Cash Money’s EDM Act: The Stafford Brothers
Two is better than one. Double the talent is especially striking when it involves music. “I don’t know if you know that single just went platinum in Australia,” Matt Stafford excitedly states in regards to the new cross genre track, “Hello.” Matt along with his brother Chris make up the Australia based DJ-producer duo aptly named Stafford Brothers. Matt continues his enthusiastic spill, “We’re about to drop it here in America. The video is just about ready to go. To go platinum in our own country and it doesn’t have a video or anything is pretty amazing.” Their first bit of American conquest is their recent signing as an EDM talent to Cash Money Records. Here, Matt shares his viewpoint of Cash Money Records and the Stafford extensive musical background.
Life + Times: You just signed to Cash Money Records. How did that come about?
Matt Stafford: When we came to America, we met with a few management groups and stuff. We’ve always been massive hip-hop fans as well. That was one of the things the management that we met up with gave us the opportunity. They also look after Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and they said it was an opportunity that might come about. That’s how we started working with them. Then, the record (“Hello”) got done with Lil Wayne and then we got Christina Milian onboard and obviously that’s Cash Money artists. It just sort of came about. Now we’re on Cash Money. I guess people in the dance world or EDM, as you call it in America; [this] is sort of a different thing. For us, it’s a really cool story. It’s not the normal thing for a dance artist to go through. We want to work with so many new artists, so it’s a perfect fit really.
L+T: Congratulations! That’s huge! I like to vicariously live through some of the awesome DJ photos I see on Facebook. While I was scoping out you and your brother’s page, one photo specifically jumped out at me. The picture is of you, Chris, and Birdman at the Hit Factory in Miami. Discussed the new single?
MS: We were in Miami and went out with the guys. We hung out during the day, and then Birdman said come to the studio at night and hang out. We were working on music and playing some new stuff. It’s exciting what’s coming. I can’t give away too much, but we’ve really wanted to work with these guys for a while. I want Birdman on a record. That’s what I want. I’ll spend more time in the Hit Factory and hopefully it will happen.
L+T: Birdman in dance music? That would be cool. Maybe you’ll start rapping too, Matt.
MS: I’ll leave that to the pros. My brother is more like a hype man. At the festivals, we’ll be DJing and he’ll be out stagediving. He definitely gets on the mic.
L+T: You have both DJ’d for over ten years. Can you tell me about the types of music you were surrounded by in your youth?
MS: Our family’s very musical. We grew up with that sort of thing. My dad plays guitar, so does my brother. I play guitar. At Christmas parties, family – everybody was playing an instrument. It’s definitely something we grew up with. Early on, it was like rock, a bit of hip hop, and then dance grew. We really started getting into that early on. We sort of followed with it.
L+T: Do you think a DJ is a musician?
MS: Well, we are musicians that DJ. It just depends, you know? That’s a very, very good question. I think as a producer you have to be. Most DJs now that are producers you don’t really get to the top without producing records. You could go and buy some CDJs and download some music and then DJ – you probably aren’t a musician. The skillset for our field is reduced now because it’s so easy to mix. I used to play on vinyl. I think that’s a lot more skill. So, it’s coming down to more of a performance now and the experience for the crowd…but, I didn’t really answer your question. (Laughs)
L+T: I was thinking that was the last question, but now I have to address your vinyl DJing past life. We’ll get back to that question. (Laughs) Was it a challenge to transition from vinyl to Serato, Ableton, and the other software programs that are out there?
MS: We were on vinyl and that made it a lot harder to become a big DJ because you had to buy a lot of records and you had to buy them over a period of time. You had to build a set. Now, you can download everything at once and you got a set. It used to take a year building it up so you could really say, “Ok, I’ve got a full collection of records here. I’m a DJ, I’m gonna go out and play.” We had a tour to Bali, into Indonesia and the girl was like, “Don’t take your records. Just come and bring your CDs.” This was early on when the first Pioneer CDJ had come out. We burned all of these CDs…and we were like, “That was an easy way to travel!” We came back to Australia and a lot of the clubs didn’t have CDJs at the time. So, we’ve really embraced it right from the beginning and moved with it.
L+T: Now revisiting my initial question…Is a DJ a musician?
MS: (Laughs) I don’t know. I would say the Stafford Brothers are and anyone who is a producer is. It depends on what your background is. We come from a background of musical instruments so I can happily say I’m a musician. If somebody is just pushing “play” – then not really.