Two sides to Tanner Petulla: Getter’s battle behind the scenes
It’s 4:30am at the Cosmic Grounds stage, and the crowd is at peak energy levels. Getter, the icon they’re bearing witness to, was just getting into his groove, whipping them into a bass-filled frenzy with excited headbanging, hands-in-the-air moments, and smiles all around. Their spirit is amplified by the incoming sliver of dawn, a rewarding sight as day one comes to an end. His placement at EDC 2018 was a long time coming, and he fit perfectly into the fold.
Electric Daisy Carnival has been held to the highest standards of dance music festivals worldwide, increasing in quantity of viewership and happy attendees every year. Attending the flagship festival in Las Vegas marks an achievement for many, as the preparation and execution behind the weekend requires more than just packing a bag and looking for some glitter.
Besides the festival attendees, artists too are prone to the same uncontrollable excitement leading up to this weekend. Finding themselves on the EDC lineup is considered to be a milestone occasion in an artists career; one goal they dream to achieve in their lifetime. No goal of this magnitude comes at an easy cost however, as fans can fail to see the hardships and struggles that artists face to achieve such honorable moments in their career.
The lavish lifestyle behind success is easy to fall into, but easier to lose oneself to. The recent passing of Avicii reinforced this notion as an unfortunate reality, bringing artists to reflect upon their family, friends, and themselves. While artists may wait for that breakthrough moment in their career, little are prepared for the influx of distractions and vices that can come to surround them.
I have my dream job, why am I not happy. I have money, but why am I not happy?
A moniker derived from mindless doodles on his wall, Tanner Petulla took on his stage name “Getter” with nothing more than an ambitious spirit backing it up. After signing to multiple labels and many released singles later, the California-native soon found himself within the limelight as the dance music community’s latest select.
With his latest mau5trap released single “All is Lost” and the announcement of his upcoming album, Visceral, to be released in September 2018, Petulla has poured nothing but dedication and soul into his latest work. Influenced by many of things but fueled by his change of mental state, “Visceral” is a testament towards Tanner’s story. Amidst the fame and festivities, what may have initially been a continued pursuit towards success has now morphed into a raw and unfolding journey towards the release of the album and a look inside Getter’s mind.
Describe your personal EDC experience, and how it has impacted your career.
I remember being 16 and watching videos of DJ’s I looked up to playing this festival and being like “damn, I need to be there one day.” Then I think I was 18-19 years old and 50 pounds heavier – a little secret, if you see a producer getting fat, that means they’re working, so I was working really hard. Then I got to play EDC, and it blew my mind, and I played it a couple more times and now this year, I feel like I fit in finally. It’s dope. It’s cool to fit in, in such a huge fucking project.
Who were those first artists that you would watch at EDC?
Rusko, Excision, obviously Skrillex, 12th Planet, Bear Grillz (shout out Bear)… did I already say Rusko? All of the bass guys, those fools got me started. Caspa and Rusko at Fabric Live, that mix from 2013 I think was the start.
In terms of recent events and the increased efforts of shining light on the importance of mental health, have you reflected on your touring or lifestyle habits and made any changes?
Yeah, I feel like I’ve made it; when you start out, everything is so cool. You can go on the road when you’re 18 or 19 and never have done a drug or drank in your life, but you’re at the point where you want to be and it’s there, so you can do it. Your parents and school always tell you “this shit can affect you.” Everybody’s born with whatever their born with, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or bipolar disease, whatever you have you have it from the start. Certain shit triggers it, but chemicals and substances can make it worse or better. I feel like it’s good and bad to explore that kind of thing when you’re young, if you do it when you’re older it’s way worse because you’re in worse shape.
I have adjusted my life around how I feel instead of how I’m thinking because at the end of the day, your brain comes up with dope shit, but everything below your brain is where you feel shit. If you have a headache, thats from what you put below your brain. I have anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, I have a bunch of shit wrong with me and it doesn’t matter because I know how to handle it now. When I was using drugs and dealing with all this shit I didn’t understand, you turn into an asshole, or a manwhore, or someone who isn’t who you really are. When you come out of that, it’s similar to a drug dealer who becomes sober. I’m not sober, but you realize a lot of shit. I feel like with mental health to find out what’s really wrong or right, you need to go through the hard shit and know that when you’re going through it, to recognize that this is going to pass.
