Dillon Francis – producer, DJ, cat lover, piñata enthusiast, alternative medicine expert, and one of the original Practitioners of the Hover Hand – spoke to me last week about his insane past year and his upcoming co-headlining performance in the OWSLA Tent at HARD Summer.

The HARD Summer Music Festival spans two days, August 3rd & 4th, with the OWSLA Tent appearing Saturday, August 4th. The OWSLA Tent will also feature performances by Zedd, Alvin Risk, Birdy Nam Nam, Huoratron, and Nick Thayer. 

Over the past year, Dillon Francis has become a global EDM rising star. He has achieved this status by consistently releasing some of the most talked about original tracks as well as top notch remixes of artists such as Flux Pavilion, Diplo, CSS, Digitalism, and Zedd. His performances have also been regarded as stand out sets at multiple music festivals around the world.

DB: You’ve had a pretty crazy year. Last year you were one of the last acts on the HARD Summer bill and now you are one of the headliners of a stage. How did this happen?

DF: Oh man. I have no idea. Hahahahaha. I have no idea how I got to that point. I guess it was the amount of remixes I was putting out and the style of music I was making and playing. I don’t think anyone else is really doing it.

When I started putting out music, dubstep really blew up. And I was not one of those guys making dubstep. I was making moombahton which I feel is going to have that same type of peak. I think that is what Gary thinks as well. And it’s really cool that Gary shares the same vision that I do with new music. He likes to push new acts with new sounds, such as artists like Gesaffelstein and Brodinksi. I think they are going to do something that is going to hit HARD as well… no pun intended.

DB: What has changed in your life over the past year?

DF: I’ve been touring like, retarded. I went on tour with Nero over the past month which was amazing. It was really great touring with a type of artist like that, an artist who’s had a #1 album in the UK. My life hasn’t really changed though. I’ve been getting more gigs to play but I’m still trying to be the same person. Just trying to put out as much music as possible.

DB: Do you have any new releases coming out before HARD Summer?

DF: Yeah. I have a collaboration with Doctor P called “Music is Dead” that should be coming out hopefully in June or July on Circus. I have a song with A-Trak coming out on May 22nd that is called “Money Making.” Its being released on Fool’s Gold. That song is way more mature-sounding than anything I’ve ever done. It doesn’t have a drop date per se. It doesn’t sound like anything that’s out. It’s nothing I would play in my live set, but I really like listening to it.

And then I’m trying to finish this one song I have for Calvin Harris’s label.  It’s unnamed right now. But it should be really good especially when I put vocals down on it. My favorite song that I have coming out (which hopefully I can get out before HARD) is a song called “Souvenirs.” And I only have the beginning of it. I’m hoping to put it out on OWSLA. I think it’s going to be my best song yet… once I finish it.

DB: Are you excited to be playing on the OWSLA stage at HARD Summer this year? What does having a stage at HARD Summer mean for the label and how much has it grown in its first year?

DF: Its amazing to be a part of such a weird label that just started a year ago. And it is Skrillex’s label, so it’s understandable how big it’s gotten. But it’s still crazy to think that all of us have built names for ourselves because of that label, and grown so much in the way that we are making music now. It’s amazing to be headlining that stage with Zedd because he is one of my best friends. It’s really cool that we’re all kind of a family and have bonded over the whole OWSLA thing.

I’m also just excited to be playing HARD Summer again. HARD Summer last year was my first legit festival. I’ve played underground raves. But that was the first festival with a bunch of artists who I was able to hook up with.

DB: Well, we’re very proud of that.

DF: Me too, man. You guys were the first festival I ever wanted to get on. When I was eighteen I went to the first Haunted Mansion when DJ AM was playing and Daft Punk was at its prime. And I remember saying “I’m going to get on that festival. I’ve got to do it. I’m going to try my best.” And look, I did it.

DB: From what I have witnessed, it seems that you and all your OWSLA label mates are super tight. You guys are the young guns that are coming up and making some noise in the US right now. Were you guys friends before you all started working together?

DF: It’s cool because Skrill is the same age as I am now; Zedd is twenty two or twenty three; and Porter is the youngest on the label. The M Machine guys are really cool but I don’t know how old they are. I think they’re a little older than I am right now. And Kill The Noise. That guy is our dad. Our drunk dad. That dude is the best person alive. He’s so much fun to work with.  But the answer is no, we were not friends before we started working together.

As I said earlier, Zedd is one of my best friends and we met for the first time on HOLY SHIP! We became instant friends. We hung out every single day on HOLY SHIP! And I met Porter at the Snowglobe festival in Tahoe last December. We also became instant friends. We were already talking on the internet, but it was so much fun when we finally met because we both watched each other’s sets at the festival, and we both thought the other’s set was amazing. We duded out after that.

DB: One more question: what’s up with your merch store? It’s ridiculous but genius.

DF: Hahahaha. We’re going to start adding more insane stuff to it.

 Don’t Forget to see Dillon Francis perform in the OWSLA Tent on Saturday, August 4 at the 2012 HARD Summer Music Festival. 

Listen to a selection of Dillon’s releases below, and make sure to check out his Merch Store, where you can purchase Dillon Francis t-shirts, as well as hire him to build your IKEA bed.