This year at Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago, I had the opportunity to chat it up with one of the nicest (and funniest) dudes in the industry, Dillon Francis. He spilled the details on what he has in the works with his new album, upcoming collabs with What So Not, his take on Australian dance music, some funny moments on The Mothership Tour with Skrillex, his opinion on “trap purists”, and a possible MTV reality show in the works.
Check out the exclusive interview below, and make sure you keep an eye out for his new album Money Sucks, Friends Rule, dropping via Columbia Records on Oct 28,. You can pre-order the album here, and get Dillon Francis & Sultan + Ned Shepard – When We Were Young (feat The Chain Gang of 1974) instantly.
Exclusive interview w/ Dillon Francis:
You’re on The Mothership Tour right now, how’s that been going?
Awesome! It’s really fun hanging out with What So Not, Milo and Otis and Sonny, or Skrillex, or whatever he’s called. *Laughs* It’s really amazing. It’s really cool because I keep thinking about how the first Mothership Tour I was on I was just doing the after parties and now I’m the main support act. It’s like a really cool realization / jump for me.
What have been some of the funniest fun moments on tour so far?
It was our friend Sam’s birthday so I played a deep house set and there’s this thing on the pioneer mixer you can do where you can set your voice to robot and kind of pitch it down so you sort of sound like Satan. So I was pretending to be DJ Satan and playing deep house and saying stuff like, “I’m gonna fuck you in the butt Sam, HAPPY BIRTHDAY” So it was really fun and everyone was kind of vibing out. I think that was Baltimore. And it was just a great family tour moment. Because I know Sonny really well, and Sam (who used to be Flosstradamus‘ tour manager), we’re all really good friends. It’s just a whole family thing. That’s the best part of The Mothership Tour. We’re all just a huge family, and that’s what I try to do on my tours! Like when I brought Flosstradamus on tour with me, or like when I brought R.L.Grime and Baauer with me. I try to keep the same family vibe going.
It seems like you’re really tight, almost buddies with most people in the industry. How do you think you approach the industry differently from other artists?
I approach it as always just having fun. I was always the class clown in middle school and high school. So I approach this all like a classroom full of my peers and I just like to have fun and fuck with people. I try not to take anything too seriously. That’s why I do the shit that I do with Tiesto and Avicii *laughs*. I’m not actually making fun of them, because they’re pop. When people cross over into the pop realm, they have to understand that people aren’t actually making fun of them. It’s just relative to what can be a joke because they are so popular. That’s what happens to you. It’s not like people actually hate you, it’s just that more people get it because you’re that relevant and popular.
It seems pretty evident that you’re having fun with it, everyone knows that you’re going to bring that element when you come on stage or on your social media.
Yeah I never want to take myself too seriously. Like ever.
Going back to touring with What So Not, didn’t you drop an unreleased WSN collab in Australia? What’s up with that?
Yeah, that one were trying to finish. We have two songs that we are doing. One is the one that you’ve heard and it’s going to be on the What So Not E.P. and I think we’re calling that “Dill’s Mom” and the other one we’re trying to do is going to be called “Dill’s Dad”, I think. Which I am trying to get on my album, or my next one. I just love Flume, and I love Emoh. They are my favorite Australian people.
Workin on Dills Mom @DILLONFRANCIS
— What So Knot (@WhatSoNot) June 20, 2014
I had a huge man date with Flume when I was in Australia for big day out where we hung out on the beach and drank cruisers and talked about music. And it was one of the best experiences ever. And just being in a random place and saying “oh hey lets go here” since he knew all the great spots. It was so much fun. I love those guys, and we are doing a bunch of collabs together.
What do you think about all the other great music coming out of Australia right now?
Oh, I love it. It’s awesome. I’ve always loved Australia. Like the presets who actually worked on a song on my album. Cut Copy, Midnight Juggernauts, Wave Racer who is a new one coming out, I’ve been in the studio with Wave Racer, trying to get our collab started up. Nina Las Vegas who is one of the nicest people who work at triple j. Anna Lunoe who is releasing a new song on Owsla is amazing. They are just so nice and genuine and I love to hang out with them.
Any other collabs in the works?
Yeah. Sonny and I have two songs, a remix for Elliphant with Skrillex (not sure if it’s going to come out), and a new original song that’s going to come out on his new EP sometime in the Fall. We bring it back to our old school moombahton roots, with weird synths, big kick and sparse percussion.
Speaking of moombahton, how do you think you’ve evolved as a producer?
I’ve always been an evolving artist in terms of like, people think that I started with moombahton, but I started with shitty B-more edits way way back when I started producing. The shittiest fucking edits ever. Then I went to hard electro and all this other stuff, and moombah is the first one that I really found my sound with and that is really fucking hard to do.
I saw one of your interviews where you made a track, it just sounded decent, then you slowed it down and it was magic.
