He’s dance music’s leading funny-guy and Diplo‘s favorite back-up goofball. He’s a strange leader of the moombahton scene able to throw his weight behind giant electro anthems, sweetheart indie pop hits and low-down leaned-out trap rattlers. He’s Dillon Francis, the asshole you love to hate, or the icon you love to love. There’s really nobody quite like him.
The L.A.-born and raised producer broke onto the scene in 2010 with popular underground remixes of Titsworth and CSS. He reworked Diplo’s beat “Look At Me Now” and nabbed the attention of the Mad Decent headmaster. He was contracted to put his EP Westside! with the label, featuring his real breakout hit “Que Que,” a collaboration with Diplo and Maluca. From there, all roads led to bigger stages and a wild fan following, fueled both by his untamable variety of hits and a hilarious, juvenile, and sometimes just messed up sense of satirical humor, plastered around social media and infused in his live performances.
While Billboard Dance has confirmed a Dillon Francis album is in the works and coming immeasurably soon, we figured it was a good time to look at all the fun that’s come before. Here are our favorite 10 Dillon Francis songs, so far. Which is your fave?
10. Dillon Francis, Skrillex – “Bun Up The Dance”
Francis’ obsession with dancehall riddims started in a roundabout way. He admits in our recent interview that he never cared for reggaeton a whole hell of a lot, but a tune from his peer Munchi introduced him to the fusion of reggaeton beats and Dutch-house synth textures. It blew his mind wide open, it was nothing he’d ever heard before, and he was instantly hooked. In 2015, he teamed up with Skrillex for this rump-shaking heater, a call back to his favorite accidental genre. It’s full of funky vocals and twisted, South American jungle grooves. Don’t turn this one on unless you’re ready to sweat.
9. Dillon Francis, Martin Garrix – “Set Me Free”
Just because Francis likes you, doesn’t mean you’re safe from his evil charms. The producer admits to having photoshopped Martin Garrix’ face onto gay porn, and that beautiful image popped up in his festival man stage visuals. Garrix’ parents were in the audience, and they were not amused, but this song is fun for the whole family. You can hear his cartoonish attitude in the wonky vocal. His over-the-top style fits perfectly with Garrix’ crunchy anthemic ways. They dig deep in the bass, aim high for the sky, and even make room for glitchy edge.
8. Dillon Francis, Calvin Harris – “What’s Your Name”
From his 2015 EP This Mixtape is Fire., “What’s Your Name” sees Francis mix his screeching synths with a classic, Calvin Harris indisputable melody. It’s funky-smooth hook works into a hard rising action and drops into some decidedly Francis-ian madness. There’s a hint of moombahton in its rhythm, but it’s a definite twist on the formula.
7. Dillon Francis, Sultan + Ned Shepard – “When We Were Young” (Feat. The Chain Gang of 1974)
Francis’ debut full-length album Money Sucks, Friends Rule is a great showcase of his versatile sound. This is what it sounds like when Francis does his best main stage festival progressive house impression. He teamed with Canadian duo Sultan + Sheppard to capture the perfect vibe, and tapped The Chain Gang of 1974 to bring in the perfect, airy, starry-eyed vocals. It’s got a nostalgic lean, throwing back to the sound of his early indie remix days. There’s some rock guitar, some hands-in-the-air magic, and more than a little bit of romance.
6. Dillon Francis – “Masta Blasta”
No, it’s not a remix of Stevie Wonder. In fact, this breakout hit from Westside! sounds pretty much nothing like that “Song in the Key of Life.” Instead, it’s a head-rockin, boot-knockin’, bruk-rough tune that helps put Francis’ style on the musical map. It’s got a fun rework for the iconic music video, which features Dillon Francis playing to an empty club, save for one old woman who can only ask “when you gonna play ‘Le7els’?” This tune sounds even somewhat subdued compared to the work that has come after, but it remains one of our all-time Francis’ faves.
5. Dillon Francis – “Anywhere” (Feat. Will Heard)
Don’t think he’s all funny gags and bleeping synths. Francis can hang in the pop scene with the best of them. This has got to be of the best singalongs in dance music’s last few years. The repetitive lyrics from Will Herd get the job done right and easy, and the song sticks in your head like a melted popsicle, delicious and vibrant. It’s perfect for summer, poolside dances, or roaming aimlessly in the car as you look for adventure. It makes us want to fall in love… collective awww.
4. Dillon Francis – “Without You” (Feat. Totally Enormous Distinct Dinosaurs)
This is one of those songs that just speaks to your soul and nestles into the cockles of your heart. It’s got TEED’s retro post-punk dance touch all over it, but that extra cute wobble on the chorus, and that boosted bridge take us right to Francis’ home turf. This is a near-perfect collaboration, and it’s a near-perfect anthem. It somehow makes breaking up sound lovely, so next time you’re curled up in a ball on your bed shedding tears, put “Without You” on full volume and shed the blues instead.
3. Dillon Francis – “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.”
This is the moment, the career-maker, the artist defining himself, setting his ultimate aesthetic and ethos in the form of a song. “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.” dropped in 2011, and it’s mix of sunshine melodies, fuzzy synths, and chopped vocals shot it straight to the heart of thousands. The wonky dubstep breakdown fit perfectly in the world Skrillex was currently shaping, and the motto at the heart of it, “I don’t give a fuck or shit,” paved the way for merchandise that continues to make Dillon Francis a richer man. It’s his rallying cry, and the song? An undeniable dance music classic.
Another stellar colab from This Mixtape is Fire, it also features the softer side of Francis. You’re walking on the moon in this feel-good anthem, thanks to loving touches from Kygo and vocalist James Hersey. It perfectly captures the dizzying light-headedness of a new romance. It’s uplifting and hopeful, and it soared all the way to the top of the Dance Club Songs chart.
1. Dillon Francis, DJ Snake – “Get Low”
“Get low when the whistle go.” That’s all you gotta say to a dance music lover, and they’ll know exactly the snake-charm melody you have in mind. This tune was a staple when it dropped in 2014, a must-hear from Francis’ Money Sucks, Friends Rule. It’s got a ’90s hip-hop house fusion style to its mid-section, a worldy vibe on the hook, a dash of moombahton flavor, and a festival-sized sense of dynamics. No wonder it was such a hit, and it endures as a fan favorite not just with Francis and Snake fans, but with modern dance music lovers across the board, especially those who be trappin’.