Vibe Chat’s with SMOG Artist Flinch: “At First People Weren’t Feeling It”

There’s a pioneering troupe for American dubstep and bass music that brings new meaning to the smog situation in Los Angeles. Fronted by bass maestro John Dadzie (12th Planet), the SMOG record label and artist development hub fill the Hills with hardcore danceable beats that are far thicker (and way better for the planet) than the West Coast’s sooty air.

The SMOG brand has been releasing collaborations with big names like Skrillex, Kill The Noise, Datsik, Doctor P, Distance, Excision, and Plastician since they went from under ground party promoters to LA’s elite bass label in 2007. This Oct 30th marked the release of SMOG CITY, a fully chocked album featuring SMOG artists Flinch, Antiserum, SPL, Noah D, Kelly Dean and DLX. The 9-track compilation serves as a representation of the label’s history with dubstep, as well as its continuous evolution and elevation of bass sounds.

VIBE caught up with the prolific producer of big room anthems, Flinch, to chat about his role within SMOG’s omnipresent LA swagger.

VIBE:Where did the name Flinch come from?
Flinch: I used to write graffiti and that’s what I wrote. It kind of stuck.

So it has nothing to do with making the ladies flinch?
No… not necessarily. [But] when people ask me that would be a great explanation for it.

Tell me about your tracks on the have on the new SMOG CITY album. You’ve got some pretty hard stuff going on there.
There is a little bit of both. Some are for the ladies and some are a little heavier, for when you need that. The tune I did called “Artwork” with another artist named Bare, whom is also from Los Angeles, has worked quite a bit with Dieselboy’s label called SubHuman and the sub label that Dieselboy does with Smash Gordon from Circle Management.

How do you feel about folks calling dubstep “bastardized drum and bass?”
I could see how that happened. It’s definitely influenced by drum and bass, and first when it was merging into the scene a lot of people weren’t really feeling it. You saw it peeking away from the crowds drum and bass were generating at the time. It’s an evolution of drum and bass. But that’s strictly the metaphor for the evolution.

What’s it like working with John Dadzie, aka, 12th Planet?
John is a totally fun dude. I’ve known him for 10 years, and he always makes the best of a situation, and I like working with him a lot. When we go out of town and see the success he has had over the last couple of years, and bringing it back to LA and keeping our team squaded up… he is like our team leader, he’s the man.

Is there any bickering in the SMOG crew?
We f**k with each other plenty but its all in love and fun. We’ve done a lot of music together, John and I, and we have a close relationship where we could talk sh*t and it’s not really a big deal.

SMOG CITY Tracklist
1. 12th Planet & Antiserum “Bass Salt”
2. SPL “Close To You”
3. Flinch “Up All Night”
4. The Juggernaut “Nudrobe”
5. Noah D “Diamond Heights”
6. Kelly Dean “Papparazzi”
7. Flinch & Bare “Artform”
8. SPL “H.A.M.”
9. Antiserum & Djunya “Soul Gravy”

Snag SMOG CITY here.