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Interview:
Major Lazer zeroes in on Mad Decent Block Party
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

After spending much of its summer on the road, the all-star electronic collective Major Lazer has honed its live act into something Jillionaire says "gets the crowds going crazy."

"We wanted to provide a concert-style experience," explains Jillionaire, who became part of Major Lazer with Walshy Fire in 2011, joining Diplo, who started the group three years earlier. "Diplo and I go back-to-back DJing and Walshy is our MC, and we have two dancers on the stage with us.

"I'm from Trinidad and Walshy comes from Jamaica, so we want to take these elements of Caribbean stage shows or live dancehall shows, which have a lot of crowd interaction. We wanted to create the kind of experience that when people leave one of our shows they go, 'Man, that was crazy. I loved that. I want to go back and see those guys again.' "

Between hits from its two albums -- including this year's "Free the Universe" -- mixtapes and remixes for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bruno Mars, No Doubt and others -- Major Lazer has generated plenty of repertoire during the past five years. And more is on the way; Jillionaire, 35, says the group has "already started working on the next album" and plans to camp out during October in Miami to "write with a bunch of different people and come up with some songs."

"Our attitude is we want to work wtih whoever will work with us, as cliche as it might sound," he says. "There's a bunch of reggae dudes and dancehall dudes. We don't have a short list; we just want to work with anybody, whether it's Bruno Mars or Amber from the Dirty Projectors or Ezra (Koenig) from Vampire Weekend and just keep doing what we do and continue to make strong songs that people will like."

Major Lazer performs at the Mad Decent Block Party, which takes place from 2-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in the Elektricity Festival Grounds at 10 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Danny Brown, Dillon Francis, Baauer and others will also perform. Tickets are $28.50. Call 248-599-2212 or visit www.maddecentblockparty.com.

Web Site: www.maddecentblockparty.com

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