If you’re reading this, there is probably no need to introduce Diplo. I would call any Bloglin reader a straight-up liar if they told me they weren’t familiar with Diplo. As his collaborative project Major Lazer nears release, Diplo took time out to answer a few questions for us. Here’s what he had to say about lazers, dreadlocks & sissies…
5 Questions With Diplo
1) I’ll start this off with something major… What’s up with this Major Lazer jam? We know it’s you & Switch & a whole cast of characters (including Andy Milonakis) getting wild in the studio on some twerked out reggae shit, but can you drop a little knowledge about the project that all the blog nerds DON’T YET know about?
Its basically a reggae album that me and Switch had concieved from about a year and a half ago (I voiced the first track 2 years ago) and since then its finally came to be finished. As its two white producer doods… we created this hero – Major Lazer to be the artist and hes like a terminator soundboy vampire killer guy and it represents the whole immediate madness, ragga sound and crazy apocalyptic ragga we made for the album.
2) Mad Decent & Mishka have worked together on a variety of graphics and events, but it’s not well known that you and Greg knew each other in college. According to Greg, you rode to Philadelphia on a bus he chartered to protest the incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal, but ended up spending the day skating around Philly. What influenced your move to Philly & will you ever grow dreads again?
I’ve been trying to grow back my dread for the last 10 years but its hard to really go out and not get a few unkind words… back when me and Greg were tryin’ to free Mumia, I never thought I would end up takin’ Greg to eat cheesesteaks at the racist Pats king of steaks 10 yrs later.. but yes, Greg’s home “the hippy hole” was a good place to get alternative news about animal slaughters and make custom punk band buttons which I would wear proudly. I really can’t believe how much crew from Florida high school, middle school and college have gone on to do shit later. For me Philly was just mad cheap and i was attracted to its more challenging aspects; true it took time to really get any attention here but what we developed was very home grown.
3) Although a lot of fans may only know you as a DJ, you are involved with a wide range of projects. Grammy nominated producer, label owner, philanthropist… you’re definitely not just playing parties. Can you offer a little insight to the future of Mad Decent, as well as what direction you see yourself going as an artist?
Well as a label, I hope that people like the progressive stuff we put out.. from Bonde do Rolê to MIA and Santigold mixtapes… to bands like POPO and a dubstep full length from Rusko. We definitely are tying to do things other people arent up to do and we do it pretty good. We hope that its more than just the music and parties culture ’cause we represent a punk aesthetic as far as a do-it-yourself attitude and saying that nothing is off limits to try. The only common thread is that everyone is excited about music 100 percent in the bulding. On the philanthropy side, yes, I think that doing something beyond music is important too, like what we do for Heaps Decent. Our first one in Australia, which consists of workshops for aboriginal children all the way up to collabs in London and Rio with Red Bull to reach out to kids and music is important, and it makes websites like Hipster Runoff and Pitchfork have a harder time making fun of me and my label.
4) Anyone that follows you on Twitter or keeps up with the Mad Decent blog knows that you are constantly touring & traveling the world. Do you have any particular stories from the road that stand out as more than memorable (some real preview of the Matrix 12 shit)?
I’m in New Orleans right now filmin’ a pilot for TV about traveling and music. We spent a day with sissy bounce rappers, Sissy Nobby and Big Fredia, and this is really whats poppin’ in New Orleans’ music. You really cant have a party here in the city without one of these girls (gay men bounce rappers) hosting. It just doesn’t pop-off. Its kinda mad… This is what I did yesterday. Now I’m on the way to ATl to play with my girl Muffy (a new rapper on Bangladesh music label) so everyday is something more mad that we are trying to give some light to at Mad Decent. I can write for days on weird shit. Thats why I got Twitter in the first place.
5) You’ve been working with Lil’ Jon lately, and Mad Decent is promoting Rusko as he tours the U.S. What impact do you see dubstep having in regards to U.S. hip-hop in the upcoming years? Will UK producers begin to make waves in the commercial rap scene or will American producers simply interpolate the dubstep sound into their own style?
I doubt about UK rappers ’cause it just doesn’t work that way, but with Rusko… like we are workin’ on getting Gucci Mane to finish voicing a beat for him and getting Lil’ Jon to do dubstep, someone established to really take a chance. Thats what works and thats where we are at in music right now. Kids really need to have something that stands out to get attention, even if you’re a superstar. Everything has been done to pieces in hip-hop and thats when people call us up. Even as dubstep is gonna be a blanket term that groups a lot of sounds and kids together, we promote Rusko… as well as Benga and Skream because for us they are bigger than dubstep. They are gonna be around for a long time to come making music that is BIG and more importantly having ideas that change the game.