Major Lazer's Walshy Fire on Most EDM Stars: "These Guys Aren't DJing"
Major Lazer's Walshy Fire, Diplo, and Jillionaire.
Major Lazer shows are unlike anything else you'll see at an EDM fest.
The Diplo-led crew's performances are an enthralling orgy of confetti-spraying machine guns, hyper-sexual dancing, and human-sized hamster balls, all set to a peculiar mixture of dancehall, dubstep, pop, and every other genre the always-restless Diplo feels like throwing in the mix.
Leading this circus when they take the stage at Ultra Music Festival for the second consecutive weekend will be Carol City native Walshy Fire, who replaced diminutive daggering don Skerrit Bwoy as the group's MC last year.
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A longtime Miami-area club DJ and radio personality with 96 Mixx FM, Walshy comes to Major Lazer after years revving up crowds with Black Chiney Sound, the local reggae DJ crew known for dusting off sound bwoys worldwide with their wicked selection of dancehall dubplates and hip-hop remixes.
Crossfade spoke with Walshy about his new role in the group, why most EDM shows suck, and which part of Florida Diplo really comes from.
Explain your role in Major Lazer. Today when people hear "MC," they usually think "rapper," but that's not what you do.
Major Lazer is basically a Jamaican sound system in its roots. Everything that we do is always rooted in something dancehall or reggae. On your Jamaican sound systems, you have a selector and you have your MC. Basically, [Diplo] is the selector and I'm the MC. He's the one that picks the records and mixes the records and I'm the one that's out front and presents the records to people, makes speeches that makes the records make sense, and pulls up the records. I give the crowd humor when it's time to give them humor, emotion when it's time to give them emotion, and just keep the whole vibe intense throughout the whole set.
I want to really stress, these [EDM] guys aren't DJing. They pre-mix the whole set. This is why there has to be so many lights for so many of these guys. Because they don't have anything unique about them, and they all actually play the same songs, just their remix of it. Some people that's fine for them, they're happy with that. I'm not mad at them. After going to so many of these shows, I see why everybody across the world likes it. It's so basic, you don't have to think hard, and you don't have to know the language. But after a while you kinda go, "So for all you guys who like this but also like other stuff, why don't we do something for you?"
At an EDM festival, I think we're the only group that plays a salsa song... and the place goes crazy. I see other DJs look at us and go that got a lot of love. So yeah, play the hits, but put something else in there and do something different. I think that's what our show is all about. Our delivery is unique, our music is unique, and our fans are unique people.
Major Lazer has a new album, Free the Universe, coming out in a few weeks. Were you a part of it?
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.
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