RECESS Study Hall on Diplo’s rise; bootlegs, block parties, and staying original
Love him or hate him, Diplo is one innovative human being. To peg Mr. Pentz to just one of his three faces (DJ, producer, label owner) paints quite an inadequate picture. What makes Diplo so successful is an ability to be greater than the sum of his individual contributions, constantly exploring the edges of what’s allowed in mainstream music and culture.
On March 21st, Diplo joined RECESS’ Study Hall Speaker Series at The University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. If you aren’t already familiar, RECESS is Mark Cuban’s college focused music and ideas festival bringing together entrepreneurs and music for a one day educational event along with a massive party (www.recess.is). There, Diplo chatted one on one with Twitter’s Head of Music, Bob ‘Moz’ Moczydlowsky. What followed was a candid conversation diving deep into Diplo’s roots, his record label MAD DECENT’s working strategy, and an analysis of the music industry’s future.
“You can’t always just give people the hottest thing. For us, we want to give people new music. That’s all we care about.” – Diplo on running MAD DECENT’s Block Parties
During the talk, Wes ditches his typical cheeky media persona and stays honest with the student audience. He breaks down how to become a successful artist in today’s crowded internet world and explains the processes behind his often counter-intuitive business tactics. A classic example: Diplo and MAD DECENT are the secret engineers behind the unparalleled success of “Harlem Shake”, the first instrumental track to be a Billboard #1.
“Since we published the music, we didn’t care who used it. The more uses it got, the better. If you wanted to use [the “Harlem Shake”] on The Today Show, or a NASCAR ad, we just wanted the exposure to be as great as possible, as crazy as possible for the record.” – Diplo on breaking the “Harlem Shake”
Anyone with an interest in making it in dance music’s ever-evolving playing field should watch and take notes from someone who’s seen it all from the driver seat. Watch the full talk here and subscribe to RECESS’ Youtube Channel for even more enlightening content.