Seven Lionsis quickly taking the dance world hostage with his deep, soulful, hybridizedcreations - at times elegant, at others pulverizing - all distinctly his own.Seven Lions' Polarize EP, one of the most promising releases of the last yearin the EDM world, just dropped in April and has already garnered praise for itsmelding of main room bombast with a very sensitive, human touch.
For Seven Lions (neé Jeff Montalvo) ‘fast’ is an understatement for how hiswork has spread virally amongst fans of trance, dubstep, and everything inbetween. The 25 year old California native has been the center of attention asof late but has maintained a humility throughout. The artist released anunofficial remix of Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love" in Marchand has been a runaway YouTube hit as Florence's vocals align perfectly withthe producer's yearning, sinewy compositions. Following the release of thePolarize EP (which charted in the top 5 overall charts on BeatPort), several ofhis productions are at any given time on the BeatPort dubstep Top 30.
His international following has grown exponentially over the past few months-everything from getting airplay on BBC's Radio1 to headlining seminal clubs inthe States and elsewhere, but this is no overnight success story. It startedearly on in his life when, at age 7, his father brought home the family's firstcomputer: a Macintosh and keyboard. After playing in metal and punk bandsthroughout middle school and high school, Montalvo segued into production inhis late teens.
“For me, it was the most accessible thing, to start picking up something likedrums as opposed to something like electronic music. My transition out ofplaying with a band was because I got tired of waiting for my band all the time— I wanted to just start making music so I started composing electronic musicby myself,” Montalvo explains.
After a friend gave Montalvo the program Fruity Loops, he began experimentingwith industrial drum beats and toying with genre cross-pollinations. Montalvoattended his first rave in 2007 and was immediately inspired to produce trance.However, he slowly found that broken beat came more naturally to thedrummer-at-heart. “It’s more like playing a real instrument, as opposed todoing the four-on-the-floor disco beat. It’s more natural for me,” he says.
Not long after, his remix of Above & Beyond feat. Zoe Johnston’s “You GotTo Go” served as his breakout hit and introduction to the EDM world. “I won theofficial remix competition, which is how I got involved with [Above &Beyond]. I don’t know if they were expecting the track to do as well as it did.But it definitely got their attention, and now they’re wanting to work with memore."
That the remix “did well” is an understatement — typical of the soft-spokenMontalvo. The meteoric track sat at #2 on Beatport's Dubstep chart for over 6weeks, second only to Skrillex's remix of "Levels", with hundreds ofthousands of listens on YouTube.
From metal band member, to solo industrial producer, to a trance-dubtrailblazer — he's already achieved quite a diverse oeuvre, but his work seemsto be only beginning. An innovative, fresh-thinking producer, Seven Lions isone of the more beautiful but dance-centered artists you're likely to discoverfor a while.