12th Planet On How He Met Skrillex, and How Dubstep Took Off in L.A.
Our feature story this week profiles L.A. dubstep hero 12th Planet, aka the Johnny Appleseed of Dubstep. We spent time with him backstage at the Echoplex before a gig with Skrillex and Caspa, and then again at his downtown loft-studio. The DJ-producer has been instrumental in bringing dubstep to the U.S.; here are excerpts from the interview that didn't make the story.
On how dubstep took off in Los Angeles:
"The sheer fact is just numbers. When dubstep started out in L.A., it was more of a 21 and up thing. So, the only way you could get in was if you had an ID. It wasn't branded that well. It was the bastard of drum n' bass...
...Drum n' bass was kind of frowned upon in the rave scene because of the people it attracts in the rave scene and electronic scene. It just became it's own beast when the club owners started seeing that the 21 and over numbers were good enough where they could drop them to 18+. Then the numbers doubled. People like Rusko, they came over from London and put a face to it and championed it across L.A. He was the first guy to start bringing 2000, 3000 people to a dubstep show in America, which was unheard of at that point. Now it's three, four times the size."
On how he started working with Skrillex:
"We ran into each other one time at Coachella when Gorillaz were playing. We were all out on the field. I was hungry and he had a slice of pizza and I was like, are you going to hook me up with some pizza. Then we were just talking and talking. We had met before, but I didn't recognize him or something. He was working on tunes and I told him to send me some stuff. Then I was like, come over, let's hang out. He was writing some really cool stuff. He lived really close to me."
On changing his name from Infiltrata to 12th Planet:
"Back then, the drum n' bass mentality didn't understand the dubstep mentality. They kind of frowned upon it. They were like slow drum n' bass? This is a ripoff. I didn't see it that way. I wanted the fans to know that this was something different. I wasn't trying to capitalize on a new movement. This was a whole different experience for me as an artist. That's why I changed my name."
On describing dubstep without using the words "140 bpm halftime":
"Kick on one, snare on three. LFO bassline and either quarter notes or eighth notes. Eighth triplets. Quarter note triplets. Breakdown. YouTube sample. Drop. Shock value. Freak the fuck out. Take my shirt off. Take your shirt off. Hit each other. Run around."
On why drum 'n' bass never reached the level of popularity that dubstep has:
"I think that's because it's a hard genre to get a hold of. Unless you're really on the internet and you can afford vinyl, that was the only way you're going to hear it."
On whether or not dubstep is mainstream:
"Dubstream? It's definitely not mainstream at all. I mean, it's accepted. I'm not going to say it's mainstream until it's number one on the radio and everyone is doing it and it's so accepted that it's on TV a lot and there are magazines made for it, like The Source, and they're all over the place. They sell it in airports and stuff. There's no dubstep artist that's as successful as David Guetta or Afrojack or Avicii or any of those guys."
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