I want to start off with a story.
I love story time.
The other Metrojolt journalist here, Phil and I, met at a 12th Planet EPR show in San Francisco. We wouldn’t be where we were today without that show.
That’s awesome. That was a crazy EPR. It’s nuts because I got to go back this past Wednesday. It was my first soldout EPR and the fuckin’ fire marshal was getting pissed.
This past week at the new 715 spot?
Yeah. It’s crazy to see the evolution of that party, too. Before it was just super ravey, but I think the crowd that they built is a little bit more club savvy now. The girl to guy ratio is the best.
Do you find you often see development of parties like that in other cities?
Its market is different in its own regard, but there are more similarities then differences. The general consensus is that everyone just wants to have a good time and party, with neon fuckin’ hats. It doesn’t matter if it’s Des Moines, Iowa or Cali.
So you run Smog.
Yeah – I own the label and the brand.
Tell me how that got started.
I didn’t start smog; it was first created by a guy called Drew Best. He was a promoter. When he did his first show he asked me if I wanted to DJ. At the time, there was only really four or five of us in Los Angeles that had even heard of the term dubstep. I wasn’t able to play the show, but I recommended his first three acts. From there the brand took of, and we decided to turn it into a record label. That was in the first year of operations, I have been apart of Smog for the last five years now.
So what’s you’re day to day with Smog – taste?
Yeah, tastemaker for everything.
What do you listen for when recruiting a new Smog artist?
In it’s early conception I wasn’t really listening for a good producer; I really wanted to establish Dubstep production in Los Angeles. The only guys we even signed on the label were from Orange County and LA. Only recently have we switched to signing international talent. We didn’t really want to pigeon hole ourselves. It’s original concept was to be a Los Angeles Dubstep brand.
Nowadays, Dubstep is very much an American thing. Would you agree with that?
Nowadays yes, but in the early days it was a British thing.
As genres become popular in new places do you see the sound shift, or is it a natural evolution of the sound?
I wouldn’t say it’s a natural evolution, because it was created. Someone thought of the idea in their studio and that just inspires a lot of people to copy it and classify it as a new genre.
Tell me what you do in your studio.
I just write whatever I want, whether it’s House, Moombaton, Rap or Dubstep.
Do you have a process, or do you just go in there and make it happen?
I just go in there and fuck around with synths. It’s all about experimentation.
Do you have the same mentality with your DJ sets?
I DJ off a thumb drive on pioneers and I just play my stuff and whatever else I’m feelin’ and the moment.
Moving back to production for a second; when you’re working on new releases, do you find it important to have similar textures throughout an EP?
It depends; you got to go with the flow. Sometimes you’re just vibin’ and a trick you used in an old song might work in a new one.
And you talked about how you were one of the first LA acts to really mess around with Dubstep, how did you start on that path?
I started producing and spinning Drum ‘n’ Bass before I ever got into Dubstep. I was touring Europe and Asia and all those markets before I even came to my name of 12th Planet. I was Infiltrata before.
How long were you under that alias?
I started the Infiltrata brand in in 99 or 2000.
And when did you decide to switch over to 12th?
At the time, Dubstep was really looked down upon by the whole Drum ‘n’ Bass and even House music crowd. People thought of it as a lesser and dumbed down sound.
Do you think that connotation is still around?
No, no definitely not. That all died when people like Tiesto and Steve Aoki started playing Dubstep in their sets. It’s accepted.
Tell me about the non-dubstep sounds you incorporate into your set.
I am always changing the BPM up. I play House, Trap, Hip-Hip, Dubstep, and Drum ‘n’ Bass.
Do you think Trap is going to last?
Shits been around 10 years already.
But in the mainstream light.
It’s always been there. People like T.I., Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy have been doing for a while, and that’s how I classify it. That’s general Trap, and the new form that’s surfacing in the underground is a good take on it, but at the end of the day trap is all Hip-Hop.
Do other genres inspire your music?
Completely. I don’t listen to that much Dubstep. I hear all the new Dubstep that I’m going to play in sets when I see other artists perform. It doesn’t matter who made it; there are no politics.
But when I’m at home, I don’t listen to Dubstep, I listen to everything else.