Diplo on Mad Decent: “A lot of festivals don’t even understand us”

By now, we know to expect curveballs from Diplo. The contender for busiest man in dance music has a lot to get done before he takes the long haul to Australia for Stereosonic, where he’ll be switching it up between the Major Lazer live show and his own DJ sets. On the immediate horizon is the new Major Lazer album and Reincarnated, the LP that’s set to transform Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion (at least in the rapper’s own mind). Then – after Usher, Azealia Banks, No Doubt and all the rest of Diplo’s cohorts are taken care of – he’s looking ahead to his first solo album since 2004. Psychedelic first single About That Life certainly keeps you guessing about how the full-length will play out.

At the centre of the Diplo whirlwind is his Mad Decent label, which remains a stauch flagship for what the boss calls “new sounds”. So, what’s Diplo’s secret formula? As he tells The Huffington Post in a revealing interview, he’s playing his own game.

“At Mad Decent, we see what has always driven this culture and this movement has been the side stages, the underground, the kids taking chances and doing something different,” he says in the interview. “Electronic music was a rebellion against the same old rock songs and messages and fashion. But that’s already what I see with the Top 10 DJs doing the same shit over and over, and festivals perpetuating it. It’s not for me, it never has been. I’ve always tried to nurture new sounds and help shed lights on what’s exciting and what’s moving music forward.”

That commitment to the vanguard can be confusing for “corporate suits” in dance music’s current cashed-up climate, he tells The Huffington Post. “There’s not such corporate control of what we do at Mad Decent. A lot of festivals don’t even understand us – we are eclectic and we do a bit of everything, from rap to dance music to indie to whatever. For the corporate suits, they just see ‘DANCE MUSIC, DRINKS, FESTIVALS, LOTS OF KIDS TO BUY STUFF,’ so these festivals sell right away. They even perpetuate the ‘sameness’ of the line-ups and the music that is being played. It keeps it very tidy for the investors that don’t understand.”