tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg August 14, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: alexander hamilton is the unlikely father who wrote his way into american history. benjamin franklin called him the most brilliant statesman that ever lived. composing takes hamil ton's legacy to new heights using rmb and rap music. he calls the play a history of america then, told by america now. here is a look. ♪
sometimes you find that the best jobs that you get in this career and business, you did not audition for. i just asked tommy last week, because i have a superstition, sometimes if i get a straight offer, i do not want to ask how it came about. i'm afraid they might realize -- why did we ask this guy? i got invited about two years ago to do a reading for this show. and then i saw it at vassar. i saw them do about half an hour of it. i saw them do maybe 45 minutes at music stand. i was blown away. when i was invited to do the reading, i prepared like i have never prepared before. i knew all of my music. i knew what they were working on. charlie: you knew it had powerful potential. leslie: i knew how it affected me. lin is only a year older than i am, so this is our music.
i recognized the rhythms and the syncopation and the pulse of the piece. i recognized that. it has been in my ears since i was born. charlie: people wondered when hip-hop would come to broadway , because rock had come to broadway. leslie: lin was so influential with that. the height was such a watershed moment for hip-hop music and latin american actors. i remember listening to it before i saw it. there was something about it -- i have chills thinking about it, i told him at one of my first -- one of my first rehearsals, there was something about, from the first moments of that album, the need to communicate has always moved me greatly. showedwas a teenager i
-- i saw a show called def poetry jam. the way that those people came out, they needed you to get it. there is blood in the pen. there was an urgency and a fire in their bellies for you to get it. it came full circle when i was listening to a rehearsal of us in hamilton, learning my part, and i said that we sound like that. i can hear that need. charlie: i read -- almost all the energy, the preparation , to do justice to the text that you were given. how much of it was important to know and -- aaron burr? because you not only play a character, you play the narrator. you were there at a moment. hampton has a larger role, but burr is also a continuity.
leslie: what might favor gifts that people give, fans will bring us looks. -- bring us books. they come by with these articles and books that they order. those have helped me a lot. i would not call me a historian by any means. lin has read enough about all the different people and events surrounding it that he has been able to come up with his own opinion on the events. that is the only opinion you have. burr to comeugh on up with my own theories. charlie: there are different opinions of aaron burr, some good, some bad. leslie: at the end of the day, the text and the show is my life. i have the plate what -- to play
what lin wrote. charlie: you have to pour in what he has written what you know, what you have experienced, and what you feel. aslie: and what i believe far as what my job is as a performer. that's another one of those things. this is intersected, coming at the right point. there's a certain amount of vulnerability that this show requires that i was not ready to embrace at any other moment in my life. there is a certain amount of honesty. that comes with time. charlie: tell me who aaron burr was. he was he was a soldier, a father, a husband, a lover, a friend, a murderer.
a politician. i think he was all of those things. like all of us -- when people say, who is the person you want to have dinner with, living were dead? -- living or dead? charlie: i'd like to be there. leslie: aaron burr, just to ask him. our show is him looking back. our show is after all that stuff has happened. charlie: he had an interesting life after killing hamilton. leslie: it ruined his life. charlie: ruined his political life, first of all. he had been vice president. then he fled the east coast. he was indicted for treason. eslie: he had a daughter, his
only child, who died. after the death of his only grandchild, his grandson died. he died completely alone. he did have friends, though. he didn't have much money. there were people that supported him because what he had shown himself, the men he had shown himself to be. he had friends in of the war. people who saw acts of heroics that into your them to him all the days of his life. charlie: moments of heroism. leslie: yeah. charlie: he's intertwined with hamilton. we see that in the play. what was the relationship? leslie: they came up together.
they ran in the same circles together. they tried cases as lawyers together. they fought in the war together. so i think of them as friends. i think of them, as if you were to tell them when they were 19 years old, if you show them a picture, this is going to be you in your early 40's. you're going to do this to this guy, they never would have believed it. charlie: this musical, people are talking about it as changing the american musical theater. significant evolution in the american musical theater. this is seen more than simply a successful musical. it is been given the heavyweight of cultural moment. leslie: i am a spiritual guy, too. this work is emotional, physical, and there is a spiritual component.
