Datsik played back to back nights at The Ogden Theatre this past weekend (6/14, 6/15), and we were there to photograph his impressive “Firepower Laser Show” on Saturday. We were also very lucky to be granted an interview last week, before his two night run. We spoke with him about birthdays, Colorado, and of course, music.
Your birthday was just a few days ago on June 9th. How was it? Did you do anything special?
- Yea it was good, man. Basically for my whole birthday, which was Friday, I just spent flying pretty much. We flew into Detroit late, right as the first night of Orion [festival] was ending. We landed, dropped our stuff off at the hotel, and went straight to the after party. It was Dillon Francis, Adventure Club, and 12th Planet playing, so I went and hung out with them for a bit, and then we all ended up doing this big crazy tag team set. It was Dillon Francis, Adventure Club, 12th planet, myself, Borgore, and Dirtyphonics. It was pretty crazy, we all just went back to back. That was pretty fun. The next day I played Orion Fest, and then at the last minute decided to throw another after party that night. Me and 12th planet just went back to back for a couple hours. It was literally announced at the last minute, so we packed the place out, I think there was like 700 kids or something like that, and then just went back to back. It was crazy. So I actually had a really good birthday weekend.
So you and 12th Planet are good friends?
- Yea, he’s a good homie of mine, and his birthday was the night before too. So every year we always end up being in the same place at the same time somehow, and we just all do our birthdays together. It’s pretty dope.
You recently played a couple of shows over in Europe. How does the European crowd differ from the North American?
- Well, in North America you can play stuff like trap, and it’ll go off on the dance floor. In Europe they don’t understand it as much, which makes sense, right, because North America has a total, like, southern influence. We’ve had hip hop engrained in our culture. In Europe it’s a little different. Instead of trap it’s a lot more house and drum & bass…they love it. So yea, it’s definitely different. The UK likes to hear the stuff no one else has heard before, North America likes to hear all the Youtube hits, and then the rest of Europe loves, from what I got, a lot of drum & bass.
Speaking of trap, what do you think of the whole trap movement? Southern “trapstyle” gangster rap obviously played a large part, but how big of an influence do you think dubstep has had on it?
- I think it’s actually really cool that it’s going through the EDM scene. The reason why I like trap, is because when dubstep was introduced in North America, it was introduced in the way of just, like, noisy stuff. The UK already had all the deeper stuff before then. So trap has kind of been like, in my opinion, the way that minimal element was introduced back into dubstep in North America. It’s kind of interesting…when you look at the UK, they started with the minimal stuff and then went into the heavy stuff, and then in North America, you started with the heavy stuff and now it’s gone into the minimal stuff, you know? It’s cool because it adds a dynamic into a DJ’s set, playing trap and dubstep.
You recently relocated from British Columbia to LA. How do you like it so far, and what was the reason for the move?
- I moved here about 3 or 4 months ago, so I’m finally now just getting settled in, and I’ve got my workspace all set up. It’s cool…it’s good, man. Every single day is beautiful sunshine and perfect weather. I needed a change. The thing with living in Kelowna [British Columbia] was, there’s so much flying involved. I would literally have to fly from Kelowna to Seattle, and from Seattle on, every single weekend. Every single Sunday I’d spend the whole day flying. But now, living in LA, I can leave whatever city and get back at like 4pm, and just have the rest of the day to chill, and not be so fatigued. So for me, the main reason I wanted to move was just because of the shorter travel times for all the destinations in North America.
You were here just a few months ago for SnowBall. How was that experience for you, compared to the sweaty clubs and hot festivals that you’re probably more used to?
- Snowball was great. Kind of a funny story, ‘cause my flight was super, super delayed. When I got in I literally had to jump in the car and head straight up to SnowBall. I remember it was quite a drive, and I got there late… I think it was like 5 minutes before my set. And I didn’t know how cold it was gonna be up there. I had shorts and a t-shirt, and I go up there and it was so fucking cold, I almost died! But as soon as I walked into the tent, onstage, for some reason it was like 20 degrees warmer. Yea, so I played my set in my shorts and a t-shirt. As soon as I was done I walked back outside and almost died again!
Your set at SnowBall drew one of the biggest, most energetic crowds I’ve seen at any festival. The Ogden is a great venue, but with an audience like that, why not go for Red Rocks? What factors go into choosing which venues you play?
