Diplo weighs in on “cheesy” EDM culture, getting burned by Rihanna and more
Electronic music’s globe-trotting maestro recently sat down with GQ Style amidst his African tour. Opening up on his decision behind touring Africa—hitting Uganda and playing small shows in Nigeria over Coachella— Diplo lamented on the value within candid experience and breaking even over making millions.
“Coachella, Vegas, all those things are gonna be there… Touring Africa is something you have to work towards. That’s why I became a DJ. That’s why I even wanted to make music, so I could do things like go to Africa and perform. I’d rather invest in experiences like this, rather than putting it back into my own ego.”
While Diplo may be working to limit his ego padding, it would seem the artist’s taken a few hits to it as of late. Opening up in the interview on Major Lazer’s work with artists in Africa, Lo also shared why he’s worked with fewer artists in the states, in particular, Rihanna. Of course, it’s not for a lack of trying, as Diplo has worked with her in the studio in the past, even playing her “Lean On.” But apparently, RiRi was less than thrilled. Diplo remembered this incident all too well, detailing it in the interview.
“I played her ‘Lean On.’ She was like, I don’t do house music. I face-palmed so hard on that one. Another time I had a session with her, and Future was also invited. The Weeknd was there. Metro Boomin was there before anybody knew who he was. I was so contact high. Future played her, like, 700 songs. It was four in the morning. Finally, I was like, Yo, G, I’m leaving unless you let me play her a song. So I played her a song. And she was like, This sounds like a reggae song at an airport. [laughs] I was like, I’m gonna go kill myself.”
After being dealt a burn one would imagine would leave a sizable scar, Diplo ultimately understands it doesn’t matter if he and Rihanna ever collaborate. In fact, he also said in the interview that he wouldn’t really care, “I think before we’re all done, she’ll be on a song of ours. Hopefully. But if not, I don’t really care.”
While Major Lazer and Diplo’s success, in particular, is not riding on the curtails of a Rihanna collaboration there’s no denying it would be a total banger. Until then, Diplo left us hanging with the possibility of a Mark Ronson disco collaboration record in the near future.
“You know the album I did with Skrillex, Jack Ü? Me and Mark are trying to do something with disco music.”When asked to detail the album a little bit more, Diplo said, “It’s something we talked about over the last year. Jack Ü was awesome, but it was very young. I want to do something that feels more my age. I feel like me and Mark can do something more sophisticated.”
It’s likely that we’re to see a much more focused Diplo in the future. Diplo deeply understands his place in the industry. He understands music is a business and also that he’s long been the butt of the joke. But he wants to change things.
I mean, DJs in general, the culture’s really ugly. It’s cheesy. Corny. It’s embarrassing. You know, I never wanted to be part of the DJ world. I just fell into it.
Instead of complaining about it being cheesy, I’ll see if I can help make it better. EDM’s changing. Three years ago, they just paid everybody, because all the corporations and clubs wanted a piece of it. Now they realize only a few of us can make money for them. It’s a business. I’m just trying to be smart about it. Eventually I want to sit back in the studio and be more of a producer-writer, and I have my kids, too.
Featured image via Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images.