Overnight success is a relative term. But for DJ/producer Datsik (aka Troy Beetles), it’s pretty close to a spot-on description. The 26-year-old Canadian first started producing dubstep tracks after attending 2008’s Shambhala Festival near his home in British Columbia.
A year later, he was collaborating with fellow B.C. DJ Excision, remixing the likes of Crystal Method, Linkin Park, Lil Wayne, and Wu-Tang Clan, all while watching many of his self-produced tracks hit the number one spot on Internet EDM hub Beatport.
Datsik’s debut album, “Vitamin D,” was released on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records in 2012, the same year he launched his own label, Firepower Records.
“It started as something for my own music,” Beetles told DiscoverSD from a recent tour stop in Lincoln, Neb.
“I wanted to make music that truly represented me without any restrictions. And I feel like I’ve accomplished that. But it wasn’t until the tenth release that I actually put out my own songs. It’s crazy to think how much it’s grown.”
That’s an understatement. Firepower is rapidly approaching its 100th release and shows no signs of slowing down. And keeping with his initial vision, Datsik’s own third release for the label, “Down 4 My Ninjas EP,” dropped at the end of last year.
The EP was also inspiration for the ambitious, multi-act, North American “Ninja Nation Tour,” which makes a stop at San Diego’s SOMA on March 11.
Surrounded by friends and colleagues like Kennedy Jones, Twine and Fox Stevenson, and a rotating cast of characters such as Trolley Snatcha, Barely Alive, Truth, ETC! ETC!, Bear Grillz and others, Beetles claims he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I used to fly by myself from city to city,” he said. “Now, I get to do that with a group of friends. I don’t like traveling alone, so I’ll sacrifice a lot of things for that. It just makes it more interesting that way. There’s never a dull moment.”
Every show is different, but it still boils down to Datsik and a big group of friends, each of them with the singular goal of trying to get the audience as hyped-up and wild as possible.
“I throw down as hard as I can every time,” Beetles said. “When I first started doing this four or five years ago, I’d never even heard of half the places we play. But it turns out that most of them have crazy scenes. In an industry where bass music is supposedly dead, more and more kids are coming out to these shows. It’s super high energy all the time and shenanigans all day.”
While it may appear like all fun and games from the outside, a cool head coupled with a slow-and-steady attitude has been the foundation of Beetles’ project from the get-go.
“I try my best to do as much as I can,” he said. “But Datsik and Firepower go far beyond just me. I have a team that helps me achieve all these goals, and I owe them a lot. This is bus tour number seven for me now, and it gets better and better each time. It’s all about finding a balance, but as long as you love what you’re doing, it’s enough to guide you forward.”
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.