After watching them transform an empty, apathetic room into a heaving, sweaty mass of flailing bodies, we pinned down Dominic and Mark AKA Stanton Warriors, backstage in the Bugged Out! Arena at Gatecrasher NXT...
[r-zone1]An interesting inclusion on the bill, their ‘Stanton Session’ mix CD showcases a bass heavy, eclectic clash of urban breakbeat, garage and jungle sounds. We started by asking them them how they thought the set had gone down…
Dominic: It was good. There were a lot of people there. Quite nostalgic in a sense. It was reminiscent of Fantazia and those old, big-time raves. It’s not often you get such big rooms like that going crazy.
Virtual Festivals: How do you think the crowd took to the Stanton sound? It’s a bit different from what they’re used to…
D: Yeah. But they seemed to warm into it. As the set progressed we turned up the steam. And we saw people getting down and getting off on it at the end.
VF: Which other big event have you enjoyed this year?
D: Glastonbury was cool. We had impromptu performances by various singers who jumped up onto the stage, off their heads. There was this whole karaoke thing going on. Creamfields was a really good vibe. We’ve enjoyed a lot of foreign festivals this year as well.
VF: Do you have to change the sets a lot – from playing small clubs to huge festivals?
D: Yeah. Obviously playing here is different from playing a deep house club like Fabric. You try and adapt yourself as much as you can. Because we’re the Stanton Warriors we play in such different types of clubs. It’s not like we’re jungle boys, playing to jungle crowds all the time. You think, ‘Tonight, It’s gonna be Gatecrasher kids.’ It’s gonna be very different from a night we’ve just done in London, where it was a lot of older people in a trendy club. As long as it goes off in the end, then you know you’ve done your job right,
VF: How’s your work on the new album going?
D: It feels like we’ve been working on our artist album for the last 10 years, but it was in our hearts to do an album where it was our own tracks, not just remixes and re-edits but tracks we’ve written ourselves. Also, we’ve been working with some new, fresh talent. People we think are up and coming and different, who have got something new to offer. But we’re keeping a lid on who’s who in case anyone nicks them and signs them up!
VF: On the Stanton Sessions mix album you used an acapella of The Streets. That was well over a year ago. How did you find out about them?
D: No-one even knew who they were. Just one CD was sent to Gilles Peterson on Radio One. I thought, ‘What is this? It sounds kinda fresh.’ Living in London you hear pirate radio chatting the same stuff and the same rhetoric. Here was a kid – I didn’t even know it was a white kid – coming across with such a fresh perspective on things. Not like your average garage, hip-hop or jungle MC. We wanted the album to be as fresh and different as possible. So he fitted the mould.
VF: Do you think that this helped The Street gain recognition?
Mark: I don’t think he needed any help to be honest!
[r-zone1]VF: When will the artist album be ready for release?
D: Hopefully, about half-way through next year. We’re looking to actually finish it in the new year. It’ll be released shortly after and then it’ll be time to get the 2nd mix CD out.
VF: So, you’ll be touring around that time?
D: Yeah. Ideally we’ll be traveling with our rappers and singers. Do more of a sound system, jam thing. We’ve got a semi-live thing sorted out with Mark on the computer and sampler and me on decks. We can add to that and a have a whole crew of people to make a nice, tight set. It just takes the whole DJ-ing experience another step further.
VF: That sounds complex. Have made any huge mistakes when playing live?
D: There are fuck-ups, yeah. Festivals by their very nature employ engineers more used to bands and they literally have this ethos that DJs are just warm-up music. We’re doing a live thing and have to co-ordinate three decks with the live stuff. Sound problems – that’s one of the biggest things that you hear DJs complaining about at various festivals and it just normally adds to the cock-ups.
VF: You don’t appear to be doing any remix work at the moment…
D: We did a lot of good remixes last year. We were lucky to work with some good artists. I do notice how even the best remixes out there tend to rinse it out and have their day. No matter how good they are, too much of a good thing can get a bit diluted. The last one we did was Basement Jaxx’ ‘Where’s Your Head At’. We just thought we’d end it on a high, stop for a while. Get our own tracks down instead of remixing other artists. Get some people to remix us. When the album’s due we’re looking forward to getting back in the remixing hotseat and knocking some things out. But I won’t rinse out a good scene ‘cos it just gets too greedy, remixes just for money. That’s not what we’re about.
M: It’s good fun when tracks come up that you really like, that are in different vein and you want to make a track for your crowd or a track utilizing that best of that track. Making it into a breakbeat or Stanton Warrior track. It’s nice to be able to do those. Not to do it for the money and just do it when you feel like it.
VF: OK. How much money, sex and drugs would it take for you to remix DJ Sammy?
D: I’d completely throw away all my underground credentials and principles for the same price as Dr Dre charges for a production. Not that we’re on his level! But that’s how much – about a quarter of a million dollars or something. We’d prostitute ourselves for that much. I’d just tell everybody I’d done it for the money, unashamedly. And I think people would say, ‘Hang on! It was a lot of money so fair enough.’
M: Yeah. As long as you could do it and make them sound good. Look at Neptunes and Britney Spears. If you can make them sound good then do it. Get the pay cheque!
VF: So, what’s the best thing about being a Stanton Warrior?
[l-zone2]D: Getting up when you want to get up and not doing what ninety-nine percent of the country do. Having to be somewhere at a certain time to work. We run our own destiny. I think we’d realize how lucky we are if we lost our jobs and had to go back doing 9-5.