the meaning of art is. I make whatever I want. And if you don’t like it, turn it off. But your sister is gonna listen to it.” But what happens when even that dude’s sister isn’t listening to you anymore? “I just keep making music. I don’t go away, I’m never scared for what I’m doing. I just love music. It’s always been my MO to make music and find people to make music with.”
Pentz talks about the lessons he learned from his risk-averse father, who taught him concepts like having insurance. For someone who seems to be as fearless as Diplo, backing himself up is at the bottom of why he’s able to take crazy leaps where others fear to tread. “My dad always taught me to make sure I have a platform, so if I fall down, I can build up easier every time. And I use that in my musicality. Like, if this doesn’t work, make sure I have a publishing company as well, so I can work with young artists, young producers. So if I don’t tour anymore, I have these guys to help produce records. If I didn’t have that, I’d be a lot more afraid, you know. And I’m old too.”
He does intend to slow down to around 200 shows a year. He doesn’t like to do shows as much as he used to, in certain ways. Touring is hard. Especially since he’s been through the circuits in more markets than most artists could ever dream of. “China is really hard for me. They keep offering more money, but the shows are just so hard to do. The crowd’s great, but the smoking in the clubs, for example, gets me sick. So I go there and I’m in pain. And it’s things like that that will hopefully change. Or maybe it won’t.” Pentz, like most everyone, wants a piece of that China boom. “I’m doing shows in China because it’s important. We have this new album and China’s having the biggest moment now where they’re gravitating towards whatever is in their discourse. For a while, we had fans in China but they were very underground and they were just on the Internet and finding us their own way. Now you just have to be big in front of their faces and they will pay attention to you. I wanna be a part of it, but it’s hard.”
Not that he has ever let things like inaccessibility, socio-economics, international politics or language barriers stop him from doing what he does.
“When I was in Brazil in the favelas I had no problem with people. I didn’t speak Portuguese, but I knew how to speak to them about Acid Pro and Ableton Live. I knew how to talk to them about every programme they were doing music with. So I communicated with every DJ and they treated me like a producer friend of theirs.”
The language of music is something that he wants his two boys to learn; who are themselves, multiracial and multicultural. He’s taking them trick or treating later that night, and is still working out his costume for the evening. “You’ll see it later on my Instagram. I’m just so lucky to have so many awesome people around them. Their mom is so dope and their lola [grandmother in Tagalog] lives with them. They have a great life here in LA; they’re so creative and I’m just so lucky to have the freedom for them to do whatever they want. My older son is a really sensitive kid, they’re both just smart kids. They can go be ballerinas or airline pilots. I don’t care what their career is or whatever. I just want their minds to be great.”
For most regular folk, kids are the most obvious and easiest path to immortality. Pentz is self-aware to the point of engineering and then profiting off of being in on his own joke; successfully turning it into even more cultural cachet. The fear of being irrelevant is real, though.
“I remember I was in LA with this guy, Spank Rock—who is someone from my school days—and he and Amanda Blank used to always diss the Black Eyed Peas. So we went to this party and Will.i.am was there and said to Spank Rock, “Yo, I like what you do, I just want you to know man, that what you guys are doing is cool, but make sure you know what you’re saying cause someday people are gonna say the same thing about you.” Spank Rock is the guy who never really lived to see that happen. You gotta remember that because there’s always gonna be some guy underneath you who’s like, “That guy is washed up.” So. If I can just live long enough not to be the enemy, I’ll be happy.”