Diplo gets real on why he always “hated” EDM festivals
Superstar producer Diplo has let loose on mainstream EDM festivals and “embarrassing” DJ culture in an extensive interview with GQ Magazine.
The Mad Decent head was joined by GQ on his recent tour of Africa, where he was playing shows across countries like Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. In the profile, the producer put US festivals and wider EDM industry on blast, claiming he had “kept away from the EDM scene” for years because he “hated it”:
“[The festivals] are not fun,” he said. “The music felt like it was on a loop. It felt soulless. 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.”
“You look at Instagram, and it’s the same picture with girls in front of the Coachella Ferris wheel 100 times over again. I’d rather invest in experiences like [touring Africa].”
Not every major dance festival received the same tough treatment: “I’m into Ultra. I grew up on it,” Diplo said. “They offered Major Lazer a headline slot on Friday night. I want to do more dance-music festivals this year, just to be involved.”
“I’m doing [Electric Daisy Carnival] again this year, because I’m trying to see if I can help steer the direction. 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 realise 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.”
As for the new satirical SBS Viceland show What Would Diplo Do, he admitted that it’s “hard to watch”: “The first season is very literal — some of the stories I’ve told became actual episodes, like how we made ‘Where Are Ü Now’ or whatever. I can’t really give you an opinion of it, because it’s my life. But I guess I felt like, This could be funny and it can’t hurt my career. James [Van Der Beek, the lead actor] is amazing — I love him to death.”
“I feel like if the first season works, I’d be excited to work on season two and make it really bizarre. Like Veep or Rick and Morty.”
Watch the What Would Diplo Do trailer below and read the full GQ profile here.