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Stanton Warriors bring new and old to Whistler

British DJs perform at Maxx Fish on March 19



Dominic Butler, one half of U.K. DJs and producers Stanton Warriors, has been in their London studio, mopping up music and building new songs out of projects that didn't make it to their most recent EP, Bones.

They've just come back from Australia and are heading out again to Poland, Spain and Austria before coming once more to Whistler as part of a Canada-U.S. tour.

"We did the album and we had some tunes leftover and we thought we'd just mess around with them and quite quickly we ended up knocking up a bunch of new tunes. We've almost got another album on top of the album," Butler says.

But he and his collaborator, Mark Yardley, are not planning a second album this year.

"We can use the tunes primarily in our DJ sets," Butler explains.

"We've always got a lot of stuff to draw from. We go off to all these far-flung places. If we have these tracks it makes for a more interesting set. A lot of DJs just play the same tunes that anyone can access around the world. We like to have our own unique thing going on, which is important in this day and age."

What are the new tracks like?

"They're good. I think they're fresh beats, simple but clean. Some are sexy, some are quite deep, some are jump up, but really, we're just making tunes we want to hear. 'I like that beat, I like that vocal. Let's put them together,'" he says.

"It's that kind of vibe, as opposed to feeling pressured to make something that fits into a particular scene or to get charted on the radio. We just make shit you want to hear. That's what we've always done and it has kind of worked out OK."

That freedom allows the Stanton Warriors to not work under pressures set by big labels, setting deadlines that Butler says is better for the music.

"I want to get something right," he says. "I'm glad we're not on a major label and need to be a certain way, to have a certain sound. Or have things finished overnight.

"When you work in a relaxed way, that's when your best music comes out."

And then there are the fans, he says.

"They do want to hear the new sounds. They also want to hear the classic tunes as well. Our sets are a balance of that. For want of a better phrase, we want to educate with new stuff."

Butler knows that when it comes to EDM, DJs can't rest on their laurels, even after 20 years at it, but use that performance experience to their advantage.

"It's important to stay interesting so your critics approve, but you can play a set of new stuff and people aren't ready for it because they haven't heard it before. There isn't that much recognition," he says.

"It's about reading a crowd, really. We've been doing it for so long. With our home turf crowds we can play really new stuff and they get off on that. Some place you've never played before, they may have never even heard the kind of music we do, let alone Stanton Warriors. You have to draw then into various techniques."

This means they will play three or four tunes in a new venue and notice the crowd favouring one sound over another.

"We did a gig in Lithuania and their favourite music of ours had a techno angle to it and we'd do rap and they weren't feeling it. It wasn't something they were used to," Butler says.

"But it's all good for us. DJs who play pre-recorded sets can't do this.

"We have our own kind of sound so we have to work extra hard at making our sets. If we were just drum and bass DJs or dubstep DJs, we'd just have those tunes to draw on. But because we have our own kind of pedestal we have to make a lot to keep our sets fresh. I think it's one of our own selling points. I think it's important to have our own flavour."

Whistler is the smallest venue on their tour and a bit of a notorious one for Butler. Not knowing our public decency laws, he was arrested for "having a piss by a tree" 18 months ago.

"They pinned me up against a wall and I told them to relax and chill out. And they said 'Where's your ID?' But we don't have ID cards. I'm English and it's a free country,'" he says.

"And then I told him I was going to Coachella the next day and he got all excited. We bonded."

Last year, they performed here again and had no problems with Whistler verdure, though Butler says he was told off at his hotel for having an after-party.

Stanton Warriors performs at Maxx Fish on March 19.


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