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Major Lazer: Shepherds Bush Empire

by Gig Reporters 2012

Fusing together a variety of different musical genres the likes of Reggae, Hip Hop and Electro House, the exciting DJ project known as Major Lazer performed to a sell out crowd at music venue Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Thursday 19th April 2012. The man behind the project is of course American DJ Diplo; also a producer and songwriter, Diplo has worked with a variety of high profile artists that include Beyonce, No Doubt and Usher.

It was his collaboration with female artist M.I.A that laid the foundations for the Major Lazer project. Through his work with M.I.A, he was introduced to fellow DJ and producer Switch, and with their encounter, Major Lazer were born. Heavily influenced by the pair’s love for Jamaican dancehall music, this love for this genre of music became the source inspiration for their debut album, the comically titled; ‘Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do’. Recorded in Jamaica, the record features guest vocals and appearances from Jamaican artists such as Santigold, Nina Sky and Mr Vegas on each track. The album performed commercially and critically very well and spawned the track “Hold the Line” for which its music video was nominated for a prestigious MTV music video award and the song itself was featured in the popular computer game FIFA 10.

The group continued to work with and mix a number of tracks for high profile artists, adding their musical mark and impression on their work. A play on with words on La Roux’s signature pop track ‘Bulletproof’, Major Lazer worked together to produce a mix tape entitled ‘Lazerproof’. For international R’n’B female star Beyonce, member Switch worked on production for her popular song “Run the World (Girls)” which itself used a sample of Major Lazer track “Pon de Floor”. More recently in 2010, Major Lazer worked with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and produced an EP titled ‘Lazers Never Die’.

The duo has since become a solo musical effort with Switch leaving and Diplo becoming the main focal point of the project. Performing a live set in front of hundreds at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, WinkBall video reporters Archie and Daniel were at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire speaking to fans of Major Lazer and finding out what had brought them down to the gig and what they loved about this exciting musical project.

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