Devoted DON DIABLO fans know that he’s much more than a DJ & producer - he’s a writer, vocalist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Hot off the heels of his recent album ‘Future,’ Don Diablo embarked on a European tour this spring, performing in more intimate club settings with the goal of giving back. Giving back to both his fans, and to KWF, the Dutch Cancer Society.
Don Diablo has become a big enough name to sell out stadiums with tickets priced as high as today’s popstars. He’s no stranger to festival main stages, and could easily tour through arenas if he wanted. Instead, for his ‘Better Future Tour,’ he chose to hit smaller clubs and charge tickets starting at only 10 euros each in order to give a fair shot to all of his fans. In addition, the proceeds of the tickets and additional donations went directly to the Dutch Cancer Society.
As far as we know, he’s the first DJ to hold a charity tour like this - raising awareness while giving back to an awesome cause. We caught up with Don Diablo at his Madrid show to find out more about his tour, his album, and his plans for the future. Check out our interview below.
You’re currently on tour throughout Europe for your ‘Better Future Tour,’ how’s that been going so far?
We’ve done three shows so far, and it’s been crazy. We’re doing three things, one is that we’re raising money for an amazing cause, and the other thing is that I wanted to keep ticket prices really low so everybody gets a shot to get a ticket. Whether you’re poor or have a lot of money, you can donate whatever you want to donate. And the third is we’re going into places that I’ve never been. In Berlin, they were like “You’ll never sell tickets in Berlin because this is a techno city” but we sold out really quickly and that was amazing. It was great to do the same in Sweden.
How does it feel being back in Madrid?
Madrid is more like coming home. I know this is going to be a good show. The other ones were a bit shaky, like we didn’t know what we’d find there, but I’m happy that Madrid is in the middle now because I know it’s going to be amazing.
How has the charity aspect of the tour been going?
That’s why I like doing this, you kind of find out how people really are. You know, a lot of people have to work together to make something happen, and you can see if people are doing it for the money or doing it from the heart. So you get to know people in the industry in a different way. As well as you can see what people are donating. The minimum is 10 euros, but some people are donating 50 euro… we didn’t want to reward some people more than others, we want the motivation to come from themselves. Like without anyone watching you, what would you do? Would you give 10 euro or would you give 50 euro? Knowing it’s just a karma game and the only person watching is the man above. So it’s been really humbling watching people doing it without the pressure.
How did you initially get involved with KWF, the Dutch Cancer Society?
I started working with them like 5 years ago when my dad passed… I wanted to continue finding a way to honor my dad’s legacy. I don’t want to be one of those guys who just does a show and walks out, I think it should be something bigger than that… I was like “what about instead of a charity show we can do a charity tour?” and they were like “Can we do that?” I had no idea if it’d ever been done before... Life just kind of flies by and you don’t really have time to stand still and have that helicopter view to do something bigger. When i made my album ‘Future’ I knew this was the right time... The album isn’t just futurist production, but also the lyrics are focused on giving people something to latch on to in darker times.
You feature many different styles on the new album, from down-tempo to even drum & bass. What influenced change of pace?
For some reason, I guess five years ago I sort of became one of the figureheads for this future house movement. So I just started rolling with it, like okay “future,” I want to make songs that sound like they’re from the future. I think that sounds exciting to people who’ve been listening to kind of the same stuff. Now for the album, it was really about going back and creating songs… With the album it’s like here’s my passion, I throw it upon you. There are a couple records that might sound familiar but at the same time I just want to make music. I don’t want my fans to be afraid, I’m still the same Don. This is just the story of my journey… If you are a real fan, you can still hear that it’s my music. You can see that the production approach is still the same.
Is there a specific track that sticks out to you as a favorite from the album?
If you look at a record like “Satellites” I wrote it 7 years ago… With a lot of tracks you write them with different writers and edits that are going back and forth, but ‘Satellites’ was all me. It’s me singing, it’s me writing the lyrics by myself. I had just lost someone important in my life and I walked up to the mic and recorded it, put it on my harddrive and it was there for a couple years. And as I was doing the album I went back and was like ‘hmm.’ I cannot reproduce this emotion that’s in that record. So I really wanted to finish it and put it on the album without any pressure. Nowadays society, especially as a DJ, expects two things from you. Either it’s a record that’s a club bomb or it’s a record that’s a radio hit. But sometimes you just want to make music. And that’s what I did with that record.
Do you have any projects in the works or plans for future?
The big thing I’m working on right now is the coin that I’m releasing. For me it’s really about giving back. I wanted to create a world where fans and non fans can walk around and discover music, immersed in this whole world of ‘future’ and make money just by doing that. It won’t cost anything to them. So I’m building the module and the system behind it, and it’s going to be incredibly challenging and complicated but it’s exploded. We have literally thousands of investors and people excited about it. It might be my biggest venture yet - building the world Hexagonia. We’re also launching the new line of my clothing line… [and] I have some big expansion plans for my record label… I’m always so excited for what’s to come. That’s why ‘Future’ is such an appropriate title for what I do, because I’m constantly thinking about the future.You also never know when it’s going to be over. That’s the one thing I learned from my father, just try to make the most out of it. If I don’t become old, then at least I’ve lived in the future. And I’ve shown people a piece of the future.
Don Diablo is one of those guys who just never stops moving. He’s filled with ideas and the motivation and drive to turn them into reality. Even just a few minutes into chatting with him, it’s easy to see his immense passion for music and his gratitude towards his fans. He’s always jumping from one project to the next, and we can’t wait to see what he has in store.