Even on tour, 12th Planet (real name John Dadzie) is busy working on his music – he even went as far as to set up a mini studio on the tour bus. It’s that work ethic that has made the 29-year old producer from South Central Los Angeles one of most recognised figures in the US’s ever-expanding dubstep community. Wonderland sat down with 12th Planet during the Detroit stop of his expansive The End Is Near North American tour, to pick through his very own low-end theory.
You were just on tour with Skrillex for 50-plus dates – how did you find it?
That was nuts. It was like my birthday everyday. Best show of my life every night of the week. It’s a great feeling.
You’ve been in the middle of dubstep’s massive growth and purists have their mixed feelings on how the genre has developed. What are your thoughts on it all?
It’s advanced but at the same time, it’s gone in different directions. It’s still like a blanket term: dubstep. You have stuff that sounds like Skrillex, then you have stuff that sounds like heavy metal, then you have stuff that sounds like jump-up drum’n’bass, then you have stuff that sounds like R&B, and then you have Low End Theory sounding stuff. It’s all influenced by the same culture in my opinion. It’s all gone in different directions. The purists, there is still pure dubstep out there. You can listen to Pancham, some songs from Skream, Mala, and some of those guys, and get the same vibe. A lot of those guys are real influenced by techno, so it’s cool to see that come into play. I just think artists are going to develop as they get older. They are not going to just still to one way, especially after doing it for so long.
Drum’n’bass started in London – were there many D&B producers in the US when you started making music?
Not really. There are, but I don’t think black folks want to party like that – the ones that do are cool as fuck. I think marketing in hip-hop and all that kind of stuff plays down the EDM culture. It makes it all seem like it’s this rave with goofy frat kids when it’s not – there’s a lot of beautiful music and good times. It’s weird how the music started like that – I guess it’s like England is more advanced with electronic music. It’s more accessible to the youth at an early age. They have been having that culture out there for thirty or forty years now. It’s just now picking up here the last five years.
Artists like you, Skream, or Benga to name of few, always tend to think outside the box whilst staying true to the art form.
We all love dubstep a lot. It’s like in our blood. As an artist, you kind of have to diversify and you got to try new things in order to stay fresh. It’s just not the point to make the same track over and over and over again for five years straight. It gets boring. Got to try new ideas and fuck around. That’s how you get better at the equipment, the tipping point. The more you work, the more you get to know the tool.
Words: Kelly Frazier