Stafford Brothers Want to be Bigger in America Than They Are in Australia

© Al Powers, PowersImagery.com

Australian DJ duo the Stafford Brothers (Matt and Chris Stafford) were the earliest adopters to the Coming to America mentality regarding worldwide EDM’s search for mainstream pop acclaim and its connected wealth and global respect. As Australia’s hottest DJ act at the height of the continent’s festival boom, the brothers’ decision to expand into America made sense. Signed by Cash Money Records, the duo quickly released “Hello,” a collaboration with Lil Wayne and Christina Milian that actually was a bigger pop hit big back home in their native Australia than it was in America.

Certifiable global superstars, the Stafford Brothers had a successful Australian reality television program, and currently, they’re pushing their own clothing line called Sushi Radio, a Stafford Brothers-branded energy drink, online DJ master course, and supplement line with Neon Sports. Fresh from the aforementioned “Hello” becoming a triple-platinum Australian single and ARIA award (Australian Grammy) nominee for best song of the year, the electro DJ/producers have successfully completed a 22-city American tour included playing at the Ultra Music Festival and iHeartRadio Awards. I had the opportunity to catch up with Matt Stafford and discuss a number of topics. Foremost on the list, the brothers’ T.I. and Dutch vocalist Eva Simons collaboration for soon-to-be released single “This Girl.” As well covered is the duo’s reputation for being big-time partiers (and yes, we do break down the infamous “kangaroo” story, as well as comparisons between Australia and America, the future of EDM and more.

Your thoughts about your evolution as of late as live DJs and producers. I’m certain that there’s a growing expectation for the sound and live show to develop and evolve?
[As far as] performing, well, the more you do it the better you get at it. And as far as producing, the more you’re sitting in the studio and working on new tracks, the better you get at it as well.

“This Girl,” the new single, should be right in line with what expectations should be of a banger with global appeal and relevance, with it featuring T.I. and Eva Simons. How did the track come together, and how do you feel about the result of said process? 
We were with Eva (Simons) and her soon-to-be husband Sidney Samson out in Vegas when everything came together. She did her part, and with T.I., our management works with him, too. They pitched him the record and he loved it. [T.I.] recorded his part, sent it back and he nailed it. It was one of those perfect things. As you know now, you don’t sit with vocalists in the studio often anymore, so it’s rare to have some thing turn out really good.

I wanted to talk about the arc of your career overall, in regards to America. I’m certain America was an occasional stop initially, but when EDM exploded here, what do you think made it the most appealing to the Stafford Brothers to make this a more significant part of what you do as DJ/producers? 
We used to come to Miami a lot for Ultra [Music Festival], and also stop in New York, too. Besides that, the [dance music] scene wasn’t here for us. Europe’s always been popping, so we spent a lot of time there. It’s so great that [EDM] finally caught on in America. We know what we do, and we knew what were doing, so we definitely knew that we could bring our style to America.. People [in America] like to let their hair down and get loose, which is very similar to party culture in Australia. [I believe] we’re the right fit at the right time.

Speaking of America, we should probably discuss the whole matter of that lawsuit that alleges that an out-of-control kangaroo damaged a house you were renting in Los Angeles. Yes, I know you guys have the reputation for loving to party, but that’s wild. Thoughts?
We’re in a lawsuit for $125,000 over the house issue. TMZ picked up on [the story], and actually ran our video as the video for the [post on their site]. It’s funny that we shot the video, and eight months later, we’re getting sued. We don’t have that kind of culture back home in Australia. It was a regular, typical video shoot. Lil Wayne and Christina Milian were there, and nothing really happened. It was a crazy party video, and people picked up on it. At first the story was funny, but now it’s not funny, [given that] we have this lawsuit to deal with. It’s the way it goes.

You were the first male DJ act (the first female act being Paris Hilton) signed to Cash Money Records. Thoughts about the synergy between rap and EDM, and what have been the highlights so far?
[Actually] one of the ideas in coming to America was to get familiar with working with rappers. Signing with Cash Money was a perfect fit. Lil Wayne and Christina Milian were on the label and we made “Hello.” Meeting Birdman was surreal. I never thought I’d be sitting in the studio with him or drinking vodka with him in the club.

The leading money-earner in American EDM at-present are festivals. That was a culture that was at a time raging in Australia, too. Thoughts about seeing something similar occurring in America now? 
Festivals had a massive explosion [of growth] in Australia five or six years ago, where they got bigger and bigger, then the bubble burst. Many of the festivals we attended and played were around for eight or nine years, and now they don’t exist anymore [in Australia]. It’s kind of sad. The market got saturated as there were possibly too many festivals at the same time. America has a bigger population [than Australia], so I think it will be different here. I was at [the Electric Daisy Carnival] in Vegas this year. It was next level, and I was so impressed. The main stage there [was] the biggest thing in the world.

Having likely traversed the world and back again, I’m certain that there are clubs and moments that you feel are the places that you look forward to playing more than others. Being educated about the larger name spots gets easier and easier. But from your well-traveled perspective, where are a few places that are significant to the Stafford Brothers?
On [Greek island] Mykonos, there’s a place called the Paradise Club. It’s amazing because when the sun is coming up at 8AM, there’s still a full crowd. And always, Ibiza  is a magical spot. Its beautiful, and the clubs are amazing. That’s where [our journey into dance] began for us, by going to Ibiza, and making [that] journey. We took that vibe back to Australia.

As far as looking at your aspirations for American success, what are your thoughts regarding that process and how it has transpired so far?
In Australia we’re at the top, and we know that we’re nowhere near the top in America. Our goal is duplicate our success in Australia in America. We want to take [our success] further.