Grooves and Gratitude: A Conversation with Francisco Allendes

Jan 21, 2024

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

8 min read

Spanning over two decades in the music scene, Francisco Allendes has not just mixed tracks but also blended passion, dedication, and cultural heritage into an art form that resonates on dance floors worldwide. Hailing from the breathtaking coasts of Chile and now a staple in the heart of Ibiza's music scene, Allendes has carved a niche for himself. Transitioning from classical violin training to shaking up dance floors across the globe, Allendes has earned himself the prestigious title of Best Ibiza DJ in 2019.

In this exclusive interview, Francisco Allendes takes us on a journey through his musical evolution, from his early days in a country with a nascent club scene to becoming a resident ANTS DJ at the iconic USHUAÏA. He opens up about the challenges and triumphs of his career, and his method of blending diverse musical influences, and offers a glimpse into his personal life. He shares how he maintains a balance between the rigorous demands of touring and his commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. Join us as we delve into the mind and music of Francisco Allendes.

How has your classical violin training influenced your approach to dance music production?

It was my classical training that led me into dance music production. I was struggling to find partners who would put in the same effort as me in a band, so I started looking for ways to compose and perform on my own. That’s how I found out about Cubase and VSTs and started writing music there.

What was the turning point in your career that led you to focus on house and techno?

I wanted to find a way to express myself without depending on anybody else. Sometimes the music in my mind is something I couldn't express with words to other musicians, so I was looking for something where I could own the whole creative process to have every detail as I imagined it. And this was synthesizers and electronic music.

What was the experience of winning the Best Ibiza DJ award in 2019 like for you?

It’s a memory I will always cherish with much love. I really had no idea about this until about one week before the ceremony, and I was so happy about it. I left my country, my family, and my friends to pursue my music dream in Ibiza on a path that was amazing but also many times hard and sometimes nostalgic. It was like somebody saying, "Hey, you did all this, we noticed, and we love it."

It’s not that I need somebody to cheer me up because my life is already incredible, I live a life many would like to have, but a nice green kryptonite in my studio is a beautiful trophy that reminds me every day that dreams can come true if you push for them.

What challenges did you face when transitioning from playing in orchestras to DJing in clubs?

It was a pretty smooth change; in fact, there was a time when I was doing both. Of course, performing classical music on stage since I was a kid helped me stand behind the decks and focus on DJ'ing without getting nervous in front of people. It was something completely different in every aspect, but I enjoyed every moment of learning and becoming better at it. The big problem, which took me a few years to manage and overcome, is that when you play in an orchestra, people come to see you and they are in silence, listening to your entire concert.

So, you can imagine how I felt that first time when I played a track that people didn't like, and the dance floor emptied. Here I realized that the approach to the performance was different and that the attention of the crowd was not guaranteed, so you had to be ready to fight for it at times and have the tools to adapt in different situations.

Can you share a memorable moment from your Fiebre Amarilla World Tour?

This was my first big tour. I organized it from Chile, not Europe, and it was the one that prepared me to move to live in Spain in some way. I have many incredible memories from this tour, like my first time playing with Luciano in Amsterdam or an amazing rooftop party in NY with the Black Market crew, but the most memorable moment was playing on Halloween in Tokyo.

What's your approach to selecting tracks for a set, and how do you read the crowd?

I've been playing records for more than 20 years now, so I have created a strong collection of timeless, dope tracks, plus I'm still listening to demos every week. I can't really explain with words how I select the tunes, but it takes me five seconds to know if a track is going to make it into my crate or not. It's the circular groove, the non-cliché vocals, the intellectual drops that catch my attention, and that's something you hear right away when you press play on a new track.

Regarding the crowd, I never like to underestimate them, as you never know how they're going to react, even with a packed dance floor. So, I'll come a bit early to see how the vibe is, and from there, we'll see.

How has living in Ibiza influenced your musical style or career trajectory?

It has had a huge impact on both. It opened my mind, being able to listen to so many incredible artists day after day, and it still does. All the best is here, the giant classics and the uprising stars. My career also took off when I moved here since the whole world is looking at what happens here. Having the chance to express my creativity in the biggest clubs in the world is a significant push.

What's the most rewarding aspect of being a resident DJ at ANTS?

You must understand my history. I come from a country where, at that time, there was only one proper club, some events here and there, and most of the parties were between friends and a few more people. So, arriving to play at this monster venue, always sharing the booth with legends I never thought I would ever meet, let alone be friends with, and playing for a packed dancefloor where people loved my music was a big shock for me. Imagine then it worked out fine, and it lasted for 13 years and is still going on. I think this is the most rewarding experience any artist can have.

How do you balance your personal life with the demands of touring and producing?

As I told you before, I've been doing this for more than 20 years. So, around the middle of this time, I looked at myself in the mirror and said: "Francisco, if you want to make this last, we have to find a way to live a sustainable lifestyle." So, I started going to the gym every day to get strong for the flights and the gigs.

Also, I adopted a mindset to be grounded, to be conscious every day of reality, as many of the problems in this job come from the mind and management of thoughts. So, during the week, I have a quite disciplined schedule, and on the weekends, I'm a bit freer on what to do. But on Monday at 7 a.m., we must stand up no matter what.

What’s one venue or festival you dream of playing at in the future?

I want to play at Universo Paralelo in Brazil.

If you could collaborate with any artist, across any genre, who would it be and why?

Roger Waters, my biggest musical influence.

Outside of music, what are your hobbies or interests?

I love food, and I love CrossFit, so I have a balance between both. Last year I felt I became a little dumber, so this year I started reading again to train my brain. I'm reading two books a month (that’s the goal, lol).

If you could travel back in time to any musical era, when would it be and why?

I would fly back to 1973 to see the debut of The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. This album has been the most important record in my life. I have been listening to it since I was 14, and it has been a teacher for me. Even today, I still learn from it every time I listen to it.

Finally, if you weren’t a DJ/producer, what career path do you think you would have pursued?

I think I would have applied to be an astronaut.

Upcoming events

ANTS Week 13

Francisco Allendes is on the lineup

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