DJ Dillon Francis to amp up the Skyway Theatre

The LA-based producer/DJ is a pioneer of moombahton, a dubstep-esque electronic subgenre.

by Jared Hemming

Though EDM producer/DJ Dillon Francis named his debut album “Money Sucks, Friends Rule,” he said listeners shouldn’t get confused by the title’s austere sentiment.

“I’m definitely materialistic,” Francis said.

The self-admitted “normal hipster dude from LA” found his way to music from photography and fashion when bands like Nine Inch Nails and the Prodigy inspired him to delve deeper into the underbelly of the electronic music world.

With the October release of “Money Sucks,” Francis brings his pioneered moombahton sound to the Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis — far away from his scene-kid LA roots.

“Back then, I was always trying to go to, like, the newest club, or drink the newest vodka — I don’t know if that would be the hipster move,” Francis said. “Actually, the hipster move would be to go to Budweiser, or drink PBR.”

Before befriending his Mad Decent Records labelmates, Diplo and DJ Snake, Francis said a stint working for men’s fashion designer J. Lindeberg fed his materialism.

“I was obsessed with trying to dress really well all the time,” Francis said. “I would always wear a suit, no matter what.”

This trend-hunting habit helped Francis discover moombahton — a mash-up of two-step EDM and dubstep created by DJ Dave Nada — just as the genre was taking off.

“I think I hit at the right time by making moombahton and putting it out,” Francis said. “I was right in the beginning when it first started on the Internet.”

While Francis has brought moombahton to a wider audience, with “Money Sucks,” he dabbles in other electronic subgenres, including trap and the straightforward electropop of the single “When We Were Young.”

“I think the diversity of the album has helped,” Francis said. “Not only can I make moombahton, but I can make all these other genres, and I feel like I haven’t compromised my integrity.”

Despite his tendency to linger on cool, Francis said he spent a year in his bedroom experimenting with electronic music technology and crafting his debut and lost friends in the process.

“You have to keep your friends that have been with you, that understand that you’ve sacrificed a lot of stuff to get to where [you are] now,” Francis said. “All those friends I keep very close to me.”

While holed up in his bedroom, Francis created an album of overstimulating pop grooves  from his computer.

“It’s weird to meet people that have been in the music industry for so long that are established pianists or guitarists,” Francis said. “I mess around with MIDI on my computer until I get that exact thing I want in my mind.”

While Francis downplays his strategic, pop-centered song crafting, his  approach to music reflects in his Internet presence. With nearly 423,000 Twitter followers, Francis said he finds validation in Internet culture.

“I started making all those videos and writing jokes on Twitter because it was a way for me to express myself and relieve stress,” Francis said. “I’ve always been the class clown. If I make people laugh, that’s one of the goals that makes me extremely happy.”


What: Dillon Francis

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Skyway Theatre, 711 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $30 (SOLD OUT)

Age: 18+