The producer has officially begun to deliver on his promise of a new moombahton album with the release of its lead single “Ven,” featuring Puerto Rican songwriter Arcangel and Dominican rapper Quimico Ultra Mega.
The album is expected to be chock full of culture-blurring collaborations, with Francis actively traveling over the last year to find the most authentic supporting cast possible for his sophomore LP.
In a note to fans accompanying his first release of 2018, Francis explains,
“For the last 18 months I’ve been spending most of my time between shows at the studio. My goal was to have fun, inspire myself, and make something amazing, so when I got time in the studio I focused on making moombahton records. I asked Toy Selectah to help me source some vocals and we got into an amazing rhythm and I kept writing songs. We went to NY, Miami, Dominican Republic and Mexico City to work and it was some of the most incredible experiences ever. So here’s the first song off my upcoming album…”
Clocking in at the moombah tempo sweet spot, “Ven” drips and drops at 108 beats per minute, roping in heavy hip-hop influences, and carried by sharp hi-hat flurries and sinister Spanish spits from Francis’ Latin co-stars. Last year the “Hello There” producer regained creative control of his music when he parted ways with Columbia Records and we’ve now seen the first fruits of Dillon’s labor.
NGHTMRE and Dillon Francis fans were in for a treat when the duo dropped “Another Dimension,” arguably one of the hardest song we have heard the artists drop. The track has graced mainstages around the world, and now the pair have released an accompanying music video.
In the video, Francis and NGHTMRE enter a virtual reality world on a vivid psychedelic trip. They go on otherworldly adventure, and watching is sure to expand your psyche and elevate your senses.
Now to kick off the New Year, he’s teased the album further by wiping his Instagram account of all but two posts, each including Francis alongside various Latin artists. Followers should already be aware that this new album will be entirely in Spanish, as he has been traveling around Latin America to places like the Dominican Republic (to work with Dominican rapper Fuego) and focused the majority of his music toward the tail-end of 2017 on the Latin genre (Spanish version of “Say Less” and a “Mi Gente” remix).
Check out the two posts below, featuring a video of Francis hanging in the studio with Mexico-native Toy Selectah, Reggaeton singer/songwriter De La Ghetto and Spanish musician El Guincho, as well as a photo with Puerto Rican artist Arcangel. Expect to see those names and further updates on the album shortly.
Phoenix, Arizona is quickly becoming one of the nation’s hottest music festival destinations, drawing an increasing number of top-tier artists and events to the Valley of the Sun year after year. This year was perhaps Phoenix’s biggest yet, hosting events like the debut installment of Lost Lake Festival and Hundred Waters‘ annual FORM at Arcosanti, an artistic community about 30 minutes outside the city. But for ravers and hip-hop heads alike, one event’s talent roster may have stood head and shoulders above the rest, with Goldrush Festival also delivering its inaugural lineup, stacked with genre-hopping talent. Dillon Francis, Marshmello, Migos, Claude Vonstroke, REZZ, Lil Uzi Vert and a slew of the year’s most sought-after artists flocked to Arizona just as the state’s sweltering temperatures began to break, only to heat things back up again for two days of festival chaos wild west style. Here are Dancing Astronaut‘s top five takeaways from the inaugural Goldrush Festival.
Baauer and A-Trak’s highly anticipated b2b set
Lined up for only a handful of joint shows to close out 2017, Baauer and A-Trak finally joined forces for the back-to-back performance we all deserve, and boy did they deliver. With Baauer’s ever-variant track selections and A-Trak’s brilliant scratch routines, the pair put together a set that hit the crowd from every angle, complementing each other like they’ve been playing together for years. The chemistry was definitely there, it was like watching Carlos Santana and Slash trade solos for a full hour. The Fool’s Gold Records veteran and his LuckyMe counterpart delivered one of the best sets of the weekend and are hopefully planning to bless fans with additional back-to-backs in the very near future.
