Fresh off of celebrating his 24th birthday at EDC Las Vegas, dubstep producer/DJ Troy Beatles, better known as Datsik, has been making huge moves in the EDM, not only launching his own record label, but also taking his new-found talent and closest friends along with him on tour in support of Firepower Records. With support from AFK, Getter, Delta Heavy, Terravita, Bare Noize, and xKore, the Firepower crew has already taken over such as Denver and Baltimore, with Datsik showcasing his state of the art 3D vortex visuals during his headlining sets (be sure to check out the video below the interview). Lucky for us, we were able to catch up with the man himself before anything got too hectic, as he prepared for a show out on the East Coast -
DxE: So the tour is just getting started, how’s it going so far?
D: It’s going sick man, all the shows have been awesome. We’re traveling with a crazy ass sound system so we’re pretty much breaking lights and windows around the country and it’s really a lot of fun.
DxE: Where are we talking to you from right now?
D: I’m in Worcester, Massachusetts. Walking around the venue right now, completely empty and I’m just looking at the vortex.
DxE: Tell us a little about that vortex. Is that something you guys designed specifically for the Firepower Tour?
D: Ya, totally. We needed to travel with something this time around and it was an idea I came up with when I was on a plane. I drew it on a piece of paper and it was just the shittest drawing ever. I thought about how it would have to work in terms of, you know, having front projection mapping, but basically the concept is that I’m standing in the middle of this tunnel light and all these visuals are rushing in towards me, putting me as, I guess the focal point and then behind me is another big piece of lycra and there’s a rear projector as well shining on the back of that. So it looks like I’m completely immersed in visuals and it looks seamless.
DxE: Wow and then are you having a VJ actually perform live with you or is this something you guys are planning out ahead of time/during soundcheck?
D: I got my friend, Jesse, who works with V Sqaured Labs – he’s my VJ and he’s been killing it so it’s been great. It’s makes job a bit tricky though because I’m changing my set nearly every single night so he kinda just has to go with the flow and, you know, try to match up as I’m doing my thing but it’s working.
DxE: That’s make it more fun for the both of you though, no?
D: Ya, exactly. It makes it more exciting.
DxE: Very nice. How did you decide on your crew to go on the tour with you?
D: Well AFK and Getter have put out releases with me already. Bare Noize, I feel like, you know, they haven’t really had a solid US tour yet, the same with Delta Heavy and I know there’s a high demand for both of them so we figured they’re both really cool groups of people – there’s two of them in each little posse – I’ve played with all of them on separate occasions and they’re all really cool dudes so I figured having them all in one spot would be a lot of fun and they’re also really amazing DJs so I was really excited to have these guys on tour with me, they’re killing it at the moment so it’s really cool to put it altogether with a huge sound system, crazy production. I just felt like it was the right move and the right fit so everyone coming to the shows are stuck in bass music and that’s what they’re gonna get.
DxE: Is this a bus tour or are you guys flying from city to city?
D: We got 2 big ass tour buses and we're traveling with a crazy sound system too. It's really dope. We got the best crew ever for the tour. I have my girlfriend doing merch, friend's doing my photography he's really sick, my roommate is doing production assistant stuff, another friend I met at Shambhala doing the production lead and then our tour manager, Jim, is just the shit. We have all these really cool, eccentric, you know, outgoing people, on this one tour and it just makes it a lot of fun.
DxE: Tell us a little about the actual label itself. Is this something you came up with recently or have you always wanted your own label?
D: I’ve always wanted to have my own label, I just felt now was the right time to do it. I’ve always wanted to have my own imprint on the music scene, whether it be EDM or whatever, and it’s just cool that the timing worked out epicly. As the label, when we started, it was just me doing everything – from picking artists to uploading their releases to mastering their tunes to everything, I was handling the business side of things as well. Now I’ve delegated jobs to everyone so I’m really just picking the tunes, confirming the masters, confirming all the artwork and making it as easy as I can on myself while making sure that the artists get as much as they can out of the label. On top of that, what we’ve also done, is hire a PR company that works closely with Firepower. What they do is basically do press blasts, which we pay for on behalf of the label, just so the artists get more exposure and, you know, in the end if the artist is gaining more exposure, the label is as well.
DxE: Taking a step back. How did you first fall in love with bass heavy music and realize that was the kind of music you wanted to make?
D: I was making hip-hop for a long time. I first heard dubstep at Shambhala and it just totally changed my outlook on the music I wanted to make because it was so bass heavy and there was just nothing else like it. When I got home, I pretty much obsessed over it for a long time. Excision is from the same town as I am, I had met him before but had never really seen what he did all the time as a DJ and producer. We ended up linking up just through music, started working together a lot and here we are now.
DxE: One thing we’ve noticed about you is that you really enjoy collaborating with people, don’t you…
D: Ya, I love it. I think it keeps it interesting, always having other producers bring their sound and style to the table. It creates a challenge, you know, and it’s not always doing the same thing. It’s really cool to find a creative balance between two people.
