Dillon Francis doesn’t need to be on a package tour like Mad Decent Block Party. When you’re part of the Wynn nightlife group, have Columbia Records releasing your debut album (Money Sucks, Friends Rule, due out October 28) and have drawn over 40,000 people at Electric Daisy Carnival, you can easily coast on your own. But that wouldn’t be as much fun, the LA producer/DJ tells us.
Do you recall last year’s block party in Las Vegas? Yeah. It was really awesome because 1. it’s always really fun to hang with your friends in Vegas and 2. it’s more fun to hang with your record label in Vegas. We did it at Encore Beach Club during the day and it was so much fun and everyone was happy with the turnout.
How does the very regulated environment at Encore Beach Club transform for the tour date? How would it feel different to a local who has been to that space so often? That’s a good question. It definitely turned into a Mad Decent Block Party and it wasn’t Encore Beach Club. There weren’t any of the regulars—I mean, there were probably some big spenders there, but it was really very much regulated in a different way. And when the people in Vegas heard the music we were playing, they were really surprised—in a good way. They were like, “They really brought out their fan base.”
Your crowd at EDC looked as big as Diplo’s from two days earlier, and I’ve never seen a bigger crowd at the Cosmic Meadow stage. Is that one of the bigger audiences you’ve had? Yeah, I think that’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever played for in my career. I think it was about 40,000 at that stage at one point. It’s really surreal just playing on that stage. I’m just this weird white dude making weird music that’s super happy. All I ever wanted to play was this club in LA called Cinespace. That was my main goal as a DJ. The fact I’ve come this far is mindblowing.
What about your home city of LA influences your sound the most? It’s 102.7 KIIS-FM. That’s all I could listen to when I was a kid because my parents wouldn’t let me listen to anything else. So I listened to a lot of pop music when I was growing up. A lot of people may think my original music isn’t pop music, but it is. It’s like Skrillex’s music, where it’s masked. It’s got crazy sounds, but it’s pop music at its core. If you strip it down to its chord progressions and ran a topline through it, you’d be like ... it’s pop.
When do you perform as DJ Hanzel, and is MDBC the place for him to surface? DJ Hanzel played the LA block party as the guest appearance. I did it at Andrea’s at Encore and then he opened [and] closed for me a couple of times ... hopefully he plays out more this year.
Let’s say I’ve got time to catch one DJ. Who’s the guy I absolutely cannot miss on this tour stop and why? Paul Devro. Yes! He’s the heart of Mad Decent. He A&R’s a lot of the music on Mad Decent as well as Diplo, but he knows so much crazy, weird, amazing music, and his DJ sets are so awesome. He’s everyone’s favorite DJ. If you asked Flosstradamus and Diplo, they would say the same thing. I love Paul Devro and his sets—they’re so different from everyone else’s.
You’re pretty irreverent on social media. Do you think the electronic dance world needs some loosening up, or are you just generally mischievous? I’m definitely generally mischievous, but that’s one of the main things where I was like, I don’t understand why people are so f*cking uptight or think they’re so cool. That’s why I made the DJ Hanzel character on Instagram, this deep house character that hates everything in the world but deep house. Those people exist—the dude that’s like, I’m only playing VIP parties and you have to know six people to get in. I think people need to loosen up a bit.
Mad Decent Block Party With Diplo, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Paul Devro, Paper Diamond, Grandtheft. August 17, doors at 11 a.m., $75+ men, $45+ women. Encore Beach Club, 702-770-7300.