Diplo has spent 2015 proving that he is nothing short of a musical powerhouse. The DJ and producer has been nominated for 3 Grammy awards this year including producer of the year, best dance/electronic album for \”Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü\” and best dance recording for \”Where Are Ü Now\” with Skrillex and Justin Bieber.
Diplo was nominated for producer of the year in 2012, along with a nomination for his work with Chris Brown on \”Look at Me Now\” for best rap song. In 2009, Diplo was up for record of the year for M.I.A.\’s \”Paper Planes.\” Consequently, Diplo has not won.
On Monday afternoon, Diplo spoke with The New York Times about his nomination, \”Lean On\” and Major Lazer, as well as of course, winning a Grammy for throwing the best party. 2015 might just be Diplo\’s biggest year yet, and winning a Grammy would definitely be the icing on the cake for Mr. Mad Decent.
What was it like when you got word this morning?
I’m just happy to be able to go back to the Grammys so I can attend all the parties afterwards and get lots of good Instagram photos. I was hoping we’d get nominated for the dance category. This was such a rad year for music. The record of the year and song of the year categories have so many dope songs.
Who usually has the best party?
Last year Sam Smith and Disclosure had the jam. This year I think I’m going to try to take the crown. I’m gonna win the Grammy for best party.
The Grammys have a reputation for being a little old, white and buttoned-up, but this year’s nominations seem to be representative of the year in pop.
Well, Kendrick Lamar — there’s nothing pop about what he’s doing this year. It’s pure West Coast black expression. He had a certain goal and he did it. But otherwise, Weeknd — the song he’s nominated for is very pop. It was a surprise when I first heard it. Taylor Swift — You can’t have a Grammys without her nominated a bunch of times. Even when she has no album they have to have her show up or no one’s going to tune into the whole thing.
I just wish “Lean On” got nominated. It had the most streams of the whole year — of any song ever existing in the history of music. But whatever, maybe next year. Our song doesn’t exist in any genre. We’re just an act that doesn’t make any sense for record or song of the year. We couldn’t even be nominated for reggae, because we’re just too weird. It doesn’t fit anywhere else, so we kind of cursed ourselves with a massive song. But I’m happy to have “Where Are Ü Now” nominated.
What does it mean to see a song like “Where Are Ü Now” — which is not your typical radio hit despite featuring Justin Bieber — recognized?
We’re only nominated in dance categories and I think we’re definitely the best stuff in that world. We were trying to expand ourselves out of dance into something for the future. All these periphery categories, it just matters that you try to do something that’s louder than that genre.
Jack Ü is the lead artist on that song — is it funny to have given Bieber a lift here??
Years ago when I was just a songwriter in L.A., you never thought about things like that. But I guess I started realizing that you could market your music yourself. That’s what I do with Major Lazer, Diplo, Jack Ü. We’re trying to be artists now.
Pop acts are guaranteed to be the star of the hits because it’s easier to see a pop star. That’s a way to market music that’s relatively simple for major labels. But I think now anybody has access to the fans, to grow big like that.
Me and Skrillex are just two nerdy guys who just work on our computers and write songs. But we’re actually at the same level as the pop stars now, because we leveled the playing field by just having great songs and putting them out as our own. There’s no way we could’ve done that 10 years ago, or even five.
Is the producer of the year nomination a form of vindication after so many years in the game? You’ve been nominated before, but this feels like another level.
Hopefully I win it. My dream is to win that award. As a producer, I’ve just been growing every year and I’ve been doing it on my own terms. I’ve never been an industry producer; I’m on the outside looking in.
What would the producer of the year category look like if you were in charge?
It looks pretty good the way it is — guys who made an impact in their own field and also made an impact in other people’s fields. [The other nominees: Jeff Bhasker (Elle King, Mark Ronson), Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton), Larry Klein (Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot) and Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes).]
Someone like Metro Boomin [Future, Young Thug] would be cool. But the Grammys kind of treat hip-hop like it’s lucky to even be there. Of course they’re getting cooler every year, but hip-hop wasn’t even nominated until the Fresh Prince won in the ‘80s. It’s not like it’s a priority for them.
Do you feel like these Kendrick Lamar nominations are a real change for the Grammys?
I can’t tell if the Grammys have white guilt every year for giving white people the rap awards. Maybe they do. But Kendrick Lamar as an artist, I never expected his album to sound the way it did. I was confused at first, but loved it more than anything else after a month. It’s the album when Kendrick Lamar became the Kendrick Lamar that he was born to be. People don’t really concentrate on albums anymore — it’s a singles-based market for the last five or six years. But his album sounds like an album, front to finish.
Do you think this was a script-flipping year?
All in all it was a pretty standard showing of nominations. Everybody could predict what was nominated. But I think every year they get a little bit better, a little bit more of a pulse on pop culture.
When I lost record of the year, I lost to Alison Krauss and the guy from Led Zeppelin. I didn’t even know what that was. Album of the year went to Herbie Hancock [in 2008.]. I was like, “Why am I here?” Since then it’s like, “Ok, we gotta make this a little bit more current.” That’s why more rap music is going to be on there. We need a lot more rap artists like Kendrick Lamar taking chances and going with their gut.
Just that if I don’t win, I’m going to be really depressed and stop making music. Whatever. I just want to go and just get my Snapchat popping that night and I’ll be happy.
H/T NY Times