A Sit Down With DJ Stanton Warriors
Stanton Warriors make bass music; intentionally vague and un-pigeonholable bass music. The Bristolian only constant is unbridled heavy low frequencies. Whether that be house, electro or anything between depends on what side of the bed they get out of. They're also one of the most envied remix outfits having reworked M.I.A., Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Streets, Gorillaz, and Daft Punk to name a few.
Like so many other innovative UK acts, the duo took recognisable templates such as house, breakbeat and techno and crafted something unique, a sound of their own and one that was undeniably British. Over four such compilations and countless remixes they have not so much honed their style as they have explored the furthest reaches of its brash, party-fuelled possibilities. Their music has been called big beat, breaks, garage and UK bass. They have influenced many of today's biggest UK bass contributors and high profile genres leaders such as Disclosure are very vocal in their indebtedness to the West Country duo.
"...dance music industry of late has become more about brands, cliques, money and who you know pushing it further from its acid house roots based on music not marketing."
How did you guys get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place, how did you meet and what made you team up?
I was working as A & R at an early garage label called 51st recordings and Mark was the in house engineer. I had some ideas and we went in the studio there one night and Stanton warriors was born! It was always our intention to have our own sound and from 1997 to today we still strive to keep that ethos.
Who are your musical influences?
Funk, Soul, Jazz, Electro, Disco and all things that came from these sounds.
What do you prefer making, remixes or originals?
Remixes are certainly easier to do but nothing gives you more satisfaction than dropping an original tune for the first time and the crowd going off. We have done a shed load of remixes saying that. It was nice to get recognised by Mixmag in their top 20 remixers of all time list as well.
Where do you guys dig to find most of your music these days?
A lot of digging! The tracks that make it into our sets come from such a wide range of sources from labels like dirtybird through to Black Butter. Its a great time for broken beats and bass music. There is a lot of cookie cutter type music out there at the mo so finding and playing tunes like these loud keeps us engaged. We also have our label Punks Music where we try and sign and support a lot of these tracks.
What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?
Best gig in recent memory was burning man a few years back with a huge crowd of people going crazy in the Nevada desert. The worst has to be a festival in Australia where someone stole my record bag from the back stage dressing room!
What has been your most memorable experience while touring?
Playing at Shambhalla in Cananda one year. The show was outdoors under a meteor shower, illuminated by some kind of northern lights light show up in the sky!
Has experimentation been important?
Yeah, just for our own sanity. You dont want to sit down in the studio and go, Whats everyone else doing? We like making tunes that we wanna hear, try to originate and not duplicate.
At times, next generation dance music that comes from other parts of the world can sound like updated, but still remarkably similar versions to what's gone before. What you can say about the next generation dance music from the UK?
So, for me, dance music has always been about stuff that was really different and not just a drummer and a guitarist moaning about his life or whatever. It's got radical sounds and the different feel that comes with that. So I've always taken that into the studio with me whenever I'm making tunes, let's try and make something a bit different. When everything went electro-house we were called electro-house, oh look, this dubstep thing's happening, let's make some dubstep. We've avoided that by going, what do we want to hear today? We can only really talk for ourselves really for the fact that, if you're gonna try and make some music, you've got to try and make something that no-one's heard before. You might not always hit it, it might not always be the right thing, but at least you're not just making a sanitised version of something that has already gone before. So I think it's always important to aim towards that feeling, whether you get there or not. That is the essence of dance music, in my opinion.
And what would you like to get up to outside of the shows?
See some of the sharks Go to the beach Drink beer Put some shrimp on the barbie Get some sun Compare my pasty body to all the ripped dudes on Bondi Beach In reality, its probably all about DJing, eating and sleeping, because when you do these tours and youve got a gig at night, sleeps a premium. Youve got to keep your energy levels up for the gig, so everything does revolve around them, but the gigs are amazing.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to succeed in the industry?
Be original and you are more likely to get recognised. There is too much of the same out there.
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