Before Optimo’s infamous Sub Club residency, both Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes had already gained experience as performers in their own right. Twitch earned his stripes in electro as well as playing post-punk music, inspired largely by the noise rock scene which birthed acts such as The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. Another crucial act from this scene would be Liquid Liquid, a noise/funk-punk outfit who’s 1983 single ‘Optimo’ would later give the duo its name. Meanwhile, Wilkes cut his teeth as a DJ mixing aspects of the rock music he was listening to with techno. By 1996 both Twitch and Wilkes had racked up experience in organising techno and dance events on a regular basis. Wilkes began holding regular techno evenings in the 90s branded ‘My Machines’ using Glasgow’s School of Art as a venue.

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Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, one of Scotland first thorough-bread techno clubs was to be co-founded by Twitch under the title ‘Pure’ which ran from 1990-98 when it closed for good despite still receiving much attention from clubbers and Dj’s alike.
Legendary Scottish techno duo Slam spoke of the club saying “Twitch played with Brainstorm in Edinburgh before Optimo began. Edinburgh’s techno club was built around the residents and was putting on a lot of the same DJs we had at our ‘Slam at the Arches’ night, Richie Hawtin and Jeff Mills being favourites of both clubs. It is remembered as a completely legendary party in Edinburgh’s clubbing folklore.”

On the 30th of November 1997, Glasgow and Sub Club were gifted something truly special when ‘Optimo (Espacio)’ was founded. But as many clubbers will tell you – it wasn’t just a night: ‘Optimo was a club, a sound and a way of life.’
When Keith McIvor and Jonnie Wilkes linked up to form Optimo in 1997 Glasgow’s musical landscape was changed forever. The duo went on to shape Glasgow’s electronic music scene but their influence reached much further. Today’s top artists and DJ’s – the likes of Bicep and The Black Madonna – have thanked Optimo for inspiring them to play with the freedom they do.
Simply put – Optimo defied all expectation. For a club night 13 years is an eternity, but to consistently fill 13 years’ worth of Sundays is truly incredible. Clubs, DJ’s and even whole youth movements can rise and fall in such a period – but Optimo seemed to just rise.
A credit to their success was their live booking policy which allowed bands such as Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem to play in the basement – a reflection of the duo’s dynamic taste in music which they incorporate in their performances.
The duo possesses a unique and specific aesthetic which they’ve maintained over the years. Their sets include elements of rock, disco, funk and experimentalism. Each set as unique and fresh as the last. Their freedom and expression a result of their simple philosophy of If it sounds good and makes people dance, play it.
Their strong zero tolerance approach to so-called ‘DJ culture’ was a factor in their success. Often criticised for what they played, ‘you can’t play that in Sub Club’ or ‘you’ve lost the plot’ to some of their track selections. Of course, for Optimo, ‘that only fuelled the flames.’ Despite the night at Sub Club discontinuing in 2010, JD Twitch and Wilkes still play regularly globally. Of course, their sets still swerving from electro, 50’s swing, post-punk to funk and anything in between.

On Saturday Optimo make their triumphant return to Sub Club accompanied by beloved Glasgow legends Harri and Domenic at their weekly residency Subculture. Although the Optimo residency ended nearly a decade ago it’s unlikely that the reception will be anything less than overwhelming as the duo return home (at least for one night).



Words by Lorne McFarlane & Ciaran Cairns
Tracks selected by Matt Corry
Tickets Available here

13:16 • 16 Feb 19