Whether it’s through crossover cuts like ‘Get Up’ and the new single ‘Cut Me Up’, remixes for the likes of M.I.A. and Daft Punk or their lauded Stanton Sessions mixes, the UK bass duo know how to keep bodies moving.
Australia bound over the festive season, Mark Yardley/ Dominic Butler sat down with Scene to spread some pre-Christmas cheer.
You’ve been pigeonholed as a breaks outfit since the beginning, unfairly I think, because your sound is much more than that, right? We actually came out of the UK garage scene in the late ‘90s and started making our beats in a certain way. Different scenes were playing our tracks from breaks DJs to house DJs through to 2 step DJs. We never really declared what our genre was, preferring to let the music do the talking. Even now we aren't sure what it is nor do we care as long as people keep dancing and enjoying what we do!
Do you think the success of tunes like ‘Get Up’ changed people’s perceptions of you and what you’re capable of? I think it showed how a relatively underground tune can have commercial success as well. We have never aimed for the charts etc and have only made tracks that we actually like. So to have a track get play listed and played all over the place definitely brings more people into our sound.
Congratulations on the success of ‘Cut Me Up’; what kind of feeling were you trying to create with it? We made the track primarily to play out with without even thinking about how it would do. Them & Us — who feature on the track — are Ami Carmine who sang with Basement Jaxx and Killa Kela who's the original king of the beatboxers. They are a couple who live at the end of my street; we had a few beers and knocked the track out! The reaction’s been amazing!
Tell me about the new album? What direction are you taking? Lots of fresh beat directions, great songs and heavy sonics. There has been lots of interesting music coming out of late from the UK bass scene through to the San Fran Dirty Bird sound, which arguably fits into what we do. So we have taken lots of influences from that but added our own Stanton imprint. We feel its our most exciting music yet. It’s gonna drop early next year.
Think back to your early productions like ‘Right Here’; aside from the obvious digital advances, how has your approach to producing changed over the years? Well, we still like to go against the grain. We have never jumped on the latest trend and always made music that we actually want to hear. To us a good beat will always be a good beat and likewise for basslines, vocals etc. We will throw literally anything into mix on top of this to get the desired results. I think this approach has helped us sustain longevity.
You’ve both very active on Twitter and Facebook; do you think being accessible to fans etc. is a non-negotiable these days? The vast majority of DJs pay someone to do their social media. We do our own 100 percent, which we feel is important. We are Stanton Warriors, no one else. Facebook especially is our window to the world and when you look in, it’s just us or maybe a hungover us stuck in some obscure airport somewhere.
Are those pics on your Twitter feed real, in the sense that hundreds of people have inked themselves with you logo? Yeah they are all real. Forty nine people have a real Stanton Warriors tattoo on their bodies. We've seen most of them in real life. It’s pretty crazy to be honest. We are flattered that people would do that. Free entry for life for all of them!
Can the album format survive in the digital age? I think so. The DJ mixtape thing also can as well as the EP format. I guess supply and demand will dictate what survives. One thing is for sure, people will always want good music!
If you could give only one piece of advice to bedroom producers wanting to get a break, what would it be? Originate, don’t duplicate. Don't worry about trying to be the next whoever. Do your own thing and stand behind it!
Who are a few producers you’re feeling at present? Woz and Gorgan City from Black Butter Records are doing good stuff. Marten Horger and Mafia Kiss are doing exciting new beat-y stuff also. Lots of one-off producers doing great tunes. The non 4/4 style of uptempo beats is definitely making new waves.
Predictions and plans, release wise, for 2014? Our label, Punks, has a load of releases forthcoming. We have our artist album and a load of separate collabs coming out. Nonstop tours of the whole planet. Lots more sushi. More podcasts. Merchandise coming forth soon. And maybe a liver transplant.
Stanton Warriors headline Blah Blah Blah Block Party, behind Oh Hello, Saturday December 28.