Nov 24, 2014
interview
Dillon Francis

Dillon Francis has charmed his way into the hearts of EDM America unlike any DJ/producer in recent memory. We sat down with the funny and talented producer on the second stop of his “Friends Rule” Tour and learned more about his debut album, an upcoming return to moombahton, and we played a word association game. “Poop? Always.”

Dillon Francis feat. Brendon Urie - Love In The Middle Of A Firefight [Columbia]
LessThan3: Have you recovered from Mad Decent Boat Party?
Dillon: Yes. I finally just recovered like an hour ago. I’m fully back into being my normal self. [My tour manager] even felt like a zombie and he didn’t even drink. I drank. Oh my God.
LessThan3: How did it compare to Holy Ship?
Dillon: It was so much fun. It’s all friends on Holy Ship but everyone on Mad Decent knows each other really really well. It’s just really fun to be with Diplo. We had all the top rooms and we had this little area that was like a common room where Skrillex was playing the piano and I played with him and I was singing.
LessThan3: What was your favorite thing about the cruise?
Dillon: Just being with everyone. It’s always really fun to get to hang out with Diplo. He’s one of my favorite people. It’s cool to be able to sit down and talk to him about random stuff. I toured with him the first time I went out touring and I always miss that. I can’t do that anymore because we’re both on like the same tier of names.
LessThan3: Was it just Dillon Francis?
Dillon: No, DJ Hanzel played at the secret boat party. DJ Hanzel opened for Jack U. So, super deep. We submerged. We went through the Bermuda Triangle for a second. Disappeared and then came back.
LessThan3: You saw huge success prior to releasing an album. How important do you think it is for producers to release albums?
Dillon: I don’t think it’s important anymore. At all–especially after releasing [Money Sucks Friends Rule]. People don’t really understand what an album is anymore because people don’t go to Virgin stores because they don’t exist anymore. I don’t think people really go to Best Buy to buy CDs. There’s a certain amount of people who go to Amoeba in LA, which is like the last of the remaining record stores/CD stores. It’s beneficial that I did my album because then people hopefully understand that this is a compilation of work and it needs to be listenable. That’s why I made pop songs, non-pop songs, lo-fi songs, and some club records. Because that’s what you assume when people are like “He’s putting out an album”–that they’re gonna listen to it all the way through. A lot of my fanbase doesn’t understand what an album is, but I think in time people will. I don’t think it did bad. I think it just doesn’t really matter to put out an album.
LessThan3: Do you feel like Columbia allowed you to stay true to your sound?
Dillon: Yeah, because I finished my record before I signed to Columbia. They heard my album and then they were like “Oh, you make music. We would like to sign you.” That’s the thing that I think a lot of people don’t know; I made all that music before I got signed.
LessThan3: You mentioned pop songs. Did you gear those more toward the possibility of crossing over?
Dillon: I made them because I really like pop music and my stuff has always sounded really poppy, it’s just never had vocals on it. They were just like vocal cuts, just melodies. It was just a fun thing to do. I’ve always wanted to work more with vocal records. I felt like this album has shown people that I can make vocal records.
LessThan3: Did you write any of the lyrics?
Dillon: No, I just write the instrumentals. On Love In The Middle Of A Firefight, I wrote the instrumental, and me and my friend tried to write some stuff and use a vocoder on it, and it just didn’t work out. Then I sent it to Brendon Urie and a day later he sent me back pretty much that exact version. I think we changed a couple things on it, but he nailed it.
LessThan3: But you did write the lyrics for Not Butter?
Dillon: Yes. I remember one day I was just thinking about what would a cool techno song be like. I was trying to think back to weird hardstyle records that have vocals for drops and weird techno records that have vocals that are just saying some random thing. I don’t know why “I can’t believe it’s not butter” came into my mind. It would be so funny if someone said that on a drop and then I tried to do it. It didn’t work. So then I got my computer to do it. I had it dropping out and going back into the same buildup and I was like, “This is so lame. I should put in a middle section that’s going through saying stuff. Cool! I’m gonna say what you can put it on and that they can’t believe it’s not that.” I definitely wasn’t smoking weed, which everyone thinks I was.