It’s comparable to Chipotle; you eat Chipotle and then your butt gets angry, but you just have to tell yourself that this will pass. You just have to tell yourself that whatever you’re going through mentally, emotionally, or anything will pass. Just give it time. Never, ever turn to substances. It might make it better right now, but it makes it worse in the end.
The biggest thing that helped me was going to dinner with a friend, jokes and music aside, just me and a homie. We just talked in private about problems, made eye contact, fucking cried. If you talk to one person, even if it’s your dog or your teddy bear, you just need to get it out. That’s why therapy is there. I couldn’t go to therapy because of my anxiety, but it’s so crazy from my experience when you talk about something, or in my case write about something, or going to dinner with someone, you feel so much better. Find something or someone you’re confortable with and talk to them because as lame as it sounds, it helps so much.
It seems like such a simple solution that not many people are willing to recognize or understand that it could help along the way
Exactly, you know there’s meds that are available and it’s temporary. I’ve had a lot of friends die from meds because you do it and it feels good, and you want to feel good all the time so you start doing more. Then you have to get more because you do it more, and it turns into this big spiral where you either get off it and you feel like shit, or die. I’ve definitely taken that shit recreationally, but never been prescribed it. My personal experience at 25 – whoever’s reading or listening to this, wherever this is going – try everything else first. Write a song, paint a picture, read a book, talk to your cat, just try everything before substances.
Do you feel like this change in your life has affected you creatively, or with producing music?
100%. I will always love dubstep, and heavy shit. I was born a metal head, and I fucking love metal, and I love hip hop, so shows like this where it’s me vs. the crowd on some decks – I say versus because we’re fighting. They’re yelling at me, I’m yelling back, but like play the heavy shit for that moment in time. It’s the same shit if you listen to emo music or heavy metal/hardcore when you’re angry or sad, it’s like in the moment. I just realized that recently. I got through my shit by writing music, and I wrote a song “Color Blind“, literally in tears, wrote these fucking lyrics cause I was on the edge. I felt way better, so I chased that feeling because I’ve been writing shit from my feelings for a bit and I’ve thought “whatever, push it to the side, it won’t work.” Now it’s to the point where my career is on the line because it’s like “hey, you’ve been doing this for this long, you’re funny, you’ve been writing heavy shit, playing these big shows”. Now I think, “can I completely flip it and write a 12-track album that’s all from the past two-three years that’s come from within?” I think it’ll work but I don’t really give a fuck, because I want to chase that.
You can love music but at the end of the day, whether you’re a DJ, pilot, writer, or painter, whatever your job is will get boring, even if it’s your dream job. My shit, to me got boring, which affected my mental health. I have my dream job, why am I not happy. I have money, but why am I not happy? You just have to adjust to it. I could put out this album and it could completely kill my career, I’ll be broke as shit and move back home. At the end of the day aside from all the materialistic shit, I have everything I want right now but I don’t have a piece of work that I’m 100% proud of that will help people.
I listen to my new shit everyday. I could never walk around and listen to my old shit – not that I’m not proud of it, but this new shit’s different, and real. They’re going to hear the shit I went through in a way that other people can understand. It’s definitely affected me creatively, positively. I don’t give a fuck what the circumstances are.
There are a lot of artists who take a huge change on what they do, and what they produce. As an example, switching from one genre to another definitely has fans outraged by the change
It’s the same thing as movies. Someone makes a scary movie, like Insidious. It’s fucking dope; crazy soundtrack, the sound design is insane. All of a sudden everyone’s making shit like Insidious; it’s the same thing with music. You change trends to make money and do your job, but at what point does it turn from job to reality?
Besides the parties and overall extravagance behind the festival, what do you look forward to when you come to EDC Las Vegas?
Honestly, I’m a hermit so I never leave my house. I like to chill at home with my roommates and my dog, playing video games and music. Mostly video games – PUBG – but I love getting on stage and seeing how stoked people are. It reminds me of before all this shit, when everything was new and you were so stoked on everything. I’m definitely jaded now, I could run into Skrillex and be like “Oh Skrillex, what’s up”.
It’s seeing all those people out there, whether they’re here to see me or EDC. It’s just the fact of yelling “Yo, I’m Getter”- I came up with that name writing on my wall with a sharpie, and having people cheering for that? That is the shit I fuck with. Everything else after that is just adding to it. I can have a one minute set but as long as I give a fuck, I’m chill. It makes you feel good. When people give a fuck, it feels good.
Featured photo by Steven Pahe