Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo, is one of the most dynamic forces in music today. He is as much an international brand as he is a musician/DJ/producer. He’s proven himself to be a ubiquitous cultural figure, consistently bridging high and low, mainstream and underground, with remarkable tact and reverence.
In 2004, after throwing influential parties in South Philadelphia, Pentz cemented himself as a full fledged artist through his debut album, “Florida” which received praise within the underground community. Diplo worked with M.I.A. on her mixtape, first and second albums, eventually creating the Grammy nominated track “Paper Planes” in 2007, which hit No. 4 on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart and has sold more than 3 million copies.
In 2005, Diplo founded label/culture lab Mad Decent to serve as a platform for showcasing the myriad of fascinating sounds Pentz encounters while touring the world. Notable artists include: Dillon Francis, DJ Snake, Baauer, and Riff Raff. Coming full circle from his days of Hollertronix, Diplo has utilized the label to produce the annual and infamous Mad Decent Block Parties — a series of outdoor dance parties/concerts that now span 19 cities across North America.
After multiple Grammy nominations, including Producer of the Year, and being crowned the #1 most streamed artist on Soundcloud for 2013, Beyoncé’s “Run the World” sampled Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor” and sold over a million copies, cementing Diplo’s place in the pop world.
Fast forward to present day, Pentz has 235+ show dates under his belt in 2015 alone, and three 2016 Grammy Nominations including Producer of the Year, Best Dance Recording, and Best Dance/Electronic Album. Diplo remains the go-to producer for the who’s who of the pop music landscape.
“Lean On” the global smash hit from Major Lazer’s June 2015 release Peace Is the Mission has garnered a host of accolades including reaching #1 at Top 40 Radio, a first for any independent label, being named Spotify’s Global Song of the Summer as well as earning the crown title of most streamed track of all time, currently with 573 million plays, making it the most successful independent song of all time.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Diplo is using his time in self-isolation to finish work on the next Major Lazer album.
Speaking to Zane Lowe over FaceTime on Apple Music’s Beats 1, Diplo revealed that, as well as hosting regular live streams from his house, he’s been using his time in pandemic-imposed lockdown to finish up the group’s long-awaited fourth album.
“I haven’t been writing new music,” Diplo admits in the interview. “Because I’m still just in the studio finishing up the Major Lazer album. I’m tidying things up, but I’ve been playing a lot of guitar and learning that, which is I would never ever, ever do that, unless it’s like literally someone made me do it. That’s what was happening right now. Like I never… It’s just not in my thing to learn something new anymore. I’m too old. I feel like I have to be forced into doing it and that’s literally what’s happening. I’m forced into doing this, which is awesome, because I need it.”
Diplo previously revealed that the next Major Lazer album would likely be their last. Last week, the group teamed up with Marcus Mumford for a new single, ‘Lay Your Head On Me’.
As well as doing his own streams, Diplo and Major Lazer have been doing weekly streams, ‘A Very Lazer Sunday’. On top of all that, he also recently revealed that he has a country album on the way, because of course he does.