Pin It
Photo by Raine Manley Robertson

Dazed Meets Diplo

Multi-talented DJ, producer, documentary film-maker and label-manager Diplo catches up with Dazed at the Red Bull Studios...

Leaving his childhood palaeontology dreams behind him, Diplodicus aka Wes Pentz tried his hand at his passion of film-making before settling into DJing and producing with the likes of M.I.A, Switch and Santigold. Now having made a name for himself as half of Major Lazer with Switch and running the Mad Decent label, Pentz has produced with every act from La Roux to Tiesto and is continuing his film-making with documentaries and even a show on Cartoon Network...

Dazed Digital: So you're here working with Cocknbullkid & Mumdance?

Diplo: Well today it's with Fake Blood, L-Vis 1990, Switch and Jesse Rose so it's pretty insane. We don't even know what we're doing... then later me and Switch are gonna work on a new Major Lazer track.

DD: You just did a track with Tiesto as well, what was that like? How did it come about?!
Diplo: Yeah, he just asked me if I wanted to do some production with him, and I didn't know much about him apart from he's the biggest DJ in the world. It's just been kinda weird to go from Rolo Tomassi and L'il Jon then Robyn to M.I.A to Tiesto. We managed to figure it out though, I sent him a couple demos and he put it out. It's electro house though not like a trance record- and he's like a fucking cool dude too. I thought I did big shows, but his are like 100,000 people, the biggest crowds I've ever seen.

DD: And you did a Major Lazer Vs La Roux thing, are you a fan of all these UK female popstars?
Diplo: I really like La Roux, she was the first I heard of all those... Ellie Goulding lot - I don't know a lot of them - I did a remix for Sunday Girl? Her 'Four Floors' track like in that singer girl style... I first heard that Skream remix out and didn't know who [La Roux] was and we blogged it linking back to her Myspace, where she wrote me back thanks for putting it up and now she's like this big star. Same thing happened with Drake on Myspace, he was like thanks for having me and I was like yeah whatever I don't know who you are, and now he's like massive! But yeah she's an awesome song writer.

DD: So I was talking to people on Grindin about this interview...
Diplo: Yeah Grindin, that's like the blogs' blog. I know Paul Devro on there, he's our boy. He's the soul for our website- puts the best stuff on there, like all the weird stuff, animals from Youtube... the bizarre aspect that we need. He's also my favourite DJ to see live, plays really weird shit.

DD: Yeah, someone suggested I ask about the move from Philadelphia, how did that affect your sound and the way you produce?
Diplo: Well I work a lot faster now, 60 per cent of my music is made in hotel room, my studio in Philly is not the best place to mix. Going to L.A. meant bigger goals for Mad Decent- we work in teams of six now, and random dance singles now.

DD: You do everything from production, DJing, label-running, touring, what's next? Where do you go from here?
Diplo: Touring... it never finishes, it just gets bigger for me everytime I want to take a break. We're also wanting to do TV shows, movies... We're doing Favela on Blast and a Major Lazer TV show on Cartoon Network. I used to be a writer for films, wrote screenplays but then I realised the money was in DJing but I wanted to do films really.

DD: Highlight for 2010?
Diplo: The Carnival Party at Notting Hill is always the best, playing Jamaica and working on the new record there. There's a problem right now with the political shake up... but we were DJing in March there and it was the best we've ever done, the kids there are really up for weird music.