Sometimes taking music seriously is good. But making an impact on music while having a great sense of humor about the industry is even better. Take Dillon Francis for example. Vegas Seven had a hilarious chat with the Los Angeles DJ/producer, cited as one of the pioneers of the moombahton movement, before his March 1 gig at Surrender.
You’ve successfully fooled members of the media uneducated in electronic music by using a pic of Tiësto as your press shot. Have you gotten any angry emails from his camp?
Tiësto’s camp actually loves it. I know he thinks it’s funny.
How did that start?
We were doing a quick interview, and I told my manager to send in a picture. I picked out a whole bunch of pictures: There was one that was really me, one of Sander van Doorn and, of course, Avicii. But he chose the Tiësto one, and surprisingly they printed it. [Laughs.]
You don’t kiss asses or seem to care about what “superstar DJs” think of you. Has that helped or hurt your career?
I don’t know. It’s too early to tell if it has or hasn’t. I feel like it’s just in the middle. People enjoy it because a lot of people in dance music are so stale with how they are. I just don’t want to be a person that’s always going to be like, “Oh, my God, the sun is so bright! And it’s going to set so beautifully tomorrow! I love all of you!”—that’s not me. I don’t want to say that to people. I don’t want to give people false hope about the world having a nice sunset [laughs]. I just like to be real and fuck around with people. It’s the same purpose that the people at South Park have, making fun of pop culture.
It’s funny that you mention South Park, because when trying to find good trap music—a genre you sometimes play—I feel like I’m in that episode where everything sounds like crap. Am I just getting old, or is a lot of it actually crap?
I think a lot of it is actually crap. There’s just so much music in that category, because it’s such an Internet phenomenon that, of course, a lot of it is bad. There are only certain people that are doing very, very good tracks like Flosstradamus and Baauer.
Your “Masta Blasta” video made me laugh so hard I almost peed a little. Any word on what Avicii thought about the end where the elderly lady angrily asks when you would be playing “Le7els”?
I never got to ask him when I met him. He doesn’t hate me, I found out. I thought he did—and I think he did at the beginning. I think he definitely got pissed off about the ending. I loved it. That’s my grandmother who’s in it, too!
Speaking of music videos, tell me more about making pottery with 12th Planet, Ghost–style, a la Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze for a new vid.
Oh, my God. That video is going to be so goddamn funny. It was the hardest thing to shoot. It was so awkward because we had to put our hands between each other’s fingers and we’re basically making a dick with clay, because none of us know how to make pottery. John [from 12th Planet] decided to make a dick before we started, and then we started shooting a scene and put our hands on this dick-like thing and I just couldn’t handle it. It’s going to be on the outtakes. John was fucking hilarious, so I’m so glad that he did it. It’s going to be pretty amazing. It was a nice afternoon thing to do. We wanna start doing this more often. Just two men making pottery.
Maybe you can sell your handiwork on your website: custom-made Dillon Francis phalluses.
Exactly! That will be my specialty.
Well, I didn’t really try to start one, but people started sending me pictures with lampshades on their head. People started getting really pissed off and saying “Dude, stop trying to copy Diplo with people sending you lampshades instead of girls expressing themselves.” I just stopped because I’m not trying to do that. If I could, I feel like I could get away with something along the lines of girls sending provocative pictures, like girls dressed up as cats. I feel like that’s the only thing I could get away with and people would be like “Oh, that’s just Dillon, getting girls to send pictures as cats.”
Maybe this article could start a new viral campaign before your gig—or girls will come to the club dressed as cats!
Besides dressing as cats, got any tips for Las Vegas bottle rats trying to finagle their way close to you in the booth?
No! Tell them to just get the fuck away from me! [Laughs] Oh, my God, those girls are the worst. I don’t understand. OK, I had three people with me, it was my first day of the residency, and somehow six girls are back there just dancing around and I have no idea who any of them are. They were probably just drinking all the bottles.
I heard you had a strict childhood and had to study a lot. So did Hooked on Phonics work for you?
No. I had Hooked on Phonics and I also went to Kumon Math. Kumon helps you do your homework and then you also get homework from them on top of your other homework. It’s the worst place ever and I didn’t learn anything. I’m still horrible at math. I don’t suggest anyone go to Kumon.
After trying to help you with academics when you were younger, what does your family think of your chosen career?
They love it now. At first they were hesitant on the decision to let me do it but then, they did. Now I’m here and they’re very happy. I’ve brought them to two shows so far, they were so happy about it.
You’ve changed things up a bit—you’re blond! Are you having more fun?
Yes, I’m having more fun as a blond.
If you could give Skrillex a new hairstyle, what would do?
I really want to see what he would look like with short hair. I’d probably cut off all of his hair. I want to shave his head and start anew.
If you had an endless budget and the best production crew ever, what would the Dillon Francis Experience look like? Or would you go minimal and just duct tape some stuff together from Spencer’s Gifts?
I would try to get as many bouncy balls as possible, not the balloon ones that you bounce around, but the [small] ones that hurt. At the climax of the show there would be so many that just fall down on everybody—they would get kind of hurt, but then they would just all fall over. There would be so many balls in comparison to people that no one could stand anymore and they would just be sitting down for the rest of the show on a floor of bouncy balls. I would then slowly end my career and go downhill with the worst production ever. No lights, either. It would be dark onstage and I’m just playing music and I would get on the mic with a really deep voice like, “This is a new song.” There’s no production, but we would promote it like it had the most production ever. We’d put all of the money into the fliering.
So you would have 3-D holographic fliers that look so rad … but then people show up and they’re like “WTF?!”
My cat could be a Meowingtons impersonator—she looks like Deadmau5’s cat. Can you put her on the guest list?
Definitely. Cats are always welcome on the guest list.