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Interview:
Datsik at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Datsik is at home in Los Angeles, packing for his Ninja Nation Tour and making sure he has all the essentials -- a DJ controller for the bus, a Nintendo 64 game system, ninja mask, gold chains, "all that essential stuff."

It's been nearly a decade since Datsik (real name Troy Beetles), emerged from British Columbia and became a major player in electronic music, working first with fellow Canadian Excision and then working under his own name, or as Ephwurd with collaborator Bais Haus. Specializing in dubstep and house styles, he's also collaborated with Diplo, Snoop Dogg, Korn, Skrillex and many others, and since 2012 he's operated his own label, Firepower Records.

The Ninja Nation Tour follows the recent release of a new EP, "Sensai," and Datsik hopes it and the accompanying tour will reaffirm his mastery behind the decks...

What can we expect from the Ninja Nation show? "It's gonna be crazy, man," Datsik, 28, says by phone. "I'm bringing this new stage which I've never used before, never toured with. The whole stage is basically this giant Shaolin temple, and I'm a Mortal Kombat character in that temple. It looks really dope. I'm super-excited to play with it."

It is, of course, bigger and, Datsik hopes, better than anything he's taken on the road so far -- which, he adds, is the idea. "I feel like it takes tour history and repetition in order to build a solid fan base where you can come to a city and know it's going to be good every single time," he explains. "It's one of those things where you're constantly working on it so people can expect more. I'm raising the bar every time I come back...'cause everyone deserves it. This is my eighth bus tour and if these kids are seeing me come ot their city seven, eight times, I've got to put on something that's doper than the last time. It has to be done."

Datsik has great memories of playing in Detroit, but one in particular occurred during a previous stop at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. "The energy there is always out of control; That's what always draws me back to coming there," he says. "Two years ago I did Royal Oak and it was so fun, someone came up to me at the very end of the show and said, 'Do you want to do another show later tonight or tomorrow?' I said, 'When?' and they said, 'Let's do tomorrow.' So at the very end of the show I'm like,'Who wants to do another show?' and (the crowd) is like '....yeah!' So I said 'We're playing Elektricity (in Pontiac)!' and in 10 minutes a second show sold out and it was just a crazy, back to back party. I'll never forget it."

Datsik says he aimed for diversity on the "Sensai" EP. "I wanted to keep it well-balanced," he explains. "It's really easy to go really heavy or fully melodic and have people still like it. But I wanted it to be a representation of my DJ style. I wanted to go in hard and bring it back, play some hip-hop and then bring it hard again, then play some mellow, melodic stuff. I feel like the seven tracks are all dubstep or trap or whatever, but it totally has different vibes on each track. That's what I wanted, to be well-rounded."

Datsik's next project will likely be with Ephwurd, his collaboration with American DJ Bais Haus (son of the Manhattan Transfer's Tim Hauser). "It's kind of a house project, more poppy music," he says. "After writing all this Datsik stuff you need to shift focus and write something melodic and geared for more of a mainstream crowd. It keeps me happy as an artist to do different styles and do something that's out of my comfort zone. I think people will be stoked.

Datsik, Crizzly and Virtual Riot

Friday, Jan. 13. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.


Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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