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Watch, Read or Listen to Diplo talk about shaking up Country music with Kelleigh Bannen

Diplo sits down with Kelleigh in celebration of his second country project ‘Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley: Chapter 2 – Swamp Savant.’ The DJ/producer/hitmaker talks creative process, being a cultural renegade, and shaking things up in country with other adventurous artists.

Tune in and listen to the episode in-full this Friday (June 2nd) at 7am PT / 9am CT / 10am ET / 3pm UK or anytime on-demand at apple.co/_TodaysCountry.

Diplo Tells Apple Music About the Country Music Audience

I think people that work in the country industry think too much that their audiences are purists. There are some country purists, they’re really, they’re there. They keep some things in check and they kind of guide a certain style of country to be beautiful and great but at the end of the day, I grew up in South Florida and I was listening to country just as much as hip hop and just as much as pop music and I never really, as I got older, I got even more varied… [and] as I got older, living here in Nashville, I lived in Hendersonville, the music was hand in hand. We listen to Three 6 Mafia and you listen to Alan Jackson… I do think purists underestimate the audience.

Diplo Tells Apple Music About Creating Space for Everyone in Country Music

There’s room for everybody, especially in country. I think a younger audience definitely sees that there’s a lot more stories to be told in country music. It’s not just songs about whiskey and beer and things. There’s other stories to tell and there’s other messages. And it’s cool to lean into even more classic styles of country that are becoming big now like what someone like Charley Crockett does or whatever and it’s like funky.

Diplo Tells Apple Music About Making Country Music to Dance To

For this [record], I definitely was thinking of Stagecoach. I was like, “What works live? What can I do that’s uptempo, has energy?” And I tapped into that urban cowboy vibe. Why can’t you dance to country music? And I’m not talking about line dancing, which I still want to learn those… I want to make a record like Watermelon Crawl or Boot Scootin’ Boogie or something one day. But that’s tailored to a honky tonk.

Diplo Tells Apple Music About His Writing and Producing Process

I’m always making things. I’m not a great guitar player by any means, but I can play some chords and drop chords. Usually every country player is a writer and is a virtuous sort a guitar but I’m kind of there tracking. I’m like, “Oh yeah, stop there!” And I just record a little piece of the guitar and I’m like, “Okay.” And I have my headphones on and I kind of play it, do some things to it and they’re like, “Whoa, what’d you do?”… And then I flipped the record quick and they’re confused by writing and producing at the same time… So it’s a learning curve ’cause people usually just want to have a guitar and that’s it. And they play. But I’m always tracking and recording and trying to, that’s how I write.

Diplo Tells Apple Music About Nashville Being Supportive of his Project

There hasn’t been a lot of naysayers… especially in Nashville, it might be the most supportive place I’ve been to… I was like, “Okay, I’m done with this [record] now. I got maybe one more song I’m going to finish.” And then it’s a lot of work to do these records… but now… we have all these people calling up, “I got this record for your project. I want to do this.” And I’m like… “Where were you at a month ago when I was rapping the record?” So, nobody wants to be the first person to jump off the bridge, you know? Or whatever. The water’s not even that deep. I’m just going to always jump off. I’m going off first and showing you guys it’s safe and I’m like happy there are guys who do it, like Morgan [Wallen] or Paul [Cauthen] or whoever that are able to trust me and do it because at the end of the day, what do you got to lose?

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