Stereo:Type are a DJ duo formed from the hands and minds of two of electronic music’s most inspired producers and record splicers: Tommy Dash of Ctrl-Z, and the notoriously warped Screwface. It’s easy to say that their touch on breakbeat is in fact a rock-infused ironfist punch on all that encompasses electronica. In reality they are influenced by every genre that HMV succeeds and fails to mention, under the crucial condition that the music is hard, relentless and full of pounding groove. In a nutshell, Stereo:Type play and re-contextualise music that blows the fucking doors off.
It gives me an enormous feeling of pleasure to write that Stereo:Type will be the first DJs to be under the spotlight in our ‘Caught In The Crossfader‘ interview feature. What you get here is an insight into the minds of those behind the wheels of steel and a free mix courtesy of the DJs themselves. We got the horses mouth hooked up to a whopping soundsystem so take your bloody shoes off and shake things up a little bit.
You smashed it at our Halloween Massacre last year, did you enjoy yourselves?
Chris: That was definitely one of our highlights of the year! For us it was such a great gig because everyone in the crowd was on our wavelength, it was a little bit down and dirty, and there was plenty of skating and metal which is all good by us! Hopefully we’ll be back to destroy it again this Halloween…
What’s it like playing a set while a gang of skateboarders are killing it on a mini-ramp to the sound of whatever beat you’re dropping?
C: Well, hopefully they’re enjoying it and it’s helping to amp up the vibes on the ramp. Visually it’s a really cool thing to have going on when you’ve got a party going and it just adds that extra dimension to the atmosphere.
What’s the vibe when playing at an event like that compared to something more traditional, like the regular nights you’ve got at Judgement Sundays in Ibiza?
C: While we love doing gigs for people like Gatecrasher and Godskitchen, parties like Crossfire really give us the opportunity to just go balls out raving. We both come from a Rock/Metal background and in a personal way just love really gnarly music, and crowds like the ones at the Crossfire parties are really receptive to that stuff thrown in as well as the more standard party rocking stuff we usually play. We’d love it if we could turn up at somewhere like Tiesto in the park and play a bit of Pantera or Machine Head, but it’s probably not gonna happen anytime soon. So it’s a great that we get to do other kinds of gigs too.
There’s a lot of variety in what music you play in your sets, with the tongue-in-cheek mentality in how you approach trendy music you must have a lot of fun picking what goes in your record box. What are the constant sounds for you that don’t fall victim to the trendmill?
C: Yeah, picking what to play is a lot of fun, mostly because it’s totally no holds barred. If we like it, and we think we can get away with it, its going in! I think as far as not getting caught up in ‘what’s trendy’ goes, even if people want to hear a style that’s in fashion, we’re going to give it to them in a way they’ve probably not heard before. Also, even if a genre is in fashion, there’s always producers who are pushing the envelope for that sound.
The amount of side projects you do (including this one!) is bonkers. Briefly run through what you’re doing and what Stereotype is becoming now that you’ve established yourself as something more than just one half of Ctrl-Z and Screwface…
Tommy: Yeah, It is getting a bit bonkers at the moment. I still DJ and produce under Ctrl Z , we’re on a real dirty electro / dubstep hybrid tip right now, and I also have another super secret act which has really taken off. Maintaining three acts and running a label is enough to send anyone a bit loopy! Stereo:Type started as a side project, we made the album in an attempt to launch the new DJ act, and now it has become much more than that and has kept us manically gigging over the past year. Our style has been compared to people like 2manydjs with scratching, and that’s kind of where we want to be, build on the brand and incorporate visuals into the sets etc.
You run the Never Say Die Records label which has been throwing out bangers from Foreign Beggars and your own Ctrl-Z moniker, how do you extend your ‘keep to your guns’ and ‘never say die’ mantra through the label alongside your own music projects?
T: I set up the label with a friend last year as it seemed that the scene where we came from was disintegrating around us. There was a lack of music and certainly a lack of labels that were putting out diverse music and trying to start a movement. We haven’t made money from the label, the sales are great but we spend money on artwork, videos and building the brand so that our artists can benefit from such a platform. Musically we put out whatever we want, dirty dubstep, electro, breaks & drum n bass and we’ll continue to push music we believe in, even if the press won’t touch it with a bargepole.
Who’s on the label and why did you pick them?
T: The big hitters on the label are The Freestylers, Foreign Beggars & Ctrl Z. Artists that we are developing include Cutline, SKisM and Mindflow. I go way back with the Beggars & The ‘Stylers and they share the vision we have for the label; we are privileged to be releasing music from such legends! The new guys are all really talented so we really want to use the label to help kick start them in the industry.
You have a lot of collaborators on the Stereo:Type album, including Foreign Beggars, what do you look out for when choosing vocalists to sing on your beats?
