Major Lazer has a new album, Free the Universe, coming out in a few weeks. Were you a part of it?
The album was kind of done before I joined. It definitely got my input in picking the songs, putting them in order. This album isn't what people would expect from us. We want this album to be the best thing we've collectively ever done. For sure I'm working on all the projects happening since I started in Major Lazer.
Ultra will be your first couple of shows in Miami since officially joining Major Lazer.
This is the one I'm gonna go all out on. I gotta represent the 305. Born and raised in the County of Dade, grew up in Carol City, went to North Miami Beach High School. It's everything I am. That's why I support everything that comes from my city. When I come back home, it's not a question that I will walk away from it and say this is the greatest moment of my life.
I understand that Diplo has said that Black Chiney mixtapes were one of his inspirations for forming Major Lazer.
Diplo has that Florida tattoo on his arm for a reason. He's from Plantation. He went to South Plantation High School. If you're from Florida or have any knowledge of any dancehall from the last ten years, you naturally know Black Chiney. Anything to do with remixing dancehall and hip-hop, people definitely would give the nod to Black Chiney as the inspiration. For this to all come full circle to where now I'm a part of helping Major Lazer get the message out, it's almost like the stars and the sun and the Earth and the moon have all aligned to make what should be happening happen.
Dancehall is not as big as it used to be. What are some of the things you do to open up this EDM crowd that's not used to dancehall tempos or patois to get them interested in it? Major Lazer is succeeding with that, in a way no one else really is.
I think it's just our overall delivery. We explain what's happening and make it fun so that people will walk away going, "I wanna go do some research. Let me see who Johnny Osbourne is, let me see who Busy Signal is, and begin to understand what this dancehall is." Because you're absolutely right. It's not what it used to be. My sole purpose with this Major Lazer thing is to bring back some glory and international exposure [for] reggae and dancehall.
Ultra Music Festival 2013. With Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, Tiesto, Avicii, and others. Friday, March 22, to Sunday, March 24. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Visit ultramusicfestival.com. Follow @CountyGrind