Party Favor, aka LA-based Dylan Ragland, has been doing the club a good service since he burst onto the scene in 2014 with ‘Bap U’, a twerk-inducing party starter whose video saw guest turns from Diplo and Seth Green. A regular on Mad Decent ever since, last summer’s Coachella saw him joined onstage by Jamie Foxx, Tyga and Rich The Kid. While the end of 2018 welcomed two singles in the space of a month — the club popping ‘Circle Up’, featuring Bipolar Sunshine, and the radio friendly ‘Blame’, fronted by the vocals of Naïka — 2019 heralds his debut album. Promising to showcase a range of songs and different styles, and featuring guest producers, singers and rappers including A$AP Ferg, it will no doubt enhance the reputation of the DJ/producer who already holds a residency at Hakkasan in Las Vegas.
We called him one sunny LA morning to talk bidding wars, celeb collabs and John Denver...
The year ended with ‘Circle Up’ and ‘Blame’. Why the strong finish, and is 2019 going to be as prolific?
“The worlds they live in have different vibes, and I wanted to get a couple of songs out before the end of the year to show that I’m still kicking. In December, the music business shuts down, so we wanted them out before that. This year we start the full album roll out. I can’t say the label now as we’re talking to a few, but it will be a major.”
So there’s a bidding war going on?
[Laughs] “You could say that, but I don’t want to give myself that much credit for being in demand. Maybe it’s more a begging war.”
Your 2018 Coachella performance was pretty impressive. How do you have so many people on speed dial?
“I don’t have a Rolodex full of random celebrities to call. I’m lucky that with Coachella, it’s not hard to get on someone’s radar if you say you’re performing on one of the bigger stages. It helps bring a different element to the DJ show everyone is so used to seeing. There’s no secret to a good collab, it’s just whether it feels natural or not. I don’t have a big name just to have a big name. Working with Jamie Foxx, who is a big star, was so crazy, because I love his films and I love his music. We ended up getting along so well that he wanted to come along to the next weekend, even though he wasn’t scheduled to. When we originally reached out, he wanted to meet up, so we’d hung out in LA to make sure it was a good fit.”
“There’s no magic formula. You just have to capture what’s popular in TV, adverts and film at that time. It was never deliberate"
Even if people don’t know you, they might have heard your music on ads for T-Mobile and Mountain Dew. Any tips for artists looking to get some corporate bucks?
“There’s no magic formula. You just have to capture what’s popular in TV, adverts and film at that time. It was never deliberate. I got booked for a bunch of stuff, and suddenly ad agencies were going to their people saying, ‘We need more music like Party Favor.’ I’m going, ‘I’m right here. I can do more if you’d like.’ I’ve had less this year, but it depends what you’re working on. There are people I know who spend their entire career focusing on trying to get into movie or adverts. It’s a full-time job if you commit to it.”
Vegas, baby. How do you prepare for PartyTV at Hakkasan?
“Vegas is a beast, it’s its own world. Preparing there is different to anywhere else. At Hakkasan, or OMNIA where I play as well, at any given time the crowd could be a big convention from Europe, or Harley Davidson riders from the middle of the US. Every night it’s different, maybe three quarter of the crowd knows you, or maybe three quarters don’t. It’s made me a better performer and DJ having to read the room. They’re really reacting to house, let’s make it a house night. Or they like hip-hop, let’s go with that. I can’t get complacent.”
What do you play if it’s a Harley Davidson convention?
[Laughs] “I don’t know if the Harley Davidson convention would come to a Party Favor club, maybe some ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver. You can never go wrong with Top 40 radio, you can always find something that someone likes on the radio.”