Dillon Francis Talks Nudes, Debut LP ‘Money Sucks, Friends Rule’ & His Asshole Cat: Idolator Interview
Since being discovered (not really, but kind of) and mentored by Diplo, producer/DJ Dillon Francis has built a loyal following with his massive beats, killer remixes and hilarious Twitter feed. The 27-year-old is now ready to take things to the next level with his feature-filled debut LP Money Sucks, Friends Rule. (It’s ready and waiting for you on iTunes!)
I caught up with the electro-wizz before his album release party in Los Angeles and decided to confront him with some hard questions. You know, stuff about nudes and his cat being a menace. We also spoke about the album, his lady-friendly collaboration with Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendan Urie and the next big wave of electronic music. Read our Q&A after the jump.
Your Twitter bio used to say “Send nudes.” Did you get any? That was like way back in the beginning of my career and then I realized that was the scummiest thing to do. I was just trying to do what Diplo was doing! I got some really bad ones… I got some dudes, and I think that’s when I took it down. That’s why I also stopped using Snapchat.
I think one person sent me a picture of their balls in an ice cream cone, and that’s when I was like… “cool, this app is not for me.” I don’t really feel like seeing that. Like if I’m watching porn, that’s fine. But if I’m looking at Snapchat, I don’t want to see that.
You said in an interview was that your cat is an asshole. Please explain. He’s a dick! He never lets me hold him. He doesn’t even let me hold him when I’m sick. I have to chase him around, grab him and be like “I’m your fucking dad, don’t do that!”
You moved back home when you first started producing. How did your parents feel about that? I think they were 50-50 on it. They knew if it didn’t pay off, I was going to go back to college… sort of. But I think they’re really stoked. Thank god Diplo did the Blackberry commercial, because if that hadn’t have happened my mom would’ve been like “Who’s Diplo? What’s a Calvin Harris? What’s twerking?” Now my mom knows everything.
Do you still get feedback from Diplo? He helped me finalize a lot of the mixes. It took me like two years to finish the album. Listening to all the music over and over again that many times, you kind of lose sight of what you’re doing in terms of the mixes. Since you listen to it so many times, you may end up harming your music more than actually adding to it. He was definitely a big part of helping with that.
Why are videos such a big deal for dance artists? It helps the song so much because it gives it more of an in-depth meaning. We just did the “When We Were Young” video, and I feel like people get the song more now than when they did before. Now it has a backstory. “Get Low” is a twerk song, but the weird eyes and the girls dancing definitely helped.
Is it hard to promote yourself when radio doesn’t pay as much attention to electronic music, as say in Britain? Yea, there’s definitely no station for it right now. America needs a BBC Radio 1. It helps a lot with the internet presence, because that’s where dance music really lives right now. Sirius and Dash Radio are helping a lot.
I think it’s going to start transferring over. It’s playing more and more on KISS FM in L.A. and a bunch of other stations. But I definitely think a music video helps to push the song even further into other people’s eyes.
Money Sucks, Friends Rule is such a fun party album. You can just invite friends over and play it… That’s the coolest thing I’ve heard about my album. When I made it I wanted it to be something that wouldn’t always sound the same. There’s so many different genres on it, and that’s really who I am. It’s kind of like a YouTube playlist, but they all have a Dillon Francis vibe to them.
Is there an overarching theme? I just had so much fun making it and I wanted to put happy, fun songs on it. I think the track listing is pretty perfect. Starting with the Twista song, it really helps [the album] to give the feel of the party starting.
Then “Get Low” goes on, and then “When We Were Young” is the happy part. There’s all different moods, and I definitely wanted to portray that through the album. I think “Love In the Middle Of A Firefight” was one of the last songs I finished. I knew it was going to complete the album.
Where does the Brendon Urie track fit into the mix? I feel like it’s one for the fans, but it’s really one for me. There are some fans who absolutely love it, but there’s a bunch of dudes who are like “Where’s the bass drop?” That’s not for you man, it was for me and a bunch of girls. So be happy that I made that song, because when you come to my show you’re not gonna be standing next to a bunch of dudes being like “Where are the chicks?”
That’s funny! Can you see it being a future single? Yes, that’s definitely going to be a future single. I think that may be the next one after “When We Were Young.”
What do you think is the next sub-genre of dance that’s going to break through? A lot of the slower tempo stuff is starting to come back, which is weird because it’s wintertime now. So it should’ve really came around in the summer. But I feel people like Goldroom and Flume with slow, vibe-y music started to make a big comeback. I think Disclosure and Kygo helped out with that too.
It’s really cool, I love that stuff. I think it’s going to be a mixture of that with hopefully less snare build-ups and more music-music. I think along the lines of “Love In The Middle Of A Firefight,” I’m really into that style. Like M83, with big drums and big melodies.
What was your worst set and why? Myspace! It was so fucking bad. I feel bad for saying that about Myspace, I love everyone there and it wasn’t their fault. It was this private party and I think it was me playing first, then Sleigh Bells then Flying Lotus and maybe Justin Timberlake? Oh my god, I tried every single song in the world!
I played disco to hip-hop to house music and twerk hip-hop stuff — there was nothing! I remember these dudes standing with their Razers jerseys, just staring at me. I was like, “Man, this guy is so here for Sleigh Bells and I bet he wants to punch me in the face.” I was wearing a suit and just pissing off everybody. It was so bad! I remember I just got wasted that night because I was so angry at how the show went.
What goes through your head when you’re standing there and not getting a good response? It’s such a tough thing to have to sit through. You either end up looking at your computer a lot, or try to find some person in the crowd who’s happy and enjoying what you’re doing. So I’ll play just for that person and stare at them the entire time. That’s how you get through it!
And I didn’t even have that [at Myspace]! Those are the type of people to feed me and help me to better and be like, “Fuck yea. I finally got you to listen to my music!” Because they’ll remember that one time and they’ll be like, “Damn. That guy is pretty cool. I was wrong.”
Are you going to do more remixes for other people? I just did one for Galantis, for “Runaway”. I’m trying to finish one for Wolfgang Gartner for his song “Unholy”. I think after that I’ll take a nice long break, and then I’ll start up in the new year and work on my second album. Then I’ll definitely be doing a lot of remixes. I love doing them. And the Deadmau5 remix too! That one was awesome. He sort of asked for it to put in his live set for Day of the Dead and I’m stoked that he’s gonna play that remix.
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