Diplo and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer performing at Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland, August 2015
Major Lazer is an electronic music group created by record producer Diplo, with current members Jillionaire, Walshy Fire and Boaz van de Beatz. Initially the English DJ and producer Switch was part of the group. However, he and the remaining members parted ways in late 2011. Their music spans numerous music styles, mixing EDM with reggae, dancehall, electronic, reggaeton, house and moombahton genres.
Major Lazer have released three full-length albums – Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do, Free the Universe and Peace Is the Mission, released in 2009, 2013 and 2015 respectively. They have also released an EP entitled Apocalypse Soon in March 2014, which featured vocal contributions from Pharrell Williams and Sean Paul. In addition, Major Lazer have also produced Reincarnated, the debut reggae album by Snoop Dogg under his Snoop Lion persona.
2009–11: Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do and Lazers Never Die EP
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. 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. This is the first release to come out of the label partnership between Downtown Records and Diplo's label Mad Decent. Major Lazer ended a US tour last summer.
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. 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. 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.
A mixtape with La Roux entitled "Lazerproof" was made available for free download on 26 May. 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
Major Lazer's live shows previously included hype man Skerrit Bwoy, 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.
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–present: Peace Is the Mission and Music Is the Weapon
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 MØ. The album was released on June 1, 2015 recorded by grammy nominated engineer Luca Pretolesi at the Wynn Studio operated by Studio DMI (Las Vegas).
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. 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. Selah Sue herself confirmed this during an interview with Studio Brussels on May 4, 2015.
- Studio albums
- Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (2009)
- Free the Universe (2013)
- Peace Is the Mission (2015)
- Music Is the Weapon (TBA)
- Jeffries, David. Peace Is the Mission at AllMusic. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- Dolan, Jon (June 2, 2015). "Major Lazer's New Album: Peace Is the Mission". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Dacks, David (6 May 2012). "Major Lazer Shoots To Thrill • Interviews •". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "Major Lazer (Diplo + Switch) to Release "Digital Reggae" LP | News". Pitchfork. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- [dead link]
- Deluca, Dan "The songs of summer", Philadelphia Inquirer
- "Major Lazer, Zumbie Video", Filter magazine
- FADER, The (16 June 2009). "We Part (and Make Magazines)". The FADER. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Major Lazer, La Roux Team for Mixtape | News". Pitchfork. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Serwer, Jesse (1–7 April 2010). "Skerrit Bwoy". Time Out New York. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "UPDATE: Major Lazer’s Free The Universe Release". Nymn.com. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- "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.
- "Major Lazer are "almost sure" they'll be in Australia this summer". Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "Major Lazer neemt nummer op met Selah Sue". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Major Lazer cartoon series to premiere on FXX next month". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
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