Before dubstep producers would have even dreamed of winning Grammys, John Dadzie, a.k.a. 12th Planet, was focused on bringing the sound to the U.S. Championing bass music since its days underground, he’s released more than a dozen EPs, worked with dubstep darling Skrillex and remixed the likes of Dirtphonics, Foreign Beggars, MSTRKRFT and Rusko. Get ready for a dose of “Bass Salt” when he kicks off his residency at Body English on March 28.
Your first show in Las Vegas was 12 years ago at the now-defunct Tremorz across from UNLV. What were your impressions?
It was one of my first shows out of my own city—luckily it was within driving distance. I was only playing drum and bass at that time, and [was] an opener for AK1200. I had some songs on the Internet and one vinyl out. Joe [“Stasis”
Borusiewicz of Frequency Events] brought me out. I stayed at the Stratosphere and thought it was so cool and that I was ballin’ back then! The scene was very underground, but it was still vibing. At least 400 to 500 kids were there, all from Vegas, all drum and bass fans.
How have you noticed the bass-music scene change when you play here?
I come to Vegas every year; my last Vegas show was at Marquee Dayclub for Insomniac’s [Wet Wonderland]. Before that was the Bassrush party at [Orleans] Arena and the Hard Rock Café on the Strip. I don’t think the scene there has really changed except instead of the casinos booking Wayne Newton, they’re booking Calvin Harris, right? But you do get a bunch of people who don’t listen to the music normally but are in Vegas, have their best clothes on and have a whole different personae while they’re out there. What I have noticed between then and now is the staff that works at the venues know just as much as the DJs. The guy who’s the host, he fucking knows everything you’re playing, when it came out, and he’s probably a DJ himself as a side job.
What do you think about dubstep’s current direction?
The direction hasn’t really changed in the past two or three years other than some of the sounds are more crossover. The only thing that’s really changed is people can play whatever they want in their sets now—who gives a shit? You can play moombahton, dubstep, trance, hip-hop, house, electro … When I first started, you had to play only your genre. If you did something else you were a sellout.
Did you ever think dubstep would get so big so fast?
When it first started? No. For obvious reasons, it was the second option at a drum and bass club or the second option at a rave. There’d be one dubstep guy on a lineup, and even that was playing way too much dubstep. The sound and the attitude come from the “us against the world” mentality, so that’s what galvanized all the fans. … You can just come as you are and party. I think that’s what attracted most of the people to it.
Speaking of partying, are you sick of the “Harlem Shake” videos yet?
I love the “Harlem Shake,” I love all those videos. It’s a cool movement and that Baauer is getting some shine. Although it’s not the actual Harlem Shake [dance], or Harlem Shuffle, it’s a good attempt at trying to think outside the box. It’s the first time in dance music where they’ve taken a song and created this entire viral campaign out of it, whether or not it was grown grassroots through their camp, it’s like a Justin Bieber phenomenon, something that’s never been done before, especially in dubstep and drum and bass.
What kind of viral video campaign would you do?
I’d do an iPhone teleport app viral campaign! The app would enable you to teleport from wherever you are and you could go to China and have a meetup with all the homies and film it right there and that’s the campaign, like “Damn! They just teleported!” That’d be sick!
With an unlimited budget, what kind of theme party would you throw once people teleport to a location?
I’d get a bunch of big-ass speakers, and a really big movie screen that goes behind me and has crazy visuals, like Salvador Dali stuff. Then I’d have Cirque du Soleil do a 10-minute routine back-to-back with me as the centerpiece, and all I’m gonna do is push a button and maybe just turn around on the thing. Oh! And then I’d get the Barnum & Bailey Circus and they would come out for one song and tigers jumping over me. Oh, and I’d get the Tupac hologram, too! That would be so dope. 2Pac comes out and does songs with Skrillex. I’m not a big go-go dancer fan. When you’re dressed appropriate it’s cool, but I’m not down with the furry boots and all that shit. Maybe it’s because I’m older and I had my day of wearing big pants. If I could ban go-go dancing, I’d do it in a heartbeat—when it’s done tastefully and the girls can move, it’s cool and I’m down, but not just any girl in a g-string and boots, they can get off the stage, especially with me.
So if they’re themed-out and not just in rejected stripper wear?
I recently interviewed your next-door neighbor and pottery-making buddy Dillon Francis. How did that Ghost-parody video idea come about?
Dillon Francis has a webstore on his fansite where you can buy a unicorn signed by Dillon Francis or other stupid things. So he said, “Dillon Francis and 12th Planet will re-enact the pottery scene from Ghost for $1,000.” [DJ/producer] Zedd and [photographer] Rukes ended up buying it together. We donated the money to this charity in San Francisco.
“Ratchet Strap” is a song of yours. What’s the most ratchet thing you’ve seen recently?
Outside of Drai’s in Hollywood, these two girls were beating the shit out of each other. That was pretty ratchet.