Why The World Is Moving To Diplo’s Beat
Diplo hasn't been shy about not feeling M.I.A.'s new album (neither have a lot I was like, Look, nobody in your crew—we were the only people she could trust, and . but I guess this is what happen when you mix relationships and business. M.I.A. twists up 30 years of life and tries to spin them positive. On parenting What do you hope his relationship with the internet will be like? That's a bit . I haven't seen what he's doing now, because I'll be too cringy, but I trust him to get on with it. He put the Even Wes, Diplo, used to say that. He'd be. You become Diplo, the music industry's preeminent DJ and foremost prickwad. Never trust anyone who retweets his groupies. There is no need to bring up M.I.A. to Wesley Pentz, aka Diplo, the DJ-producer-ex-boyfriend Since the heady days of that relationship, Diplo has become known less for his.
We did something for Major Lazer.
Just make another record. I feel like 20 years ago that might have been an issue, because you needed a whole label machine to push something out. And if you had a flop, it was harder to recover. But nowadays, make another funny video or get on another social media outlet.
DJ AM was a friend of mine; he passed away [he died of an accidental drug overdose in ]. It was so small, and DJs were like AM. I was a little bit like that style—I was mixing and mashing things up. I had a party called Hollertronix. I took a Monday night at one of the big nightclubs because I had built a little name there.
And Monday was the weird night. I was playing hip-hop when everybody else was playing the giant rave music. We just did two nights this weekend.
And I was a DJ first, so I really love to mix music up and improvise in my set. Equipment-wise, what are you using? I use Serato, so I just have set lists, like hip-hop, you know, late-night stuff. And I love to play. If you come to my party on the Monday nights, I play new music. I do one Monday a month. I feel like people disregarded Vegas for so long.
So I just happened to be there early and establish my name. I just do the Vegas gig and then stay home all week and work on new ideas. Talk a little bit about that transition from DJ to being a producer. What was the first thing you did on the production side?
When I first started producing, all I had was this little crappy sampler called a S20, which had, like, a minute sample time. I was a schoolteacher for a while, and it was the worst job. What did you teach? In Philly, there are a lot of social programs.
If you have a degree, you can go and apply. I was basically a social worker, but I became sort of a sub teacher in a special program, helping kids with reading or math.M.I.A. talks Super Bowl, Versace, Separation from fiance & Paper Planes Lyrics!
But we would also do plays, learn about music … We were doing lots of fun stuff, but that was such hard work. I put out this record on Ninja Tune called Florida when I was about I would go to, like, St. I made so much money when I was selling mixtapes hand to hand.
She was an up-and-coming artist. We linked up and I did my first, like, real songs with her. And then I met Switch, who was probably the guy who taught me the most about producing. It was such a super-weird way, the way he was doing things, and super wrong.
But I really owe him everything for teaching me, instead of going through the regular circuit of songwriting in L. I think that he kind of helped define what M. Those two, as well as Santigold, were kind of my crew when I came up from Philadelphia about ten years ago.
I grew up in Florida in different cities. I was born in Mississippi. How old were you then? Well, I was in Fort Lauderdale from about age 7 to I was super into, like, Arthur Baker, that kind of stuff. Like, fast hip-hop, And then also in Florida, we had people like DJ Icey and these kind of breakbeat DJs and breakdance music and dancehall. Sir Mix-A-Lot had a hit, but it was a strictly Florida thing. If you listen to Trick Daddy—that stuff was basically Miami bass broken down.
And I loved the energy of them. It was, like, scary! It had a very cult-like following.
But if you see the shows, the energy … I never really lived on the East Coast until I was going to college in Philly, but in Florida, when hip-hop played at shows, it was, like, a riot always, with energy and people dancing. New York was very stand-back and chill-out at that point, ten years ago. Do you think all that moving around when you were young affected your musical sensibility? I do think that, and also that I never got tied down to any social scene. I was just into creating stuff.
I think back in those days, lots of kids got tied down. But even, like, five years ago, labels were like gatekeepers. I mean, you can imagine if you were in a rock band, you have to find a group of friends that are interested in music, start a band, rehearse, learn to play the instruments. Then you have to write songs. Then go find a studio. Write a demo and maybe find somebody who knows somebody who can send a demo to somebody. Maybe get a deal.
M.I.A. And Diplo Make Up, Collaborate On New Track 'Bird Song' | Most Requested Live
This was before Pandora Radio. People wanted new music. But you still have to connect to an audience. You have to make a connection with people. He also caught the eye of British rapper M. Before he knew it, he was doing mixtapes and other projects with artists including Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, as well as developing new talent for his label. His approach is supermusical and at the same time antimusical. Tellingly, one of his role models is Richard Branson, the Virgin Records mogul who parlayed his music label into an airline and soon space shuttle service.
Like Branson, Diplo knows the importance of personal branding, of being his own best marketing tool. I put a face to it. But if you were to stick a pin in a map at one of the hippest spots in all of Los Angeles, it would be here, on a side street in the Valley, at a squat, red-brown industrial building that looks like a plumbing-supply depot.
Mad Decent took over the 2,square-foot space only four months ago, and the renovations are going slowly. Electric wiring snakes out of the drywall in spots where light fixtures will be attached, and judging from the smell, the paint is barely dry. Except for a small piano in one of the recording rooms with an old Barbra Streisand LP propped on its rackthere are no musical instruments on the premises. This is not that sort of studio.
You shouldn't be in the magazines and you should not be going to interviews. You should not be doing collaborations with famous people. You should be an underground artist. I basically had this man dictate to me how everything in America that I experienced was completely, like, irrelevant and it was nothing.
So it was kind of a weird time for me. It was only afterwards, when I went into the second record and I went into it without him, I got to enjoy that by myself. But on the end of that I ran into another man, so the window of me actually being alone, single and a female and being empowered and enjoying what I created was very, very small.
Was Diplo's mentality like, "You're selling out"? It's only now when I look back at it inI can see that he was just jealous and he couldn't wait to be Taylor Swift's best friend and date Katy Perry. But at that time I believed him. I just felt like he was right, and he was something of a political, righteous person with some values. I didn't realize it was just jealousy.
Diplo Is a Dick
It was really stupid for me to put all that hard work in and evolve as a human being for 25 years and then on the 27th year meet this guy and just give him the batch of controlling it.
I think that's what happens to women, you know: Conceptually, Arular seemed to be ahead of its time. Almost prophetic, in a way. That's why you have to listen to me. I am not a terrorist, but everybody is getting called one. And if George Bush succeeds in calling everyone one, then I would technically be one because I am brown, therefore I am.
And if we carry on like that, then this is where that goes.