WIR SIND MAJOR LAZER!
WHO ARE YOU & WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM?
Ich bin Walshy aus Jamaica.
Ich bin Jillionaire aus Trinidad.
Ich bin Diplo aus Tupelo, Mississippi.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE RIGHT NOW?
Jillionaire: The tour-bus outside. As home as it gets for now. I do have a place in LA. My girlfriend is there, my family still in Trinidad but this is life right now… You know, when you live amongst people so long and so close it kinda becomes your family.
Diplo: Home is where you lay your cell-phone. Home is where you lose your keys! I’ve been on the road so long man. I dunno anymore where I live.
We’re constantly coming up with ideas. To make the show, the music the whole experience for the people better.
WHAT’S SPECIAL IN MIA?
Walshy: Everything. It’s the ultimate culture hub!
WHAT'S YOUR CORE HUSTLE?
Walshy: This. MCing for Major Lazer.
Walshy: A lot. I do bookings for a lot of soundsystems, a few artists. I do realty. Fixing up old houses in Miami. I also have a juice place in Atlanta. I sell natural juices. There are too many in Miami but ATL is too well for me.
How did you start?
Walshy: 16 years ago, I walked into a party. Didn’t know anybody, I wanted to DJ. Got there at 9, at 11 there were like 2,000 people – continued till 1 am... nobody asked anything, didn’t know the promoters but I did very well so nobody bothered. Until Black Chiney came. They liked me so I started DJing for Black Chiney. I was with them for 11 years. Then Wes (Diplo) came along. He was a fan of Black Chiney so yeah also of me, I didn’t know who the fuck he was. He was yooo, do you want to do a couple of dates with Major Lazer? I was like cool def. Let’s do this. Turned out to be a good call. I knew Chris (Jillionaire) for around 20 years. We’ve been friends going to hardcore dancehalls together, clashes... you know, stuff like that. Wes & Chris have known each other now for like 7 years or something...
What drives you now? Is it the same thing that drove you 16 years ago?
Walshy: Yeah, I would say now it is. I lost it though for a minute. It was just the same thing. Over and over again. Nothing new. I mean, Black Chiney is probably the biggest dancehall sound in America. We ran America and we did very well. Also in Europe. Now being with Major Lazer, this right here gives me that similar feeling as when I started. A new challenge man! We’re constantly coming up with ideas. To make the show, the music the whole experience for the people better. It’s an inspiring journey.
Most used phrase/quote?
“Making the world smaller by making the party bigger”.
Best buy in 2013?
Walshy: The house I just bought in North Miami, got it for 60k which is nothing, you know what I’m saying. I just dug in my sock and pulled it out basically. Put another 20 on it. I mean homie over there (Diplo) just got that money in his front pocket he doesn’t even notice it. So I took it.
Diplo: Yeah dog... I got so much money it don’t even fold! HAHA...
Worst buy in 2013?
Walshy: Hmmm... I bought this dumb ass drive. It doesn’t matter what I do with it, doesn’t fucking read.
Most inspiring thing you’ve done in 2013?
Diplo: Burning Man! What you talking about?
Walshy: True! Yeah, it was a first timer definitely an experience. I mean, we did two shows there, it was a feeler. Life changing. Doing well at our 2 shows. But wow... What an experience. Incredible. You learn about other people and see why people are so passionate about that festival. I wanna do it year after year. Well the only reason why I was saying Coachella is that we were going from being a side stage act to main stage. It was that defining moment you know when the whole world was talking about Major Lazer. We killed it! The year before it was all about 2Pac’s hologram, this year was about Major Lazer. Going from 2Pac to Major Lazer as the most talked thing in media. Big shout to LED technology... HAHA.
we did two shows at Burning Man, it was a feeler. Life changing. Doing well at our 2 shows. But wow… What an experience. Incredible. You learn about other people and see why people are so passionate about that festival.
How was it to do the bumaye video in Jamaica with our friends?
Walshy: Flexican & FS Green from Amsterdam? They looked funny! Wow that was so cool man. Flexican looked like a local white Dancehall artist from dem times! Like Snow, like Gentleman. Truly fantastic!
Diplo: He looks like he is always cracking a joke on you man! Amazing!
Walshy: FS Green looked like DMX man, so out of place. Way too muscular, buffed. Nobody was so muscular back then!
Diplo: What do you mean – people were not muscular back then?
Walshy: I dunno, I don’t think there were these techniques. No powder. Muscular dudes were super rare man. If they were, they were not cut. Nah... look at the wrestlers from back then, shit man they didn’t have abs, they were just huge! Being a fat guy with a belt!
Which creative keeps on surprising you?
Jillionaire: Jeff Koons boyy!
Diplo: Yo Walsh, just say Jeremy Scott homie!
Walshy: HAHA... yeah right. True. Dude keeps surprising me. HAHA... Yeah creating unique ways to stay relevant. You gotta love that man!
