An album, a mixtape, collaborations with Datsik, Zomboy and Virtual Riot, a new dubstep-focussed Battle Royale EP on Smog… These are just a few of the revelations we caught from Smog bossman and all-round LA bass kingpin 12th Planet last week.
He’s heading to Europe this month and will be playing with UKF at Fabric London on March 18. He rang to tell us how excited he is, this is how it went down…
Fabric! Excited much?
Hell yeah! I’m more than excited. It’s been a few years and to come back there with UKF is a big moment for me.
The last time I saw you there was Dub Police in 2009. A while ago now…
My first ever time I played there. Hats off to Caspa for giving me that opportunity. He gave me the taste of Fabric blood. I came back for another night with Jack Beats and Ed Banger Records. Somehow I got placed on this crazy line-up that was really varied like the UKF line up. I love line-ups like that. Fabric is cool; I noticed how international the crowd was. People from all over the world… All coming over on their holidays or making special trip to come to the club. In fact there were barely any English people there last time I came!
Yeah it’s a proper international melting pot of club.
It’s super cool. I’ve been to a True Playaz night there once, though. Now that’s an English crowd! That was fucking off the hook!
I was going to ask you about drum & bass actually… It’s a big year for old school comebacks with Bad Company, Full Cycle, Pendulum, Commix. Have you considered a return to your original Infiltrata alter ego?
I’ve definitely been inspired by all these things, also Renegade Hardware’s recent 20th anniversary tour and Evol Intent playing out a reunion album. There’s a lot of that going on right now. So yeah I’ve thought about getting back into the Infiltrata stuff but not really seriously – I’ve got too much going on as 12th Planet and working on my next album which should be out later this year.
Cool! How deep are you into that?
Super deep! I’ve got a tonne of collaborations cooking and making bullets for the weapon but it’s quite a full clip yet!
There’s ammo there though! Megalodon was hyping your collaboration spirit last time we spoke to him. He said “it doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest artist in town or you’ve had 50 plays on Soundcloud… If you’re in his house he’ll be getting you in the studio.”
He nailed it! That’s the buzz. Making things, trying to be productive and learning from artists. You learn something from every collaboration whether it’s a really established artist or a brand new one. Everyone works so differently and I’m so inspired by that. You gotta hear the word from the pawn and you gotta hear the word from the king in order to understand how the chess game works, you know?
What’s the best tactic you’ve learnt during these collaborations?
Listen to people! I used to only ever trust my own gut and my own taste. Working with these guys reminds me that the world is a lot larger than I originally though. So I appreciate what everyone has to say and hopefully it makes me a better person and a better artist.
Was there a point when you didn’t have that open minded approach?
Yeah man, there was a point when I’d get demos through from people and it just felt like a drag. I’d be like ‘ah man, another demo, fuck this shit! It’s probably going to be garbage.’ Now I sit down, smoke a joint and properly check them out with a really open mind. It’s great to hear how people identify their sound and I consider how my own influences correlate with what they’ve made. It makes me dig deeper and see a bigger picture.
Right on! Who would be a dream collaboration for you?
Oh man, you got all day? I’d love to work with more rappers. Travis Scott or Drake. Or both at the same time. How crazy would that be? They’re my two go-to rappers I listen to right now. It would be super cool to work with. But right now I’m very happy about the guys I’m working with at the moment.
Yeah, like Lumberjvck! He’s killing it. Virtual Riot is killing it too, we’ve made a lot of music in the last year that I’m stoked to be dropping soon. Same with Megalodon too. Right now I’ve also got a record with Datsik and a record with Zomboy ready to roll out.
Massive! When can we expect them?
They’re on dubplates right now. I’ve seen a few leaks which we’ve had to get taken down but they’re going to be out for real very soon.
How do you feel about leaks? It’s like a back-handed compliment isn’t it?
It’s a double-edged sword. I’m always stoked people have enough interest in what we’re doing but when it’s version three from a set I played in Liechtenstein two months ago and it’s nowhere near the version we want to release then it can be annoying. It’s one of those things you have to deal with as an artist I guess…
What’s popping on SMOG this season? The output has slowed down a little recently…
It has man. In the past we were on a weekly release plan and we felt it wasn’t fair on the artists because records need more than a week to really promote and develop. Hounding all the channels and pages to get premieres and promotion on a weekly basis was like pulling teeth. So we’ve scaled back and we’re giving each release a much longer roll out. Everything gets a lot more focus and strength behind it. So the next release is the second instalment of the Battle Royale series. It features a lot of the up and coming artists that I either work with or play in my sets or I’ve noticed my peers play in their sets. It’s dropping the week after my Fabric show, March 25. It’s very dubstep focused I must warn you now!
Sick. Tell me… Is there going to be a new 12th Planet mixtape? It feels like the right time for a new one.
100 percent! It’s dropping the night of the Fabric show or the night before. It’s got the Battle Royale tracks and whole bunch of dubplates to keep the fans appeased. So keep an eye out for the Battle Royale mixtape!
Nice! So obviously you’ve got Rampage this month as well so are you over here for a full tour?
You know it’s really fucking cool… Rampage is my first ever European festival as 12th Planet! Well, besides Snowbombing but I mean real summer festivals and Rampage is a proper rage! I’m playing back to back with Megalodon and it will be a great way to dip my toes into the European festival scene. We’ve got more plans to reveal but right now I can’t say what exactly. Let’s just say we have something very big in store for April and May!