Road To Imagine Music Festival: @Datsik

Since launching the Datsik brand, Troy Beetles continues to evolve as a solo artist all the while pushing his beloved bass music world to new lengths, both on a personal artistry level and as a genre as a whole. From video game-loving fanboy—his monikerderives from his old Xbox Live gamertag—to chart-topping producer, internationally touring artist, and owner and founder of the enterprising Firepower Records, Datsik is poised to make bass music the sound of the future with his recent Down 4 My Ninjas EP(Nov. 2014 / Firepower Records) and upcoming release Smoke Bomb ft. Snoop Dogg(Nov. 2015 / Ultra Records)

Beetles launched Datsik in 2007, when the burgeoning producer began dabbling with original hip-hop and dubstep productions in his Canadian hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia. In 2008, he met and began to work with Canadian dubstep legend Excision,who later released their collaborations on his Rottun Recordings. In the years to come,the duo—both as a cohesive unit and individual artists—are credited for taking the Canadian bass music scene from its local roots to worldwide acclaim and for pioneering and shaping the bass-heavy North American dubstep sound.

It was in 2009, however, that the Datsik brand took its initial steps into global dominancewith his first official release, the Nuke ‘Em EP. It set the new precedence of the future ofdubstep and bass music. Immediately following that was the Boom EP featuring Excision and renowned producer Flux Pavilion as collaborators. In that same year,Datsik claimed 10 Beatport #1 releases, an impressive feat for any artist, not to mention one in such an early stage in his career. From that point on, there was no turning backfor Beetles. Datsik was now a legitimate entity, a bubbling artist to watch, and a force tobe reckoned. With each original single, bass-intense remix and multiple EPs on various celebrated indies, Datsik shot up to the upper echelons of the growing international bass circles.

While these numerous releases helped define Datsik’s core, his scope of remix and original production work reaches much farther and much wider. Having released on every other cutting-edge independent electronic music label, including OWSLA and MadDecent, he’s also landed massive remixes that span various genres and solidify Datsikas a master of his craft, including remix work for dance music icons and rising electronic stars Skrillex, Diplo, Kaskade, Zedd, The Crystal Method, Pretty Lights, and Noisia, as well as two collaborations with the one and only Bassnectar and two more with Diplo onhis Express Yourself EP. He has also remixed artists from the mainstream pop world and hip-hop spheres such as Coldplay, Lil Wayne, MGMT, Linkin Park, Wu-Tang Clan,one of the biggest influences on his sound, and, most recently, Lana Del Rey, with his SoundCloud-obliterating “Ultraviolence” remix.

Nonetheless, Vitamin D, his debut artist album released on Dim Mak Records in 2012,remains his gleaming trophy of work. Rightfully so, as Vitamin D was the first project toillustrate the full spectrum of Datsik’s production cannon and to give glimpses of theartist’s potential as a producer and songwriter. The bass wobble and grime of “FullyBlown” featuring rapper Snak The Ripper nods to Datsik’s deep love of hip-hop. Thelaser-blasting “Need You” allowed Beetles to conquer the art of vocal sampling, whichwould later influence his use of original vocalists in the near future. The powerhouseteam-up of “Evilution”—a collaboration with psytrance legends Infected Mushroom andKORN frontman Jonathan Davis—showed that the distinct Datsik sound is still able todominate even when working with such music giants. Vitamin D was the first majormilestone of many to come in the Datsik storyline.

The next chapter came in 2013 in the form of a two-part release, the fire-and-icethemedCold Blooded EP and the corresponding Let It Burn full-length album, bothreleased on Firepower. While shorter in length, Cold Blooded packs as much a punchas big brother Let It Burn. “Juicebox” mixes sophisticated strings samples with warpedbass crunch. “Vindicate” with Excision is no-holds-barred aggression. And the partycentric“Too Late To Say No” sees Datsik delivering original raps for the first time in his career. Let It Burn continues the heavy-handed scope with the metal-influenced title track and high-energy fervor of “Buckshot.” Paired with “Hold It Down,” which mixes the alluring vocals of Georgia Murray, Let It Burn is an exemplary step into the progression of Datsik’s songwriting abilities. Hand in hand, Cold Blooded and Let It Burn comprise the knockout one-two punch in Datsik’s artillery.

Datsik stands at a point of transition with his recent EP Down 4 My Ninjas. It exemplifiesa more mature Datsik, both in sound and in vision, as it sees the producer taking vaststeps outside of dubstep and deeper into his ever-burning fondness for hip-hop. Inessence, it is his love letter to the hip-hop and bass music genres and sees a full circlefor Datsik as it combines the best of both worlds. Featuring collaborations with DJ Paul of renowned Southern rap group Three 6 Mafia and the legendary KRS-One, Down 4 My Ninjas sees Datsik keeping one foot in bass and one foot in hip-hop and, for the first time ever, sees the artist pairing his original productions with bona fide, universally celebrated members of the rap world.It makes sense, then, that Datsik’s independent label, Firepower, is the home to Down 4My Ninjas. 

As much as the new EP is the launching pad for the evolution of Datsik,Firepower is, similarly, headquarters to the future sound of bass music. Launched in 2012, Firepower is both an extension of Datsik’s sum and substance and his contribution to the development of the bass world as a movement. Though tiny in size,Firepower is of the more influential independent imprints in the current-day electronic music market, and has given birth to such blossoming acts as Protohype, MUST DIE!,Terravita, Getter, and Fox Stevenson just to name a few. The label has accomplished more in two short years than many other imprints achieve in their entire existence.Firepower solidifies Datsik as a tastemaker and trendsetter.With Down 4 My Ninjas in tow and a hefty supporting tour scheduled for 2015,expectations are higher than they’ve ever been for Datsik. Beetles welcomes the challenge, though. It’s what’s kept him developing since those bedroom producer days,and it’s what verifies Datsik as one of the leading figures in the bass music scene of today and tomorrow.

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