August and November. It feels weird to be planning parties again but it's nice to be back at what we do best.
Can you recommend us 3 musicians/artists/businesses/shops, food spots or anything from Manchester that we should know about?
Musicians - Murmurs (Henzo, Abena & Hanz)
Food Spot - This & That Cafe
Artists - Craig Ridd
Let's hope to see more from Wakil and Co in the future and hopefully we can get a good shuggs going. Please.