Major Lazer

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For the FXX animated television series, see Major Lazer (TV series).
Major Lazer
Diplo and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer @ Flow 2015.jpg
Diplo and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer performing at the Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland, August 2015
Background information
Years active 2009–present
Associated acts
Past members

Major Lazer is an American electronic music band composed of record producer Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire. It was founded by Diplo and Switch, but Switch left in 2011. Its music spans numerous genres, mixing reggae with dancehall, reggaeton, house, and moombahton.[1][2][3][4]

Major Lazer has released three full-length albums: Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do in 2009, Free the Universe in 2013, and Peace Is the Mission in 2015. It also released an EP entitled Apocalypse Soon in March 2014, which featured vocal contributions from Pharrell Williams and Sean Paul. In addition, Major Lazer has also produced Reincarnated, the debut reggae album by Snoop Dogg under his "Snoop Lion" persona.[5]


2009–11: Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do and Lazers Never Die EP[edit]

Formerly made up of DJ Diplo and Switch, the two were introduced after working with M.I.A.. The duo's first album Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do was released on 16 June 2009, on Downtown Records. It was recorded in Jamaica at Tuff Gong Studios.[6] Vocalists such as Santigold, Vybz Kartel, Ward 21, Busy Signal, Nina Sky, Amanda Blank, Mr. Vegas, Turbulence, Mapei, T.O.K, Prince Zimboo, Leftside and others contribute guest vocals to the album, as well as additional production from Afrojack and Crookers.[7] This is the first release to come out of the label partnership between Downtown Records and Diplo's label Mad Decent.[8] Major Lazer ended a US tour last summer.[9]

The album's first single was "Hold the Line", the video for which, directed by Ferry Gouw, was nominated for a MTV Video Award in the Breakthrough Video category. "Hold the Line" was also featured in the video game FIFA 10. The track "Zumbie" has a music video that features comedian Andy Milonakis.[10] Music videos for the songs "Pon de Floor", "Keep It Going Louder", and "Bubble Butt" were directed by Eric Wareheim. In June 2009, Major Lazer were featured for the first time on the cover of the publication The FADER, in its 62nd issue.[11] Major Lazer performed at the Falls Music & Arts Festival (Lorne, Victoria, Australia) on 30 December 2009 and the Coachella Music Festival in April 2010. They also performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival in July 2010 and the Sasquatch Music Festival on Monday 30 May 2011. Live visuals were created by Pomp&Clout. Major Lazer performed at the 2011 Outside Lands festival in San Francisco.[12]

A mixtape with La Roux entitled "Lazerproof" was made available for free download on 26 May.[13] Diplo posted cover art on his Twitpic. It is the character Major Lazer in War Machine's silver suit, Elly Jackson of La Roux in the signature Iron Man suit, and Whiplash, the villain in the Iron Man 2 movie. On 20 June 2010, the group released an EP titled Lazers Never Die. It contained two new songs and three remixes, by Thom Yorke and others. Switch provided production for Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)", which sampled "Pon de Floor". Major Lazer also features in the track, "Look at Where We Are", from the extended version of Hot Chip's album In Our Heads, released June 2011.

2012–13: Free the Universe and Apocalypse Soon EP[edit]

Diplo and Jillionaire performing at the Congress Theater, Chicago, in 2013.

Major Lazer's live shows previously included hype man Skerrit Bwoy,[14] although he left the group in 2012 to pursue religion. In 2012, Major Lazer began working with Snoop Dogg to produce some tracks that were to be included on his new reggae project. Along with the project came his new alter ego persona known as "Snoop Lion". Switch left the collaborative effort due to "creative differences" as claimed by Diplo. He departed in late 2011 and was replaced with DJ/Producer Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. Also, Boaz van de Beatz, artist from Mad Decent (record label of Diplo), has collaborated with most of the group albums and is considered a member of the group. In September 2012, Major Lazer announced that its upcoming album, Free the Universe, would be released on 12 March 2013 on Mad Decent. They also announced Fall 2012 tour dates.[15]

Major Lazer partly produced UK singer Rita Ora's debut album, Ora. Major Lazer worked with No Doubt for their sixth studio album, Push and Shove. The album's title track features producers Major Lazer and Jamaican reggae artist Busy Signal, and was released as a promotional single in August 2012. Major Lazer launched their Fall Tour 2012 in October, with shows in Oakland, Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York City, amongst others.

In February 2013, Major Lazer signed with indie record label Secretly Canadian. At the same time, they announced the new release date, 16 April, for their album Free the Universe. They also announced the Free the Universe 2013 World Tour, which will run all spring.

2015: Peace Is the Mission and Music Is the Weapon[edit]

Walshy Fire of Major Lazer performing at Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland, August 2015

On February 8, 2015, during the Grammy Award ceremony, Diplo revealed details of the third Major Lazer album. He confirmed that the album would incorporate artists such as Ariana Grande, Ellie Goulding and Pusha T. It is called Peace Is the Mission.

