The scene that we love has not always been what it is today. What is now a multi-billion dollar industry, once started out, as most know, in the underground market at illegal warehouse parties and after hour night clubs. There was no EDC that featured EDM all day for three straight days.
Now like every market that blows up, there are always a select few that come up with it. Explicit video recordings had Kim Kardashian, trolling has Deadmau5 and box office movie flops has 47 Ronin, just to name a few – and one of the forefront leaders in Electronic Dance Music is Diplo.
Diplo’s success in this industry is uncanny in the sense that it is much bigger than what all meets the eye. We all know him very well as the eccentric Jungle-ish/ Urban DJ and producer that knows how to have a good time and houses some rugged good looks – shout out for all the ladies. But not everyone is exposed to his overall reign in not only the dance music scene, but also in Pop culture and the entertainment industry in its entirety.
He has produced songs for the likes of Beyonce (yet to be released), Jessie J, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Usher, Snoop Lion and others. Also lending a helping hand in songwriting, Diplo had a part in the new movie adaptation of the Hunger Games: “Mockingjay – Part 1” with Lorde. Also, that 2007 hit “Paper Planes”, that we all sang in our best Bob Marley or Elliphant urban voice in its hay-day – yeah, co-wrote and produced by Diplo. But perhaps the most recent and groundbreaking is his collaborations with Skrillex in the newly formed duo “Jack U”, who will be celebrating New Years Eve in NY at Madison Square Garden.
It just came to light that Diplo was recently featured on the front cover of Fast Company and with it came a rather detailed semi-biographical piece on the man of the hour. So with that in mind we decided to write an overview of the article and included some of our thoughts on the quotes and anecdotes. Now this is going to get lengthy but it’s all a good read.
Holding onto industry ties like my favorite cake, Diplo or formally birthed as Thomas Pentz, is accountable for some remarkable traits of a truly genuine person and an industry professional. I had a music professor once that told me, and Warren Buffet can vouch for me as he has stated something along similar lines, that in order to survive in this industry, you have to have your hands in many baskets. You may have the “dopest” Hip-hop studio in town but if you limit yourself to only Hip-hop, “you’re going to have a bad time”. Now this is essentially what Diplo has done. Whether it was intentional or not, the man is very intelligent. Where him and Warren Buffet don’t think a like though? Buffet has a thing for holding onto a huge chunk of the worlds wealth whereas Diplo states that, “money, for me, is just create bigger and better things”. He then goes on to say that, “I like to invest in people. In ideas”, after talking about how other industry DJs flaunt money around.
Diplo, or Diplodocus for long, was Thomas’ favorite dinosaur as a kid and if you’ve ever been curious as to that peculiar tattoo on his forearm, it’s a Diplodocus. Diplo is a Philadelphia native but resided in Florida for most of his life where his father stills owns a bait shop. Neither parents were musically inclined and nor was Thomas himself. He never learned to play an instrument but fell in love with turntables young before getting his first job spinning at a hotel at the age of 17. From there his beat making to mix-tape game moved him up the totem pole before being noticed by M.I.A and that is when his career in music really picked up its momentum. From then on it has been about building relationships and jumping onto the newest trends which he says, “he has always been really good at” and investing into new ideas and people.
He houses some awesome artists under his “Mad Decent” record label including: Baauer, DJ Snake and Dillon Francis just to name a few of the 20 extraordinary artists listed. He at one point wanted to be in film and pursued it for sometime so when the opportunity to have a small cameo in “22 Jump Street” came up, Diplo accepted immediately. Thomas also has plans in the work for an animated cartoon series to be featured on Fox that will focus on the fictional character of Major Lazer.
His weekly Mad Decent Diplo & Friends show on BBC 1 has become a routine for many every week where he invites various artists to spin and talk about the business with him. He also contributes to an Australian based art organization that he co-founded called Heaps Decent, that supports emerging artists and disadvantaged youths with programs and workshops.
So to wrap this up, if the article wasn’t long enough and you didn’t catch the gist, here is a list of what Diplo loses sleep for: writing, producing, songwriting, TV & Radio Host, Philanthropist and so on. He’s just shy of “Tony Stark’s” billionaire title to be the next, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist.
A true hustler by spirit and nature, Diplo is a real inspiration to this industry and is exactly what we need. I could have gone into extreme detail on everything he is involved in (which you still can below) but I decided to make this an inspirational post for those of you chasing the dream, whether it be music or business alike. Diplo is a man to look up to. He will continue to set trends and re-brand the face of our scene.
Source: Fast Company
[Photos: Paul Jung, Set design: Eric Hollis; styling: Eric Archibald, Rachael Grubbs; grooming: Garret Gervais at Opus Beauty.]