Epic Twelve Interview (WordLyfe Spotlight)

DJcity’s “WordLyfe Spotlight” is an interview series which shares the stories of both rising and established radio DJs.

With a bi-weekly show, 19 year old DJ/Producer Epic Twelve holds the unique title of being the youngest mixer at Los Angeles’s Power 106. In addition to radio, he’s performed for the likes of Cody Simpson, Jasmine Villegas, Greyson Chance, Michael Jordan, Tony Hawk and DJ Felli Fel and holds residencies at hotspots like Playhouse Hollywood, Sidebar San Diego and Fluxx San Diego. Our boy MikiWAR recently sat down with Epic to discuss what he’s been up to as part of DJcity’s “WordLyfe” interview series.

What’s currently in rotation on your iPod?
Right now I’ve been bumping a lot of Knife Party. I listen to their records. Not only do they sound amazing but the actual quality of the sound is second to none. Their songs are sonically like nothing else out there.

You’re really into producing at the moment, is Knife Party an influence?
Knife Party is untouchable with their sound. I do look up to them and in a sense their music has inspired me.

Ableton is your “go-to” for producing, is that the only software you use?
I started producing a couple years ago on Pro Tools. I could never get the sound I wanted on there so I went over to Ableton and have been non-stop on it at least 6 hours a day. I also heard Studio One is dope, definitely going to try it out.

What are your favorite plug-ins?
Izotope Trash is really great to get a clean distorted sound on synths. I like to use Sylenth too. Massive and FM8 are nice. I heard Skrillex uses FM8 for a lot of his patches, so that’s cool. The Glue compressor is great for my kicks and I like to throw it on my master for a nice analog sound. Speaking on mastering, I f*ck with Ozone really heavy. It gives my tracks such a crispy sound.

You said you use Ableton 9, any big differences from 8?
Editing MIDI notes are a lot easier now, the live EQ’s are really sick, and The Glue compressor is stock. The one thing I don’t like about Ableton is that it doesn’t give you a lot of headroom but that’s an engineer thing I guess. I just find that it’s really easy to peak on there. Still a great program nonetheless.

How many originals and remixes have you released?
Last year I released two original songs. I was happy with them and that I put them out. Over the last year, I spent the majority of it developing my sound. I’m now ready to start releasing music from here on. I just put out a remix a couple weeks ago of the Chuckie song “Make Some Noise.” Then in the next 30 days I’ll be releasing my new single and I’m really happy with the sound I have going on. After this single I’ll be putting out more remixes, maybe an ep but it all depends on what happens.

Was becoming a mixer at Power 106 your goal? How did that happen?
It’s crazy! When I was 12, I was just getting into DJing and going to Scratch Acadamy. I was listening to Eric Lux and Big Syphe on Power. It’s awesome that I’m friends with them now, had I met them then I would’ve passed out, haha. Fast forward to when I was 15, I did the Beezo Battle at Backside records. DJ Ever was judging the first week and we exchanged info. He called me a few months later to come down to the station. I’ve actually never told this story but the first time I went to Power, Ever invited me to just hang out. Nick Ferrer came down to the lobby and took me into the mix room where Felli Fel, Eric Dlux, Ever, and E-man were in there. It was weird because there’s no reason for those four guys to be in the same room at the same time, including the two big bosses at Power 106. Ever looked over at me and said, “You’re going to scratch for us right now.” I almost sh*t my pants because of how nervous I was. So I scratched for a little bit and E-man pulled me to the side and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the station. I said, “I’d love to,” and they gave me a chance. I was on air once a week and then about a year later they gave me my Saturday/Sunday 3-5pm slot. It’s been a blessing and I don’t plan on stopping at Power. It’s been the best thing for me.

Being on radio, it’s clear you’re great at talking with your hands but how do you feel about talking on the mic?
I’ve tried a couple times. My first time I was on air with J. Cruz and he convinced me to talk on the mic with him. When we went to our break, my mic wasn’t working. I spazzed out. J covered it really well cause he’s a pro but I was so embarrassed. Every now and then on the UMix I’ll shout out our listeners but I feel like I sound like a weird white guy.

But you are a weird white guy.
This is true, haha! In general I’ve wanted to improve on my mic skills, even off the radio. I recently went to watch Justin Credible DJ, and his mic skills are crazy. Always keeps the crowd involved. I want to be able to do that because it shines more light on you as a DJ. People will remember you for more than just playing records.

What made you shoot your first YouTube video?
I had just learned to do a 3-click flare and I tried doing the DJ tutorial thing. But it didn’t really pick up too well. It’s embarrassing now, all the videos are private. It was awkward because I was just DJing in my bedroom to like no one and one person filming. But now I get professionals to film my gigs or when I pick a scene.

I’ve seen the new videos and everything looks great. Sets are well thought out, sound is crisp, and the angles are clean. How much time goes into your sets?
I put a ton of time and money into my videos. The video editor I use is expensive and I like to buy new clothes for the videos. I also have to find a place to shoot it. On top of that, I have to come up with the mix. I’ll spend about a day finding tracks for the mixes. I plan on releasing one about every two months, to just keep “feeding the streets” if you know what I mean, haha. The thing about YouTube is that it’s so licensed. If anything gets picked up as being on a label then it gets flagged. If it doesn’t get flagged and the label is cool with it, they’ll put their ads all over it. Then you can’t view it on a mobile device, which sucks because the majority of views on YouTube are mobile. So I’m trying to slow down on these mixes for now until I release my own shit. But I’m a YouTube partner now so I get away with more than I used to, so that’s cool.

What was it like touring with Cody Simpson?
It was a blast, the toughest part was co-existing with 10 other people on a tour bus for two months. You always have to be on point and if you know me, every now and then I have my pants a little lower than standard, which bothered, some people. Other than that, it was dope, I really vibed with Cody. He’s a star now. Kid has over five million followers on Twitter…crazy. After the tour I wanted to work with him again, but I also didn’t want to be “someone’s DJ” but rather be my own artist. I know it’s going to take time but if I keep at it and develop my own music, it’ll happen.

At 19 years old, you’ve toured with a pop star, produced EDM music, and DJed at Los Angeles’s largest hip-hop radio station. How do you feel about juggling these different demographics and which way are you gravitating towards?
It’s tough because I have followers from all different angles. I have people who have followed me since day one from my old YouTube videos. Then I have the die hard Cody fans who are like 15 year old girls that still follow my stuff and then there are the Power 106 listeners. My sh*t is all over the place, haha.

Who are some artists that you would like to work with?
I’d like to work with artists across the board, not just the people in the EDM scene. Although getting to collaborate with dudes like Steve Aoki or Tiesto would be a dream come true.

Any final shout outs?
Shouts to Byze One, MikiWAR, and everyone at DJcity thanks for making this happen.

Follow Epic Twelve: Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube