Classic Album: Wookie
S2S Recordings, 2000
This is a man who has got his own sound. As one of the key producers of his generation, Wookie fearlessly joined the dots between the crisp new UK garage sonics of the dawning millenium, and the fierce chops and bass drops of the underground jungle scene. He took the cutting-edge soundtrack of the clubs, and wove in cellists and live musicians, touching on Latin flavours and jazz, before allowing his right-hand vocalist, Lain, to ride these intoxicating rhythms with the command of a Gospel preacher, and the effortless swagger of a slick R&B video star.
Wookie, and his productions, oozed confidence – thanks in no small part to the world they came from. His studio was located in dance music legends Soul II Soul’s Camden recording complex, having worked for them since the mid-nineties, running the boards and remixing tracks. He was surrounded by greatness, daily, and had access to all of Jazzie B’s vast array of synths, drum machines and instruments, as well as a treasure trove of DATs and master tapes to plunder for his own productions.
“I was so lucky to be in Soul II Soul’s studios when I was making this album,” says Wookie.” Back then, in the garage scene, there weren’t many guys that came from such a studio complex.
“It helped me do what nobody else was doing in garage – having live instruments playing, or meshing the electric sounds with the analogue. We had acoustic guitars and live strings, but with breaks and filters and all them type of things going on over the top. It was serious music.”
Looking back, Wookie’s sound gets called garage, but it was so much more. “It doesn’t sound like garage,” says Wookie. “Put on some MJ Cole next to me, or any of the other guys out at the time who had that real 2-step garagey sound. I didn’t have that. I joined all this different music together, and came up with my own style.
“Jazzie said to me, ‘In order for you to have some sort of success, you have to have your own individual sound’. Luckily for me I achieved that.”