An intergalactic and woolly team of DJs, Los Wookies are on a mission to explore the furthest reaches of techno, house, bass hip-hop, and disco – all with the quest to deliver the best party on the planet. The project started five years ago, when Andre “VII” Fernández and Hugo “Calacas” Díaz Barreiro teamed up to throw parties, cutting, remixing and editing their own material. Then, they put out a free, internet-distributed EP, which garnered them enough attention to upgrade from party DJs into a full-fledged band. The EP, Discotecno, launched Los Wookies onto worldwide festival stages, and on tours throughout Mexico, South America, USA, Europe and Japan, even playing at the prestigious Glastonbury festival. Now, they’re ready to unleash a brand new record called Darkoteca at the end of May. We caught up with Andre to learn a little more about what’s next for our friendly neighborhood party starters.
You’re playing Ceremonia this year on the eve of the release of “Darkoteca”. What do you have in store for us?
We’re very excited to play Ceremonia, because we’re going to be presenting…not the whole show but part of what we’re doing with this new album, along with our older record, Discotecno. We haven’t had the chance to play Ceremonia until now, but I think it’s the perfect time. It’s going to be great. The festival itself is pretty awesome. It’s like our kickoff.
How is your Ceremonia set going to be different from your usual show? When will we see the full Darkoteca spectacle?
We’re going to be doing an official launch with our friends, in a more intimate place. Our new material has more expansive production – there are more vocals, and we play other instruments, like guitar, bass, drums, so we’re going to incorporate those into the show. We’re hoping the collaborators who contributed to the record can come onstage with us. Everytime we play a show we have to adapt to our environment.
To deliver a gigantic party.
We hope so!
So what’s the inspiration behind “Darkoteca”?
It’s a collection of stories and experiences we had over the past few years, while we were touring to support the Discotecno EP. We compiled them and created a concept of a darkoteca where discotecno is played non-stop.
What inspired you to make this style of dance music?
When we started, we did very exhaustive research on the music we wanted to play. We read books about looping, and other elements that made us very keen on electronic music…I’m a music engineer and I’ve been producing albums for 11 years. The project started as a very unpretentious thing. We saw that we were having a good response from the crowds at our parties and we kept going, trying to improve as we went. It was something very natural. The pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place on their own. We try to give our best to the audience, it’s not about our ego. We like people to have a great time.
How did you come up with the name and the concept for Los Wookies?
When we started, we wanted to call ourselves Shaven Wookies, we didn’t have masks or anything. We’re huge Star Wars fans, so we found the masks online and bought them to wear when we played every now and then. But then people started asking us to play with the masks on, so we went along with it because it’s fun. We love mashup culture, especially the Mexican take on it. Remixing stuff, that’s something that’s very appealing to us. The way we handle our image —the wookie masks we use are black— it’s a mashup of something that already exists, like when you see a shirt with Bart Simpson wearing Nike shoes. This mashup culture that involves images, music, concepts, brands; that’s something we really like and I think it’s [an integral] part of the project.
How does that type of conceptualization extend to the actual music?
If you listen to Discotecno, it’s a concept about the journey we undertook to make the record. It starts with “Maxitunel” and it’s about our trip to Acapulco, how you get there through the maxitunel, you take Costera Miguel Alemán [Avenue]. I think part of creativity and the soul of things is the concept behind it. We’re not the type of artists who make music just for music’s sake, and then just give it a name because we have to. We try to give it a background, to do some research beforehand. For us, that’s how you judge any piece of art; it has to have depth, research and a concept.
Early on, you released “Patrick Millah” which sounds like the sonidero of the same name. There are many electronic artists in Mexico, but hardly anyone pays attention to those roots. Why do this song?
We’re fans. We wanted to make a tribute in our own style. We think it’s really interesting how Mexico is the world capital of Italodisco, so many icons have sprung out of here. Many people are interested in the origins of techno, in what Kraftwerk and Juan Atkins started, and they keep making that kind of music. We made a tribute to the style with this track, and the remix we made for Trans X’s “Living On Video.” But those were just two songs, now we’re in a new phase, and after that will come another phase I’m sure.
You have your own line of toys now, how did that happen?
Veneno Toys came to us, they have been making stuff like this for a number of years, collectible figures and such. They wanted to do something with us and we liked the idea. We love that we have a little doll of ourselves. They have our clothes from when we used to do DJ sets, so it would be fun to have another edition with the Darkoteca look, and then with whatever we come up with.
If you could actually build the Darkoteca, what would it look like?
We think of the Darkoteca as a place in the post-apocalyptic future, somewhere similar to Las Vegas. A decadent city where parties don’t stop and there’s thousands of people in different rooms listening to different things. That’s our ideal setting.
“Post-apocalyptic” as in a Mad Max dance party?
Yeah…well, we imagine a greener future, not as brown and deserted as Mad Max.
The Wookies will be performing at Festival Ceremonia in May.