Tanner Chung (better known as Dack Janiels) was born and raised in the Bay Area and started his career as a Semi-Pro skater listening to ‘ganster’ rap. Tanner’s desire to listen to ‘ganstar’ rap helped shape his youthful rebelliousness before he discovered his love for bass music. After discovering his love for bass music, Tanner decided to pursue his musical interests by signing up for classes at ICON Collective (the Los Angeles and Online college of music). After graduating, Tanner put his newly acquired skills to work and began to perfect his skillset under the name, Dack Janiels.
Under the name Dack Janiels, Tanner grabbed the attention of bass music fans around the world with his production abilities and skills behind the decks. His skills allowed him to produce music on labels including Never Say Die, Disciple Round Table, Buygore, and Firepower Records before starting his own label, 40oz Cult. Tanner has collaborated with dubstep heavyweights Decimate, Aweminus, Wenzday, and BloodThinnerz, and has performed at EDC Las Vegas in 2017 (special art car set) as well as Insomniac’s Nocturnal Wonderland on the Bassrush stage.
40oz Cult is primarily a bass-oriented label and features some of bass music’s most predominant rising stars as well as established artists within the industry. Yakz, Figure, Gawm, and Dubloadz are just a few of the artists who are featured on the Los Angeles-based label. We were able to sit down with Dack Janiels before his 40oz Cult label takeover set on Insomniac TV to discuss 40oz Cult, skating his career, and much more.
EDM Maniac: It’s been about five years since 40oz Cult was first established and this might be a silly question but, how are you guys driven financially? Are you guys trying to make extra money through the label or is it just to get your music out? What is your strategy?
Dack Janiels: Yeah, I think it’s, you know, I’m never going to like be bummed on money, you know what I mean? But at the same time, I’m very passionate about bass music and I’m pretty proud that I have released music on almost every big dubstep label there is, and I have a love for all those guys. I love the cycle, but I wanted to release my own music at some certain point, you know what I mean? And have a little bit more creative control behind my artworks and stuff like that.
I still do release on a lot of the other labels to diversify the profile and tap in with my homies. But having that control over how that feels like is something that’s more important than money to me because I see the bigger picture of this, you know what I mean? We’re already placing some of our songs on soundtrack stuff and stuff like that. So stuff like that, I wouldn’t really be in control of it being on another brand, you know.
EDM Maniac: Excellent, being in control of your art. That’s key. When you were discovering bass music at the beginning, how did you sort of figure out what your sound is or what was that point when you were making music, and you realized, whoa, I’m kind of finding the move here?
Dack Janiels: Yeah, so I started making music because I was really into like chopped and screwed rap records back in the day. And I was like, I literally got my first piece of audio software to make those edits. And it kind of came as a natural progression, because I discovered Skrillex and dubstep, you know, Excision, all around the same time and a lot of the UK stuff too.
It was just like the perfect job that I wanted to sign up for, you know what I mean? And I feel like for my production, stuff like that, it was the only thing that I was so passionate about, that I was like, I’m going to learn no matter what, how to make music.
EDM Maniac: And so as a fan of the music and making it, obviously you’re such a supporter of everyone else, is there sort of an internal mission of the community to make it more widely accepted or appreciated?
Dack Janiels: I think that that’s one thing I’ve noticed with this industry or a certain age, that… we’re really breaking it down probably to a fraction of a percent of the population that really identifies with this music, but that percent of the population that does identify with this music is high.
EDM Maniac: Skating is a big part of the dance music culture… Are there any similarities from the skate life to where you guys are now musically?
Dack Janiels: There is a lot. I feel like my biggest one, and this is going to be kind of funny, but like, I’m like a huge skate knob. Like I grew up skating in San Francisco, worked at a shop up there, worked for a skate company, worked for Happy Hour Shades for a while, and used to film with Eric (HAMi). That’s how he and I got linked up, he brought me on back in the day when he was filming for them. It’s like that weird elitism is good because it drives me to make better music or sign better music, you know?
EDM Maniac: Speaking of music, are samples used a lot within the industry? How do samples differ from original sounds in your eyes?
Dack Janiels: They are to a degree, I try to like source in familiar samples for like the vocal drops and stuff, something that people might mess with, you know, or something that’s more nostalgic for people than they were expecting. But when it comes to actual music, I think it’s just, you know, every person is different and they’re all going to make their own music. Dubstep is very linear in the sense of 145 beats per minute kick-snare, but there’s still a lot of wiggle room in there to sound original.
EDM Maniac: What’s coming up this year for you personally and for 40oz Cult? Any upcoming releases?
Dack Janiels: Personally, a little bit of rebranding, revamping, and some cool artwork. I’m actually doing a lot of our artwork in-house, again, myself with the culture graphic design very briefly.
But in terms of releases, there’s a ton of stuff we’re proud of and a lot of stuff that’s in the works in terms of upcoming releases. We have a guy name Squishy who I’ve been messing with for a while, and I think that he is debuting with our label, and we couldn’t be prouder to be that label.
And then in terms of my own music, I just put out a record that was a big remix for my buddy Two Can, and then I did have one that just came out with Decimate on 40oz Cult. So as of right now, I’m just in the steps of planning my next stage or EP, whatever it is.
EDM Maniac: It’s going to be a big year for you and everybody else on the label. So God bless you, keep killing it.