Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 13 News List

No such thing as too many DJs

Next week sees two world-class electronica acts hit Taipei on the same night at roughly the same time. What’s a partygoer to do?

By Tom Leeming  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

It is estimated that only 2,000 copies were made. Several of the tracks feature baile funk, music predominantly from Brazilian favelas that focuses on social issues such as poverty, crime, drugs and sex.

“I went in there strictly to work on music,” said Diplo. “A lot of kids were really into exploring music with me and were excited I was a DJ. People were cool. I wasn’t buying drugs, I was making music. If I was going to kill people or buy cocaine, maybe I would have had a problem, but I was just making music.”

With no record industry to speak of, and rudimentary technology, the kids created an original and emotional sound.

“There are a bunch of DJ crews, and every favela has their own gang faction,” said Diplo. “When I first went there they were using all mini-discs. But since then they have moved to CDJ and a couple of them are using Serato now.”

In 2006, Diplo began his own record label, Mad Decent, and further promoted the baile funk sound by signing acts from the favelas. In the past couple of years Diplo has spent time working in Jamaica, focusing on dancehall sounds.

“There are a lot of creative people there,” said Diplo. “We just started working on tracks and making friends there. There is a whole community that we have established out there that are forward thinking, cool — producers and people who take chances.”

Last year, Diplo formed Major Lazer with his partner Switch.

“[It is] like a big crew of people,” said Diplo. “I think we go to Jamaica and people really appreciate our work.”

This loose collective of artists, with Diplo and Switch at the helm (“about 15 people,” said Diplo), last year released their first album, Guns Don’t Kill People … Lazers Do, which garnered critical acclaim for its use of samples and original sound, while still staying true to Jamaica’s dancehall roots.

Many music lovers in Taiwan will have already heard Pon de Floor and seen the stunning, trippy and cartoon-like video for it.

“Right now Pon de Floor has a huge impact in Jamaica,” said Diplo. “[It] has become really big there in the dances ... and all the artists are voicing it.”

Making it large in Jamaica took dedication, hard work, respect and a sharp ear for music. “The sound we are trying to make is a really progressive-sounding rhythm,” said Diplo. “Some of the stuff you might hear on first count is like, ‘yeah I don’t know about this stuff,’ but then eventually this stuff is crazy. The roots of it are reggae and a digital 90s sound but we want to include everything on the record.”

Diplo at Luxy, 5F, 201, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市忠孝東路四段201號5樓), from 10am until 4am. Tickets are NT$600 pre-sale and admission is NT$800 at the door. For more information, visit www.diplo-in-taipei.com.

ON THE NET: Diplo’s latest mixtape, FreeGucci,

was released last week and can be found at

www.maddecent.com. A tasty Paper Planes remix

can be found at www.myspace.com/diplo

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