inside. from the there is a great deal of it that , andy, lin have planned within an inch of his life. those guys are meticulous. we were so happy we opened as it forced them to put their pencils down. there is the part that they had nothing to do with. there is something else -- charlie: what is that? leslie: it is the space between you and i. it is whatever happens between me saying it on stage and how it affects you and what it does to you. that is the part that none of us have any control over. none. you could not pay jimmy fallon to go see our show and talk about our show the way he did the next night. you cannot pay for that.
i hope that the audience comes and feels like their presence isn't idle. charlie: we spoke to the composer of hamilton. they join me in april. here is a look at that conversation. >> you sit in a room for six years making something, and you have the dream of version of how the show will be received. we are experiencing that. we are hanging on while we can. i was on my vacation, my first vacation from the show. i picked up the book at random at the borders. it had great reviews on the back, and i know that he died in a duel, so it was going to have a bang ending. hamiltkensian nature of on's life-- charlie: explained that.
at some point you say dickens, dickens, and dickens. what was the dickensian nature of his life? hamilton was born possibly out of wedlock. his father split by the time he was 10 years old. his bother -- his mother died in bed with him a few short years later. his brother was invited to a blacksmith as an apprentice, so he was by himself. his cousin killed himself. then he got put in charge of a trading charter as a clerk for a trading company. they treated sugarcane and rum, the key point of the triangle trade. he rode his way off the island. there was a hurricane that had ravaged saint floyd, and he had wrote a poem about it ascribing the carnage. -- describing the carnage. this poem was used for relief efforts for the island.
people set up a fund to get an education in a new york. charlie: here we have a great character, who dies at the end of a dual which she may have not in fact, fired his gun. -- the end of the duel. here we have that story. you have translated it into so much more. tell me about the ideas that you want to pour into this to make it a new look at the founding fathers, the american experience, and a different way of presenting it that would appeal to young people, because your people are young actors. >> you speak to what we were conscious of, eliminating any distance between their story and now. we knew it was going to be set then, but it would sound liken now. fundamentally this was a country that was founded and created by immigrants. somebody in all of our lines stepped off about in some form of transportation, put their
foot down on this soil and went to work. once we started thinking about taking the inspiration from ron's book, we thought of events, but we had to tell a story. we had all the events laid out. we read the book and made our own timelines. we would compare, hey, this moment feels like it spoke to me, this one is essential. it became so apparent early on as we were designing how the show could function that this idea of doubling characters felt really right on. the character who played lafayette, one of his great friends-- charlie: jefferson. >> also jefferson. the of this connection to france. one antagonistic, one supportive. how can we make the audience feel like who they are is actually not so different than what people are struggling with? charlie: hip-hop seems like a genius stroke, but that is what you knew. >> that was what i checked.
i read two chapters of this book, and i thought, someone has done a hip-hop version of this. it felt the quintessential hip-hop narrative. this is someone who grew up in hard times and wrote his way out of the circumstances to a better life. that is the hip-hop narrative from the south bronx in the 1970's to today. hip-hop andamilton it was not there. as soon as you google it, you will now see my show. but that was the first thing that jumped out at me. this is a fundamental hip-hop story. charlie: i'm just like my country, i'm young, scrappy, and hungry, and i'm not throwing away my shot. [laughter] charlie: you performed that at the white house. >> ivory from the opening number. charlie: before we see that.
is that with the president responded to, when he said geithner or should see this? >> this is my first time performing the song in public. they asked me to forms of thing from indicate-- perform thed me to show with that. in his response was, i've got to get greater in here. -- i have to get geithner in here. the economic crisis -- everything had blown up. r has theeithne hardest job in treasury since alexander hamilton. this was very early in obama's administration, may 2009. how were just figuring out to do this thing, how to get us
out of the hole we were in. i think he was tickled by the secretary ofsed a treasury. burr's performed it from point of view. it got a laugh halfway through. charlie: where does that come, from ehrenberg's perspective? -- from aaron burr's perspective? lin: thanks to erin lloyd webber , we have that narrator. that was immediately where i went. that set up was a very difficult task to figure out who ehrenberg -- who aaron burr is. a villain in our history. charlie: do you think more of him? lin: i do, after reading about his life. there are several biographies of him. gore wrote a historical novel,
much craftier than mine. burr was a early feminist. his daughter received an education greater than any man of that era. he was close with his wife and his daughter. he was on a few main mission with alexander hamilton for the abolition of slaves in new york state. there are redeeming characteristics to this guy. i had to find my way into that. every biography is either defensive of him, or vilified him. charlie: but you know better than anybody -- explained to me. on the one hand, aaron burr was amazingly cautious, careful, laid-back, and alexander hamilton wanted to charge forward at every move. lin: hamilton left behind seven volumes of written work. burr left behind less than 2. that tells you how much everything you need to know. burr reserved his right to change his mind on any
particular point. the tragedy of the show is, at the moment when burr is finally reckless and let's go and hamilton is cautious, one kills the other. and that is how they are remembered forever. charlie: have you thought about playing burr? lin: every time i wrote a burr song, i thought, man, i should do this guy. charlie: because he was the narrator? lin: because he got the best songs in the show. [laughter] but now with leslie, you can imagine anyone else. he gets these wonderful moments. one being the room where it happened. he is talking about not being in power and seeing hamilton trade away the capital for a financial plan. how am i not in the room? charlie: take a look at this. this is you at the white house in 2009 performing the first rap song you wrote for hamilton.
>> ♪ grow up to be a hero and a scholar ♪ being aot farther by lot smarter ♪ ♪ by being a self starter being slaughtered and carted away ♪ came andrricane devastation rained ♪ \ ♪ future dripping down the drain ♪ ♪ connected to his brain ♪ he wrote about his pain ♪ workout around, this kid is insane ♪ ♪ get your education, don't
forget from where you came ♪ ♪ and the world will know your name ♪ ♪ what's your name? ♪ alexander hamilton ♪ there's a million things he hasn't done ♪ ♪ but just you wait it, hisof it, debt spl mom and bedridden ♪ alex got better but his mother went quick ♪ ♪ his cousin committed suicide left and with nothing but ruined pride ♪ ♪ retreating and reading and dreaming ♪ ♪ he would've been destitute without a sense of restitution ♪
book he could get his hands on ♪ ♪ on the bow of a ship heading for a new land ♪ ♪ in new york you can be a new man ♪ ♪ headed for the harbor now, see if you can spot him ♪ ♪ coming up from the bottom go.lie: there you it's unbelievable. could this ever have been done? it's a most like if they didn't have hip-hop, it had to be invented for this. lin: wow, thank you. that means a lot. i think the score is both a love letter to hip-hop and musical theater. but it is this heightened language. we learned early on that when we turned a speech into prose, the energy went out. we had this ball that we throw in the air so high at a top of
charlie: i'm pleased to have diplo and skrillex at the table. for the very first time, welcome. here is why i'm really happy about this, i didn't know that much about either of you. the more i read and learned i was excited to have you here. let me begin with this, do you think of yourself as musicians or something else? skrillex: i think it is a combination of being musicians. i came from singing in bands and playing guitar. p&l and other instruments. iano and other instruments. it is the culmination of being a musician and artist. diplo: you have to have one foot in music and the creation of the media and the way the shows put together. i am not a musician per se, but i create music now and i have learned how to play music on my own.
i think it is bigger than just getting a guitar. you have to create an atmosphere more complexe a than just laying down some courts. charlie: what has made it so popular? $6.9 billion per year. skrillex: i think it was the timing. the fact of the internet, being able to share media. computers and music programs were so accessible. younger people were coming into music. coming from a band, i found it easier to express myself through a computer. it is your one-stop shop. music videos are all made by us. diplo: the distribution chain is broken. it used to be when you had a from,where sunny came you get your band together, find some friends that like to make music, you find a garage and rehearse, find someone to borrow
some money or use a studio to bel,rd, maybe find a la create a record that they want to promote. that is a two-year process. now it is diy. i can go on my laptop, make a song, put it on youtube or sound cloud, and reach people in a couple hours. an act catalog could be reached on the radio. that chain has been lost. we are very grassroots and we distributing ourselves. skrillex: the renaissance of all art has become digitized with computers, people that added on instagram. -- edit on instagram. that is an outlet for them to be creative and that can go deeper , into music and editing and making art in general. charlie: it also has huge energy. skrillex: i think it comes from being such a youthful movement.
the producers are becoming popular and making a living are getting younger and younger. diplo: our job is inside the computer, inside the speakers to make the loudest, the craziest, the next, the biggest. something you have never heard before. it is our goal to make something progressive and make something brand-new. rillex: also -- sk about bringing people together, too. it is all about taking things that shouldn't make sense. getting 2 chainz and justin bieber on a record, where you wouldn't normally have some thing like that. charlie: let's talk about forming jack u. who's idea?
diplo: we became really good friends and i think we have always been outsiders in this dance world and the producer world that we try to create , stuff together. it was really special because we have a strong quality control. it is good enough for both of us. that takes a lot of work. charlie: is it a long time? diplo: that record you played a video of, we recorded that in three hours in a hotel room with a girl in a room. it took another month after the two hours of recording the vocals to make the song sound the way it did. for me it may take a year to mix a record and produce it properly, even if it takes a night to write it. charlie: it is extraordinary for two people at the top coming together. often, when two people become really good, they split. you can together, as competitors almost.
skrillex: whether we are good or bad, we respect each other so much. we have that quality control. charlie: do you guys complement each other? skrillex: in what way? like hey, you're good? or their sound? projects,sten to our they are so forward thinking. we try to push the sound. jack u takes it to the next level. also we have no rules other than we make good music. diplo: electronic music is collaborative. i'm always mixing my music with things you wouldn't expect, like a rapper, a rock singer. with me and him, we are always working with different people and different voices. we are always looking to collaborate and make things you haven't heard before, things that are unexpected. charlie: when did that collaboration take place?
with: i had become friends bieber in a club in l.a.. i said we have a project, we will make it crazy, i promise you. i'm on headphones on a table like this, playing around with it until we have some ideas. we had a spark and we took it to the finish line. charlie: roll tape, take a look at this. here it is. ♪
skrillex: it was a cool concept because we just shot justin bieber dancing and performing in a very simple background, but then took all of the stills from video and opened an art gallery gallery in l.a. and invited fans, haters, and artists to draw whatever they wanted to on justin bieber. you can go on youtube and hit the still, you can see a lot of stuff. everything from couple months, to false god, illuminati, anything someone wanted to say.
diplo: our album is so collaborative. we wanted a video in a way that uses justin bieber's voice in a way that personified what it is to be like justin bieber. as a piece of art himself. doing graffiti on him. we create something out of that idea, and of that idea of creating a pedestal for artists. we wanted to make it collaborative by our fans and people who know justin bieber. charlie: what makes justin bieber tick? diplo: man, i don't know. skrillex: i think when you are that young and you grow up that famous -- i don't even know if money -- i had money at a young age and i lost it. it didn't really feel different. maybe it is a certain point when you are surrounding yourself with people who aren't conducive to what you should be doing, it
can throw you into an area where you are very reactive. now he is in such a good place, he is focusing. he is around good people. charlie: creative people. skrillex: he has people that believe in him. no matter what anyone says, he is one of the most talented people i have ever been in a studio with. charlie: one of the most talented people you have been in a studio with. skrillex: 100%. charlie: you tour, what, 300 shows a year? diplo: this weekend, me and him collectively did 15 shows thursday and sunday. charlie: all in new york? diplo: i did three in new york, three in philly. heated las vegas, new york, philly, vancouver, somewhere else. charlie: sometimes the audiences are as big as 100,000 people.
diplo: quebec city we once played for 100,000 people. we played for about 60,000 people at heart fest. charlie: how are you changing? how is what you are doing growing, other than the size of it? skrillex: i think back when we first started, i didn't come in as a dj. we were outsiders, doing things our own way. in the beginning, no one considered us musicians. now we have gained a lot more respect and rapport from other artists. a lot of people, even four or five years ago, a lot of fees
their main goal is to get on the radio and sell records. for us our fan base is going to , be there regardless if we are making music. we make music for our fans. we never think, is radio going to plug this? charlie: how do you measure success? is it just in your head, or some other way? diplo: for me this personal. i don't care any other way. charlie: that you like it. diplo: i want music to give me goosebumps. charlie: does not happen often? -- does that happen often? diplo: i thought the bieber record was very special. skrillex: going back to the radio thing, i think where we sit up there-- we and curate the soundtrack, a live experience for people.