Once the representatives from Dirtybird Records touched down at Goldrush, the endless shuffling began, and the massive cloud of dust didn’t settle over the venue until well after the weekend’s final performance. Claude Vonstroke and his Dirtybird cohorts undoubtedly ruled the roost at Goldrush’s debut weekend. The band of (mostly) California-based house heroes including Walker and Royce, Christian Martin, and more descended upon the desert to deliver some of the weekend’s top highlights. From the label head’s double duty playing by both his Vonstroke and Barclay Crenshaw monikers to Shiba San‘s top-billed performance, Dirtybird Records took over the party with a commanding presence and the swelling Arizona crowds knew exactly what to do.
Curation and programming
For a new event concept in an emerging festival market, it can be difficult to rope together the perfect blend of talent for a debut lineup. Beyond that, there’s an additional set of difficulties in nailing the festival’s overall programming, though Goldrush navigated these challenges impressively well in its inaugural installment. The lineup included hip-hop and dance music’s top-tiered and newly emerging talents alike, pairing acts like RL Grime, Excision and San Holo with Rich Chigga, Lil Pump and G-Buck. The lineup showcased well-rounded bookings that spanned the spectrum, from Flatbush Zombies to Jeremy Olander, Öona Dahl to Justin Jay offering up a balanced blend of talent with a clearly electronic-leaning focus. Beyond the lineup’s composition, the rest of the event’s overall complexion was a highlight worth its own mention. While the wild west motif came off a kitschy at times, with fans panning for gold and old timey saloons selling neon shutter shades, it generally came off as well-intentioned, well-produced thematic appreciation for Arizona. The western town venue was spacious and open, and while stages experienced some clustering at times, the event’s layout generally held sway. Ahead of Decadence New Year’s festivities at the same venue, Goldrush tested the grounds and successfully delivered a wild west experience that comfortably accommodated thousands of attendees.
Plenty of music festivals opt for cashless alternatives, though few execute as smoothly as Goldrush did. Communication with attendees was thorough and clear, and assistance at the festival was prompt and efficient. The event was strictly cashless. Once an attendee’s personal payment information was secured, wristbands with magnetic tokens managed the sale of concessions, merchandise, and more. The event that was so heavily authentic to its wild west themed production, though Goldrush also directed the proper amount of time and resources at ensuring a safer and swifter experience between performances. It is easy to overlook the small details of such large-scale events, but Goldrush managed to nail down the little details that made the dusty main drag of the micro-western town replica venue an amusing open-air marketplace packed with buzzing ravers.
Los Angeles is undoubtedly the foremost incubator of electronic talent in the U.S., but only a few hundred miles east sits Phoenix, which has also been called home by some of today’s top-tier DJs. Goldrush did a credible job of including local Arizona talent on the lineup, but seeing heavy hitters like Mija, Drezo, and Ghastly come home and play before their hometown crowds made for some of the weekend’s most memorable moments. Longtime local fans will remember Mija’s resident sets at dance clubs downtown, while droves came out to support dark house protege Drezo as he continues to carve out his own brooding, club-rattling house fare. Goldrush ensured that Phoenix is on the map, and it brought strong representation along to promote the hottest new stop on the major festival circuit. Among waves of internationally touring talent, Arizona’s brightest exports came home to round out a successful event with some special, personalized touches.
Dillon Francis is officially capping a momentous 2017 with the confirmation we’ve all been waiting for heading into 2018 –– a new full-length LP currently under wraps and on its way. From making his television debut to marquee collaborations with NGHTMRE, Flosstradamus, and G-Eazy, this has been a hallmark year for Dillon, and now he’s priming fans for his next big project. The “Hello There” producer confirmed the news for fans via social media with a short message, leaving details on the release sparse for now. However, considering he split ties with Columbia Records this year, expect an intriguing roll-out from Francis, who’s likely calling all of the creative shots himself on his sophomore LP.
