After a string of incredible releases and a nationwide tour announcement, the Dubstep Don, 12th Planet, is back. This time, he returns with the title track from his new EP, Supernova, featuring Virus Syndicate. The UK duo and longtime friends of Planet Number 12 shatter expectations in this riddim-fueled fever dream. Laced with aggression and earth-shattering bass frequencies, “Supernova” is, to put it simply, that mud.
With only seven days separating him from the first stop on his new tour, 12th Planet stopped by the bird’s nest to chat with us about the new EP, his new visual show, and more, in this Electric Hawk Exclusive Interview.
By definition, a supernova is a powerful and luminous stellar explosion. Often referred to as “the death of a star,” this transient astronomical event is the inspiration behind 12th Planet’s EP and upcoming tour. It serves as a double-entendre; eluding to the transformation this dubstep legend has gone through since COVID struck, while also foreshadowing a brand new visual experience that was carefully crafted by some of the industry’s top talents.
Hayden McGuigan, Electric Hawk: So tell us more about the inspiration behind this project.
12th Planet: So Supernova is about the death of a star before beginning a new life. After COVID hit, it felt like the end of a chapter in my story. Now with everything ramping back up, its like I’m being reborn again. The lockdown for me was kind of a gift and a curse. We couldn’t do anything outside, but being indoors gave me time to work on music, so I used that time wisely. It felt like back when I was a young producer and wasn’t touring as much. We were back to square one. I probably made 30-45 new tracks during quarantine, so if you come to a show on the tour, you’ll get a set with 90% unreleased IDs.
With the tour, I’m also debuting a brand new visual show revolving around this phenomenon. From a supernova, comes dark matter. From dark matter, comes black holes. And the whole concept involves the audience traveling through these black holes to different planets across the universe. I’ve teamed up with the incredible IMMANENT motion design studio for this project. They’ve worked with artists like Tyler, The Creator, SVDDEN DEATH, Sullivan King, and many more.
We’ve literally created an entire solar system. Each planet has a theme, and as the set progresses, you’ll travel to each planet that fits the theme of the music. For instance, if it’s a really melodic track, you might see some type of island environment. Or if it’s something heavier with dark basslines, for example, you might see some menacing-looking creatures pop up. We’ve made some really funky characters and cool environments and I cannot wait to show everyone what I’ve been working on.
HM: That sounds incredible! How did you link up with the team at IMMANENT?
12th Planet: The guy who started the company, Drew Best, was my partner at the first dubstep label I started, SMOG Records. Together, we threw some of the first dubstep parties on the West Coast back in like 2006. The first was probably Dub War with Joe Nice, but this was shortly after. Drew and I have been working together for a while now.
HM: I see you’ve also got some incredible artists as support for this tour.
12th Planet: Oh yeah. Shiverz is actually one of my favorite dubstep DJs of all time. He’s incredible if you ever get to see him play, and he was a big inspiration for me to actually dive in and get better at DJ’ing. He’s another black artist that deserves way more recognition. He was on my tour last year that got canceled due to COVID.
HM: Well that’s awesome that you two get to reconnect now that everything is opening back up. Are there any stops in particular that you’re extra excited about?
12th Planet: The show that I’m most excited about is actually the first one in Los Angeles at Exchange. This is based on the fact that last year when we were going to start the tour, the second date on the tour was at Exchange. My VJ and I were programming the whole day before and then, bam, everything got shut down. So I’m like, basically coming for vengeance.
HM: Oh, so you’re out for revenge?
12th Planet: Yeah, man. Plus, I just can’t wait to go back. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or been inside Exchange, but it’s like one of the most beautiful venues. There are balconies everywhere, a huge video wall, and it’s just an awesome place to play.
The latest single from 12th Planet calls on the legendary Virus Syndicate for assistance. The three have worked together before on the Disciple Records monster collab, “We Don’t Play;” so their latest collaboration wasn’t exactly rocket science. Virus Syndicate has been spearheading the fusion of hip-hop and bass music for over a decade, so it’s no surprise that this track has that perfect balance of dirty bass and UK grime.