C: It’s probably the same thing that everyone is looking for you know, people who are going to compliment your sound and are going to bring hype to the tunes. Certainly when we did “What’s that Noize!?” we wanted people who were going to bring that jokes vibe to the table too, which we definitely got from both Orifice Vulgatron and Beardyman who are both total characters and just hilarious to have around in general. Then on top of that we had people like MC’s Tali and $pyda, who both have very recognisable sounds and have heaps of talent.
Personally I’m sick of people who can’t seem to comprehend what a DJ does and with Stereo:Type you guys are doing a lot up there on those five turntables…so how would you describe your live sets to someone who doesn’t know what it is you guys do as DJs?
C: It’s kind of like a rave Jukebox on steroids, in as much as it’s quite fast paced with the main emphasis on the dancefloor energy. You’re guaranteed to hear tunes you know, along with some things you might not. All the time we’re up there, we’re constantly layering things together, and for probably 75% of the time, there are two or more things playing. Then we chuck in some scratching and turntablism for good measure. It’s been described in the past as ‘magical musical mayhem’.
How exhausted are you after 90 mins of mash-up madness on those decks?
C: Usually pretty knackered. Obviously there’s a lot going on all the time and so it’s really concentration heavy. We don’t really plan what we’re going to do in advance, so communication between us is key, which basically means not getting fucked before a set… On top of that we always just want to give 100% of ourselves to the crowd so that they have as good a time dancing as we are performing.
On the XFM session you did with Eddy Temple Morris did you set a record for the amount of your favourite tunes fit into a 10 minute mix? What are the stats on the street to beat?
C: We kind of opened the floodgates on that one. We did 64 tunes in 10 minutes which has since been bested in number, but certainly not in style. As Eddy said, “I don’t think anyone will ever beat you on quality…It’s the best 10 minutes of radio ever broadcast on The Remix.” You can check it out yourself HERE.
Is it competitive out there for mash up DJs – do people outdo each other for the hell of it?
C: Honestly, we don’t know that many other acts out there doing what we’re doing. Obviously there are people like 2manydjs who are in a lot of ways responsible for giving birth to the whole concept, and there’s also people like The Cut Up Boys who work for Ministry of Sound doing a similar kind of deal. I mean, it gets to a certain level of complexity and then the whole mash up idea just becomes un-musical. It’s crucial that it has all blends together in a musical way, because anyone could get up there and play a bunch of things which sound like two dustbins fucking….
What dastardly thing would you do to another DJ so you could wear the crown?!
C: We could splice some James Blunt into the middle of one of their tunes. Or we could give the people doing the visuals some photoshopped images of them fucking a monkey or something…
Do you go there with mash-ups in mind or is it a session of unexpected improvisation and just letting the music flow out as it wants to at the time?
C: It’s kind of half and half. Obviously with such an intense format we do have to prepare some things in order to make them extra special, but we also go out with the express purpose of freestyling, because some really great stuff comes out of doing things on the fly, which we can then go on to use again in future performances.
You both grew up with the likes of metal and punk rolling through your ears right?
C: Hell yeah, for both of us that’s our musical roots really. Nearly all of what we listen to for personal enjoyment is Metal. We’ve always loved bands like Metallica and Pantera, and in more recent years Killswitch Engage and Machine Head (since they stopped making shit albums and completely smashed it with ‘The Blackening’) And then in the same way as for many people, that bled through into Jungle and Drum N Bass and from there the rest of dance music culture.
Tell us a little about what’s on the exclusive mix we have here for Crossfire readers to download…must be a touch knowing you can get a bit hesh with the rock tunes for once?
C: Yeah, it was fantastic just being able to go for it without the usual restriction of ‘will this frighten people?’ We know that the kind of audience Crossfire gets are a lot more open minded and willing to have a bit of stuff they don’t know imparted on them. I guess we just tried to base it on a mixture of how we found the crowd at last years Halloween Jam, and the things we love personally. Obviously we had to throw in some Rock and then twist it up in our unique way, and then we filled the rest of the mix up with tunes we think are currently smashing it, or represent the future we’d like to see for dance music.
Why is new Muse stuff so shit?
C: Because Matthew Bellamy likes to dress up like Freddie Mercury in drag and pretends he’s in Queen…
What projects are you both working on in the near future and beyond?
T: We took a break from production to concentrate on DJing, but recently we’ve been inspired to get back into the studio so watch this space!
Big shouts to Zac and everyone at Crossfire for getting us involved in the new site launch, it’s been a pleasure. If you like the mix then come and see us live, it’s even better when you see it for real. Also, you can check us out here online:
Now, here’s where things get really awesome for you readers; Stereo:Type have kindly provided us with a BANGER of a mix for you to listen, download and get buck wild to. Get your hands on the good stuff below and have a party on us.