DxE: What was it like working with Infected Mushroom?
D: You know what’s funny about that is that was probably one of the easiest collaborations I’ve ever done which is really weird to say because, you know, you’re taking a group of psy trance producers for the most part and a dubstep producer and putting it into one pot, along with Jonathan Davis. Somehow it just worked out – they were like ‘hey, you wanna collab?’ when I said sure they just sent over some parts, I literally cracked it out in two days, sent it back and they were stoked on it. Then like a week later, I was on the Korn tour bus with Jonathan Davis and I was like ‘dude you should sing on this’ and he was just like ‘fuck ya!’ It just kinda happened and all worked out. Honestly, that was probably one of the easiest collaborations I’ve ever done, especially considering the angles we were all coming at it from.
DxE: It’s the best when it all just falls into place like that
D: Totally and then other collaborations, you know, take forever to finish. I have a couple more in the works with Bassnectar and same with Bassnectar and Excision, we’ve done a couple three-way collabs which we still haven’t finished because we’re all just so busy it’s so hard for all of us to sit down together. I think we’re gonna try to make it happen so that once a year we all link up and get in the same room, drink some wine and, you know, try to crunch out the creative process and then me and Jeff can just finish the mix down.
DxE: You really are turning into one of the biggest components of the dubstep scene.. where do you see it going from here and what are your hopes for what this genre will become?
D: Umm, honestly, I hope it evolves, I hope it just keeps moving. We’re seeing new and exciting things coming out, you know, like trap music has been around for a long ass time but now it’s finally starting to get popular in the EDM world. It’s cool because with the whole evolution of trap, it’s pretty much bringing everything back full circle. Now in my sets I’m dropping trap tracks from like 2008 that people have never heard before because they were too busy listening to all the new stuff back then, like Skrilly and whoever else. So it’s really cool to see everything kinda coming back around and there’s a bunch more minimal type shit that’s seeming to emerge and pop up. It just makes it exciting because it sort of creates more dips and valleys in your sets, you know, because you can get away with playing those really deep, dark tracks in the middle of your set, people mistake it for trap and then it just works, you know what I mean.
DxE: Exactly. So obviously you’re dipping into other genres, but are you focusing primarily on your new tracks for the tour or are you mixing it up differently every night?
D: I try play as different as I can every night. I mix in a bunch of different shit, a lot of hip-hop and I’m playing a lot of my old stuff too because I know a lot of people love my old stuff the most so I play some of that. I just try to find a good balance of promoting my new album while, at the same time, keeping it OG and playing all the old school shit.
DxE: Speaking of old school shit, one of our favorite tracks of yours is the remix of ‘Animale.’ How did that project come about with Don Diablo?
D: He hit me up and basically wanted to do a track together but the timing didn’t really work out. Then he was like, ‘I have this new single, I was hoping you would wanna remix it.’ I listened to it, loved the vocals and everything. It’s always really fun to get those kinda tracks with really cool vocal parts, it just makes your job as a remixer was easier. I just got this track from Linkin Park off their new album that they wanted me to remix and I did, it turned out really cool. It’s got a lot of influences from Bassnectar, the direction I wanted to take this one in. It’s really cool, been going off and such a good feeling to have a track that you’ve never really played out be played out, you know, and it’s everyone going crazy for it – it’s an awesome feeling and what I think we’re all doing this for.
DxE: Gotta ask you, what’s it like being on your own tour and knowing that people are coming out primarily to see you perform?
D: It’s exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. Obviously, the genre is changing and, in my opinion, dubstep has probably plateaued and that’s why all these new genres are starting to kind of emerge, you know. It’s really cool though, the shows so far have been doing sick, we have a solid lineup really wicked talent on this tour, it’s doing well. We’re just hear to leave an impression and that’s why we’re traveling with a mega sound system, sick ass production and a ton of crazy music. At the end of the day, it’s really sweet because it’s like, my own thing. The fact that I’m doing a record label tour already when I just launched the label 2 or 3 months ago, maybe a bit later, I dunno and I’m already doing a tour with all these other DJs – it’s awesome, it’s such a good feeling.
DxE: So what can we expect going forward from the label, from your name, just from you in general?
D: I’d say just switching it up. I really like taking different scenes and trying to apply that to my music. So if I’m really feeling this vibe from Basssnectar, for example, maybe make a track that sounds like him but in my own way or if I’m feeling a track that’s by Noisia, maybe I’ll track to make a really kind of dark tune. The label is just really getting started, we have so much new insane talent coming out over the next couple months. Just keep your eye on the label and you’ll really be impressed.
DxE: Just one last question – does Datsik have a favorite ice cream flavor?
D: Bubble gum and cotton candy
The Firepower crew has also been kind enough to make everyone feel at home, just releasing a video highlighting all the festivities from the first week of the tour. Also featured is the new remix mentioned in the interview of the Linkin Park track "Until It Breaks."
Firepower Tour Dates: