Ori Kaplan, frontman for Tel Aviv-based melting-pot collective Balkan Beat Box, recognizes that Jason Derulo -- whose massive 2014 hit “Talk Dirty” was driven by a sampled horn groove from the band’s “Hermetico” -- made their music accessible to mainstream audiences, but he wants to make sure to give credit where credit is due.
“Actually, the first [mainstream] guy who discovered us and tried to communicate with us and put our sound in the pop world was Diplo," he tells Billboard from Tel Aviv ahead of Balkan Beat Box's U.S. tour, which hits Los Angeles' Troubadour on Tuesday night (Sept. 20). "And the first thing was [when] our song 'Bulgarian Chicks' was featured in Mac Miller['s 'Goosebumpz']."
That said, Kaplan appreciates how much Derulo’s hit was a total game-changer for the band. “Basically, it gave us the power to take things in our own hands," he says. "We started our own label and we put money back into the band and so we could make videos and support singles when they come out. It gave us artistic freedom to keep being this artsy workshop that we are.”