Yea! That was “Masta Blasta”, it was at 130 and I heard Munchi’s records and I said “Holy shit, what tempo is this at?” I was in the car with my friend DJ Ruckus who I was interning for, but basically holding his computer. And I went to his show and I slowed down my record because I thought it was too loud and chaotic and it is going to sound like too much at 130 so I slowed it down and I said “yo I’ve been hearing this shit called moombahton”, so I played him a couple Munchi’s records and he said “this is dope man” and I said “check this record out” and I played him mine and he said “Whoah! Who made this one!? This is awesome” so I replied with “Me, I made this record” and he was like “Why didn’t you tell me you made this one??” And I did it because “I wanted to get a genuine reaction to see if you actually liked it”, and he did. And that night I uploaded it to SoundCloud. I don’t remember how well it did, but that was the starting point for me and I started to make 110 stuff and started breaking more rules.
And that’s the really cool thing about people introducing new genres, like trap, and I hate when people get really mad about it and say stuff like “yo you’re just jumping on the bandwagon”. No no no, this isn’t a bandwagon, it’s inspiration because there are no rules in this area or genre of music right now. There’s little side rules, but that’s for the fucking purist assholes. When trap first came around you can do whatever the fuck you wanted because it hadn’t been done yet. And that is what people are looking for. Stuff that has not been done yet so they can jump on it and do their own take and put it into that. That’s what I have been trying to do as an artist, just like Diplo, always switching it up and breaking the rules. And that’s how I keep it fun. I don’t want to keep making the same fucking trance beat. *Imitates trance beat with his mouth via scatting.* “Like No!”
That’s a good transition into your new album, what can we expect? Also, congrats on your signing.
Thank you man. So much new stuff, like, so I’m really happy about my album because of the fact it has everything for everyone. It has moombah parts that people want. The house stuff that I’ve been interested in which is pop type of stuff, and also the club club records. It also has other weird 110 songs that are kind of poppish and some hip hop stuff like “Get Low” and a song I did with Twista which is at 86 bpm.
Honestly, it has everything for everyone. My favorite song is hands down the one I did with Brandon Urie from Panic at the Disco! It’s like in the vein of what Porter Robinson is doing in the terms of like 83 BPM, very anthemic, very M-83 style stuff he is doing. I’ve been into that stuff for a long time and I’ve talked to Porter about what he’s doing, and I was like, please do this, because it’s stuff I really love. And it’s cool because you can play this stuff at festivals if done correctly. It’s going to feel like this moment, and it’s going to be great. It’s going to come out in the Fall (October 20th). A few singles before that.
Any more Rebirths on the way?
I did one for “Get Low” and one for “Drunk All The Time” which people heard a long time ago at UMF, and I will probably Rebirth a bunch of my old stuff, because I love remixing my old stuff.
What else can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
The album is the main thing, I have a tour I’m going to do in the fall. And hopefully a TV show, I’ve been talking to MTV and Red Bull about it, we’ll see what happens, but hopefully I can get it going, because that’s something I really want to do.
Make sure you check the dates below to catch Dillon on tour, and don’t forget to pick up his album Money Sucks, Friends Rule when it drops on October 28th via Columbia Records. You can pre-order the album here, and get Dillon Francis & Sultan + Ned Shepard – When We Were Young (feat The Chain Gang of 1974) instantly.
Dillon Francis tour dates:**Denotes headline date
8/15 Montreal, Canada Parc Jean Drapeau
8/16 Rochester Hills, MI Meadow Brook – Mad Decent Block Party
8/17 Las Vegas, NV Encore Beach – Mad Decent Block Party
8/22 Las Vegas, NV Surrender Nightclub
8/29 New Orleans, LA Mardi Gras World – Mad Decent Block Party
8/30 New Braunfels, TX Whitewater Music Amp – Mad Decent Block Party
8/31 Dallas, TX Club Zouk – Mad Decent Block Party
9/5 Calgary, Canada Millennium Park – Mad Decent Block Party
9/19 Berkeley, CA Greek UC Berkeley – Mad Decent Block Party
9/20 Eugene, OR Cuthbert Amphitheater – Mad Decent Block Party
9/21 Vancouver, Canada ONE Amphitheater – Mad Decent Block Party
9/27 Fairburn, GA TomorrowWorld
11/12 Miami, FL Norwegian Pearl Ship – Mad Decent Boat Party
11/17 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works**
11/19 Asheville, NC Orange Peel**
11/20 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore**
11/21 Washington, DC Echo Stage**
11/22 Baltimore, MD Ram’s Head Live**
11/25 Wallingford, CT Dome at Oakdale**
11/26 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory**
11/28 Boston, MA House of Blues**
12/1 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall**
12/5 Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom**
12/6 Minneapolis, MN Skyway Theatre**
12/9 Madison, WI Orpheum Theatre**
12/10 Kansas City, MO Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland**
12/12 Broomfield, CO 1st Bank Center**
12/13 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue**
12/18 Oakland, CA Fox Theater**
12/21 Los Angeles, CA Shrine Auditorium**
1/16 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center**