San Jose dubstep prince Getter loses it to Caspa and Rusko

By Sean Lewis

One of the Bay Area’s biggest exports in the realm of heavy dubstep is San Jose native Getter (aka Tanner Petulla). Loosely affiliated with Ultragore, Tuff Love Dubs, Brotown, Excision‘s Rottun Recordings, and Datsik‘s new Firepower label, Getter has covered pretty much all the bases—and he’s still not even 20. In this installment of Introducing, we checked in with Getter to find out more about what fuels his sound.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you grow up, and where are you based now?

Well, I’m 19 years old, born and raised in San Jose, California. I still live in San Jose, but I’m actually looking to move to Los Angeles soon.

What was your first introduction to electronic music?

I had a group of homies at high school, and we would always be listening to music on breaks and stuff. One day, my friend played me a Caspa and Rusko track from back in the day, and I was immediately hooked on it.

What inspired you to start producing?

I went to this huge music festival in San Francisco with some friends called Lovefest in 2009, maybe 2008. It was a giant parade that expanded into 25 electronic music stages all around City Hall. At this point, I was still very new to the EDM world. I started listening and seeing what the DJs do, and thinking about how people possibly made these tracks I was hearing. All of the vibes and music and just everything got me super-inspired, so I just went for it and tried making my own music.

Was there a point when you recognized that you had finally developed your own sound?

Yeah, and it actually happened on accident! I had been messing around in Reason 4 one day, and just happened to make a pretty cool sound. I started to mess with it a bit more and change random stuff a bit. I actually turned an oscillator to the wrong setting, and it made the craziest sound ever! So I started to work from that and kinda found my own sound.

How do you explain your music to your family members?

I don’t chat with my family members about my music that much, but when I do, I just tell them it’s music to get down to and make people dance. They get it, I hope. [laughs]

Do you DJ or play live? How would you describe your sets?

I’m a DJ. I try to go for shock value when I’m on stage. I’ll get a bunch of amazing tracks that no one has heard before, from artists people aren’t familiar with (who happen to be close friends) and I’ll just play ‘em out live. Since the crowd has never heard the song before, they go crazy, and I love it. I also have been dipping my toes into other genres, just to get everyone’s bodies moving to different tempos.

Did you have any mentors when you were starting out producing?

At first, my only mentor was YouTube. But as I started to progress, I met a lot of mentors that helped me with a few techniques (We Bang, Minnesota, Nit Grit, etc.)

How did you get established?

I hit up this local agency that had just started in Santa Cruz called Vital SC, and told them who I was and what I was doing and all this good stuff. They were interested and needed residents for their upcoming shows. So I had a meeting with them and decided to join their team. They just got me a few starting gigs and got the ball rollin’ with me. They soon became one of the most popular promotion companies in the Bay Area, and since I was opening for artists like Borgore, Rusko, and Cookie Monsta, people found out who I was pretty quickly.

Are you the type of musician who knows what kind of track you want to write before you sit down to make it, or do you create music more from a process of experimentation, trial, and error?

I’m a little of both, actually. Some songs I know exactly what I want to make, and I do my best to make what’s in my head. Other times I’ll make something and change one note or twist one knob and I just take it from there.

When you sit down to make a track, what’s the first thing you typically do? How long does a track typically take you to make?

I can start on a track a lot of different ways. Sometimes I’ll see a movie and hear a sample that is perfect and build around that, or I make some new synths that go perfect with each other, or even just starting with a simple drum pattern. It could take me anywhere from six hours, to 30-plus hours to fully finish a track. It just depends on what I have to work with when I start.

Where do you record?

I’ve got a little setup in my room for now. Once I move out, I’m going to put a lot more work into my studio.

Do you currently have a favorite piece of gear or software?

I have been obsessing over EZdrummer and EZmix 2 by Toontrack. You can make the sickest drum fills and drum rolls all through MIDI with EZdrummer. You literally just draw where you want it to be. And it sounds crystal clear. And EZmix 2 is a necessity for my drums and lead synths. It has the best and easiest layout, and makes my drums sound exactly the way I want.

Are you a morning person or night owl?

Night owl, for sure. I stay up until like four in the morning every day.

Which one track do you wish you had made?

I honestly wish I had made Datsik’s “Hydraulic.” It’s my favorite song ever. It’s literally perfect and always keeps the crowd pumped. I just got the approval to do an official remix of it as well, so it should be awesome!

When you’re not listening to electronic music, what do you listen to?

I LOVE hip-hop—preferably Heltah Skeltah and Big L. I also listen to a bunch of death metal. Right now I’m obsessed with Burning the Masses, The Faceless, and Disfiguring the Goddess.

When you’re not making or playing music, what’s your preferred pastime?

I usually just hang out with a group of my friends and just party. We go to a bunch of shows or go hike and stuff like that.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing with your life?

I would love to make art or become a tattoo artist. I just can’t handle a day job. [laughs]

Tell us about your upcoming gigs and releases…

My new Rottun EP entitled Swine dropped August 6. I’m working on a few tracks for Buygore right now. I’m going on my first bus tour with Datsik, Bare Noize, AFK, Delta Heavy, xKore, and Terravita—super-stoked for that. I’m also doing a few dates on the Ultragore No Hostages Tour. The rest of the year is gonna be dope, for sure!