LessThan3: What’s your favorite song on the album?
Dillon: Love In The Middle Of A Firefight and I Can’t Take, but I like all of them. That’s why I made all of them. That’s why I put them all together. We Are Impossible is also a record that I love so much because I grew up listening to The Presets. It was a dream come true to work with them. Working with him was so easy. We kept going back and forth. We had so many different versions of the song. So many sh*tty versions. So many versions that could have worked if we changed it even more. We finally came to the version on the album and I think we nailed it to have the vibe that we wanted–that kind of Depeche Mode ‘80s vibe.
LessThan3: Will we have to wait two years for the next album?
Dillon: No; I definitely understand how to make an album now. I think I’m gonna be a little bit more concise on what I want to do. That’s why I made this one very diverse. I’m still young. I don’t really know if I want to go into like Radiohead style, or lo-fi style like Porter is doing, or all live instruments. I want to be able to make the choice and not have it be such a drastic change.
LessThan3: We heard you’re returning to moombahton on your next EP?
Dillon: Everyone keeps saying “go back to your roots.” No one wants me to go back to my roots. It would be more edits of f*cking classic Love & Marriage songs. But I am definitely making a moombahton EP right now. I have the song I opened with at EDC Las Vegas, the song that I did with Skrillex, and then I’m gonna have two more after that. So it will be a four-track EP, hopefully, with one collaboration with Skrillex. Then all the moombahton people will be super happy. With moombahton, there is only so much you can do until you exhaust everything and then it just starts sounding the same. I’d much rather go and try other genres of music and basically get inspired from doing that. Then get reinspired to go back to it. Then people aren’t gonna be like “Hey man, you make the same sh*t every time. F*ck you.” But dude, you asked me to make more moombahton. How am I supposed to make something that’s crazy for you to listen to if I can’t explore myself?
LessThan3: If you could give your style an all-encompassing name, what would you call it?
Dillon: Happy Moombahcore. Like Happy hardcore but moombahcore slash everything else in between. I just make really happy music. Even Without You. The lyrics are sad, but it’s still a very happy, skippy melody, even though the vocals are sad. I feel bad about those lyrics.
LessThan3: Craziest fan story?
Dillon: I never remember any because the crazy sh*t that happens in my life has already happened when I was really young. So everything else has been pretty much normal. But, oh my God. The guy in the green suit. I drew a dick on his head. He had a green suit on and he’s like “I can’t see. Draw whatever you want.” So I drew a dick on his forehead. And then the girl who slapped her ass onto the table in front of Diplo and was like “Sign this!” That was pretty good.
LessThan3: Plans for your next tattoo?
Dillon: I’m trying to think about what I might put [on my shin]. I want it to be something like a knife that goes through your skin, but is not a knife. [My tour manager] said a princess wand, maybe a feather, or a butter knife dipping into I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
LessThan3: Who takes care of Mittens when you’re gone?
Dillon: My mom and dad. They pretty much own him now. They won’t ever let me take him back when I’m home. They say “If you want to take him back, you’re gonna have to take care of him and you’re gonna have to take him to the cat hotel that’s in LA if you want him to be happy. We’re not gonna take him back.”
LessThan3: What would we find in Dillon Francis’ fridge right now?
Dillon: Nothing. I emptied that out. Thank God. I had the worst milk. It was really rancid. I remember looking one night when I was packing for this whole tour and I was like “Wow. This could have been in there forever.” When I got back it would have been like {sniffs the air} “OH MY GOD.” I definitely remember one time I left Taco Bell in my parents’ backhouse when I used to live there. I left it in the corner because I used to hide it from my dad to keep him from eating it. (LT3: You don’t have a dad!) Well, if he came back he would be disappointed. There were vines growing out of the bag. It was awful. So disgusting. Worst thing I’ve ever come home to.
LessThan3: Do you really eat a lot of Taco Bell?
Dillon: Not anymore. I used to when I was younger. When I had a fast metabolism.
LessThan3: If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
Dillon: Invisibility.
LessThan3: What would your spirit animal be?
Dillon: Rabbit tiger! It’s probably gonna be one of my next tattoos as well.
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