- Well, I’ve played Red Rocks before. I played with Flux [Pavilion] and Dr. P, and Downlink, and that was a fun show. You gotta work your way up, you know, and this time around we’re doing back to back nights at the Ogden. So if we sell both of those out, then I think maybe the next step is Red Rocks. Red Rocks is such a crazy, crazy venue. I feel like a lot of people, they go to Red Rocks just because it’s Red Rocks, and also because there are good DJs playing there. You know, if you’ve ever stood in the crowd there, which I have, then you understand how magical that place actually is. There’s been nights where I was going there regardless of who’s playing, just because there’s an event going on, you know what I mean? I think that will be the next step, hopefully, and yea, I mean…I’d love to play red rocks. It’d be crazy.
I read that you really got into dubstep after seeing Excision’s set at Shambhala in 2008. How big of an influence was that set for you?
- Seeing his set was definitely influential because he was making a lot of the stuff that I was really feeling, like with darker stuff, and it was the first time I heard dubstep on a massive system, like the PK system at Shambhala. I had seen dubstep before that, but as soon as I saw his set on a massive system, I was like “holy shit”, and it changed everything for me when I went home, you know? I finally realized that was exactly what I wanted to make and what direction I wanted to go in. It was really cool. And then I started making this really dark stuff. At the time Jeff [Excision] wasn’t really doing any of the robotic shit. I started doing the robotic shit, and then I sent those tracks over, and that’s kind of how it all started between me and Jeff.
So within a year of that set you were already collaborating with him?
- It was cool. It’s a really funny story with what happened between us, because for a while I wanted to collab with him, but I had never really talked to him. And then when I did talk to him, he ended up hitting me up. I was constantly emailing him tunes and he was just like “whatever, whatever”. And then I sent him ‘Gecko’, and he was really stoked on it. He said “Dude, come over, let’s work on some tunes”, and I was like “Ok, where do you live?” He said “I live on this and this road”, and I was like “Oh my god, I live like, literally five houses away from you!” So I walked to his house. So random, we had no idea we lived so close to each other. It was kinda cool.
How did it feel to work with such a big inspiration of yours so soon after seeing his set?
- At the time, he was established but he wasn’t really touring around much or anything. He was definitely a big local for me to work with, and it was a big step for me to work with him. But I think right after that, right after we started collabing, he kind of started blowing up. I was constantly putting all my music on dubstep forums. And at the same time, I was contacting Flux Pavilion, Dr. P, and Downlink, and I actually started collabing with Downlink… and the same with Flux Pavilion. Now it’s crazy to see where everything has come, you know, like to see Flux headlining main stages and Downlink and Excision doing Destroid. It’s just crazy to see where it started from and to see where it is now, you know?
It seems like you were pretty successful pretty quickly. Is it safe to assume that production has always come naturally to you?
- I’ve been making music since I was 14 years old. I’ve always been into it, and it’s been something that I take for granted [starting at a young age]. I’ve been making music for 11 years now. When people try to get into production now, there are so many beginner steps that get overlooked. For me, I learned all the basics when I was really young, so when I went to audio school I already had a really good understanding of what I was going into, and basically honing what I had already learned. So I felt like I was at an advantage, ‘cause a lot of the kids that went there were learning it from the ground up, whereas I already had kind of a foundation. So yea, I’ve been doing it for a while, and the thing about the scene these days is, you can always learn more, so I always keep an open mind.
You were quoted as saying “Dubstep is totally the punk rock of electronic music.” Did you mean that in a strictly musical sense, a cultural sense, both? Can you expand on that?
- I think it’s both. Dubstep is crazy because it’s a hybrid of all these different genres, presented at 140 [beats per minute]. You take elements of metal, or hip-hop, or robot noises, and project it all at 140, and somehow it just works and it gets classified as dubstep. I think with dubstep, because it’s a 140 bpm structure with a half-time beat, you can kind of go in a few different ways with that. So it kind of just breaks down the rules from beats and bars… it’s just a total offshoot of your standard musical format. That alone is just begging to be, you know, fucked with. And I guess it’s just like, the harbor for making new shit and breaking rules.
Coloradans have been said to like their bass music. From your touring experience, have you noticed a difference in the reception that you get here as opposed to other places, or is it just craziness no matter you play?
- It’s been pretty crazy wherever I go, BUT Denver is definitely one of my favorite cities to play and it always has been. It’s the same with other DJs too…whenever I tell them that I’m going to Denver they’re always like “Aww man, I’m jealous!” Everyone knows that Denver’s the shit and Colorado’s the shit. And everyone gets really excited to go there and play, ‘cause the energy level’s through the roof and everyone’s so knowledgeable and very appreciative. And even though you guys get tons and tons of action there, I feel like it’s never jaded when I come back. It’s good man. Always a good crowd, and everyone’s super cool. Maybe it’s the altitude, who knows.
Datsik Photo Gallery, Ogden Theatre, 6/15/13