For most people, their teenage years are a time to be relegated to fading high school yearbooks and unidentifiable boxes in parents’ attics. For anime-character-come-to-life Cole Plante, it is a time that cannot be forgotten. The 16-year-old Los Angeles native, who is in the midst of his sophomore year of high school, has an impressive list of extra-curricular activities.
On April 30, 2011, a 14-year-old Cole was the support DJ for the legendary Paul Oakenfold at the world-renowned Rain Nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas—officially the youngest DJ to ever play the club. Just one month later, he was back at Rain with Oakenfold for the venue’s standard-setting Memorial Day Love Festival. Later that year, Cole performed at the celebrated Avalon Hollywood for the seventh anniversary of the club’s Saturday night party, Avaland. In the summer of 2012, a 15-year-old Cole played a number of dates on the Identity Festival Tour alongside Eric Prydz, Excision, Paul Van Dyk, Porter Robinson, and Noisia, among others. When Avicii performed to thousands of fans at the Santa Monica Civic, it was Cole who got the crowd ready. One week after Cole turned 16, he was rocking the American Music Awards 40th anniversary VIP pre-party with Nero.
“I am really lucky,” says Cole humbly. “These are all top of the tier gigs. I look up to those artists very much. Being able to play with them is the coolest thing ever.”
Cole’s gigography plays out like most established DJs’ showreel highlights, including The Enclave in Chicago, Ruby Skye in San Francisco, Amnesia in Miami, Intervention Sundays at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. Although Cole isn’t old enough to get into these locales, he has blown the roof off of all of them with his precisely crafted dubstep and electro sets. Cole’s high-octane selections are dynamic. His choices are put together to keep the crowd moving but with a progression that directs the mood to shift just the right amount, constantly evolving and advancing.
Cole’s journey started when his family was moving between homes and hotel rooms throughout Southern California. Finding Pioneer CDJs and a mixer amongst the boxes, Cole started playing with them much like the average pre-teen would with a video game controller. With his parents and their friends being musically inclined, Cole had lots of people surrounding him he could talk to about his musical leanings. It’s when Cole’s signature sound started developing. Now, Cole is an official artist of Smithson Martin, and he has helped laugh the innovator touch screen controllers, Kontrol Surface 1974 and Emulator Dual View System. Cole has teamed up with the pioneering video game company, Machinima on a number of projects, including the Inside Gamers Awards. Red Bull also sponsors Cole’s DJ events.
The good-natured Cole remains grounded, his delicately drawn manga-like features in a permanent grin. Until the start of his sophomore year, he was attending high school with a full load of honors classes, a valued member of the track and cross-country teams, and a key trombone player in the marching band. His jaw-dropping DJing schedule didn’t stop him from maintaining a high grade point average. His hard work at school has allowed him to continue his schooling as independent study—although he still shows up for all his athletic and band practices. In fact, his marching band is performing in the UK at the London New Year’s Day Parade.
In between doing his homework and flying to the far corners of North America for DJ dates, Cole works non-stop on original productions and remixes. His DJ appearance on Disney Channel’s hit Original Series Shake It Up brought him to Hollywood Records. That led to Cole’s contribution to Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two video game soundtrack. His remix of “A Hero’s Second Chance” showcases his love of epic scores. He pairs dark sweeping synths with teeth-grinding breakbeats for a cinematic combination. His re-imagining of Kerli’s “The Lucky Ones” puts a sparkle on the original with its driving power synth lines. And yes, that is Cole you see DJing in the video. Cole’s latest digital single, “Bring BackThe Boom,” a precursor to his debut album, is a modern snapshot of today’s cutting edge dubstep sounds with crunching breaks that pound through sculpted synth arrangements. The video includes Machinima created footage from gaming giant Minecraft.
“I keep on messing around and creating synth sounds, that, in turn led to producing more and more songs,” says Cole of his first forays into production. Using Cubase 6.5 and Ableton Suite 8 on an Apple Macintosh in his home studio to shape his sounds, Cole’s music engineer father helps him finalize his visions. “My dad showed me how to take the ideas I had and turn them into full-on productions.”
Music is in Cole’s DNA. Playing piano from the age of seven, he added the trombone at the age of 12, and the beginnings of a home studio at 13. His parents’ music collection, with its heavy emphasis on ‘80s and ‘90s synth-pop, has a large impact on Cole’s musical direction. From New Order and Joy Division to Two Door Cinema Club, Passion Pit, and Deadmau5, Cole draws from everything. One of the many things Cole has his eye on are soundtracks, and he cites Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Hans Zimmer as his scoring heros. His track, “Rezolution,” with its delicate synth lines juxtaposing against tough drum patterns rounds out the TRON: Uprising soundtrack.
Currently, Cole has written two songs with Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell that will be included on his debut. He is working with composer John Swihart on creating original music for Mattel’s animated series, “Max Steel.” He recently completed a remix of Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and the Beat.” He is also a featured artist in the EDM documentary premiering at SXSW 2013.
“I love DJing and performing out,” says Cole brightly. “And I really love working with composers. I want to be able to be a composer some day as well as a producer, and still do all the DJing and traveling.”
If Cole’s track record so far is any indication, he will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.