In Search Of Captain Starlight: An Interview With Woolfy vs. Projections.

in Bittles' Magazine/Platte/Porträt & Interview

Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world

Woolfy vs. Projections create strange, ethereal music composed of the type of sounds that would be a treat for any set of ears. Over the last few years the duo of Simon James and Dan Hastie have released a string of rich, emotional house music tracks which are so sun-kissed they positively glow. Their brand-new album ›Stations‹ hits the shops on the 21st August via esteemed slo-mo disco purveyors ›Permanent Vacation‹ and sees the band reach a creative peak. By JOHN BITTLES

woolfy-vs-projections-stationsThe record is the closing part of a trilogy of LPs concentrating on the adventures of astronaut Captain Starlight who was first introduced in The ›Astral Projections Of Starlight in 2008 and ›The Return Of Love from 2012. Yet, if you have happened to have missed their earlier works then worry not, as ›Stations‹ is the ideal place to introduce yourself to the duo’s cosmic house sound.

›Stations‹ opens with the hazy Balearica of ›Jackie and ›Chances Are, proving within its opening ten minutes that it is more than worthy of a full-blown man-crush. Other highlights include the gorgeous Spanish-flecked guitars on upcoming Cafe Del Mar classic ›Missing You‹, the strange, yet addictive dance-floor funk of ›Set It Up‹, the Solomun-style emotional house of ›Combination‹ and the out of this world disco of ›Tangiers‹. The whole album is a success though, with all eleven tracks working together seamlessly to create a fitting road-trip inspired end to the exploits of Captain Starlight.

gun slingingNow that the trilogy is over, could this be the end of the duo? In the following interview we discuss the future of the band, ›Stations‹, the ending of a trilogy, being weirdoes, and lots more.

By way of introduction can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
A collective duo who started working together in 1998 as Projections and are five albums deep with albums under Projections / Woolfy and Woolfy vs Projections. In writing we both take a stab at everything and see what comes out. Always a fun creative process. 

Your new LP ›Stations‹ is the final part of a trilogy of albums based on the adventures of astronaut Captain Starlight from a Zazu track. When you were working on first album ›Astral Projections Of Starlight‹ back in 2007/08 did you always envisage it as part of a trilogy? 
Not really, ›Return of Love‹ did have strong ties to the Captains adventure, and in ›Stations‹, we feel we made the Captain a road-trip album to help the man in his long journeys.

In what ways do you think ›Stations‹ differs or compares to ›Astral Projections‹?
Overall the vibe and sound of ›Stations‹ is on the same page as ›Astral Projections‹, there’s more of a club element to ›Stations‹ and [it] has a bit more drive to it. 

Is ›Stations‹ a fitting finale to the exploits of Captain Starlight?
Yes, in ›Stations‹ there’s a little less storyline but [it] relates more to the Captain in present day. Over the course of the first two of the trilogy, it was about the tales of Starlight and how he got here, looking into his retirement . 

An early highlight of the album for me is the lush disco funk of ›Chances Are‹. Can you tell us a bit about how this track came about?
We both made this in the early days out of wedlock. The demo versions of this song had a completely different feel melodically and musically. When ›PV‹ (Permanent Vacation) chose it for the album we stepped up the feel and made it a little less morose and a bit more bangin‘. 

While a lot of albums tend to lose their way around the midway point ›Stations‹ blasts into the driving house groove of ›Combination‹. How easy or difficult was the sequencing of the album’s tracks?
We leave it up to the boys at ›PV‹ to program the record. There’s always a meeting of the minds, but they tend to have a good feel for things. 

w vs p - press photo›Who‹, another album highlight, sees you reworking Odyssey’s Balearic classic into a lovely piece of cosmic-funk. What made you decide to cover that particular song?
It’s been a long time favourite of our LA clan, one of those tunes that always seem to raise the roof, in any situation. I think Gerry introduced it to most of us, and of course there’s the Demis version as well.. 

The album closes with the title-track ›Station‹, a beautiful slice of sunshine-infused ambiance, and not something I could imagine being created on a cold, wet November night in Belfast. How important a role do you think your surroundings play in the music you make?
Quite a bit, Cali life is certainly its own thing, there’s the sunshine, the soul, the landscape and the people. LA baby!

Concept albums can be notoriously hard work for both creators and listeners. What is the secret to getting them right?
Sorry to disappoint, but that shit is top secret. 

Now that the trilogy is complete, is this the end for Woolfy vs. Projections?
Maybe the end of the moniker, we plan on doing another LP as Woolfy and a 70’s cali-soul project. Lots more to come. 

To me, Woofy vs. Projections create music which sounds like no-one else. Why do you think that is?
Hahaa.. cause we’re weirdos. Probably a combination of our influences and many sunrises.

All three Woolfy vs. Projections albums were released on Munich-based ›Permanent Vacation‹. How did you first hook up with the people there?
We sent them ›Absynth‹ and ›Return Of Starlight‹ via email, two days later they asked us to do a record. 

What do each of you bring to the project that the other couldn’t?
There’s so many roles in the project that we both like to step into, so it’s quite a balance when it comes to creative direction. 

day in the park-1Are there any plans to tour the record at all?
Just wrapped up a nice European tour/holiday, probably heading back around November.. 

What does the future hold for you both? 
Releasing more music, playing more live shows and collaborations with other artists…

Do you have any final words for our readers?
If you want to learn more about us and keep updated with our upcoming releases and tours, check woolfy.me

Hope you enjoy the album…xoxo

If you are too lazy to stroll down to your nearest record shop then Buy the album here. I think you will find it money well spent!

| JOHN BITTLES