Q&A: Stanton Warriors
Stanton Warriors have sent Mixmag Asia a Christmas present - an exclusive mix and a freshly released remix of a classic 80s jam
Bound by no genres and no labels, Stanton Warriors are better known for defying categorization in dance music and instead playing and producing a melting pot of breaks, electro, house and everything in between. Anything goes is their approach so long as they can slip a deep bass line into it.
Generally speaking, it’s bass music and Dominic Butler and Mark Yardley just have this uncanny ability to whip up all kinds of sounds and make them work well on a dance floor. Having spent over a decade and a half honing this craft, it’s become known as the Stanton Sound.
The UK duo talks to Mixmag Asia about preparing to put out another album and also the release of a previously unheard remix, one that perfectly captures the essence of what it means to go with the flow, but in your own way. They’ve also put together an exclusive mix to warm up the region ahead of their New Year’s Eve show in Bali.
You seem to really enjoy playing in Asia and frequently have gigs throughout the region. When you play here, what do you see in the music scene or culture here that you don’t see anywhere else in the world?
The good thing about playing in Asia is that generally speaking people want to hear good music as opposed to being constantly bombarded by radio or magazines on what they should be listening to. If a trendy fashion type of DJ from say Ibiza plays an average set then the crowd will be disappointed. You can’t get away with lacklustre deejaying.
You’ve played gigs in literally all corners of the world. What are some of the most unsuspecting cities in the world that have a vibrant scene, vibe, and music culture?
Phnom Penh goes off every single time we play and it’s not like we are playing cheesy EDM or anything similar to that. Bangkok is always good. Most places in Eastern Europe and Russia have a lot of love for what we do too and I think it’s because we have our own unique style that we make ourselves and with it we find that we have real fans all over the world. I guess it’s a bit like being a band playing your own sound.
You have been in the industry for over ten years. What is most noticeable difference you see in the industry after so many years and is the progression positive or negative?
There’s good and bad. The whole American EDM thing to a certain degree cheapens dance music but at the same time it brings a lot of new people into the scene. I think regardless of what’s big and cool people will always like fresh exciting and good music. That’s why we stick to making music that we want to hear and that approach has held us in good stead since 1997.
What is the key to longevity and considering the over-saturation of the DJ scene today, do you think many artists will still be known in ten years in the way you are?
The key to longevity is to originate not duplicate. Music is art and art is best tasted when it’s new and exciting. There’s only so far you can get with cookie cutter copies of sounds which are already out there. The vast majority of artists don’t last ten years. It’s also important to never rest on your laurels and to make sure you retain the passion. We absolutely love what we do.
You used to be predominantly known for playing breaks but recently your style and sound have become broader and more of a blend of many genres. How did this happen? Is it because of you or is this a reflection of demand?
We like good beats, phat baselines and interesting music, and so we whip it together so it all works on the dance floor. It’s been called many different things over the years but to us it’s just the Stanton Sound. The other day I heard some amazing Tibetan monk bell track so we sampled it and put a beat underneath it. What genre is that? We don’t really care as it sounds great loud, sounds different and goes off.
Stanton Warriors are a notable inspiration for Disclosure’s albumSettle. What has the success of this album done for your genre(s)? Would you say all these subgenres, like breaks and garage, are once again growing because ofSettle?
I think the fact that artists who come out of the UK garagey bass scene can get so big like Disclosure did is a very positive thing. I’d much rather hear that kinda music on mainstream radio than mind numbing trancy R&B hybrids which supplement groove for noises.
You are playing huge festivals across the world and ones that are generally targeted at an EDM audience. What do you attribute this broadening in music and programming to? Are you starting to see any differences when you look out into crowds?
Our sound live seems to work in so many different arenas from huge EDM festivals like Ultra and EDC to super underground basement clubs in deep East London or Berlin. Again I think it’s down to having our own unique sound. People who check us out at the big festivals are more often than not saying ‘I loved what you played but what is this music,’ which to us a major compliment.
You are well known and much loved for you remixes. Anything you’ve done that has seen the light of day and fans might never know about?
We did a remix of the late 80s classic Pump Up The Jam a while back and have just released it today.
What’s on the horizon for Stanton Warriors for 2015?
We are releasing an album next month and we have extensive tours over North America and Australia in February and March. Our label Punks is going from strength to strength and our podcast subscriptions are nearing the million mark. 2015 is looking to be our biggest year yet!