New tracks that DJs should know about.
Diplo performs at Hyde Beach in Miami on March 23, 2018. (Credit: Dylan Rives/World Red Eye)
Since 1823, Oxford University’s historic debate society, the Oxford Union, has hosted numerous high profile speakers. From Winston Churchill to Albert Einstein to Michael Jackson, the list is full of influential people who’ve helped shape the world.
In May, Oxford added Diplo to the list. “I never imagined my career would take me somewhere like this,” the 40-year-old DJ/producer said at the beginning of his speech.
During the hour-long conversation, Diplo gave a speech about his career and participated in a Q&A session with the audience. He discussed how traveling abroad influenced the development of his career, his thoughts on the current hip-hop scene, the lack of female representation in the DJ world, among many other topics.
On how he stays passionate about DJing:
“I found a way to regulate my life so I can get work done and do shows. And I’m actually really lucky that I love it. … The randomness of my career and the eclecticness of what I DJ makes it easy to do different things. I never plan a DJ set. I have so many different projects I can pull from to play. It might be the pop songs [or] it might be something underground I just created. I think when people come see me play they’re going to expect to be surprised. So I’ve been really lucky that I never get bored.”
On the younger generation of rappers:
“It’s fascinating to see how, if you look at the top charts on Spotify or Apple Music, the top 20 charts [are] gonna have 19 rap songs by young kids that are between 15 and 20 years old. And I think that’s an amazing shift because the audience wants that. They’re reaching people directly. And I feel like hip-hop always had the chance to be that music that reaches directly, but there was always a guard by the labels, by the radio, and now we don’t need any of that. You just go straight to SoundCloud or Spotify, and you’re reaching an audience. So I love that. I love the rebelliousness of and the anarchist qualities of these young guys who were on the last EP I just produced.”
On how an aspiring songwriter can get his attention:
“I listen to as much music as I possibly can, but now you have to be something crazy. I’ve lived in [Los Angeles] for so long, and there’s such a songwriter-y world there where the songs are the same. They’re just dressed up differently, and I’m so bored. … But I’ve always been the kind of guy that’s been on the outside, trying to do something different. And it’s never been easy for me to write a simple song or pop music. And I think you have to be really exciting. I don’t have an ear for pop that much. I have more of an ear for craziness, and I can help you figure out how to make that work. … [So] just be different because we have so much of the same happening right now in the music scene that I think that if you push yourself to be as crazy as possible it’s gonna be your only hope to succeed.”
Watch the interview below.