Jeff Montalvo, better known by his stage name Seven Lions, has been shaking things up in the dance music world by officiating a marriage between two unlikely characters – the heavy bass grinding of dubstep with the melodious sounds of trance. Dreamstep, trancestep, dubtrance – the list of hybrid genre names is certainly creative, but regardless of what you call it, the 25-year-old Cali-native’s unique sound has amassed its own major following; one of the reasons why his four-track EP “Days to Come” made it to VIBE’s ‘Top Electronic Albums’ list for 2012.
We caught up with Seven Lions to talk about the politics of EDM and the “catch-22” of trying to be self-supporting as a producer and performer in today’s digital marketplace.
VIBE: A lot of your popular tracks have been remixes and collaborations. Why is that?
Seven Lions: Collaborations are a funny thing. It’s more like the people that I meet, if we click right away then we’ll do some music together. That, and I have to really like their music too. Mainly, right now I want to work with vocalists. I’m looking for some awesome vocalists … but if I’m browsing the Internet and hear this super amazing vocal from some random girl on YouTube, I’ll be like, ‘Hey, can we try to get in contact with this person?’”
You really haven’t had a chance to play the festival set in the States yet. With the festival season right around the corner, where can your fans be looking to catch you in action?
There’s a lot that goes into that, deciding what shows to play and what shows not to play. I’m getting more and more selective. I know it’s coming up, but if I want even half of the output I had last year, I need to be in the studio more. I love playing shows, but the traveling on the weekends, I’m gone way too often.”
Do you follow any of the politics in the EDM world when it comes to stories on promoters and does that affect your decisions on where you play?
I’ve never cared about that stuff and I don’t feel like I should start right now, because I don’t want to get jaded. I don’t want to get political at all, that’s the furthest thing from my mind. It’s a shit show out there, but if you are good at what you do and you hold integrity, that’s what matters.
Where do you see yourself as an artist five years down the road?
This wasn’t like a career choice, so it’s hard for me to say if this is where I’ll be. I had no idea this was even going to happen in the first place, so for me to predict what happens seems absolutely pointless. It’s kind of nerve-racking to be honest, but I do feel like I’ve built a good team around me and I’m hopeful for the future.