we play a lot of show with rock bands, artists, whatever it is. what we do is so maximal. there is that peak moment where it's all about the live energy of people together. that is what we are caring at that moment. that is more important than us on getting on the radio. i hear a song on the radio but it doesn't connect live, i would rather have it connected life. that is where it comes from beginning. diplo: i think the taste of america has changed, where you used to have a machine where put records on the radio, to where now, i have a record on the radio with major lazer that is been released independently. to -- it isble possible to put a great song on the radio with the right team. charlie: take me through the process of creating something.
diplo: we had a day off with arcade fire, have you heard of that band? charlie: oh sure. diplo: we went to the garage and played for two minutes, with everybody on an instrument. -- played for 20 minutes. got the files from them and edited down these loops and little pieces. i texted them one day, are you in town? fire, we with arcade jammed on live instruments for 45 minutes and cut it down to parts that we would later finish. sometimes we will start with three chords and a vocal. "take you there," that first record, we recorded the song, and when i say psalm, the vocal -- say song, i mean the vocal. but it took a long time to figure out the melody. that was a whole other side of the process.
diplo: for me, sonny was a game changer in the dj world. while his production and mixing was another level above what i'm hearing on the radio, he has a high standard for the way he makes music sound. he is the first guy i met in the dj world that has a rock star presence. he is from a band, so he can handle himself on stage. a lot of djs are pretty boring. you kind of need to have the rock star. charlie: is that natural, for those that come from being a musician on stage? you understand movement, you understand presence, you understand how to relate to an audience? skrillex: relating to an audience is about being true to yourself in the moment. areo: i feel like you socially stronger in front of a audience. people, ithe more becomes easier. o: it's better when 30
people are watching him on a laptop than by himself. charlie: you do better with people around. skrillex: especially when the energy is awesome. the energy you get from the stage is indescribable. it is this constant feedback, like a cycle. when you have good energy and people are having fun, it inspires you can -- you to continue down the right path. charlie: what was it like taking over the garden, madison square? skrillex: it was a great bucket list. charlie: check that thing. what else is on the bucket list? rose"ex: the "charlie show, of course. charlie: what about musically? diplo: it strange we have people paying attention to this project. people are expecting another single from us. everything that has happened
with these records has happened organically. we have a strange leverage for artists to give us the best records they have done. charlie: when you say leverage , how do you mean? diplo: when you're working with the artist it is always a sense of negotiating. if you were to see madonna, you need to find their comfort level. will of times a big star take up most of the space and you only have a little say in the work. but with the beaver record, we did -- bieber record, we did 95% of it. charlie: and that had to do with bieber trust in you. diplo: once an artist does that, and we take it to another level, it gives people confidence to allow us to do it again. skrillex: a lot of times, people do music for a long time. they have family, and kids, and all the stuff.
we are so inspired and hungry to make great songs and great tracks that sound like nothing else can push the boundaries. even the justin bieber single, a top 10 record, it is not a pop format in the way it is written. it is not a traditional pop song. instead of verse, chorus, bridge, outro, we are changing the format. charlie: you are said to be able to spot trends. what does that mean? diplo: we are both kids inside. i'm in my late 20's. skrillex: we are like kids. we listen to music the way kids do. i to people a couple of years younger than me and they talk to me saying, i'm old. the minute you start saying
that, you become old. diplo: we have been on the road for a decade, both of us. this is the way we have been touring. when i say that we spot trends, we are on the radio because we are still handle kids who make music that we make. we come from underground. charlie: how old are they? diplo: they are between the 20's and 30's. skrillex: they are getting younger too. like 18. diplo: we find record deals with kids that are 16, 17. we went to a party yesterday where they were in their 30's. us,antwoord played with tyler the computer. -- tyler the creator. a lot of underground rock music is part of our scene.
skrillex: we make it in our rooms with our friends. nothing's fancy. peoplet need these suit checking up on us. we make it in our own environment and have a good time. charlie: what about drugs? this is what the guardian wrote. mollies, talking about ecstasy, was added to the lexicon which has roughly coincided with the ascent of skrillex and the clumsily named electronic dance music to the top of the u.s. dance music charts." skrillex: i think with every generation of music -- [laughter] charlie: are you responsible for the absent of -- ascent of molly? skrillex: no, i don't sell drugs. i don't condone drugs or use them. but if you look at the patterns
of any era that had music that exploded in youth culture. just because of the ratio of how big it is create a bigger issue of drugs. drugs have always been used. obviously lsd and marijuana. there are always drugs. this year it happened to be molly. mdma and ecstasy have been in underground music since the beginning. it inevitably got bigger with the culture that came along with it. the events that we play, the audiences that we reach out to, are so much more vast than what this article talked about. charlie: where do you think you and the music will be in five years?