The news comes months after reports surfaced that Francis was working on a Spanish-inspired dance music project, having made numerous trips to the Dominican Republic to secure in-person studio time with local Dominican vocalists. At this time, it’s unclear whether 2018’s upcoming record will be the spanish electronic product or a follow up to Money Sucks, Friends Rule, but the one thing that’s guaranteed is that we’ll have a slew of new music from Dillon Francis next year, and that’s all that really matters.
For those who like hard drops and dirty chords, there are few bigger names than Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus. The two artists started teasing a collaboration after Josh Young and Curt Cameruci of Flosstradamus split this past summer, leaving Cameruci as the sole member of the moniker. Their collaboration, which is titled “Tern It Up” is finally here.
The track starts with trap chords, bass synths, and a build that ebbs and flows throughout the first half of the song. Electronic chords come in halfway through the track, heightening the energy and fall into a more elaborate trap drop. “Tern It Up” is a track built to be dropped during a set, and fans can expect to hear this one in the club for months to come.
Thousands of people are catching on to HQ, a new mobile trivia game show created by one of the founders of Vine that’s being played live all across the country by users looking to win daily cash prizes. The object of the game is simple: tune in twice a day and answer 12 trivia questions ranging in difficulty. When a player answers a question incorrectly, they are disqualified from that game. Each day, hundreds of thousands of players tune in, and by the twelfth round, usually only a handful remain and all split a cash prize. Though the game is usually hosted by comedian Scott Rogowsky, the emcee took a rare and much-deserved breather, tapping EDM’s favorite wisecracker Dillon Francis for guest-hosting duties. And bless his heart, Francis semi-successfully does Rogowsky justice. Though he got off to a rocky start due to teleprompter issues, Francis redeemed himself by laughing it off, as he always does.
Obligatory EDM questions like “what is Joel Zimmerman’s stage name?” and “what classical technique most closely matches techno in beats per minute?”respectively knocked off more than 250,000 players combined. An equally obligatory Diplo shout-out and Francis calling for more air horns made it a memorable round of HQ. As the game quickly becomes an overnight sensation, perhaps a few more of our favorite DJs will crop up in Rogowsky’s place soon.
Few Q&A sessions have the promise of being as spontaneous as a Dillon Francis Q&A session.
Francis visited WIRED Magazine’s studio to spend some time answering Twitter users’ questions regarding DJing. Francis offers insight on topics like using Serato with CDJs, and general DJ hardware, even offering a beat-matching example on the fly. In true Francis fashion, Francis also elaborates on a series of unrelated subjects, ranging from how DJs feel when no one is dancing to their music to his alias, DJ Hanzel.
As Dillon Francis acknowledges in his latest comedy sketch, “Halloween is ruined again,” unintentionally matching among friends, however unavoidable, is best suited for days other than All Hallow’s Eve.
Watch dance music’s resident goof tout his authentic ‘Marty McFly’ costume, only to be dismayed when his friends arrive dressed in similar outfits, rendering Francis’ pre-planned ensemble undistinguishable. Another production sourced by Francis’ unmistakable brand of hilarity, “Halloween is ruined again” captures the comicality of unplanned matching Halloween costumes.
Touring across North America with close friends and having full control each set is not a feat that many people can say they’ve accomplished, let alone by the age of 18. Proudly hailing from Chicago, Ethan Snoreck started off like many other aspiring producers, putting together beats and remixing songs, then uploading them to his SoundCloud account. Fast forward two years later and known better by his stage-name, Whethan, the Chi-town native has tackled his dreams and turned them into his reality.
Snoreck’s break into the scene was aided by his Skrillex, who invited out to open for his idol during the record OWSLA pool party in 2017, and quickly garnered attention to his name. With the support from one of the largest names in the dubstep scene and an already quirky quirky to wheat crackers, it’s no surprise his name was instantly recognizable, and talent indisputably apparent.
