Have Sibling, Will DJ

It’s a family affair for the Stafford Brothers, and a whole new world with Tao Group

Matt and Chris Stafford are the No. 1 DJs … in Australia. They also have their own self-titled hit TV show, have been producing since 2006 and are even co-owners in multiple nightclubs. Of course, as this is all going on in another hemisphere, we’re willing to bet the majority of Las Vegans have no idea who the Stafford Brothers are. But that’s about to change, thanks to their new worldwide Tao Group residency, including upcoming gigs for their “first proper show in Vegas,” June 22 at Marquee Nightclub, June 26 at Lavo, and additional dates back home at Marquee Sydney. We caught up with Matt (right) for the Stafford Brothers 101.

Even though you’re No. 1 in Australia, does it feel like starting over to break in to the Las Vegas market and have to win over new clubbers?

Totally. You know, there are a whole lot of people who’ve never heard of us or seen us before. We’re out there to impress and try to win over those American fans.

You guys recently moved from Australia to L.A., and brought the filming of the third season of your reality show with you. Is that something we’ll soon see in the States?

It’s actually being shown in a lot of countries around the world: all of central Europe, Scandinavia, Finland, Canada, Brazil, and right now we’re in talks to get it on in America, so absolutely, we hope it does.

Have you received criticism from other DJs for the show?

People call it a reality show, but the guy that put it together called it a “docu-series.” It’s more about following us around and sort of about the whole lifestyle—as opposed to setting up fake arguments or something like that. People like Fedde le Grand and Axwell have all been on the show. It’s more about DJ culture and that side of it. It’s been really positive and received really well.

Have the cameras caught anything that you’ve begged them not to air?

No, not at all. We don’t have much of a say on what’s actually aired. So whatever happens, happens. The saying on the show is “What happens on tour no longer stays on tour.” As opposed to what happened on tour was swept under the mat.

What has been the best—and maybe the worst or most embarrassing—moment from the show thus far?

We did a big tour [in Australia] called Future Music Festival. And we were playing onstage with some huge acts. To watch that footage was pretty amazing because there was, like, up to 550,000 people, five different cities each time. That was pretty awesome to look back to and go, “That’s impressive.” Embarrassing? Probably our business partner on the show. He smashed the computer and he smashed a mixer. It was more me watching him going, “This guy is crazy.”

Since you guys are involved in the business side of club ownership, how does your background as DJs/producers influence the programing of the club?

We used to run a lot of our own parties. And we’re always DJing at our own parties. Our influence has definitely been [evident] in a lot of the artists that have come through. We’re always putting up our hands as to who we think would be great. [Our club] is run with our partner who is also on our TV show. He’s been sort of in dance music in Australia for 20 years. So his influence is also huge in it. At the end of the day, we now work so much on the road that we don’t have as much involvement in the club.

If you had to program a night for one of your clubs and could pick any three DJs, who would you definitely want to spin?

Did you say three DJs? So I can have all of Swedish House Mafia? [Laughs] We’ve had Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Kaskade, … We’ve had so many really amazing acts play. I guess the hard thing is which ones would I have again. I definitely love what the Swedish guys are doing, so I’d definitely put them on. I love what Skrillex is doing as well, which is a bit of a different sound. Those are the big guys that the club is going to be full and out the door anyway. I’ve always loved ‪Sven Väth from Cocoon, which does the big nights in Ibiza. He’s someone who’s more techno, more underground, and I really love his shows. ‬‬‬

How did both you and your brother decide you wanted to be DJs/producers?

I was into that sort of sound. It was years ago, when I was still in school; Reel 2 Real [“I Like to Move It”] and tracks like that. We went to a big dance rave in a warehouse, and basically that was what made us go, “Hey! I wanna be the guys that are onstage!” That’s where we started DJing, practicing. We were already producing music. We played instruments. Then it went to that next level of, “Hey, let’s be the guys onstage—it looks like fun!”

What did your family think of that?

They love it. My mom and dad have come to the clubs and stuff. We did a tour through Europe two years ago. They came to Ibiza and all these party places with us. They’d be there until the clubs were shutting.

Is your mom up there waving around glowsticks?

‪ If you gave her a glowstick, she’d wave it for sure. She just loves it. Loves the party. It’s a fun environment, clubbing. And they like to get out there and have a bit of fun. So it’s good to actually have your parents there with you. It’s definitely different, doesn’t happen for everyone.‬‬‬

Are you on your best behavior when they’re around?

Not at all. You don’t need to worry about my parents! [Laughs] One of the things my dad always says when I’m on tour is, “Green light, boys, just go for it.” So, yeah, my parents aren’t too restrictive.

Have they ever been to Las Vegas?

‪We’re playing again ‬in August, so they will be coming to Vegas with us. I don’t know if that’s cool that your mom and dad are off to Vegas with you but hey, it’s cool that they’re coming along. ‬‬‬

Will the camera crews be following you all around as well when you’re here?

We’ve actually got quite a big crew coming. There’s a lot of people that we’ve even flying over from Australia that are based in L.A., friends of ours, they’re all coming down for that weekend. I’m excited.

In L.A., you guys live with fellow Aussie producer Tommy Trash. Any crazy hijinks or collaborations?

We do, yeah! We all live in a house in L.A. together. So there’s myself, my brother, Tommy Trash and one of our camera guys. It’s a big house. Tommy and ourselves, we’ve obviously been on the Australian circuit for a long time. We did our first-ever compilation CD together for Ministry of Sound and did a tour together probably five or six years ago. Then we did another tour because it was very successful. We’ve been great friends for a long time. With him being in America, and with us coming over, we were like, “Let’s just get a house together.” So we did!

I guess the thing is we are a lot of the time away on tour. We went out for dinner the other night and then [partied] until lunchtime the next day. So the problem is when we’re all together it’s too much of a party. But Tommy is a brilliant piano player. Chris and him have been having piano jam sessions and sing-alongs. It’s just a fun place, a fun environment. And it also gives us the opportunity to show each other new music and get one another’s feedback. It’s a good time, that’s for sure.

So how is America treating you thus far?

We love America. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much we were going to love it. It’s kind of a weird thing.

Have you picked up any new American obsessions?

Escalades. I love Escalades. I bought an Escalade—I had to buy one! We don’t have cars that big in Australia! I was just like, “This is just so big.” So the big cars, and the Mexican food, Poquito Mas, in L.A. It is really good. I think it’s only in L.A. Try the ahi tuna burrito. Money in the bank for that one!