Diplo - conducted by Alex Goldberg  

Diplo Interview

August 2006

These are the transcripts of an interview with the Philadelphia based DJ, Wes Pentz, aka Diplo. He is world renowned for his unique-at the moment sound.

MVRemix: Have you ever thrown a party, no one was dancing, you said "fuck it", and walked off?

Diplo: Nah. I can't do that cause of contracts and its never happened at my own parties. I'd rather fuck with someone and start playin mad metal then leave. That's boring.

MVRemix: Introduce yourself from the perspective of a friend talking about you. For example, instead of saying, "I am" say "My friend, Diplo is..."

Diplo: Diplo is overrated.

MVRemix: What is unique about American pop music? What makes it stand out?

Diplo: All American music stands out. We have 400 years of money and strange cultural capitol, so it becomes something crazy.

MVRemix: The sexiest thing about being Diplo is...

Diplo: My new shoes.

MVRemix: The most sinful thing about being Diplo is?

Diplo: Not spending enough time with people I love. And not learning Portuguese

MVRemix: Are you worried about Girl Talk coming up out of Pittsburgh? Have you ever had a beef with another artist, that is, to go as far as to put out a diss track?

Diplo: Ha. Shit no. Girl talk is doin a remix for bonde do role. But there are some motherfuckers out there. I used to have probs with Disco D. But he's done things differently and I can stay mad at him. Aaron Lacrate though is quite a phony and I will use any platform to tell people about our scene and how its tried hard to appropriate it.

MVRemix: If I came to you and I asked you how I could become as good as you at being a mash up DJ, what would you tell me?

Diplo: What's mash up?

MVRemix: Finish this sentence. The only thing more dope than a big booty ho is a big ____________.

Diplo: Is a big booty and a nice smile

MVRemix: You were born in the south, in Mississippi, and then moved to Florida. Tell me about your experience in the South and, if the southern musical tradition has affected your music.

Diplo: Well we just really have no other way than to be a lil' bit more cooler comin' out of the south. A lil' more gangster. People hated on us. First Neil Young and then NY hip hop/industry. But now they are just trying to get our many 'cause people only buy our music.

MVRemix: What makes the South dirty, and what makes a certain musical type dirty?

Diplo: I think Goodie Mob were the first to mention that and it was more akin to talkin' about red clay and livin' on dirt roads and not havin manners. It's not so dirty but we just aren't as uptight as say, someone from Boston.

MVRemix: How does the North approach hip hop and the various uses of percussion elements and heavy bass elements differently than the south?

Diplo: Well, the South makes car music.

MVRemix: What type of mash up works the best, and what type of genre splicing have you attempted that failed miserably?

Diplo: You can't fail if you just mix records in context. When you start to just do stupid mixes for the sake of being ironic is when you fall off. It's not a fine line. A good dj just puts together a good party.

MVRemix: Why is Hollertronix a notable name? What should people know and recognize about Hollertronix?

Diplo: It came out of Philly and me and the kids there made it up. It's been very influential, but I'm pretty sure it will just be in some kids MySpace influences in a few years when the whole world sounds like it.

MVRemix: What do you think inspired this resurrection of the DJ and dance culture? Why are kids dancing, and how do you think the DJ became king of this culture?

Diplo: I think the backlash to Puff Daddy era/death of hip hop made a real barrier between what's "real" and what's "underground" and what's "commercial" and fake (more fun) just the last 8 years have really began to mash up themselves in the music industry. It's not that kids just started dancing. I think that since we all are a little more broke, spendin' 20 bucks to go and drink and stand around seems kind of a waste of time, when you could be gettin' laid.

MVRemix: Everyone has different tastes in music. Are you ever worried that a set you come up with for a show won't satisfy the majority of the audience? Has this ever happened, where you and the audience were on two different planets?

Diplo: Well this tour I'm trying to keep the set similar cause I'm so busy. I just want kids to get a lot of my own productions and throw in local stuff. I mean it's a Diplo show. But when I just go off and do shows other places I try and mix it up and make everyone happy with a lil flavor.

MVRemix: Pitchfork Media has a noticeable agenda with their musical interests. There's a common theme with who they like and who they don't. You are one of the more loved artists in the Pitchfork spectrum, what do you think it is that is so appealing to that specific world of music and to the Pitchfork culture?

Diplo: I think the Pitchfork culture is really smart to the point that they accept everything and most writers know about enough rock and hip hop and the past. And they kinda get what I do. But since I'm a bit more popular since they helped me, it's up to me to begin to stay on my toes a lil' more. I can't fall off yet.

MVRemix: How would you describe the musical aspect of tension and release, and how is this used in your music?

Diplo: Man it's easy. I'm a raver. I just rave. Keep it all rave.

MVRemix: What do you think is significantly different about the modern day DJ besides the advanced technology they use?

Diplo: Smarter crowds. Wider range of music. No boundaries between what's commercial and what's indie. And most dj's are doin' their own edits. Almost ever dj I know.

MVRemix: Is there a definite sexual element to the music you produce?

Diplo: Yeah, I mean why do you do you go to a club anyway?

MVRemix: The music that you play at shows and clubs is different than the music you record for mixtapes and albums...

Diplo: I have a lot of outputs. But when it comes down to a party I just try and make it one that people won't forget. I play 80 percent my own edits and stuff.

MVRemix: When did you realize that this is what you wanted to do with your life, and was it a moment of clarity or was it a gradual decision made over many years?

Diplo: I'm still tryin' to decide. I just want to learn more and get better at being a proper artists. People are really critical of being a DJ and its been hard for me to get some respect for it.

MVRemix: Why Philly? Why not New York, Chicago or L.A. How about New Jersey?

Diplo: 'Cause I could afford it. New York is mad corny. Chicago is also cool... Huh? New Jersey?

MVRemix: If you were to write a memoir, what would the title be?

Diplo: Memoirs of a Geisha.

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"I think that since we all are a little more broke, spendin' 20 bucks to go and drink and stand around seems kind of a waste of time, when you could be gettin' laid."