The blooming talent is currently in the midst of his headlining “Good Nights” tour, where he has already performed in cities across the East Coast while being supported by friends like SAINT WKND, and Ashe. With the recent releases of some brand new music, and the announcement of his NYE set at Dillon Francis‘ Ultra VIP NYE Experience, we caught up with Whethan to talk about how he’s adjusting to tour life, and his immense success over the last year.
Throughout 2017, you’ve gained a ton of success with your music, and a fanbase that extends around the world. Is there a specific moment from this year that rings true to your success?
Red Rocks was the one that really did it for me. The fact that I got to play on the same stage as some of the most iconic musicians of all time was absolutely surreal! It was also one of my favorite sets I’ve ever put together so while Lollapalooza and Coachella were ridiculous, Red Rocks was definitely my favorite show so far.
Five singles and a handful of remixes later, you’ve put out a lot of new music this year. Is there any thought of an EP or album in the near future? Even if not, can we expect any upcoming collaborations after the tour has concluded?
Yes, I’m currently working on my album. It’s my main goal right now and once I get off the road, I’m going to lock myself in my house, get a case of peach tea, 100 boxes of waffles, and finally finish this thing. I’ve been working on it for a while now, and it’s grown into something a lot bigger than I thought it would. There are a ton of features from artists all across the spectrum so I think everyone will have a song to connect with.
You’ve travelled around with future-bass duo Louis The Child a little bit this year, tell us about your friendship with Robby & Freddy, and the success you’ve all seen since growing past Chicago’s music scene.
What can I say? They’re family. We came from different places in Chicago, suburb wise, and now we literally live 5 minutes away from each other. It’s a weird and wild ride that we’re all on and I’m just happy to have them in my boat. We’re always collabing and hanging out, bouncing ideas off one another, and honestly just having fun. Having true friends that you can count on is important , and I’d put those guys at the top of my list for sure.
You’ve managed to accomplish a ton of things that many 18 year olds haven’t – do you ever feel like you’ve missed out on doing “teenage” things?
That’s a tricky one for me. It’s a little bit of both honestly. On one hand, I don’t think I missed out on too much because I graduated from high school in the normal 4 year time period and had a ton of fun the whole time. But on the other hand, yes because I’m not going to college like the rest of the people my age. That being said, being out on the road so much I sometimes feel like this is my own personal version of college. Travelling can teach you a lot about yourself and the people around you and I’m forever grateful to the experiences I’ve had so far. I wouldn’t want to live my life any other way so to worry about what I’ve “missed out” on is just something that doesn’t cross my mind.
With the Good Nights’ tour going around every major city this fall, you’re on the go for the rest of the year. Besides your hometown, is there a particular city that holds a place in your heart?
Well first and foremost, every city we go to has a special place in my heart. How could they not? My fans are amazing and they show SO much love! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people come up to me at the end of a show and give me something they made just for me. Pins, posters, shirts…you name it. I actually just met a fan who had my logo tattooed on him, which was wild! But if I had to pick one place besides Chicago, I would have to say Los Angeles. LA is my new hometown and I don’t have any plans to live anywhere else. It was the first show of the tour and I couldn’t have been any more nervous, but as soon as the lights went down and the curtain came up I was locked in. It was one hell of a way to start this awesome journey across the country.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve found living on a tour bus, and how have you coped with said challenge?
I mean there’s a lot of challenges that you could run into on tour bus but I’ve got some great friends out here on the road that make all those challenges go away. It really comes down to the people you surround yourself with. I have my good days and my bad days but my tour fam is always there to remind me that we’re the luckiest people in the world.
You’ve also just announced your plans for New Year’s Eve, playing at Dillon Francis’ Ultra VIP NYE Experience in Los Angeles – what should fans expect from that show that’s different from your sets on tour?
I play new music at every show but I might break out some ultra-rare VIP sounds for that one.
In a past interview with Billboard, you mentioned that you ended up working with one of your idols, Skrillex, in the studio. Will that collab every officially come to light?
Trust me, I’ve heard that question a million times. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see what happens. We’re both super busy and are constantly doing a million things at once so I think it’s just a matter of time.