Diplo: I say Banksy. Maybe that sounds like an easy and cheap answer, but what he does is so good. He keeps fucking up the definition of art. He keeps on retuning and confusing what it actually is supposed to be. I mean being the most important person in modern art and he just keeps saying fuck you to his fans and saying fuck you to the people that value him, man that’s amazing! Wow... And to use ebay in the way he does, that’s art. In my opinion. It’s different. It’s postmodern level shit. Similar with Major Lazer – I mean none of us are truly from Jamaica but we come there and all have that influence, people understand us. I mean Chris is from outer-space you know – the medium is the message in a way. We’re not doing dancehall, we’re just doing the party!
I’m happy that we also represent a sort of freedom to the dancehall artists. No inside the box thinking.
What do you guys do together to keep this interesting?
Jillionaire: We use a lot of Listerine!
Diplo: Man, we are not afraid to take any risks, so nothing is the same you know. We go to the studio and we just do stuff you know. The shit we made last month, just crazy! There are no wrong answers. I’m happy that we also represent a sort of freedom to the dancehall artists. No inside the box thinking.
USA, Asia, Europe or Africa?
Diplo: HAHA... Like World War 3 shit? What side are you on?
Jillionaire: Asian dudes got dem robots! I go for the bots.
Diplo: South America got a lot of water and the women, man! And both coasts. I mean they would be part of the US anyway. So I rep America man. Even if we fail I will fall straight in the ocean. I don’t care!
Walshy: Haha Jillionaire’s robots will win it but I’ll go with whatever is closest to home, so yeah also the Americas.
Personal victory in 2013?
Walshy: We had a few. Watching “Get Free” grow to the point that now we can lower the volume on the whole song and they sing the whole thing, that’s a victory! Seeing people cry. I mean it’s not a victory to make somebody cry but to know that there is this button we can push to evoke emotions and for us to let people leave the show with some enlightenment message is cool. Bumaye was a victory. Such a weird song!
WHY DID YOU GUYS RELEASE BUBBLE BUTT SO QUICKLY AFTER BUMAYE?
Diplo: Bumaye didn’t have any traction outside of Europe. No one in the US got it. Well it was huge in Puerto Rico. They killed that song! Still growing now, not in America, now the Daddy Yankee version is playing all over the radios in Venezuela, Columbia. We had “Free the Universe” coming out so “Bubble Butt” was our American single. Big on the radio. We kinda knew that would happen. The new album. We know now exactly what we are good at and what we are not good at so we are going a certain way to do it!
The TWERK videos. Are you wasting too much time on instagram?
Diplo: Yeah definitely you do. I mean I am only doing it because it’s happening now. Because it’s going on and I am like a center of it. Because it sort of reps Bubble Butt and Express Yourself. So it’s funny to me. But I don’t take it serious at all. I don’t think you should. It’s just dancing, it’s funny!
Do you feel partly responsible for this movement?
Diplo: Am I responsible of the decline of American civilization or whatever? The world that we are in is never going to be less sexualized. It’s going to be more sexualized. Kids will have access to sexualized things younger and faster. We can’t control that. It is what it is. Education is getting more and more important for the kids nowadays! This is what the kids are into right now. It will go away very soon and something else will happen, something even more sexual you never know. For me it’s just fun. Self-expression.
The world that we are in is never going to be less sexualized. It’s going to be more sexualized. Kids will have access to sexualized things younger and faster. We can’t control that.
we just had “Jet Blue Jet” come out this week and I just had the idea of having a contest of girls smoking weed while listening to it.
Do they connect with you?
Diplo: Most of them just want to be seen. Get their 15 seconds of fame on my stupid instagram account. Nothing really serious about it. But yeah, we always think of ways to get people to look at our stuff. Like now we just had “Jet Blue Jet” come out this week and I just had the idea of having a contest of girls smoking weed while listening to it. We received thousands of videos.
My daily recipe/addiction?
Jillionaire: That internet dawggg!
Diplo: Yeah – information. Is www.worldstarhiphop.com part of the computer? HAHAHA... People watching, yeah that’s an addiction. We do shows every day, so yeah that’s a daily recipe. People. I love watching DJs & bands, just saw Chase & Status before we played in Manchester, we love Mø who plays now here and we are going to see Ryan Hemsworth tonight. I try to exercise everyday so I feel like a normal person.
Who do you like to introduce and why?
There are so many kids that are great! That’s another thing that keeps us inspired man. We live for that! We are old with a very good eye on the young! The kids this generation are doing amazing stuff.
Peace – Major Lazer
BY JOEY ELGERSMA IN COLLABORATION WITH ANOTHER SLANG
FILM BY STEPHAN WEVER, @ANOTHERSLANG
ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHAN NICLAUS, @ANOTHERSLANG
PICTURES BY BREAD & BUTTER, Anny CK
Shout out to Eric Conyers