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From a Bedroom to Beatport: Exclusive Interview with Seven Lions – EDM Chicago

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If you\’re anyone who has ever browsed through random EDM tracks or remixes on any music streaming platform, there\’s no doubt that you have at least come across one of Seven Lions\’ tracks. Jeff Montalvo, better known under his moniker Seven Lions, released a remix for Above & Beyond in a remix competition with just a copy of FL Studio and a little bit of faith, and now has made a huge name for himself in just 4 years, catapulting to international recognition. After having released a myriad of remixes and EPs over the years, his latest EP, \”The Thrones of Winter\”, kept fans happy and showed that Seven Lions isn\’t afraid to change his style while still keeping true to his original sound. With so much happening in the world of Seven Lions, we took the opportunity to have a quick sit-down with SL before his show at Spring Awakening to see what\’s going on in terms of upcoming music, the sound of his tracks, and much more.


 

EDM Chicago: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to interview. It’s been a little while since you’ve played a show in Chicago, and I believe that was the show at the Aragon with Zeds Dead. How was it like to play here, and at the Aragon?

Seven Lions: Yeah, the Aragon’s fucking sick just because of how it is inside, and it looks so cool, and like it’s always an amazing crowd. But the vibe inside, it’s incredibly unique.

EDMC: Definitely, so seeing that it’s been a while that we’ve seen you, what do you have in store for tonight’s crowd?

SL: I got some new tunes, some new originals. Definitely more of a festival set, I mean, not that Aragon is intimate but it’s more of a show, than some like big festival, you know?

EDMC: Yeah, haha I completely agree. In general, what are some of your favorite cities to play in?

SL: I always love San Diego, New York is actually surprisingly really good. I know a lot of people are always on the fence about New York, just because they get a lot of shows, but it’s good. LA’s always good, Toronto also. India is actually really good.

EDMC: So, are you stoked for EDC Vegas?

SL: Oh man, I can’t wait. I’ve been getting super amped up, for at least the past week. I’ve been trying to find tons of new songs and mashups to play. So, it’ll be something special for sure.

EDMC: So, you’ve recently released the Thrones of Winter EP, and released a remix pack a few weeks ago, but is there any new music you can tell us about?

SL: I would just say, you can expect at least three new singles this year, and possibly a new EP.

EDMC: I think a lot of people have noticed, or have even said that, your latest EP somewhat strays away from the typical Dubstep sound you have used in tracks over the years, is there a reason for this or do you think Dubstep is “dead”, perhaps?

SL: No. Okay, if you listen to my first EP, it had 2 Dubstep songs. My second EP had 1 Dubstep song. My 3rd EP had 2, and this latest one had 1. I think what has happened, is the most popular songs that I’ve released recently have not been Dubstep, and just “December” wasn’t the biggest song on that [Thrones of Winter] EP. Like, I don’t have any control over that. People always think that “Hey, you stopped making dubstep”, but it’s still right there. It’s just, not what’s being pushed, I guess, and it’s not on the forefront of what’s on the radio. So, I wouldn’t say I’ve moved away for Dubstep, or that Dubstep is dead, but at the same time, I get asked that a lot on social media and it just kinda wants make me not want to do Dubstep. When people are asking for something, I don’t want to just be like, “Oh, whatever the fans want”, you know? I don’t feel like that, is a good way to be an artist. Unless you want to make a bunch of money, then you can just cater to only what the fans want.

EDMC: So on the subject of being unique, you have worked with a myriad of different vocalists, including Ellie Goulding and Tove Lo, and you’ve worked with some other producers like, Myon and Shane 54. Is there anyone that you want to have on your tracks that you haven’t yet had?

SL: Imogen Heap would be rad, Jonesy from Sigur Ros, just like the unique vocalists. Even like York, or whoever, just anyone who has that sound where you hear their voice once and you’re like “oh my god, that’s ___”. Like Zoë Johnston, for example, like you hear her voice and you know immediately it’s Zoë Johnston. And, I think those are the people I’d want to work with, for sure. Like Davey Havok, has a super unique voice.

EDMC: Understandable, definitely. Getting technical, for some of the novice producers out there using FL Studio, since you started your career on that software, are there any VSTs that you can recommend, or just some of your favorites that you’re currently using?

SL: Haha, well I think along with every other producer, I think Sylenth1 is the shit. I use a lot of Voxengo plug-ins. Actually, Omnisphere’s one of my favorites for sure. The only danger with Omnisphere, the few things that I use sound so good all the time, that I use it all the time. You know? Like I’ll just go to the same patches over, and over, because they sound great. Other than Omnisphere, I got Spire which is really cool, and I just got Serum which is pretty sweet too. And Nexus is awesome for drums, and the classic trance sound. But yeah, those are the general plug-ins I use.

EDMC: Last but not least, is there any song that you have made that truly defines “Seven Lions”?

SL: Wow, that’s really hard, because I make so many types of different stuff. I’d say either, “Keep It Close”, or “A Way To Say Goodbye”. Because, I guess either “A Way To Say Goodbye” mostly, because it has elements of acoustic guitar stuff, that’s really from my past before I was Seven Lions, and has this trance drop, and goes into this 3/4 time signature in the breakdown, I guess you’d call it, and it’s just everything I love about music.

EDMC: Alright, thank you man! Good luck on your set tonight.

SL: Yeah man, no problem! Thanks for having me.


 

Be sure to follow Seven Lions on all of his social profiles to be up to date with his upcoming music and tour dates.

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About The Author

Bren Miranda

Editor-in-Chief. Check out what I'm listening to: soundcloud.com/heyimbren

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