dr martens black 1461 Dubsteppin’ from Kelowna to L
Trading in his snowboard for turntables and a computer turned out to be a good decision for the Kelowna raised producer/DJ known as Datsik.
The DJ, whose real name is Troy Beetles, used to enjoy himself riding the powder on his board in the Okanagan hills, thinking at one time that would be the lifestyle he’d pursue. But instead, as one of the leading proponents of the music known as dubstep, he’s been playing to enthusiastic fans at packed festivals and clubs all over the world. and elsewhere and hasn’t looked back since. But the transition wasn’t necessarily that easy for Beetles.
“I’ve always been a bedroom producer, sitting in my boxers writing music,” he said. “And then all of a sudden I had to learn how to DJ in a bigger club setting.
“I had to learn pretty quickly.”
The day he was interviewed for this story, he was in the middle of house hunting in his adopted home of Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Sharra Duggan. She also hails from Kelowna and helps out running Firepower Records, the company Beetles started to release his and others’ various projects.
But although he speaks fondly of his hometown, the move to California some 18 months ago was as much out of necessity as any desire to be in a bigger centre.
“To get in and out of Kelowna airport, I’d have to do a lot of connections because I’d be playing three shows a weekend,” he said. “I’d end up travelling for 12 or 13 hours and play the shows. And then at the end of the weekend, I’d have to travel back as well.
“I just wanted to get away from that. It’s definitely been crazy, but I’m finally getting comfortable here.”
Since breaking on the international dance music scene, Datsik has been keeping up a continent hopping schedule that will bring him to the celebrated Shambhala Festival in the Salmo area Aug. 6 11 for a headlining set.
He’ll also be sharing the bill with a slew of other top DJs, including one he considers a major inspiration, fellow Kelownian Excision (aka Jeff Abel). It will be Beetles fourth time playing Shambhala and the seventh time he’s been to the festival.
Since it emerged in the late ’90s in London, England clubs, dubstep’s heavy sound has found plenty of followers at festivals and in clubs. With it’s mix of influences, from hip hop to electronic dance music, garage sounds and drum and bass, dubstep and it’s proponents, like Excision and Datsik, have made it into a predominant style with it’s own distinct bass heavy sound.
Born in Vancouver, Beetles moved to Kelowna with his family at the age of four and attended Glenmore Elementary, Dr. Knox and and Kelowna Secondary schools. It was during his time at KSS that he also began his first forays into the world of being a DJ and producer.
“I came from more the hip hop side of things,” he said. “I have two older brothers and I used to sneak into their room and steal all their CDs and play by myself.
“I got a copy of (music mixing software) Fruity Loops when I was 13 or 14 years old and started just noodling around on the computer. I never thought it would turn into anything.”
Starting out playing live at private house parties, Beetles went on to study audio engineering at the Centre for Arts and Technology here in Kelowna, with DJ Sticky Buds (aka Tyler Martens) as one of his instructors.
In 2012, Datsik released his debut full length effort, the 12 song Vitamin D. It also featured appearances from luminaries like Downlink, Z Trip, Infected Mushroom, Snak the Ripper, and Korn’s Davis.
“It’s crazy to travel as much as I’ve been,” he said. “I try to take in as much as I can, but the reality is, sometimes I’ll be in Hungary, say, for a day, and then Belgium for just a day. But it’s just the lifestyle.”