DJing Tips from The Stanton Warriors

The Stanton Warriors are English DJ and production duo Dominic Butler and Mark Yardley. Many DJTT readers are familiar with this pair, who specialise in party-friendly, bass music bangers.

They’re long-time DJs as well – DJing and producing for over 20 years. We had a chance to talk with Dominic for a bit to hear more about their DJ style, iconic mixing secrets, and more.

Who are Stanton Warriors? They’ve got an impeccable release background – with music on tons of labels, and remixes of many underground and global stars, like Basement Jaxx, Claude VonStroke, The Streets, Booka Shade, Gorillaz, Tensnake and Fat Boy Slim. They run their own label, Punks – with a new album release out just last month, Rise.

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As with many of these DJ interview articles, throw on the mix we’ve embedded (above) and check out the full interview below:

The Stanton Warriors have a formidable DJ reputation and regularly play all over the world at huge events. When DJing, they work in tandem, using 3 Pioneer CDJs, Ableton, and Native Instruments’ Traktor, with a six channel NI interface, all of which enables super quick mixing and beat matching, leaving plenty of scope for speedily layering acapellas in the mix, a big part of their DJ style.

We spoke with one half of the duo, Dominic, about the Stanton Warriors’ approach to DJing, looking to unearth those little pro DJing tricks and tips that he’s learned over the years..

DJTT: Hey Dominic – can you start us off with a quick intro for folks who might not know who you are?

Dominic Butler: We are a DJ/production duo from Bristol who make and play a particular type of booty shaking music all over the world for the last 20 years!

A shot of the Warriors playing in 2000 from their Facebook page – where they write: “Nottinghill Carnival 2000! Where we just set up a huge sound system (illegally) in the street, invited a sh*t ton of djs & created a massive pop up block party!”

Tell us a bit about your DJing. What kit do you usually use? What style do you play?

I am on three Pioneer CDJs, whilst Mark has a laptop running Ableton with loads of acapellas etc that he drops in over the mixing.

A vital aspect of DJing is crate digging, in the real world or virtually. How do you source your music and what advice can you offer to young DJs searching for tunes?

We do a lot of digging! As we tend to play broken beat type tunes which can come from a variety of genres, we have to check everything to find the tunes we want.

It’s important to have your own style, especially if you want to stand out. Dig, edit and remix everything!

Many DJs often play it safe tempo-wise, sticking to a narrow range of BPMs during a set. Do you have any tips for transitioning between tracks with really different tempos?

Loop the track playing and slow it down! Saying that, we tend to play the same tempo pretty much! Effects can help also in tempo transitions.

Do you use much live looping for live re-editing? 

Yes! We tend to use everything on the fly, otherwise it’s boring. It’s great that I can loop up parts of tunes and Mark can then trigger samples over the top. Pretty much like live remixing, and every time it’s different.

DJs using the FX section on the mixer can often split opinion. What tips might you offer up-and-coming DJs regarding using effects?

Use it sparingly! You want to enhance the sound, not hinder it!

And do you have any nice little effects tricks you can let us in on?

Looping the track that you have coming in, so you can time it so that the vocal or bassline drops just after the bassline etc. of the last tune stops. You then have the perfect switch which will add instant energy to the dance floor!

Also using a filter on the breakdown with a non-filtered acapella over the top to create tension before the drop.

image credit: Carolina Faruolo

You use three decks when DJing, is this for mixing multiple tunes together at the same time or…?

It’s more to have a deck to scratch on and getting a 3rd tune ready if you are doing quick mixing.

Venues provide mixers and decks – but what gear do you bring with you to gigs? 

A laptop, Native Instruments Traktor X1, and Komplete Audio 6.

Click to see Stanton Warriors’ preferred gear in the DJTT store.

What’s the worst technical hitch you’ve ever had DJing? How did you deal with it?

The dreaded ‘emergency loop’ [For those of you unfamiliar with this, it’s when the CDJ is suddenly disconnected from the music source, usually by removing the wrong USB by mistake. The unit automatically goes into a 4 beat loop].

We normally just get on the mic and shout at everyone whilst turning the CDJ on and off again.

What separates good DJs from great DJs? 

Experience, flow, momentum, doing something different, and not being a dick.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer to up and coming DJs?

Originate, don’t duplicate! Work on your own sound as so much out there sounds the same!

Stanton Warriors’ forthcoming studio album ‘Rise’ was released on May 31st on NewState – available here for streaming or purchase (including extended mixes).

Visit their Facebook page for tour dates, and to follow them more closely.

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