Stanton Warriors Interview
They don’t come much bigger than this. Bristol boys Dominic Butler & Mark Yardley first burst onto the breaks scene with 2000’s deep and grimey classic “Da Virus” on Tayo’s Mob Records label, and never let the quality drop from there onwards. Their “Stanton Sessions Vol. 1” double CD was a revolution in breakbeat mix albums, combining elements of garage and house with live MCing and the best of groovy nu skool breaks to bring the genre to a wide audience. Now in 2006 they are looking stronger than ever, with “Session 2” recently out – including a disc of their own original productions at long last. Injecting a small amount of breaks into an otherwise house dominated festival, The Stanton Warriors will be rocking the main stage at South West Four Festival on Clapham Common in London on August 26th. We spoke with Dom to catch up with their latest goings-on…
You guys are very well known for the dozens of breaks bootlegs you have produded over the years...which hold the best memories for you?
The “Reckless Girl” boot was pretty memorable as it was such a different tune to work with. But the Gorillaz one apparently sold more copies than any other breaks bootleg ever and certainly seemed to drop well in the clubs.
Where do you sit with the argument that bootlegs stifle creativity and are killing dance music slowly?
There is some truth in that. We only really do bootlegs to be used as DJ tools. A lot of them we haven't released. We look at them more as remixes because some of these House tunes just sound so much better with a fat Break running underneath.
You finally released your debut artist album with the Stanton Sessions vol. 2. What took you so long?!
Major record labels! We went for the big money and they wanted a big commercial album. They didn’t even want a dance album let alone a breaks one. But hey, it came out and now we have another one nearly finished as well so we are definitely making up for lost time.
How do you feel your sound has changed since Vol. 1 came out? You had a lot of garage influence back then for sure...
At the time of the 1st album we had to bring in tracks from all different genres in order to make the overall sound we wanted. With the 2nd one we simply made most of the tunes on the mix and of course all of the tracks on the actual artist album.
Which vocalists did you use on this record, and what flavors did they bring to the project?
We used a lot of seasoned singers and rappers who we thought were good. On “Sessions 1” it was the 1st time anyone had heard the Streets so we tried to repeat that by getting another rising star by the name of 'Sway'. Some of the tracks are quite old on the album but we thought we'd wack em on anyway to show people that we have different shades to what we do.
What’s a typical day like for The Stanton Warriors at the moment?
During the week we are doing a lot of studio work. We have just finished Fabric's 30th comp release which took a lot of work because we wanted to showcase a slightly deeper grooving style of breaks. We ended up doing a fair few exclusive remixes for it. I've been doing a lot of big tours this year including 2 in Canada & America, 2 in China, 2 in Australia as well as Thailand, Taiwan, South America, Dubai, Eastern Europe and Russia and many more far flung destinations.
You’ll be playing at the South West Four Festival on Clapham Common over the August Bank Holiday...what have you heard about this event since it started 3 years ago?
It’s a big event! The great thing about it is that they've put us on the same stage as Carl Cox, John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold etc which is where Breaks should be. We love playing alongside big house DJs because when we come on and the beat changes everyone goes mental. They have a quality line up this year so it’s gonna be a big one.
Which other festivals have you got lined-up over the Summer? Which are getting you really excited?
Global Gathering was huge this year. We were lucky to play to a packed tent which seemed to have more energy than say the Trance or Progressive House tents. We have a fair few festivals lined up this year all over the world.Â You can’t really beat playing to huge crowds in the great outdoors.
The UK festival scene is seriously overcrowded this Summer, in part thanks to a lack of Glastonbury. Do you think we’ve reached saturation point or is there enough demand to fill all these events up?
A lot of the dance line ups seem to be quite good and not your usual big names which is a healthy thing. There are a lot of good bands playing but also I've seen a lot of boring bands who all start to sound the same to me. Music can make a festival so as long as they have that right artists and it doesn’t rain, everything should roll.
How do you feel the breaks scene is doing in general in 2006?
It’s doing good with some great albums having come out. However I do think there is an overload of similar sounding generic Breaks out there and not enough quality produced and innovative productions coming through at the moment. I want to see Breaks on MTV in the same way Basement Jaxx have taken underground house to a wider audience.
Out of all the new DJ technology that has come about in the last few years what have you tried your hands at?
Most of it. The CDJ1000 mk 3 is pretty fat. Albelton is good as an add on to decks and CDs but I'm not massively in to it to play complete sets off. I want to see a DJ actually mix not play tracks off a laptop which have already be timed up.
Interview by Ben Gomori