Star Of The Year: Dillon Francis

Producer, prankster and performer Dillon Francis is by no means your everyday DJ – but with an album called ‘Money Sucks, Friends Rule’, you probably already knew that. It was always going to be a monumental year for him, given that his long-awaited album finally dropped. Not that it was an easy birth…

“I kept thinking I was done with a song, then by the time I’d finished the next one, the one before would sound out of date,” he tells Mixmag, fresh from a raucous weekend aboard November’s Mad Decent boat party.

But this perfectionism did help him curate an album which breathes a little fresh air into EDM. ‘When You Were Young’ showcases his skill in big-room sounds, pockets of synths combining with a strong moombathon bassline, while ‘We Are Impossible’ is an atmospheric, poppy, vocal-led track.

This pop sound is something Francis has no problem with at all. He’s even created a comedy alter ego, teutonic deep house DJ Hanzel, “to poke fun at [those in dance music] who take themselves too seriously” – while his Twitter accounts, such as ‘DJ Rich As Fuck’, keep his peers on their toes.

Originally from California, the 27-year-old broke through after none other than Diplo signed him to his label Mad Decent after hearing ‘Masta Blasta’ – and since then he hasn’t looked back, forming a “really close” bond with his mentor, both in musical terms and in their personal lives.

And 2014 saw Francis play more than 100 live shows – including huge festivals such as Coachella and Tomorrowland – and hit the road with Skrillex, not to mention going on his own international tour.

As for the next album, Francis is already planning ahead, promising Mixmag that he’ll “get it done really quickly. I think a year and a half. You’ve got to see what the fans want, rather than think ‘Fuck everyone, I’m just doing this for myself’.” It’s an attitude that stood him in good stead in 2014 and, no doubt, beyond.

Dillon Francis’ highlights of 2014

‘When We Were Young’
A trademark moombahton tune by Francis: upbeat and headstrong with catchy vocals, it was one of the standouts on the album

Ultra Music Festival
With rerubs of Daft Punk and Chromeo and tons of jump-up tracks, Francis’ set, at one of the year’s biggest events, sealed his status as an entertainer

Deadmau5 ‘Some Chords’
(Dillon Francis remix)

Francis reworks one of the Mau5’s best tracks, giving it a moombahton makeover with hard synths and an agile breakdown

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