diplo: we are both humble. we feel lucky to be doing this. i never had a job that i was able to keep. i'm just happy people are paying attention. as long as they wanted, i will make as much as i can. charlie: of all the good things people are saying about you, what do you appreciate the most? about the music, the fame, the attention. skrillex: there are so many people coming to these shows. you talk about drug use and the negative side of things -- it's still the minority. i believe we are truly artists. it is a renaissance of how you can create art and music through technology. that is awesome. that can lead to anything. diplo: there used to be barriers about what you should listen to. where the limits are. people change the ideas of what
the limits of music and change the limits of music, that would be important. skrillex: and how you can make music. i feel like what we are doing is enabling a lot of people. when we started out we weren't considered musicians. charlie: you think that has changed. skrillex: that has changed. there has been electronically sick ever since -- electronic music ever since the 1970's and 1980's. diplo: in french music from the 1960's. electronic music got its notoriety with summer records. it evolves into hip-hop, into dance music, into new wave, into industrial music, all the way up to us. we're a culmination of everything that happened before us. we are another filter that comes out. charlie: we have a clip, here it is. >> what i hope is that we can take this technological shift
and make it not just being about listening to music to being about how we create music. when you think about the internet, it is not just audio. it is audio, visual, and interactive. what is the future of music going to be in that format that is not just about the actual sound itself anymore? it is about the sound, the visual and perhaps maybe the , interactive part. charlie: would you agree with him? skrillex: absolutely. i think inevitably it is coming together. diplo: i think the one thing that has led us to be successful is that a lot of artists before us, they had a battle of streaming services. we embrace it 100%. we would rather people listen to our music then make every cent we can make off of it. every penny that we can get.
--illex: it's like a market you have different aisles. take yourgoing to music away from one area, here is a whole demographic that only goes to that one aisle. there is a whole demographic of people who only buy cds. this is my philosophy -- no one else has to do it this way -- but people who subscribe to spotify, that is how they get their music. if you take it away, you are alienating people who have never seen your music. that doesn't mean they are going to change. they are not going to buy a cd because you took it off spotify. charlie: they also may not have a chance of getting a record made, now having access to getting their music heard. diplo: technology has never really benefited the artist, it has benefited the audience. charlie: is that true today? diplo: when i first bought a
cassette tape, i was illegally recording stuff off the radio. it is not going to get any easier for the artist. the more you fight it, the worse it will be. you can't stop that. charlie: these are you can make it for the audience to find it, the better. accessibility is a keyword. diplo: that's what we are doing today. we have always rode that wave. skrillex: the one thing i am bummed that is all the major labels. it so that all of. is on -- all of the full songs on sound cloud were limited to clips and short previews. those kids on soundcloud -- we are some of the biggest people on soujndcloud, and that is a
big asset to our overall business. there are kids that only go to soundcloud, will never buy something on itunes or even go to spotify. that illuminates a big asset and is cutting off your music to an audience. -- it eliminates a big asset and is cutting off your music to an audience. owns about the person that the art at the end of the day. charlie: are you happiest when you are in front of a large crowd and you are at one with them and the music? skrillex: like you said, you make a song and it gives you the chills and you get to experience it being heard in a different way in front of people. it creates an energy in the room. that is a special feeling. diplo: i'm just lucky i make a living creating. i'm happy i can do that and share it with people. i feel like my family never
♪ emily: he is tech's biggest outlaw, under house arrest after a massive raid by new zealand commandos. kim dotcom is known for his outrageous personality as he has trotted the globe from germany to hong kong to new zealand. now he is the target of the biggest copyright case in history, accused of trafficking in pirated music, movies, and tv shows, as he awaits an extradition hearing to decide his fate. joining me on this special edition of "studio 1.0" from auckland, new zealand, megaupload founder and self-proclaimed ruler of the kimpire, kim dotcom.