The track begins with Virus Syndicate effortlessly flowing over an eerie collection of sounds. Upon the build, the duo foreshadows the drop “exploding like a Supernova,” and that is precisely what happens. Rail-breaking and bone-rattling bass overload the senses with pure filth, compelling the listener to seek shelter from the storm.
HM: “Supernova” is probably my favorite track from the EP. Virus Syndicate never disappoints.
12th Planet: Yeah man, I’ve been hanging with those guys since like 2007-2008. We’ve been talking about doing a collaboration for a really long time, but we just never got around to it until now. Once I sent them the beat, they recorded a verse and a hook and it was all very natural. The naturality of it all felt really good, I remember going so hard in the studio. I got to test it out a week later and the crowd’s reaction was insane. It was like they’ve known the song for years. That’s when I knew it was gonna be a bop.
Sharpening the Knife
If I can take a second to break the fourth wall, I have to admit, this interview was a huge milestone for me. As briefly described in my last piece covering his recent single, “Clairvoyant,” 12th Planet has played a major role in the cultivation and rise of dubstep in the United States. His impact on our scene is astronomical, and it’s not every day that you get to hear some wisdom from such a legend, face to face.
We shared stories about Electric Forest, we shared laughs about tour bus nightmares, but the thing that struck me the most was hearing how after all this time, he’s still seeking the knowledge to better himself.
HM: So you’ve been working on music nonstop, your EP is finished, and you’re already sitting on a ton of IDs. Is there an album on the way too?
12th Planet: I guess with that many unreleased tracks, it begs the question [Laughs]. I’m just taking it day by day at this point. My goal is to have a complete set of unreleased music that will turn heads everywhere I go. So no, I don’t have any album ideas yet.
One thing we have been trying to do is put out a record once every 4-5 weeks. Usually, I would drop an EP, then like 6-7 months later, drop another 5 songs. But this year, I wanted to switch it up and challenge myself to drop music rapidly and consistently.
HM: Do you have any advice for the underground producers that are fighting to get to your level?
12th Planet: Just stick to your craft, and stay on your grind. Always look for new ways to stand out and be different. Try and surround yourself with like-minded individuals that will keep you motivated. I’m fortunate enough to be affiliated with Smog and Disciple, so whenever I need help or have questions, I have the best dubstep producers in the world to turn to.
My roommate is Jack Beats. We split the studio, so I’ll get to hear the stuff he’s working on, he’ll get to hear the stuff I’m working on, and it’s awesome to get good feedback from good producers. Having that support system is so valuable. Oh, and Youtube is your best friend. There are so many tutorials that can teach you just about anything. I spent a lot of my time during quarantine watching tutorials and learning new production methods.
HM: That’s honestly humbling to hear that a legend, such as yourself, is still watching tutorials on Youtube. Just goes to show that there’s never an end to your craft, and there is always more to learn.
12th Planet: Yeah, exactly. It’s really cool, too, because a lot of the tutorials I’m watching now are made by my friends. It’s like I’m just chilling with the homies. I’ll watch Virtual Riot’s stuff, the Barely Alive tutorials are awesome…
HM: ill.Gates has been doing a bunch of stuff as well with Producer Dojo.
12th Planet: Yeah, his stuff is great. He actually used to live a few blocks away from me, so I would go over to his studio and check things out. Same with LUMBERJVCK, whenever I have a question, he’s there. It’s so important to keep learning from your peers. It sharpens the knife.
12th Planet is out to prove that you should never take him lightly. Between his new EP, his upcoming tour, his ID vault, and his insatiable grind to be the best version of himself, John Dadzie is here to command your respect. We can’t think of anyone that deserves it more.
I feel like a lot of people were doubting me. I’ve been quiet for a long time. I stayed off the internet, I stopped my radio show…but all of that was so I could focus on music. I had to focus to get ahead, and I had to learn more to become a better producer, and a better person. I’ve learned so much during quarantine, and now I’m ready to unleash hell.John Dadzie, aka 12th Planet
Listen to the Supernova EP by 12th Planet in its entirety below.
Get your tickets to the Supernova Tour here.
Looking for new music? Keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts. Updated every Friday with all the latest releases. Whether it’s the newest drops from 12th Planet, all your favorite artists, some old-school, or underground…we just want you to hear it.
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