Being a multi-million dollar grossing DJ doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get the same amount of adoration everywhere you go. This is exactly what Diplo and Skrillex found out the hard way during the third day of Burning Man.
Diplo has responded to the early reports of Jack U being reportedly booed off the stage. What is for sure is Diplo did in fact play the commercial tune, ‘Turn Down For What’, as joke to close off their techno set at the Robot Heart Stage. Skrillex and Diplo have been jumping from stage to stage at Burning Man delivering different sets at each performance.
Diplo has been quick to dismiss all of this as rumor, while still standing behind his decision to play the song as an “inside joke:
“Despite rumors .. I wanna thank robot heart crew for putting together and awesome lineup or surprise guests and attendees that is gettin lost in a really lame false news story.. Although robot heart is anonymous and strictly a deeply quiet crew .. One of the founders .. Jaspn swamy loves this funny moment and is astounded that this is one of the busiest press stories from this years burning man.. Not only me and skrillex popped in but also above and beyond , thievery corp and Seth and many more underground artists.. No one is ever listed or promoted and all the lineups word of mouth .. I have been friends of Jason (who’s has booked me outside of bm in other countries) for many years and nothing on hear articles is true .. There was no booing .. No bad vibes … Nothing about seth troxler was true either… I wanna say one thing… I’m a dj thru and thru .. We did about 8 sets thru our few days at BM.. Ranging from trap dubstep at question mark to uk bass on the opulent temple .. Dub and classic reggae on the dancestranaught car and even deep techno and tribal house on robot heart.. Everyone on stage had a fun moment when we played a few tunes as we were Just killing time while the next dj was setting up.. We weren’t kicked off or booed .. Jus wrapped our set up with an inside joke … And of all the stories to come out after an amazing week… This is pretty tabloidish that’s not what burningman is about.. Everything we did there was good fun and all the people that attended knows it..”
Despite Diplo’s claims, we have a number of eyewitness accounts corroborating (and disputing) the booing. Of course, he has a lot of money riding on this, in terms of his bookability as a major international festival DJ. That is, if you think the Robot Heart crowd is cool and influential. I think they are; although I wasn’t there this year, every other time their crowd has been first-rate.
Diplo is one of the biggest stars in the $6.2 billion EDM market. Even his lawyer is a rising star.
The addition of [Diplo’s lawyer David] Rappaport will help build the firm’s new artist and electronic dance music (EDM) roster.
EDM has grown into a $6.2 billion business, according to a recent report, and Diplo (currently on the cover of Billboard) is among its biggest stars whose successful Mad Decent label and block party events have helped earn him some $12 million in 2014.
Syd Gris has publicly stepped up to Jack-U’s defense, saying that Skrillex and Diplo killed it at Opulent Temple, and their 7 other gigs on the Playa.
What’s kinda bugging me is how many links and stories are going around about if Diplo & Skrillex were booed off at Robot Heart. Like really? That’s the biggest music story to be told from BM this year? Let me stand up and say NO, it isn’t.
After 2 years and near misses of talking to Skrillex’s team about playing at OT, we were excited to see it finally happen this year. The fact Diplo was in the mix with him was all the more exciting.
They bought their own tickets, asked for no special treatment and came out, and despite being scheduled back to back to play separately, played a 2+ hour awesome tag set as ‘Jack U’ of infectious excellent eclectic party music. People had an amazing time and I know the other sets they played with Roots Soceity, Dancetronauts and others were awesome. They were super friendly, down to earth and totally classy when they were at OT.
Let THAT be the dominant narrative of them coming to play BM. 2 music lovers who shared what they do well with thousands of other happy music lovers. The obsession with if they did or didn’t get booed off (one website is offering money to anyone with a video of it) is to me cheap, gossipey and a bottom feeding waste of time. If Diplo did depart from Robot Heart’s generally ultra deep ethos to challenge the norm, good on him. If people really booed cause their expectations were so threatened, they really need to loosen up.
Let’s focus on the do-ers, the creators and gifting, not the drama. Thank you.
This has been corroborated by some OT fans:
Dan: Opulent Temple, the Jack-U set was one of the top 3 shows of my life. Absolutely incredible! Does anyone have a download of their set? Want to listen to it on repeat for the next month!
Tony: Im not a fan of Skrillex, to be honest I didnt even know who he was or what he played, but we ended up at OT when he came on and all i saw was a couple thousand kids having the time of their life dancing their hearts out…so whatever it is that people are bitching about him playing Burning Man i dont quite understand? What i saw happening at OT seemed to me to be exactly why we all go to the playa…to have a great time! Thanks Syd and all of the OT crew who do it for the love of the people…we thank you!
Erin: One of the most epic performance experiences of my life!…during Skrillex/Diplo set. Thank you, OT, Syd Gris, and all the amazing crew who helped make this happen! Xoxoxo! $ (I’m the lucky batch in flight, in the top right corner)
I think rather than a DJ faux pas, this sounds more like yet another Burning Man prank that fizzled on its ass to some of the crowd. People couldn’t tell the difference between satire, snark, prank, or a sign of the broader commercialization that seems to be rapidly gentrifying the event. What’s funny to the San Francisco crowd might not be taken the same way in Miami, Las Vegas, New York, London, and so on. Burners are not your typical EDM festival crowd. For starters, they’re all surviving together in one of the harshest environments in the world. And they’re probably not all doing shots from a bottle of Grey Goose with a sparkler in it.
Perhaps the Burner boos were themselves a prank. The Burners were not really booing, they were just being ironic.
Speaking of irony (or is it?), the hilarious BRC Weekly piece on Earning Man with their re-framing of the Tin Principles was outstanding and is highly recommended.