Arguably, Major Lazer should have already been nominated for a Grammy.
Exploding onto the scene in 2009 with its debut Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do, the trio — which currently features Diplo, Walshy Fire and Ape Drums, who replaced Jillionaire in 2019 — exerted major and sustained influence over the sound of mainstream electronic music during the height of the EDM era, helping introduce South American, Caribbean, African and Middle Eastern sounds and artists to the U.S. scene via hits like “Pon De Floor,” “Watch Out For This (Bumaye),” “Jah No Partial,” “Light It Up,” “Cold Water” and “Lean On,” with the lattermost making history as Spotify’s then-most streamed song of all time.
But while Diplo was winning Grammys as part of Jack Ü with Skrillex and alongside Mark Ronson as Silk City, Major Lazer never got the Grammys nod — until this year. The trio is up for the best dance/electronic album award for the Reloaded version of their 2020 Music Is The Weapon LP. The album is quintessential Major Lazer, mixing world sounds with hyphy beats and a no scrubs fleet of collaborators including J. Balvin, El Alfa, Sia, Labrinth, Shenseea, Mr. Eazi, French Montana, Nicki Minaj, Marcus Mumford and Skip Marley.
For a group that has accomplished so much, Walshy Fire concedes that winning the Grammy would mean “a lot.” Here, he breaks down the album’s creation process and why a Major Lazer performance on the live telecast would “break the internet into pieces.”
Where and when was Music Is The Weapon made?
Like almost all of our music, this album was made all over the world. I think it really speaks to the message of our music in general. We’re always trying to make the world smaller by making the party bigger.
How long did it take to complete it?
Some of the songs were made right before we turned it in, and some were made years before. We always find a special way to repurpose amazing songs we’ve been sitting on, as well as cooking up something new at the last minute.
Did you know it was special, or a “hit?”
You never really know in today’s music world, but there was definitely a special vibe that we felt with that batch of music.
Why do you think the album appealed to Grammy voters?
Gotta be the music.
What were you all doing when you found out you were nominated?
In the group chat, chatting. Then bam!
What do you think the collection of nominated albums says about where the Academy’s tastes currently lie?
I have not been checking how they did it in the past to have a comparison, but I believe there are increasing attempts to make it accurate and authentic.
How absurd was it that “Lean On” didn’t get nominated in 2016?
How amazing is it that we are nominated now for Reloaded!
Does winning awards matter to you guys? How badly do you want this Grammy?
This one would mean a lot considering the work we have put in. Being nominated is exciting, but winning would be an extra special accomplishment as a group.
If you got the chance to perform on the live show, what would you do?
Create history. Put on a show that would break the internet into pieces.
What’s the best Grammy afterparty you’ve been to?
To be honest, we have been blessed to be a part of the music community and constantly come across talent that amazes us. So every chance to link with peers is a blessing.
If you win, how will you celebrate?
We’ll go out and find some fans!