For the untrained or simply uninterested ear, all electronic music has a tendency to sound the same, with Avicii happily chilling in the same boat as Skrillex and Steve Aoki. For those who use “electronic music” not as an umbrella term but as the only term, words like electro house, pys-trance or cybergrind are simply meaningless. Cue Dillon Francis to change all that.
The 24-year-old DJ is a proud spinner of moombahton, a genre of slowed-down house music with reggaeton beats. If the genre’s name doesn’t sound familiar, the sound might, as everyone from Knife Party to Nero has a moombahton track or two. What Knife Party and Nero don’t have, however, is Dillon Francis’ commitment to the genre.
“I’m still a moombahton artist,” he said when we caught up with him to chat about his upcoming Majestic show. “I definitely think my music is still moombahton, but it’s funny, I know a lot of people get pissed off at me because some of the stuff I’ve been making now has a lot of sounds that have been taken from dubstep or from electro house, and they don’t think it’s moombahton,” he said. “But I really think it still is, because it’s such a new genre it doesn’t really have any boundaries.”
A visit to Dillon’s Twitter page or official Tumblr indicates that “boundaries” may not be a term he is familiar with, but his flippancy has played out well in his music. With just a handful of EPs and singles, the DJ has remixed everything from Robyn’s “Dancehall Queen” to Flux Pavilion’s “Daydreamer” and created such varied tracks as his straight moombahton track “Masta Blasta” to the upbeat “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.,” it seems there’s no direction the L.A.-based DJ won’t venture. Except maybe hipster music. Yet.
“I’m pretty hipstery when it comes to listening to music on my own,” he admitted. “I listen to a lot of really mellow music, like Washed Out or Neon Indian or The Snits.” When asked if he would ever incorporate those hipstery elements into his music, “I’ve tried to, but I haven’t been successful at it yet,” was the reply.
While no Washed Out collabs are on the horizon, we can expect two more EPs out this year, one on Diplo’s Mad Decent label and one on Skrillex’s OWSLA. As to how he came to be signed on Mad Decent, he treated us to the full story:
“I just harassed Diplo as much as possible until he started listening to my music,” he said with a laugh. There was slightly more to the story than that.
“My old manager had sent Diplo one of my songs, ‘Masta Blasta,’ and when he heard it, he sent a message to my manager saying he liked it,” he said. “Right when I heard that he liked it I went on Twitter and I tweeted at him, ‘Hey, I heard that you liked the song,’ and then he started following me and he asked where I lived. When I told him L.A., he said, ‘Come by the studio right now, I’m just watching the Phillies game,’ so I went to the studio and hung out with him and watched the game and talked about music, and we wound up making a song.”
The song led to an EP, which led to other EPs, festival appearances around the world and his first headlining tour, which will stop in Madison tonight. Despite the fact that all of this happened in roughly a year, and that record labels and music mags alike are calling him a DJ to watch, Dillon remains humble.
“I don’t think I’m huge right now; I think I’m doing well,” he said. “Hopefully after my song comes out with Calvin Harris, I will be huge and I’ll be able to play stadiums like Skrillex, but until then, I can’t.”
The Calvin Harris collab will be released on the Scottish DJ’s upcoming album 18 Months, and while Dillon was half-joking with his Skrillex comment, he does admire his OWSLA boss.
“I would love to have a huge fan base like Skrillex’s,” he said. “His fan base is so massive he can play everywhere around the world and have huge crowds. I think that’s what every person strives for.”
The Madison show won’t be drawing Skrillex-sized crowds, but Dillon is pledging to make it a show to remember.
“I have to give this tour everything, because these people are like my die-hard fans, they’re all coming to see me,” he said. “The fact it’s my headlining show, I want to make it that much more special for whoever actually knows my music right now and wants to come out and support me.”
As for what the show has in store, we were promised air horns, signed picture of Avicii and rice. But on a more serious note, when asked if he had anything to say to Madison fans, this was the reply:
“I love them. I love them all, and I can’t wait to play all my new music for them, and take pictures with them and high-five them.”
To be one of those lucky enough to slap this on the brink of huge DJ’s hand, the Majestic is the place to make that happen.
Dillon Francis will play at The Majestic tonight at 9 p.m. with Flosstradamus. Tickets are $27 at the door. For more information visit majesticmadison.com