Diplo-Matic Situation Escalates

deephouseamsterdam picked up the story about booing at Robot Heart, saying:

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.

From globaldanceelectronichq:

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.



diplo skrillex ot

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.

Syd Gris's photo.
Syd Gris's photo.
Syd Gris's photo.

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)

diplo skrillex ot

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.

Diplo and Skrillex Booed Off the Decks at Robot Heart [Updates]

Jack U got jacked. It seems the Burner ear is slightly more discerning than “Turn down for what”

PulseRadio breaks it down:

2014 robot heart sunrise...One [story] that has just come our way involves Seth Troxler, Skrillex and Diplo at the infamous Robot Heart Bus.

Seth Troxler was scheduled for a set on the Robot Heart decks on Wednesday night, though as a source in attendance informs us, the Detroit DJ refused to play after his entourage was denied access to join him behind the decks. Looking to fill Troxler’s slot, organisers quickly replaced him with dance music’s hottest duo Jack U, aka Skrillex and Diplo, who just happened to be present at the time (the pair were at the festival to play at Camp Question Mark the following evening).

Crisis averted it would seem, with Skrillex reported to have played “a pretty cool set”. However things took a turn for the worse when Skrilly tagged in his pal Diplo, who made the unfortunate decision to drop DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s ‘Turn Down for What’. The result? An unfortunate booing from the crowd which brought an abupt end to the set. The Robot Heart vibe was then swiftly restored by scorching sets from Tale Of Us and Thugfucker.

All’s well that ends well?

You can check out some of the amazing photos from Burning Man 2014 here.

2014 robot heart jacku

2014 skrillex robot heart

[Update 9/2/14 9:00am]

We have some eyewitness accounts from Burners


This is such a bullshit article. This did not happen 

H(e)at(h)er (different last name):

This is so not true. This show rocked and nobody booed


It’s totally true, was there. Robot heart is deep house vibes not top 40 bullshit edm


It’s all true, I was there. However, missed the boo’ing part because we left 3 songs into skrillex’s set due to awfulness….


They deserved it.. They were both a disgrace…. particularly Diplo’s dumb ass dropping that fucking power 106 hip hop drop noise that they always dub over horrible hip hop songs to try to spice them up (like DJ Khaled… just annoying as shit) CONSTANTLY during the burning of the embrace…. Fucking joke ass DJ trying to ruin the vibe for thousands people on purpose just because he’s loaded with millions and arrogant as shit and thinks its funny? yeah… go ahead and NEVER come back EVERR please and thankyou. The best music all weekend wasnt even on big stages… all the legit HEADS were pretty much mostly randoms you’ve never heard of that were DJing art cars and still BLOW AWAY anything Diplo or Skrillex could ever hope to do on a dancefloor. I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of someone who likes them that doesn’t have to get turned up to lil jon levels of fucked up on drugs just to enjoy their tunes… so I guess the song was fitting.


article doesn’t mention that skrillex couldn’t mix any records and they also played toto africa. worst set i have ever seen. raped the robot


Diplo is a d bag. I was there and he did that shit on purpose cause he doesn’t like underground. He deserved every bit of it, and who cares about that fool we were all there for tale of us anyway!


Good for Troxler for not putting up w robot heart’s elitism. I would have loved a set from him but they control who is on the bus (even when it’s not crowded). They have created an exclusive art car against the radical inclusion principle.


Speaking as a person THAT WAS THERE, this article got it wrong. Diplo mixed Toto Africa into TD4W and the place went off. At the end of TD4W Diplo cut it off, “Turn down for……”. It totally worked as Thugfucker was up next to play much more down tempo sunrise set. I think it was a good set, Robot Heart was going off, and the people were into it and accepting of it. Not what you would expect to hear at Robot Heart, but very cool. From my perspective every one was cheering at the end, but if there was boing (complaining) it could have been because they thought the system died because he cut the song.

[Update 9/2/14 2:25pm]

Diplo has issued a public statement on Twitter about these events.

We’d love to see that video, if anyone has a link.

Note that he’s not disputing playing “Turn Down For What”, which he’s obviously very proud of. In fact, he’s proud of the whole incident:

From EDM.com:

EDM.com’s very own David Lee Crow (Ghastly) was with the Jack U crew at the Robot Heart stage and witnessed firsthand the lack of serious demeanor, as this was certainly something Diplo played for a chuckle and not for shock value. They were traveling from stage to stage playing randomly, and like many professionals have done in the past, Diplo played a small joke on the crowd.

This is definitely not unheard of as Deadmau5 was lauded for playing the Ol’ McDonald version of “Animals” at Ultra Music Festival this past March.

Perhaps Diplo got into the spirit of Burning Man, and was pranking the crowd.

"Diplo, next time just get your sherpa to press play"

“Diplo, next time just get your sherpa to press play”

[Update 9/2/14 8:53pm]

A few more comments. I made a joke about the sherpa, but Skrillex DID in fact have a sherpa, who came in to adjust the levels for him:

Zach:  The Robot Heart morning Skrillex was train wrecking the entire time – people kept coming up and adjusting his levels for him. He looked super fucked up

….I know for a fact that it happened because I was there booing… I usually like skrillex but he was train wrecking so hard that it was unlistenable. Like I said before, there were multiple people helping skrillex with his audio levels… Though watching Diplo’s face cringe every time skrillex f’ed up was hilarious… The only thing that I disagree with was the set time, they did play for about an hour…. Also, it’s not a matter of the 10 principals – just because your name is skrillex/diplo doesnt mean you can get away with what was unquestionably the sloppiest set that I have heard from two professionals – let alone two professionals that are considered all stars of the industry.

Darkwad Black:

I was there. And they really did suck.


I saw Skrillex that night… They were at Root Society opening night after Bootie… Totally sucked! I saw soooo many people just walking away… First time ever… When he started complaining there were too many men and not enough women dancing on stage, that’s when I left… Embarrassing at best…

A DJ? Super fucked up at Burning Man? They’re doing it wrong! LOL