Diplo: 'Food, cocktails, a vibe. Soho Desert House feels very cool'


As weekend one at Soho Desert House blasts off, we caught up on site with the global music megastar to hear about his Coachella plans, Soho Desert House, and that blue hair

16 April 2022 By Jonathan Heaf Photography by AJ Woomer

Like a high California full moon at dusk, you can spot his Smurf-blue hair lightyears away. As Soho Desert House kicked off for day one, amid the lush greenery of the Empire Grand Oasis – the 40-acre site but a short outfit change away from the main Coachella festival – the human sound cloud formerly known as Thomas Wesley Pentz floats into Soho House’s big balmy desert activation like a man in the peak of his sonic powers. All eyes on him. 

It’s rare for a DJ to make the cultural leap from a non-descript nodding silhouette behind a flashing pair of Pioneer decks to someone who is asked for 10 selfies in the short space of time it takes to pick up his first chilled drink at the Patrón mirror bar to taking a seat at the Hugo VIP lounge. For Diplo, this is standard practice. At Desert House, it’s Diplo world; we just apply lashings of Supergoop! and order another chargrilled lobster tail.
Of course, bubble-gum blue hair has become a bit of a style vibe shift for men nowadays, being seen not just on Diplo, but atop a number of famous heads. So, can anyone make blue hair as good as him? ‘Well, no thank you, guys,’ he replies in his nonchalant drawl, the rest of his Desert House ‘fit being big shades, a vintage black Eminem T-shirt, a crisp pair of khaki pants, and box-fresh Vans. ‘J Balvin tried but, you know, whatever!’

Diplo is here kicking off Soho House’s weekend one party off the back of the release of his new, self-titled album; the industry praise for which has been well deserved. How does it feel to be the big first draw at Desert House this year? ‘It feels hot. Literally. No, you guys have a great venue here right by the actual Coachella festival grounds; food, drink… ’ He looks out across the sea of smiling faces and neon outfits, pointing to the Saint James Iced Tea activation. ‘I can see some giant inflatable strawberries over there. What more do you need? It feels very cool.’ 

So, if not partying in the sun at Soho Desert House, where’s best to listen to a Diplo record? Beach? Club? Rooftop pool party on a floaty with a chilled Lady A in hand? ‘I think it’s good for just cruising around, you know? Maybe cruising around in a little Honda or something, chilling with a deep house vibe.’
We all know Coachella parties are renowned for their mild-to-wild behaviour – although, the British would argue the US festival feels more like communion compared to the mud and mayhem of Glastonbury – but what’s the wildest thing Diplo has seen going on in the audience at a festival? 

‘Well, at Burning Man – which is far less chilled than this – I saw a couple having sex right in front of me while DJing. That was also hot. Like, 120 degrees hot. They were going for a good 10 minutes. Fair play to them. Could happen today… I mean, it’s Desert House, so who knows what can happen?’ What goes on at Soho Desert House stays at Soho Desert House? Ask the influencers, who flock to the front, iPhones aloft. Who knows what tomorrow will bring… 

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