A couple days ago I got the opportunity to talk to Troy Beetles or DATSIK, as most of you have come to know him. He was a really nice guy who was fully invested in his music, and the heavy, hard-hitting persona that DATSIK has evolved into. DATSIK was cool enough to do this interview in hopes that it will help promote his upcoming Ninja Nation Tour, a tour which I think anyone who loves electronic music can enjoy. Read more about the tour after the interview! For now see what the man behind DATSIK is all about.
Full name and age?
You’re speaking with Troy Beetles aka DATSIK and I’m 26 years old.
Where are you from/currently based out of?
I’m currently walking around outside of my studio and I am in sunny, Los Angeles California.
Are you planning on putting out any new music in the near future?
I’m basically on the grind the right now. I’m trying to get all my shit done before this big tour coming up. I just wrote this new track, that I’m working on right now; it’s called Capital K. It’s like trap combined with wompy rythym shit. It’s pretty heavy. It’s different; it’s combining a lot of different things. I think you guys are gonna like it.
How do you try to stand out as a live performer and an artist?
Let me see, I try to stand out by making really intricate sets that you can’t really do with CDJs. I play on CDJs when I’m doing like after parties and stuff, but when it comes to a Datsik show I try to make really technical sets. I try to cover all genres. People usually assume I’m gonna play all 140 or dubstep, I play pretty much everything right now. I play quite a bit of dubstep, but then I push to drum and base, and drumstep, a bit of electro. You know, I just try to do everything because for me, it keeps it a lot more interesting. For example, you know breakfast? We all love breakfast, but that doesn’t mean we want to eat only breakfast all day, every day. No one wants to eat the same type of food all the time. I feel the same about music; you have to switch it up a bit.
What inspired your artist name?
I used to play a lot of Halo. Halo 2 was the shit! I got up pretty high in level. I was like 45 in Team Slayer and 43 in Team Snipers. DATSIK was my gamertag.
How is the Ninja Nation Tour compared to the Digital Assassins Tour last year?
This one is different, we’re rolling with a bit more sound, and we got a different lineup that’s coming with me. It’s gonna be pretty awesome man. Basically this is my longest tour yet, this one we’re doing is 60 days, which is insane. That’s a lot of shows consecutively. It’s gonna be fucking awesome, I’m really excited. I’m really stoked to have a few guys on tour as well, let’s see we got: Truth, Bear Grillz, Fox Stevenson, Twine, Barely Alive, ETC!ETC!, Kennedy Jones, Trolley Snatcha. A couple shows we also got LOUDPVCK, as well. There’s a lot of good people.
How do you feel about playing in Oakdale? How see the culture here?
Honestly, last time I was there it was one of the sickest shows on the tour. It was packed out! I love that venue a lot. It’s a really nice venue. I think it was the third time I’ve played that room, and it was awesome man. You guys go hard as fuck! We are rolling out with a new-and-improved version of the Vortex. It’s bigger, it has a different lighting package with it, it’s gonna be awesome.
What inspires you to create music? Describe how you create a song get from start to finish.
I basically got into music when I was younger, like 15 years old or so. I was making beats on Frooty Loops. I was doing that and snowboarding a lot, it was basically going hand in hand with me. From there, I went to audio school and there I switched to Logic Pro Tools, and now I’m in Ableton. As far as the process goes for making a song for me, it really doesn’t start from any specific point. Every song is different. Sometimes I find a really cool sample, I’ll start building drums around that cool sample, or I’ll make really cool bass line, make a loop and try to get a groovy going, then I’ll build drums on that. Every song is made a different way, and that’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to make it any specific way.
What are some of your favorite producing tools and plugins?
I just bought a Universal Audio Apollo, it’s like a soundcard. I just got a pair of Bearfoot Micromain 27s. They are ridiculous monitors. Basically with this soundcard that I’m using, it allows me to run analog style plugins through the processing of this soundcard. I’ve been using a lot of their plugins. I really like their vocal plugins in the new 1073. It’s a really cool vocal processing plugin. And the SPL Transient Designer! It’s amazing, you can just throw that on your drums and make them sound punchy instantly. And on top of that I can’t really live without the FabFilter Plugins. You know, it really depends on the right tool for the job.
Which of your tracks did you have the most fun making?
I have the most fun making tracks that are not the norm. When I make a track that cool in it’s own way, without meaning too, I call it a “happy accident”. When you put sounds together that shouldn’t technically work together, but do, that’s always makes for the most unique sound in a track. It’s hard to do, but you can only really achieve it by experimenting, playing with it, fucking with knobs, and trying to get something cool happening while working outside your little box. It’s really hard to do, but when you are able to do it you come up with really cool results.
What subgenres do you see blowing up in the next year?
