Kick starting their musical partnership in a run down Los Angeles bar after a few pints in ’99, Simon ‘Woolfy’ James and Dan Hastie have formed a dynamic musical relationship over the past 15 years. Their Woolfy vs Projections project first came to light in 2008, with ‘The Astral Projections Of Starlight’ on Munich stalwarts Permanent Vacation – who’ve recently brought us gems from the likes of Lauer and Locked Groove. That first album marked the beginning of a concept album trilogy loosely based on the adventures of the lost astronaut Captain Starlight, who is the hero in a Zazu track of the same name, a notorious Balearic Rock classic that strongly influenced the sound of James and Hastie. 2012 saw the second instalment ‘The Return Of Love’ which continued the trademark Woolfy vs Projections sound; a heady concoction deep Balearic, classic west coast, Disco, beard Rock and blissed-out Funk.
The pair have recently rounded off Captain Starlight’s magical journey with ‘Stations’, which is out now on Permanent Vacation. With a penchant for some of the best in sun-kissed club excursions, James and Hastie were on hand to deliver a rousing mix this week that traverses typically euphoric strands of Disco, Boogie, Balearic and beyond. Something to ease you into these Autumnal months.
Check the mix below along with a Q&A interview with the California duo.
Where did each of you grow up and what kind of music were you listening to? Did this influence your work as Woolfy vs Projections?
Simon: I grew up in Surrey, just outside London. I remember Madness, Bad Manners, Abba. My teen years were loaded with New Edition, The Smiths, MC Shan, Beasties…very contradicting years indeed. For sure, this influences us. Our past always folds into what is being created now.
Dan: Hailing from Canoga Park, CA, deep in the San Fernando Valley. In my younger years it was Beach Boys, Michael Jackson and Run DMC. But you will always hear that Classic Rock influence – Pink Floyd, Hendrix and The Eagles to name a few.
What made you two want to start a band together back in the late ’90s? Did you know each other prior to making music?
Our mate Sergio Rios of the band Orgone. Back in the day we used to have several projects, we rocked a project called Loa Rhythm for a good while.
Have either of you spent time in Ibiza?
Neither of us have. The plan for 2016 is an Ibiza residency with live percussion, keys, classical guitar .
What made you guys feel that ‘Stations’ was right for the final chapter in the adventures of Captain Starlight?
The original plan was to do three albums, we may take out a page from the Star Wars saga and go back to his young jedi days.
Even though there’s a strong club focus, ‘Stations’ has a very organic and live feel to it. Can you talk us through some of the recording process?
Most of the instruments we play are from an analog world giving them an organic feel. Most of the drum sounds we use to program are lifted off of old vinyl, it gives it a bit of warmth.
How did you approach ‘Stations’ in comparison to ‘The Astral Projections Of Starlight’ and ‘The Return Of Love’?
They’ve all been quite synced up to our lives, you have to soak it all in, keep telling the tale.
How much has living in California influenced your sound? Do you think you’d be making similar music if you lived in a different environment?
Quite a bit. Blue skies and sunshine definitely add flavour. Our next endeavour we plan on recording out in the desert, we’ll see what happens.
Can you touch on your relationship with Permanent Vacation? How did that come about?
The Permanent Vacation guys are great, we’ve been with them for quite some time now. Back in 2007 we sent them ‘Absynth’ and ‘Return Of Starlight’ and they got back to us quickly and the relationship began.
What sort of creative input does the label have in your work?
They certainly have their sound and their vision, we happen to fit in that genre.
Talk us through some of this mix, where was it made and was there any deeper inspiration behind it?
Just working with a bag of new records and we were able to capture the moment.
It’s got a strong Disco focus, can people expect a similar vibe in your DJ sets?
We are definitely rooted in Disco, but it all depends on the crowd and the energy of the night.
Are there any tracks that are firm favourites in your DJ sets?
There are records that don’t leave the bag, cuts like Patrick Cowley’s ‘Get A Little’. Lots of secret weapons…
Is vinyl your preferred format?
Nothing like a piece of wax…but you can’t ignore the digital world, it’s fun being able to drop unreleased edits or beats on the people.
What projects do each of you have in store in the near future?
A new Woolfy record, an Orgone record just dropped. Stay tuned for the Mezcal Valley Boys as well…
‘Stations’ is out now on Permanent Vacation. Order it here.