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Enter the Vortex: Datsik rages to Town Ballroom - INTERVIEW

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Datsik, the DJ moniker for 24-year-old Canadian Troy Beetles, has a tough time describing what the Vortex is, primarily because it’s the first of its kind. So, here’s a look at the Vimeo teaser:

DATSIK “VORTEX” Teaser from V Squared Labs Inc. on Vimeo.

In an interview with Beetles in mid-September, the dubstep DJ talked about the risk—both financial and practical—in including a 17-foot-high, panel-based video-and-lighting system as the visual center of his Firepower Tour. Buffalo EDM fans can witness the Vortex first-hand at 8 p.m. Monday at Town Ballroom in a show that will also feature performances by newcomers to Datsik’s Firepower label.

Tickets are $28 and can be purchased here or at the door. So, how’d this Vortex come about?

“I was basically on a plane just mulling over ideas, wanted to try something like DJ Shadow’s kind of sphere,” Beetles explained, “and it’s all projection mapping, but it was all done on outward surfaces. I thought, what if we had it on an inward surface and everything was swirling toward me?’”

While Datsik’s idea was initially met with skepticism, V Squared Labs’ Vello Virkhaus managed to create a structure suitable to Beetles’ desires. A visual arts company founded in 2000, V Squared Labs has also worked on projects with Eric Prydz and Bassrush before striking its biggest deal with Beetles. Now satisfied with his decision, Datsik views the risk as well worth taking.


“I think the biggest thing was trying to make an impression [through the Vortex], so I just took a risk, and it was quite a bit of money and the risk factor was pretty high, but I feel like it paid off because it’s something that no one has really seen before,” he said. “In this industry, that’s what it’s all about—doing something that’s never really been done.”

While the giant Vortex hasn’t been able to fit in every venue, Beetles noted that his touring group does everything in its power to include the eye-popping DJ booth. The dubstep icon, who released his first full album, Vitamin D, off Dim Mak Records in April 2012, relayed one instance where his touring group carefully adjusted the ceiling truss of a venue so the peak of the eight-panel Vortex could duck its way under the roof.

3D video mapping is trendy in society now, and it’s not limited to the electronic dance music scene that thrives on bright lights, constant motion and trance-inducing imagery. Check out what the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is doing this Friday, for instance. There’s no doubt that the visual element to Datsik’s Monday show will be electric, but that’s only a small part of the Datsik experience.


After touring with Korn to Steve Aoki on the Deadmeat Tour (see Chuck Alaimo’s gallery from February), Datsik is finally the lead dog on his current tour, an opportunity for the artist to feature his “dark, heavy” dubstep and recent trap experiments while highlighting the abilities of DJs he’s recruited along the way. (If you’re interested in exploring the trap genre, Beetles suggested Flosstradamus, Baauer and Uzi as quality examples of trap productions.)

Terravita, XCore, Delta Heavy, BareNoize, AFK, Barron and Getter are just a few of the DJs signed to the label, one which emulates the Wu-Tang Clan—one of Beetles’ musical inspirations—in recognizing talent and uniting young, talented artists.

“I think it’s about making money off the label, but it’s all about the artists, too,” Datsik admitted. “I’m in a position to give back and leave an impression on the EDM scene, so it’s really cool that I can share my playlist with the rest of the world and at the same time, give these kids a kick-start into the EDM world. I totally get behind every artist on my label.”

Spectacular images, inwardly spiraling lights and dark, hip-hop-inspired dubstep will be on display Monday night at Town Ballroom. Will you embrace the Vortex?

(Photo of Datsik by Chuck Alaimo, Vortex photos from Datsik’s Facebook page.)

TAGGED: datsik, dubstep, edm, firepower tour, town ballroom, vortex

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