Now that Northern Nights is half a decade old, it continues to attract newcomers of all walks of life. Each year more and more artists, dancers, gypsies and performers flock to Cook’s Valley Campground to spend the weekend in the woods, on the river and shaking their asses off until the early morning light. This year, audiences were graced with the Northern Nights debut of electronic duo, Starfari–on The Grove stage and at the Silent Disco on the first night–hailing from San Francisco via Orange County.
“This is actually our first festival we’ve ever played,” says Alex Scarlett.
That might seem strange for Bay Area residents, who have been seeing Starfari’s name everywhere on flyers. Even though they’ve been making music for four years, this coming August will mark only a year for Starfari playing live shows.
“[Northern Nights] is the pinnacle of our live performances,” agrees Ali Jafari. “It’s crazy, I’m still trying to wrap my mind about it.”
The two originally met in high school, where the unlikely EDM duo originally formed a metal band together. After the group disbanded, Jafari and Scarlett lost touch for some time, randomly running into each other at a Tiesto concert.
“[Scarlett] was an apprentice at a music studio and I was running a music blog,” remembers Jafari. “So we realized we already knew two crucial elements of the music world: how to make it and market it. That’s when we decided to run with [Starfari].”
Since then the group has released a number of singles and remixed everyone from 2Pac to Odesza. Last year they dropped their five song EP, Clear The Clouds, which gained them a lot of attention in the online music world. Earlier this last July, Starfari released the first track off their upcoming EP, Total Solar, which they hope to drop sometime at the end of August or beginning of September.
“We’re trying to find our sound and balance of all the things we like,” Scarlett states.
If the first song off Total Solar–a collaboration track with James Taugher called “Take Control”–is any indication, Starfari is finding their balance with heavy, bass-driven beats with ethereal melodies. Taugher’s voice swims throughout the track with a positive message for musicians, artists and everyday life: even when your back is against the wall, there’s nothing stopping you. Take control.
“Our first EP was a little bit lighter and happier feeling,” says Jafari. “This one is a little darker and heavier.”
While both artists are excited to return to Northern Nights in 2018 the question remains: As first timers, what advice would they give newcomers in the following year?
“Get psyched and bring a water floaty,” laughs Scarlett.
“Bring a water floaty, a trolley to carry your camping equipment from the parking lot, and don’t forget a dust mask or bandana.”