DJ and music producer Diplo joins country music star Orville Peck on the cover of the May issue of Attitude to talk cowboys, queer influence in mainstream music and how isolation and loneliness have fueled their creativity.
Orville Peck on Diplo:
“The thing I really like about Wes is his sense of humour. My kind of sense of humour is pretty silly. And I think Wes is similar. We’re usually making fun of pop culture or things like that.”
Diplo on Orville Peck:
“When I saw him pushing the envelope, I was like, ‘Damn, I love that.’ He forced his way in. Now, everybody is paying attention. When we went to the Grammys together everybody was just pushing me out the way to get to him. I realised right then his impact was really big.”
Orville Peck on country music’s queerness:
“I’m surprised more gay people don’t feel connected to country music, and that’s mostly because of the stigma that country music as an establishment has kind of pushed… The thing that I connected with country music when I was a kid is it’s about isolation, heartbreak, disappointment. That’s the gay experience for everyone at some point. I feel like that music is written for people who feel like the minority or feel somehow alienated. Somehow the stigma got twisted around where it’s like, oh this music is for well-adjusted, straight white men or whatever. And I actually disagree. I think that it’s meant to be for people who feel like freaks.”
Diplo pays respect to queer influence in music:
“It’s always been the queer artists that have changed the way music exists. The original guys who were creating hip-hop were queer. House music, Baltimore Club, New Orleans bounce music - every time there’s a genre that falls out of nothing, it’s always been kind of like the queer scene that created that. It’s always been in the underground. It’s like Vogue that Madonna put out, and she’s always shown respect and love, but it’s always been the queer community who have to scratch it out of nothing. I think that’s back to the fearlessness because when you have that energy — the masculine energy, the feminine — you’re taking all the risks because there’s nothing to lose. I think it might be challenging for some straight men, but for queer artists it’s kind of second nature. They’re able to go wherever they want and, like I said, there’s no walls.”
Orville on feeling a sense of isolation throughout his life:
“I still feel it to this day. It’s insane. I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m having the most success I’ve ever had in my life. But I still wake up on days and feel lonely and feel sad. It doesn’t really make sense on paper. It’s not even just queer people, I think it’s a lot of people. Especially these days, if you somehow feel on the outskirts of things or you somehow feel like your perspective is marginalized, it’s really difficult. I feel very grounded and happy, but I still carry a pretty healthy dose of loneliness and insecurity and anxiety and I think I’ll probably always have that. I had a family that was very supportive and loving, but I still grew up in a society where I didn’t see myself represented very much, and I didn’t feel that I had all the opportunities that everyone else had.”
Diplo on channeling his negative emotions into creativity:
“I think the more you have to deal with your emotions, like the heavier they are, you’re going to have a stronger sense of being a creator and creating. The people I meet that are the strongest creators, they’re always teetering on, like almost losing their minds... I’ve always found that, too, in myself. Of course I deal with loneliness. I deal with emotion all the time. I channel, I write lyrics as well for others. Some of the songs I’ve worked on, I do find it a fine line to balance how far can you go, and how far do you have to go to seek help even for your problems. I think it’s something we could talk about as well. But I do find a level of emotional instability and a level of creativity being hand-in-hand.”
Diplo and Orville Peck were photographed by Taylor Miller.
Featured on a second cover is The Royal Ballet principal dancer Marcelino Sambé, photographed by Kosmas Pavlos. Also, in this issue: Joesef, Lipsynka, Nathan Graham, Jack Rowan, and the long history of 'They' pronouns.