Shop UO UO Blog

128 beats per minute:

Diplo's visual guide to music, culture and everything in between

Photographed by Shane McCauley

We go behind-the-scenes of Diplo's new
travel book and ask him the tough questions—like,
have you ever made out with a flight attendant?

Buy the book

How many hours do you sleep a night?

I try to sleep eight but usually it's like four.

If you had to estimate how many frequent flyer miles you had, what would you guess?

I dunno. Some airlines I don't even check! I know it's a huge mistake. I fly American a lot and I've reached a million every year and they gave me some special badge. I'm very proud of it but no one seems to care. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We care.] But, I do use my miles...I flew some of my Mad Decent crew out to Hawaii when I had a show out there. I do use these miles, I tell ya!

How old were you when you first left the country and where did you go?

I was 20 and I went to India. It had a profound effect on me...it was after these earthquakes in Pakistan and I went to document the relief effort with a professor I had and then I traveled around for four months by motorcycle. I still can't believe some of the mad things I did back then. My friend who had been AWOL from the army sold me the motorcycle in Delhi for a few hundred and I rode it for hours in the night to avoid traffic and the heat. I covered a lot of ground. Still to this day I can't believe I rode that thing in India. Avoiding cows on the road was difficult.

What's the best way to win the heart of a local when you can't speak the language?

You just have to be positive and when someone knows your passion and love for their home, that makes them proud.

How many words can you say in:

Spanish: Over 40
Japanese: At least 50
Portuguese: It's getting less and less each year
English: Still working on this one
Post-Achaemenid Aramaic: Isn't this what Jesus spoke? Don't know this one yet.

Have you ever made out with a flight attendant? If so, which airline(s)?

I invited a girl on Tam Airlines to a party in São Paulo once...she was extremely beautiful. Brazil is the only place where I can guarantee beautiful stewardesses. America sort of let it go. The women are friendly and professional, but you don't have that Mad Men mile-high fantasy happening much.

What's a place you haven't visited yet but where you really want to go?

The rest of Africa. I've been to Joburg and Durban and Cape Town. But I've had to miss offers in the rest of Africa. Soon I will go!

Do you use a neck pillow?

Sometimes I do, but usually I forget and then I just use my sweater scrumped in a ball. Neck pillows are easy to steal from airports though. I don't do that anymore but I'm just letting you know—they don't really care at airports.

Do you pack your own suitcase?

If you mean throwing everything into a big pile five minutes after I was supposed to leave...then, yes.

Do you take your own shampoo, or just use what's in the hotel?

Man, I only wash my hair like twice a week. Unless you can smoke in the club. I have the thinnest, softest hair ever. If I wash it I look like Kurt Cobain.

Which airline has the best first class?

All the classes are pretty equal, some lounges are killer though. All the Arabic airlines. Qantas in Sydney; Turkish in Istanbul; and JAL in Tokyo are some where I wouldn't mind starting a family in those lounges.

What do you get to drink on planes?

I used to drink whatever was getting me loose enough to watch romantic comedies, but now I'm really into water and sleep.

Do you ever get sick of meeting people all day? How do you cope with it?

No, I love meeting people. It's usually the promoters that get on my nerves. One lesson I learned: always tap your fists...too many handshakes may give you the flu.

Have you ever made a song on a flight?

Lots of ideas start on flights...mostly the weird ones. A recent song, "Go!" with Oliver Twizt, I did on a flight. It's just hard to mix on the flights!

Scenario: The only movie on the plane that you haven't already seen is a Jennifer Aniston rom-com. Do you watch it?

Definitely not. I have two films on my laptop always... Down by Law and Big Trouble In Little China. If all else fails I can watch these films 20 times.

Have you ever had any revelations while staring out an airplane window into darkness?

Lots of cool things are seen from airplanes, man. My first trip to Brazil, with no money or idea where I was staying, I had a revelation that just said "Fuck it."

What's your favorite yoga pose?

Totally not into that one where stick your hands out over your shoulder and lift one leg up the other direction and make a big T. My hips don't work that way.

Have you ever had anyone in TSA ask for an autograph? Did you give it to them?

Man, it only happens in JFK and it's always really cute black girls. And yes, I did.

Buy the book