Almost ten years into his career, Dillon Francis is set to release his debut album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule
. Not exactly one to play the game by anyone else’s rules, the tracks span subgenres like his multiple Instagram personas. Just look at the lineup he is working with – Major Lazer, The Presets, Twista, Sultan + Ned Shepard, TJR, The Rejectz, Stylo G – it’s clear that he literally DGAFOS and does what he feels.
RS: I want to start with the most important question; you travel the world and go to all these big cities, where can I find the best taco?
Dillon Francis: Definitely in Mexico, Tacos de Birria is the best. Look for them anywhere in Mexico and make sure to get the fried cheese.
RS: You are known for starting off with a moombahton sound, but now your sound is changing, how are your fans reacting as your music is moving around a little bit?
Dillon Francis: A lot of them are a little angry because I don’t make that stuff anymore, but if you go back into my catalog, moombahton wasn’t the first music that I ever made. The first music that I started making was B-more, and I made weird edits to “Love and Marriage.” From there I made electrohouse and then I started making dubstep and then moombahton which is when the people started finding out about me. I have always made everything so my fans that are getting angry kind of jumped on during a certain part and they don’t know about the rest of my history, which is okay.
RS: You are with Mad Decent, but your new project is on Columbia. How did that come about?
Dillon Francis: We wanted to shop the album and we had terms that we wanted. Mad Decent is still a part of it with Columbia, but Columbia really understood what we wanted to do and gave us freedom in the way that I wanted to promote it and it just worked out.
RS: For When We Were Young, did you actually work in the same a room with Sultan + Ned Shepard and The Chain Gang of 1974?
Dillon Francis: Ned, Sultan, and I were in the same room, but I didn’t actually work with Kam (of Chain Gang of 1974). Sultan and Ned did and they were the ones that got the vocals from him and told him what to write, and then the three of us went in the studio and finished the song together.
RS: Really great song. I like how it shows a little bit of each of you and you can tell what each of you contributed to it. Were you involved with the creation of the “Get Low” video?
Dillon Francis: It was sort of my idea, my manager and I always bounce ideas off of each other. I wanted it to be an 'end of the world' type video where two guys that had just gotten divorced meet each other and decide to have the craziest night of their lives and end up spending all of their money because the world was going to end. They ended up having a crazy night and the next day the world never ended and they were left broke. My manager was like “that is just a little bit too much, what else do you want to do?” DJ Snake made some art for the single which was us standing in sheik outfits, but we didn’t use it. We wanted to make the music video of us balling out in sheik outfits and just make it ridiculous. We sent the treatment, which was just a sentence, to Mister Whitmore who directed the video, and he sent us back a whole treatment with the shots and eye movement and everything. When I saw it I was like "let’s do it" - it was amazing and turned out perfectly.
RS: After watching your instagram videos and the “Get Low” video I thought that it was more like a spoof of everything. Was that kind of the vibe that you were going for?
Dillon Francis: Yeah, I always try to make everything very jokey and fun, kind of like my Instagram.
RS: Where did the idea come from to make it rain tampons? That just blew my mind when I read about that.
Dillon Francis: At Hard I was sitting behind the stage and I kept saying in a really low voice “Welcome to Hard Presents, brought to you by Playtex Tampons on the Hard Stage.” I kept saying that to Kam and he said that he got some footage of it. We kept talking about the tampon thing and an idea that Wes and I had, and sooner or later it turned in to “you should make it rain tampons tonight!” So then we got one of the people at Teamwork to go and get around 500 tampons and we tossed them into the crowd. It was amazing!
RS: Speaking about tampons, what is your favorite Chuck Norris movie?
Dillon Francis: Oh man, I don’t think that I even know any Chuck Norris movies, to be honest. What are some Chuck Norris movies? I always got Chuck Norris confused with MacGyver.
RS: I can see that, both middle-aged men trapped in the middle of nowhere.
Dillon Francis: Yeah I want to say MacGyver, but I know that is not Chuck Norris. MacGyver was the person that I loved.
RS: I have been reading all of these collaborations on your album, how did you get hooked up with Panic! At The Disco?
Dillon Francis: Twitter. I just hit him up on Twitter and he said yes and gave me his eMail and we kept eMailing back and forth. I sent him one song that was just a chord progression and some handclaps. He said to assess the idea a little bit more and that we would see what we could do. That song didn’t really turn into anything, but I finished an instrumental and my friends and I tried to sing on it and that didn’t work, so we sent the song to him. He loved it and wrote the lyrics that day.
RS: You also have tracks with Simon Lord.
Dillon Francis: Yes, Simon Lord who did “We Are Your Friends” with Simian. Also Twista & The Rejectz and Martin Garrix and Major Lazer.
RS: Did you actually get in the studio with Martin Garrix?
Dillon Francis: Yes, before “Animals” happened... And I had dinner with his parents.
RS: His parents let you work with him after seeing your videos?
Dillon Francis: Yes, they love me; I am like their second son.
RS: On the album should we expect more stuff like “Get Low” or more stuff like “When We Were Young”?
Dillon Francis: Everything, definitely more stuff like “Get Low” and “When We Were Young.” There is a bunch of stuff for everybody, for my original fans and for the new fans.
RS: With all of the collaborations that you have done, is there somebody that you would like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Dillon Francis: Fiona Apple
RS: I can totally see that.
Dillon Francis: I want to do that but just a piano track, no drums or anything.
RS: Wow, sounds criminal. What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Dillon Francis: I hate all of you and thanks for supporting me...
Interview conducted August 2014 during Summer Sessions in Atlantic City.