Datsik released his debut album ‘Vitamin D’ on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak last year, and co-headlined a tour with the label boss. But his style does not toy with electro or indie, like Aoki’s: It’s full-on bass-heavy dubstep, with a hip-hop-inflected swagger and disembodied voices promising violence or other assorted doom.
That said, the Canadian DJ/producer is entirely affable and anxious to talk about his first release on his new label, the aptly named Firepower. His ‘Cold Blooded’ EP is consistent with the dark vibe for which he’s known, including a new track with frequent collaborator Excision. But it’s also got a few surprises — including Datsik’s own vocals. Each track has been audience-tested during his nonstop touring, a process that sometimes sent him right back to the studio to make tweaks.
Check out the exclusive stream below, plus commentary from Datsik on each track.
1. ‘Cold Blooded’: “This one wasn’t really hitting the way I wanted it to on the dancefloor. So I went back into the studio and did a new mix-down that was tight, punchy and with louder drums. The first time I played it out that way, it destroyed it. The idea was always there, it just came down to making sure the mix was perfect.”
2. Machete (feat. Snak the Ripper & Young Sin): “Young Sin is one of the most notorious underground MCs in Canada. Most hip-hop heads know who he is; he has an aggressive, nasty voice works well with dubstep. We wanted something super dark, cool, heavy and destructive, and that’s kind of what came out.”
3. ‘Automatik’ (feat. Messinian): “Messinian’s really easy to work with. He’s got things so down pat, he basically goes into the studio cranks out a whole bunch of vocals, and they all sound amazing and balanced. With the track, I was trying to do something based on older-sounding stuff I used to make, simple but really, really heavy.”
4. ‘Juicebox’: “It’s a sample-based hip-hop electronic thing I did. The intro violin was a sample I’ve had since I was 15 or 16. I didn’t end up using it until now. Kinda crazy.”
5. ‘Too Late To Say No’: “This is a track with my own vocals; that’s something different I haven’t really done before. It’s definitely cool seeing the reaction when I play it at the end of my set. Mostly girls are the ones who freak out.”
6. ‘Vindicate’ (feat. Excision): “We had never made a 110 [BPM] track together, so we tried something different and just went for it. With Excision, the whole theme is to keep it dark as fuck. The single is killing it on Beatport; we’re pretty stoked.”
7. ‘Release Me’: “I found a really cool vocal sample, changed up the pitch and the key, and wrote my own melody. I tried to make it dark but different at the same time. It’s the track I end my sets with.”
Datsik is currently on the road again, traveling the East Coast on the “Firepower Reloaded” tour, with Brillz and GriZ.
Additional reporting by Zel McCarthy