Greetings Stanza, how has 2012 been treating you thus far?
Yo! 2012 has been great so far thanks, it's been great to see some long awaited releases come to fruition.
2012 has been another big year for you, especially considering the third place nomination in the Best Newcomer DJ category at this year’s Drum & Bass Awards. What’s been the favourite moment of your career so far?
It's really really hard to pick a single favourite moment as everything is relative, so what might seem fairly insignificant now might have been really monumental at the time, like radio airplay or the first time DJ'ing abroad etc not that I ever take it for granted now. But if I were pressed to pick one moment it would possibly be DJ'ing b2b with High Contrast (which has happened twice now) who's been an idol of mine for years. I remember when I first moved to Bristol to go to university in 2004 and it was freshers week so I didn't know anyone yet, but High Contrast was playing in town so I went on my own which is really sad of me I know but it's a testament to how big a deal it was for me to see him at the time, so to be DJ'ing with him years later is crazy.
You’ve been touring with the Hospitality camp for some time now, how important has that experience been for you? Any highlights from any particular events?
It's been a great experience, they throw world-class parties and as a DJ you couldn't ask for anything more. The crowds are always there for the right reasons and they appreciate the effort that goes into my style of mixing and selecting which might be lost on other crowds. Plus it's the little touches like knowing the decks are going to be working properly, and just overall professionalism. A particular highlight would have to be playing 90mins main room at Fabric which was just nuts, they were going crazy by the end of it. In fact I dropped ‘Runaway’ as my last tune and it got a great reaction.
Your productions range from the uplifting dance-floor focused ‘Runaway’ and your 2010 remix of Grum’s ‘Heartbeats’, to the off-centre industry of the likes ‘Sigmund Freud’ and ‘Circuit Bored’ on Diffrent, do you enjoy keeping your fans on their toes with regards to defining the signature ‘Stanza’ sound?
I definitely make an effort not to make the same tune twice and hopefully wont have too much of a predictable "sound" as a result of it. Some artists do really well by effectively using the same drum kit, and synth sounds in every tune, and a part of me thinks "I could do that" but my music has to be sincere and varied to keep me interested even if it's at the detriment of me being a more prolific producer. I would rather make one really interesting tune a year, than churn out a bunch of "VIP's" labelled as original tracks.
How did the collaboration with Grimm on your latest single ‘Runaway’ come about?
I can't entirely remember how Grimm and I got talking originally, but we've been mates through AIM for years now and have collaborated on tunes and ideas a number of times in the past. I started making ‘Runaway’ and thought straightaway that it needed a vocal. The first person I thought of was Grimm and he smashed it!
Take us through the production process for ‘Runaway’: did you have a track built with Grimm’s vocals in mind, or vice versa? And how did the trans-Atlantic distance affect the speed at which the track took to make?
I was listening to film scores and came across these amazing emotive strings chords, which I looped and quantized. Around the same time I'd been working with Logic's ES2 synth to create those trancey filtered stabs which I know have been championed by people like Deadmau5 and then in Drum & Bass people like Camo & Krooked. Using them became a happy accident and it seemed to work well when I played the string's chords with the synth stabs, rather than me trying to copy that type of sound. I added some piano, and then built some of the drums around it. I know louder, bashier drums might have made the track a bit more dance-floor but that would have taken away from the simple elegance of the chords which got me writing the tune in the first place. I sent the instrumental to Grimm and he sent the vocals back which was one of the first times I've properly used vocals in a track. Finally sorting the arrangement out was hard, as we really wanted to up the ante on the 2nd drop.
You’ve recently done an excellent promo mix for Mainframe in anticipation of the release, would you say it replicates the sort of set you’d play at an event?
Yeah it's certainly a brief glimpse into how I like to mix and select tunes. It's only 30mins so doesn't give too much away, but even in that 30mins I'd like to think it has the variety both in tune selection and mixing styles that I enjoy. I certainly put a lot of work and thought into tune combinations. I don't get too hung up about anally mixing in key and I don't stick to a narrow group of labels of artists. I love playing new/old/unknown/anthem tunes
If you could collaborate with any artist right now who would it be and why?
I'm not the most technical of producers, but I like to think I have a good eye for samples and general "vibes" so maybe someone who is great technically like Mefjus so we cover all bases. I'd love to work with Logistics and Calibre t