You know everything is moving so fast. Like right now LA is getting hit with a wave of deep house. It’s cool, but whatever comes up fast tends to die out fast. I think there are certain artist, let’s take Fox Stevenson for example, an artist on my label. He makes 128, he makes 140, he makes 174, which is electro, dubstep, and drum and bass. He also makes trap too, and he performs all of them. I think that is the right mentality moving forward, as opposed to riding off something popular. It’s cool to take inspiration from a lot of different genres and put them into one big melting pot to create something original. Going back to the question I see a lot of deep house sub genres popping off. There’s this thing, that’s actually been around forever, it’s basically like future garage. It’s a bit more high beat, but has the same tempo. It’s deep house, but a bit more edgier. I’m starting a new alias and writing a bunch of 128 shit. It’s really fun to play with.
How do you feel about the approach to create an alias when making a different type of music entirely?
All the stuff I’ve written under DATSIK sort of has a hip hop approach, it’s been all aggressive and swung out. I probably could release all this new music that I’m planning for the different alias under DATSIK, but it’s nice to basically start something new and not have any constraints under what people are gonna think about it. With DATSIK I wanna keep people happy so they keep coming to shows, but I also like experimenting and doing all types of stuff, and that’s never gonna stop. But I put myself in that box. Like if put out an all electro EP under DASTIK wouldn’t that be weird? Under this new alias I can do whatever the fuck I want. That’s what brings the fun back into it. I can experiment and get crazy. Even if the tracks aren’t as developed as they should be, it doesn’t matter because I didn’t have any prior expectations.
What’s something you wish someone had told you when you first started producing?
I wish I had more knowledge of drums when I first started. I’ve learned so much on how to make really sick sounding drums now. I wish I had that knowledge when I first started. For me now, I focus so much on the mix down that it’s basically my main drive. A lot of people make a tune and at the very last minute they’ll mix it down. While I’m making a tune I have to have it mixed down in order to hear it properly. It’s cool; it’s a whole other side of the process. It’s probably my favorite part right now, just tweaking the mix. You can have the dopest tune ever with a shitty mix down and it will just sound like crap when you play it out, or you can have the simplest with an insane mix down and it will still hit way harder than the dopest tune.
Do you have any hobbies or passions other than music? What might you be doing if you weren’t a producer?
I was really into snowboarding. It had become my drive; I was doing it ever since I was five years old. I was obsessed with it. Then my life took over and I started traveling a lot so I didn’t really have time to stay at home and snowboard everyday. I couldn’t really make time for it. Now I’ve been getting back into skateboarding, so I’ve been skateboarding a lot in LA. Where I’m living is the capital for linking up with other producers so its really just great.
What is a Malaysian Safari?
Malaysian Safari? The first thing I think about is walking around with a machete and hacking shit up in the trees. A bottle of booze in one hand and a machete in the other, and basically lost in the forest, that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard ‘Malaysian Safari’.
Ninja Nation Tour Dates:
|Thu||1/22||Boston, MA||House of Blues|
|Sat||1/24||New York City, NY||Terminal 5|
|Sun||1/25||Burlington, VT||Higher Ground|
|Wed||1/28||Buffalo, NY||Town Ballroom|
|Thu||1/29||Syracuse, NY||F Shed at The Market|
|Fri||1/30||Hartford, CT||The Dome|
|Sat||1/31||Philadelphia, PA||Electric Factory|
|Wed||2/4||Knoxville, TN||The International|
|Sun||2/8||Pittsburgh, PA||The Altar Bar|
|Mon||2/9||Pittsburgh, PA||The Altar Bar|
|Wed||2/11||Cleveland, OH||House Of Blues|
|Sat||2/14||Detroit, MI||Royal Oak Music Theatre|
|Tue||2/17||Chattanooga, TN||Track 29|
|Wed||2/18||Urbana, IL||Canopy Club|
|Thu||2/19||Indianapolis, IN||Egyptian Room|
|Tue||2/24||Iowa City, IA||Blue Moose|
|Wed||2/25||Lincoln, NE||Bourbon Theatre|
|Thu||2/26||Milwaukee, WI||Miramar Theatre|
|Wed||3/4||Aspen, CO||Belly Up|
|Thu||3/5||Grand Junction, CO||Mesa Theater|
|Wed||3/11||San Diego, CA||Soma|
|Thu||3/12||Los Angeles, CA||Exchange|
|Fri||3/13||Riverside, CA||Riverside Auditorium|
|Sat||3/14||San Francisco, CA||Warfield|
|Sun||3/15||Reno, NV||The Knitting Factory|
|Sat||3/21||Calgary, AB||Flames Central|
|Fri||3/27||Seattle, WA||Showbox Sodo|
|Sat||3/28||Portland, OR||Roseland Ballroom|
|Wed||4/1||Lubbock, TX||Wild West|
|Thu||4/2||San Marcos, TX||The Marc|
|Fri||4/3||Houston, TX||Stereo Live|
|Sat||4/4||El Paso, TX||Tricky Falls|
|Wed||4/8||Asheville, NC||The Orange Peel|
|Thu||4/9||Raleigh, NC||The Ritz|
Check out DATSIK’s newest EP below: