A-Trak and Diplo are not only dance music industry masterminds but also long-time friends who share an in-depth history behind the turntables. A-Trak’s travel and lifestyle focused publication Infinite Legroom is now introducing an Infinite Interview series. A-Trak and Diplo discussed their early career days, the start of Mad Decent, Diplo’s hip-hop roots, and how the two DJ/producers met.
In the early days, Diplo noted that he was particularly into psychedelic rock records and the hip-hop scene from Nashville, Tennessee. After listening to Vanderbilt Radio, Diplo quickly became infatuated with the dance music culture as a whole. Specifically, he names Egon to be an influential force in his early beginnings:
“Egon used to have a radio show in Nashville. Before I moved to Florida, I lived in Nashville during high school. I used to listen to Egon’s show on Vanderbilt [College] Radio. I was really into hip-hop culture in Nashville. Nashville’s not really a hotbed for hip-hop culture, but I started doing graffiti there really hardcore and breakdancing. Well, I was trying to breakdance, but I was never any good. This is when I was like 14.”
Since the release of Diplo’s early album F10RIDA, the producer has labeled the state as the home of his modest beginnings. Diplo states that Florida is the biggest state for DJ culture as well as Orlando being a significant part of his career. Notably, Diplo mentions Blowfly as a major producer at the time, which also explains his ability to incorporate various genres into his mixes:
“He was one of the biggest songwriters of soul! Miami had this black soul music culture. They had disco on lock. And on top of that, Miami Bass! Today, I feel like all roads lead back to Miami Bass. Old Miami Bass influenced Trick Daddy, then Lil Jon came from that, and then everything we have now—trap music, crunk, all the little steps—came from Miami Bass.”
The two even went back to the days where their path’s first crossed. Diplo accredits A-Trak for being a major agent in pushing him away from the hip-hop scene and more into DJing and electronic music. Particularly, Diplo’s “Philly era” turned out to be a transitional period for the DJ/producer as he began the search for his signature style:
Then, of course, I met you. I think you were a big turning point for me because you got me into a wider array of non hip-hop. You were one of the first DJs I met that was able to do hip-hop—you were like a hero from a hip-hop background—but you were playing other music. I was kind of doing the same thing but you were really in that world. You would mix records in a way where you wouldn’t think twice about it.
You can read the full interview with Diplo about Mad Decent, traveling, and more from Infinite Legroom here.