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to a (ver­i­fied) fake Twit­ter ac­count (which Pentz sup­plies that, “Some­one else writes, so I’m like, I didn’t do that. I don’t write all that stuff... I write maybe some of it,” he laugh­ingly ac­cedes. And at his level of cul­tural In­cep­tion, it is ac­tu­ally a re­ally funny Twit­ter ac­count, in that de­li­ciously shady way Twit­ter can oc­ca­sion­ally be).

Though, on the other hand: “In­sta­gram is hard for me. I try to stay away from it as much as pos­si­ble now. I think Kanye made a re­ally good point—he said some­thing I like: the cul­ture of likes, and the cul­ture of ac­tiv­ity on your In­sta­gram and what you get re­ally af­fects peo­ple.”

Pentz tries to keep away from all of that now on so­cial me­dia, and ad­mits to strug­gling with it as a po­tently de­struc­tive part of mod­ern life. But at the same time, as an artist, his pub­lic must be served.

“I feel like we lose a lot of what it means to have self-as­sur­ance in what you’re do­ing and who you are, be­cause we’re re­ly­ing on the feed­back of the peo­ple who could find you. It’s crazy be­cause it’s all al­go­rithms any­way, so you’re not even get­ting in touch with the fans, it’s what­ever is hap­pen­ing at that mo­ment in that cul­ture.”

Pentz is an avid watcher of the data. He counts the streams his records rack up and the views his videos get. But make no mis­take. What he does is not ‘ pre­dict­ing cul­ture’. Pentz is one of those forces that in fact moves cul­ture through mu­sic with the sheer force of his own will and with an earnest love for mu­sic. And if he is start­ing to tire of hear­ing and play­ing the EDM that per­haps some of you might know him best for, then it’s time for an­other project to drop some­thing, since he’ll have al­ready been mak­ing what­ever mu­sic best re­flects his mood at that point in time. Like Silk City, his project with Mark Ron­son.

“My sets are chang­ing. They used to be ag­gres­sive and hardcore be­cause that’s what the crowd wanted. But now I’m grav­i­tat­ing to­wards a deeper sound just be­cause it’s a lot more fun for me to be there and dee­jay those songs. Silk City was my at­tempt to let peo­ple be in­tro­duced to house mu­sic a lit­tle big­ger. So if that works out, then I’ll just keep do­ing that. I’m more ex­cited about dee­jay­ing that kind of mu­sic any­way. It cre­ates a bet­ter vibe when you’re play­ing what you like.”

It’s an ouroboros of a feed­back cy­cle. One of his re­cent tours was around Africa, where he says Ma­jor Lazer played their best shows. What is hap­pen­ing there is a deeper, more com­plex em­a­na­tion of the Diplo Ef­fect that oc­curred in Brazil­ian baile funk. On closer in­spec­tion, Pentz now not only un­der­stands the cur­rent con­text of mu­sic and cul­ture, but his own im­pact on it and what he can do within that.

“The peo­ple that were there [in Africa] at our shows, they grew up in this dif­fer­ent world of the In­ter­net. The new lan­guage around mu­sic has been cre­ated in the last five or six years. They’re much more aware. They know that YouTube and stream­ing ser­vices are our medium, that Ma­jor Lazer goes that way. We don’t go through la­bels and we don’t run through pop ra­dio the way other peo­ple do. Which is crazy.”

And what about in Amer­ica, then? “They just know In­sta­gram… And their minds aren’t open any­more. They act like they are, but they’re not. They’re lit­er­ally just th­ese ro­bots that dress in the same clothes, lis­ten­ing to the same bands, same hiphop and top 10 records, and it kinda sucks.” As a re­sult of In­ter­net cul­ture in Amer­ica be­ing a place where a few things in­flu­ence ev­ery­thing, Diplo ob­serves that it’s a very ho­moge­nous scene. So when coun­ter­cul­ture be­comes the said ho­moge­nous scene, how does an artist who built his ca­reer be­ing a snotty, rene­gade cul­ture-punk keep, well, be­ing punk?

“My shows and par­ties are get­ting smaller a lot lately. I’m play­ing this se­cret show on Satur­day, and I’m go­ing to play new mu­sic from Ma­jor Lazer there, and I’m not gonna an­nounce my­self. I’m just gonna go there and play. That’s what I do now with Ma­jor Lazer. But with Silk City I’m just try­ing to fig­ure out what the show is. This other project LSD, I love. I wish I could go on tour with that be­cause it’s such cool mu­sic.” With LSD, Diplo teams up with the elu­sive yet ubiq­ui­tous Sia and equally bril­liant Bri­tish tal­ent, Labrinth. He laments that it’s im­pos­si­ble to go on tour with Sia be­cause “she doesn’t give a shit” about stuff like that. He’s clearly frus­trated about it, but al­lows it be­cause mak­ing mu­sic with Sia is “amaz­ing” to him.

“I’m just do­ing what­ever I can to help add on to the cul­ture. I know I’m not gonna

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