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Esquire (Singapore) - - Front Page -

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.”

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