To some people this Halloween, there’s nothing scarier than the rise of dubstep.
Those folks will tremble at the sight of thousands moving in unison to commands by dubstep impresario Datsik on Friday. He plays the massive Live 105 Subsonic Halloween Spookfest 2012 at the Oracle Arena with Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi, R3hab and Live 105’s Aaron Axelsen.
Barely old enough to drink, yet running his own music label, Datsik detaches from the mothership of his own national “Firepower” mega-tour this week for an explosive, eclectic one-off night of dark, hip-hop-influenced dubstep.
San Francisco was the first city the rising electronic music producer-performer played outside of his native British Columbia. He says the Bay Area would be the first place he’d move to in the U.S.
“The crowd is so energetic. The hype of playing live in the Bay — it’s such a wicked city,” he says. “So many great artists are from there. It’s incredible. I love it there.”
Born Troy Beetles, 24-year-old Datsik originally wanted to be a video game sound designer. “I was planning on making … alien noises — all weird, different types of stuff for games. Music was always like a total hobby for me.”
Beetles started spreading warped, hip-hop instrumental tracks online around the time dubstep was starting to emerge in North America. At its core, the controversial, bastard genre combines the beat of reggae played at 140 beats per minute, wedded to electronic processing. Although critics deride its grating “wub-wub-WUB-WUB-WUB” bass lines, the heretical genre has attracted legions.
The U.K. swept up Datsik in the dubstep craze, then he started to blow up on this side of the pond.
“I was in the right place at the right time, I guess,” he says.
Beetles first signed to Excision’s Rottun Recordings in 2009, releasing singles and EPs. Remixing the likes of Korn and Linkin Park, he released debut LP “Vitamin D” on Dim Mak in January; the “Firepower” tour is stacked with emerging artists he has signed to his label Firepower Records.
The kid’s career has gone supersonic. But he says, “I’m trying more and more not to take it for granted. It’s been a crazy ride, that’s for sure. I’m super-stoked for Spookfest. Every time I come and play San Francisco, it’s always incredible.”