The first single, "Lean On", is a collaboration with French producer DJ Snake and features vocals from Danish recording artist . The album was released on June 1, 2015.[16] The song was first offered to Rihanna and then Nicki Minaj, who both turned it down and Major Lazer expressed that no one could've done a better job than MØ in the recording. [17] The song reached number 4 on the US Billboard's Hot 100 chart and number 2 in the UK charts. It also became Spotify's most streamed song of all time [18] while reaching just over 1.5 billion views on YouTube, making it the 8th most viewed video on the site. [19]

In an interview with inthemix on May 22, 2015, Walshy Fire announced that their fourth studio album is called Music Is the Weapon and that it would be released late 2015 or early 2016.[20] Diplo revealed on the 27th of April 2015 during an interview with Belgian radio station Studio Brussel that they have been working on a track with Belgian singer Selah Sue. He added that it might appear on their next album.[21] Selah Sue herself confirmed this during an interview with Studio Brussels on May 4, 2015.

On November 27, 2015, Major Lazer released a re-issue of their third studio album Peace is the Mission, re-titled as "Peace is the Mission: Extended" which features five additional songs.[22] They had over 27 million tags in music identification service Shazam in 2015. As an artist, Diplo along with his other collaboration Jack Ü, had the greatest number of Shazams in 2015.[23]

In July 2016, "Cold Water" featuring vocals from and Justin Bieber was released. It debuted at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 in several other countries including on the UK Official Charts. [24] On September 30, 2016, "Believer", a collaboration with Dutch production duo Showtek, was released as the second single from Major Lazer's upcoming album Music Is The Weapon.


Studio albums

Television series[edit]

A Major Lazer animated series premiered on April 16, 2015 on FXX. Diplo serves as co-creator and executive producer of the show.[25]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Nominee/Work Outcome Ref
2016 NRJ Music Awards Best Live Performance Major Lazer Nominated [26]
Best Single Dance/Electro "Light It Up" Nominated
Best Collaboration of the Year Major Lazer Won
Billboard Music Awards Top Dance/Electronic Song Lean On Won
American Music Awards Favorite Artist - Electronic Dance Music Major Lazer Nominated [27]


  1. ^ "Interview - EDM Band Interview - Major Lazer (USA)". 
  2. ^ Jeffries, David. Peace Is the Mission at AllMusic. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Dolan, Jon (June 2, 2015). "Major Lazer's New Album: Peace Is the Mission". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ Ma-less. "Diplo & Major Lazer - Meet the People Keeping Moombahton Alive - Complex CA". Complex CA. 
  5. ^ Blistein, Jon. "Snoop Lion and Major Lazer Host Raucous Bash in Austin". Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  6. ^ Dacks, David (6 May 2012). "Major Lazer Shoots To Thrill • Interviews •". Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Major Lazer (Diplo + Switch) to Release "Digital Reggae" LP | News". Pitchfork. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Diplo takes Mad Decent Downtown". SoundBleed. Retrieved 2016-01-27. 
  9. ^ Deluca, Dan "The songs of summer", Philadelphia Inquirer
  10. ^ "Major Lazer, Zumbie Video", Filter magazine
  11. ^ FADER, The (16 June 2009). "We Part (and Make Magazines)". The FADER. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Outside Lands 2011 lineup". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Major Lazer, La Roux Team for Mixtape | News". Pitchfork. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Major Lazer Bio". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "UPDATE: Major Lazer's Free The Universe Release". 11 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Diplo's Major Lazer Announce New Album Peace Is The Mission Featuring Collaborations with Pusha T, Ellie Goulding, 2 Chainz, Ariana Grande, More". Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Diplo wanted Rihanna or Nicki Minaj to sing on Lean On". Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  18. ^ "Major Lazer & DJ Snake's 'Lean On' Becomes Spotify's Most-Streamed Song of All Time". Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  19. ^ majorlazer (2015-03-22), Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On (feat. MØ) (Official Music Video), retrieved 2016-08-04 
  20. ^ a b "Major Lazer are "almost sure" they'll be in Australia this summer". Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Major Lazer neemt nummer op met Selah Sue". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "Major Lazer Announce Expanded Edition of Peace Is the Mission". Pitchfork. 
  23. ^ "Diplo is the most Shazamed artist of 2015". Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "Major Lazer, Justin Bieber & MØ Throw 'Cold Water' On Drake, Top Charts In Australia & More". Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  25. ^ "Major Lazer cartoon series to premiere on FXX next month". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Palmares NRJ DJ AWARDS 2016 - Meilleurs DJs". (in French). Retrieved 2016-11-14. 
  27. ^ Template:Title=AMAs 2016: See the Full List of Winners

External links[edit]