Interview with DJ Francis Davila

Guatemalan DJ Francis Davila shares how he grew to be one of the world's top 100 DJs

Francis Davila is a 40 year old DJ and Music Producer from Guatemala. He's been composing and producing music for the last 25 years. He's released music with big labels such as Universal and Sony and also independently. Two music videos of my releases have appeared on regular program on MTV. In 2011 (#77) and 2012 (#63) I was voted on DJ Mag Top 100 as one of the best and popular DJs in the world. 

Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My last release is called Over The Sea, its a collaboration with Alfred Beck from Mexico and Sapir Amar from Israel. I really enjoyed the process of creating and producing this song. Working with friends from around the world is a great thing to do these days. 

How did you record it?

Usually I compose and produce my tracks at my home studio in Guatemala city. 2 years ago I started travelling around the country, and stayed in beautiful places, small towns in the country side of Guatemala. I was trying to escape from the routine and create in different places, with different energy. To record this song I used my mobile studio (Mac, Ableton Live 10, sound-card, headphones and a midi controller).

How did you distribute it?

Usually when I release independently I use CD Baby for distribution. In this case Uprise Music, which is a label based in New York, was in charge of this release.

How did you promote it?

This days we know that labels won't do all the work, so I sent the track to some playlist curators on Spotify and Deezer. Also I used SubmitHub for the first time, which is a great way to reach more and new curators. I did some interviews on radio stations, live streams talking about the song on Instagram.

The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading?

We are living in a difficult but historic moment. Streaming numbers are going down apparently, the video content is more popular in the music market these days. In the entertainment industry we hope to see changes too. Promoters won't be able to pay those ridiculous amounts of money to big artists, so maybe there will be more opportunities for smaller artists who are doing great things. I can't tell you exactly where the music industry is heading, but one thing for sure is that music will prevail no matter what.

What's the most important thing missing from Songwhip?

I found Songwhip as one of the best tools to promote my music it is great to create links to share your releases so easily. It would be great if this tool becomes more popular and more artists use and share because it is great. 

Which artist do you look up to the most and why?

I can't come up with just one. But I can tell that it is very important to see what others are doing to reach those numbers, those playlists and try to learn the best from them. I try to follow what my friends are doing or other artists signed on the same labels where I’ve been releasing music.

What artist tools/services can't you live without?

I think Spotify for Artists it's a great tool. It is so cool to see how many people are listening to your latest release, which playlists added your track, how many listeners you have in other countries and different cities … so helpful!

What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work?

My advice is that music business is not only about creating beautiful music or great productions, it's about studying strategies so our creations can reach more people and different markets. It is about managing our budget and making the best decisions. It is about promoting our work and conquering a relation with our fanbase. And don't forget to support others, most of them will support you back!

Verified profiles are a great way for artists to stand out on social platforms. How did you become verified?

I think it is very important to have active social media profiles so they can be sure that the artist who is asking to be verified exists, is active and has a verifiable background of his work. I suggest you include content that shows your gigs, participation in music festivals, releases, etc. How did you become verified? I just filled out the request and was patient :)