12th Planet Gives Us His DJ Playlist for the Apocalypse
In a way, Nibiru is like dubstep. It came flying out of obscurity like a meteor, crashing into the international electronic music scene, and destroying all standards of good taste. Or so the music snobs would have you believe.
The hate is for American dubstep, actually -- the aggressive, ear-pummeling sound of producers like Skrillex and Excision, which seems to have more in common with metal than it does with the British EDM style that spawned it.
Which is why it's no surprise that nu-metal band Korn recently decided to use the American dubstep sound on their new album The Path of Totality. Among the producers commissioned were Skrillex and Excision, of course, as well as LA-based producer 12th Planet (AKA John Dadzie), another star of the American scene.
Crossfade: How did you first get into electronic music production, and when did you discover dubstep?
12th Planet: I started producing D&B when I was about 17 years old, on Fruity Loops. I found out about dubstep while touring under the D&B name Infiltrata, in England.
You're based out of Los Angeles, where the whole "LA beat" scene has really taken off these last couple years. How has living there influenced you musically? Do you associate or exchange ideas with other local musicians much?
I grew up in Los Angeles, and lived through the punk, rave, indie, and EDM cultures. I think most of my inspiration comes from these kinds of sounds that have flourished through my time of life. I hang out with mostly producers and musicians.
Last year saw the premiere of your music video for "Reasons" on MTV -- not typical exposure for an electronic music producer. How do you think that impacted your career? Do you find that you've got a bigger mainstream audience now?
I think that song was on MTVU rotation. There is a lot of dance and indie music on that channel, so to me it was a routine thing. I don't think the video being played on MTVU gave me a bigger mainstream audience. I feel the overall growth of the dubstep movement impacted my career the most.
American dubstep is getting a lot of hate right now, with the snobs claiming that the original term has been robbed of its original definition and this new sound is just loud aggressive wobble. What's your take on the situation? What is your personal definition of dubstep?
I think for every one hate thread that Excision or Skrillex get, they have 100 positive threads to supplement. It seems that anything that generally becomes popular has some sort of blowback. I feel that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is completely up to the listener to make their decision on what they like. In terms of the definition of dubstep, I think it refers to an era of dance music that was being made around 2004-2008 at 140 bpm.
In all honesty, how do you feel about Korn jumping on the dubstep bandwagon? How did you hook up with them in the studio and what can you tell us about your collaboration on The Path Of Totality?
I do not feel Korn jumped on any bandwagon. I think the LP was just a one-off project to just try something different. Jon Davis is a veteran DJ and a huge EDM fan. I think it shows in a lot of their breakdowns on the previous albums. He also has an EDM project called J Devil, that is more EDM-influenced than the last Korn album. The band asked Flinch and I up about doing a collaboration song at Coachella last year. Four days later, we were in the studio together writing "Way Too Far". We really enjoyed working on the project with those guys -- it was a different approach to writing music, and a great learning experience.
Miami marks the last of 53 dates on your tour across North America with Skrillex. What can you tell us about the tour? What's life on the road like and what have been some of the performance highlights for you?
[Laughs] Technically, we did 99 shows on 53 dates, if you include the after-parties that Skrillex and I tag-teamed at. The tour was magical. I can describe it like my birthday everyday. Being on the road with so many forward-thinking individuals is a blessing. From Skrillex and the gang working on songs everyday to Phil Reyneri and Dave Navarro writing visual content for the Cell, it was a huge learning experience.
If you had to play a DJ set for humanity during the last hour before the 12th Planet destroys the world, what tracks would you play?
I would totally play "Careless Whisper" by George Michael, "So Damn Fucked Up" by Juicy J, "Ain't Nothin' But A Gangsta Party" by 2pac and Snoop, and "Today Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube.
Assuming the end isn't near, what does the future have in store for 12th Planet?
I have a world tour planned out for 2012. It starts New Year's and goes until about April. I will also be releasing an EP titled The End Is Near in January of next year.
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