Diplo is first A-list DJ to play at Zouk Singapore’s new premises

Grammy winner, who will play at Zouk tonight, says his music extends beyond electronic dance music

Diplo's high-energy raves worldwide are chronicled on Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Diplo's high-energy raves worldwide are chronicled on Snapchat and Instagram Stories.PHOTO: ZOUK SINGAPORE

American DJ Diplo is one of electronic dance music's (EDM)most prolific producers, having had a hand in some of the biggest club hits. Other than his solo ventures, the Grammy winner is also part of two EDM acts.

But asked if he is worried that the EDM bubble may burst one day - the genre has experienced a meteoric rise in recent years - the 38-year-old insists he has "never been trying to fit in the EDM bubble anyway".

"I think I've been doing a lot of different things for a while. Everything I create has more of a global lens on it than an EDM one, so hopefully that translates to being timeless," he says in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times from Phuket, Thailand.

In the meantime, Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, appears to be one of the hardest working men in the business.

The relentless tourer is currently on a multi-date Asian tour. Tonight, he will be the first A-list DJ to play at Zouk Singapore's new premises at Clarke Quay, which opened last month.

Whether it is Las Vegas or Bangkok, his high-energy raves are chronicled on Snapchat and Instagram Stories, showing him on the DJ console platform dancing or egging on the crowd.


  • WHERE: Zouk Singapore, The Cannery, Clarke Quay, 3C River Valley Road

    WHEN: Tonight, doors open at 9pm

    ADMISSION: $45 at the door

He is also the co-founder of duo Jack U (with fellow superstar DJ-producer Skrillex) and trio Major Lazer, which draws heavily on dancehall and reggae music for their style of floor-filling dance music.

Last year, he won two Grammy Awards for Best Dance Album (Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack U) and Best Dance Track (Where Are U Now? with Justin Bieber).

The track, Lean On by Major Lazer, featuring Frenchman DJ Snake and Danish singer Mo, was the most streamed song on Spotify for 11 months.

Diplo has done production work on albums by pop megastars such as Beyonce's Lemonade (2016) and Madonna's Rebel Heart (2015).

He also runs an independent music label, Mad Decent, which signed Singaporean DJ-producer Myrne in 2015.

He says of Myrne, whose real name is Manfred Lim: "Myrne is dope. I'm super proud of the stuff he's put out on Mad Decent so far."

He keeps tabs on what is new in music and new acts while he is flying or during his interactions with people in the countries he visits.

"I'm always impressed when I hear something that sounds totally new and different. I like people who take risks," he says.

The work does not stop, even when he is off the touring circuit. "When I'm home, I'm working. I have a studio set up in my house," he says.

With such a punishing schedule, he says it is "a constant balance" not to get burnt out.

But, he adds, being home with his two sons with his ex-girlfriend Kathryn Lockhart - Lockett, six and Lazer, two - is "the only thing that really breaks it up".

When he is not a globetrotting superstar DJ, he is a regular guy who takes his elder son to school or music lessons.

And he is glad they enjoy his music. "It's always nice to have your kids think you are cool," he says.

"But I hope they make their own paths and find something that is as meaningful to them as music is to me. Life is too short not to do what you love."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'DJ Diplo goes for timeless'. Print Edition | Subscribe