CM Interviews 12th Planet, King of Dubstep

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Chances are that if you've heard of dubstep, you've heard of 12th Planet.
This should come as no surprise considering, with over 12 years of experience, one could say that 12th Planet, aka John Dadzie, is somewhat of a veteran in the industry.
Dadzie’s introduction to the world of drum and bass began at a very young age. “When I was 14 or 15, I went with my friends to a rave and it was the first time I heard hardcore electronic music coming out of loud speakers,” Dadzie said. “I was amazed because it was 3 in the morning and this crazy bass was pounding through my chest, and I could feel it everywhere. After that, I never turned back.”
He went on to tour for over seven years as the alter ego Infiltrata until around 2005. It was during that time traveling that he stumbled upon a burgeoning movement known as dubstep, which was sweeping the UK. “I took one listen to it, and saw that it was right up my alley,” Dadzie said. “But the only way you could hear drum and bass like dubstep was live, in a rave or by a DJ, and this music wasn’t being played in our cities in the US. I wanted to change that.” And so 12th Planet, Dadzie’s dubstep persona, was born.


In the early years of 12th Planet, the demand for dubstep artists was far and scarce. The music became an underground phenomenon, geared towards those who appreciated sensory music, which won over the hearts of two very distinct groups: druggies and college students. Yet to Dadzie’s pleasant surprise, when dubtstep blew up in America seemingly overnight, the masses banged on his door. 12th Planet, which earned the moniker “King of Dubstep”, quickly became a notable force within his field.

“You’ve got to have determination, that’s what I tell young producers,” Dadzie said. “If you can stick with something for long enough, and you work hard, you can get somewhere. According to Dadzie, the hard work he has put into 12th Planet has certainly paid off. Among other things, Dadzie is currently touring alongside his good friend Skrillex, the widely popular dubstep artist, on the sold-out Mothership Tour. “The tour has been amazing,” Dadzie said. “To be fair, it has been the gnarliest s**t in my life. Every night we are sold out to a crowd of thousands, it is insane.”

He has also been busy remixing tracks with top name artists such as MIA and John Legend, as well as working with other dubstep artists to create new sounds. “Producing is great, but I love to do collaborations,” Dadzie said. “It is much more fun than sitting in a dark room banging out a track by myself. That’s why I tour so much, so I can interact with people.”


Given the amount of time and devotion he has invested in touring, it is remarkable that Dadzie has found time to complete his highly anticipated EP, Who Are We, which dropped Nov. 13.

The EP consists of three songs that evoke a great deal of energy, as typical with the dubstep sound, but are also very indicative of Dadzie’s production style. “Corner Pocket”, the most notable of the three, utilizes unconventional sounds that differentiate it from other songs of the same genre.

“I like to incorporate other influences, like hip hop,” Dadzie said. “It’s still electronic, but it is different. House music, for instance, is about repetition and putting you into a trance, but dubstep is all about the shock value. And even in the dubstep world I try not to sound like anyone else”


While artists like 12th Planet has been hard at work for years, it isn’t surprising that their mainstream success has been a fairly recent occurrence. With the advent of social media and the blogosphere, which has made it easy for this genre of music to gain notoriety, it was only a matter of time before the sub cultural world of dubstep infiltrated the charts.

“Before, if you liked drum and bass then you only liked drum and bass, and if you liked trance then you only liked trance,” Dadzie said. “Now it’s like the kid that likes Justin Bieber and the kid that likes Metallica probably likes dubstep too. They are so far extreme but it is all still music and people just having a good time.”

Dadzie is currently working on a full-length album and while it has no release date, he has certainly come a long way from his first rave. “I never expected all of this to happen, but it was a match made in heaven for me,” Dadzie said. “I knew then that I was going to be involved with music for the rest of my life.”

Freshman > Journalism > University of Maryland

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