An Interview with 12th Planet



Formerly known as drum’n’bass artist Infiltrata, John Dadzie was reincarnated in 2005 as 12th Planet. He has since carved a path for himself as the U.S.’s premiere maestro of dubstep. On the heels of the Skrillex Mothership tour, and just before departing on his own headlining tour, the “American Dubstep King” took a few moments to share some thoughts and inspiration.

Flavorus: Your fans are calling you the “American Dubstep King” or “The American Dubstep Godfather,” how do you feel about that?

12th Planet: Yeah, well I didn’t say that, SPIN Magazine said that, but those are some pretty amazing things to be called! Well its better then being called the “American Dubstep Garbage” I guess. So I’ll take them saying that about me.

Flavorus: I took a look at your tour schedule and you have a pretty grueling month ahead of you, it looks like you are playing every day?

12th Planet: Yeah, almost every day, 32 shows in 30 days or something.

Flavorus: What are you doing to prepare for that?

12th Planet: Well last week I was at my rehearsal space in Chinatown, and I’m bringing production on this tour, so I have an LD, a VJ, and an audio guy. We’re bringing a big TK sound system, so I’ve been getting the set together and getting content for every song I’m going to play. I have this guy, Strangeloop, who is on the Skrillex tour right now, but before was working with Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus, he does a lot of 3D stuff, like makes 3D movies. The whole set is going to be half 3D images, and the other half will be a Sega Genesis 16-bit kind of vibe. So that’s what I’ve been preparing for. I also had a gig Monday, and then I was in Aspen for the X-Games, but that has nothing to do with the tour.

Flavorus: Do you have a hand in designing graphics on stage?

12th Planet: Not in the designing really, but I am picking out my favorite ones. For an hour and a half set, at least 400 different images and animations will be used, so there is a real grooming process picking out 10 different things per song to have in the visuals.

Flavorus: So is this the first time you are taking production with you? Have you taken graphics and lights? Or is this your biggest one to date?

12th Planet: This is my first headlining tour, this is my first tour with production. It’s my first tour with my own tour bus, it’s the first for everything pretty much. Not the first time that I’ve brought my own lighting guy or VJ, I always bring my own when I play EDC or a huge show like that. You know the guys who are running lights and video at the big festivals, those guys are there all night and then back again early in the morning, and they don’t even get a break. So when they are doing your set they are exhausted and are kind of just going through the motions. So I like to bring my own guys who know my set and are dedicated to my music for that one hour. Plus the festival guys like to have that hour off to go smoke or something! So I’m keeping that same mentality for this tour, I’m bringing the same guys I always bring when I do major festivals, but this time we’re taking the show on the road.

Flavorus: I saw that Scion was involved with this tour, how did you get involved with Scion?

12th Planet: Scion is one of the sponsors, there are three major sponsors actually, but that wasn’t the question. I got involved with Scion when they asked me to do a radio show for them about 3-4 years ago which I ended up doing, and then the Dubstep movement started picked up steam and they wanted me to do a series of free parties at the Roxy, which were to be 18+ and RSVP only. I ended up being the curator for those parties and picked out a lot of the talent, which was a great way for me to book and bro down with my favorite artists, and then I’d do interviews for them. Scion has been supportive ever since. Two years ago they put out my label’s first compilation, the SMOG compilation, and now they’ve done a compilation to coincide with the tour. They are one of the bigger sponsors for this tour, they manufactured the 200,000 CD’s and 30,000 vinyl units and helped pay for the bus and branding and all that, so we made them presenters of the tour. Some other sponsors are Red Bull who have been really, really supportive of my career, especially in the past few months, and I’ve now officially become a Red Bull sponsored DJ, which is really cool. It’s weird because I’ve never been a sponsored DJ before. Also HEX bags is involved with this tour. They make back packs and iPhone cases and iPod cases and Nano cases, and bags and stuff. At 10 dates during the tour, we’re doing what’s called the HEX meet n greet, if you go to the website you can enter. So if you enter and win access to the meet n greet, you also get a bag of goodies from HEX, Red Bull and Scion, all in one bag.

Flavorus: Tell me about your club.

12th Planet: It’s called Dub-troit, it’s in Orange County, CA, and it used to be at the Detroit Bar, but now it has moved to a place that used to be called the Galaxy, but is now called Observatory. So SMOG, my label, promotes that night. We also promote a Sunday night in Hollywood at Dim Mak Studios called SMOG Sundays.

Flavorus: What else can your fans anticipate in the future? Any new music?

12th Planet: My last EP just came out, I’m already working on my next one. I try to put something out every 4 months. Towards the end of the year I want to put out my album, I’d love to have it out on 12-12-12, that would be awesome. Look forward to having some music dropping and come check me out on this tour. I’m going to Europe in April, then doing the festival circuit that starts in May and goes all summer.

Flavorus: Anyone you haven’t done a collaboration with yet that you’d like to?

12th Planet: I’d like to collaborate with Rusko, I haven’t done a song with him. I did a remix for him that came out on Mad Decent, but he’s one of my favorite producers of all time and I’d love to work with him. Other than that, I’d love to collaborate with Skream and Benga. Those three, I’d love to work with those three.

Flavorus: What else are you listening to right now?

12th Planet: I listen to a lot of stuff, like a lot of hip hop, people like TittyBoy and Juicy J and Wocka Flocka and Wiz Khalifa… anything that Lex Luger produces or Sony Digital produces, I’m on it. Also a lot of moombahton now, and I’m playing a lot of moombahton in my sets now, that’s really what I’m listening to right now, other than Dubstep obviously right?

You can check out 12th Planet at the following dates, tickets are available at

Photo by Maria Jose Govea

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