Seven Lions To Open For Above & Beyond India Tour
The American electronica artist on DJ mentors and his following in India
Like Sonny Moore aka Skrillex did before him, 26-year old Jeff Montalvo, who goes by the alias Seven Lions, channels his death metal avatar even when he’s behind a console. Â Emotive, bass filled, progressive dubstep is exactly what makes Seven Lions stand out from the rest of his peers and is the reason Above & Beyond chose his unique version of “You Got To Go” (feat. Zoe Johnston) as the winner of their remix contest. Seven Lions has worked with the likes of German crowdpuller Paul Van Dyk, and his productions have received support from the likes of Skrillex, American trance producers Tritonal, Swedish electro house DJs Dada Life, to name a few.
From the time he started producing EDM in 2010, he has played at some of the most iconic American festivals such as VELD Music Festival, TomorrowWorld, Ultra Music Festival, Miami and Burning Man. His latest single “Strangers,” which is a collaboration with Myon & Shane54 brings dubstep and trance together, has already got crowds raving. ROLLING STONE India caught up with him ahead of his show supporting Above & Beyond for their upcoming Group Therapy India Tour.
You tweeted in August about playing a full death metal set during the ABGT tour. Where was this? What did your set include?
Honestly, that tweet was a kind of a joke I often say before I play. I always tell people I’m going to play a 100% death metal or a 100% bluegrass set. I also tell people I plan on playing the breakdown of Aviici’s “Levels” on repeat for half of my set and then get really minimal towards the end and just play a kick drum. If I was to play a bunch of death metal though it would be tons of Opeth, Cephalic Carnage, Ensiferum, Cryptopsy and so on.
You do know India has a massive metal following, so any plans to throw in some metal into your set in India again?
You know, I wasn’t fully aware of the metal following India has! I would never go into a full on metal song in a set though because that is not the atmosphere I try to create when I DJ. Also the sound quality would be abysmal as compared to electronic music. However, quite a bit of my music has metal influences as far as the drum programming and intensity goes. One of my new remixes has some very overt metal elements in it.
There’s another Indian connection that we spotted – an artist from Coimbatore won a poster design contest for your North America tour.
He’s clearly a fan.
What’s the best thing you’ve heard from Indian fans about “Strangers”Â and your music in general?
Honestly the whole opportunity to go to India is overwhelming. When it was announced that I would be supporting Above & Beyond,the feedback on twitter was phenomenal, I had no idea Seven Lions had so many Indian fans. I know genres are somewhat of a blurry line in the US and I hope it’s the same in India because I tend to play a little bit of everything. Excited to see how it goes!
Who are your best DJ buddies?
Being on tour with Candyland (A Co-Ed Trap, House & Dubstep Duo from California) and Krewella (An EDM trio from Chicago) has really brought us all together, it has been a pleasure touring with them and we get to hang out and listen to music and watch movies a lot. Chad CisnerosÂ and Dave Reed of Tritonal are also really good friends and mentors. Love those guys.
You’ve admitted that Birds of Paradise have been your mentors. Tell us a bit more about how they’ve helped shaped your music.
Torin Goodnight (Birds of Prey) was my roommate for over a year. The guy is a sound design genius. His mixing and mastering skills are also out of this world. Watching him work on his music really shaped how I approach mine. He really taught me how to make things clean and how to bring the listeners attention to where you want it to be by using clever sound design tricks and creating focal points in the mix. It was really nice having another musician in the house so we could bounce ideas off each other.Â
What would you walk out with if you were allowed to raid a Sci-fi and Fantasy Fiction bookstore? Blame Instagram for this question!
Let’s see, anything from H.P. Lovecraft. Also, anything that would have to do with Game Of Thrones. I would probably grab H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon 1 and 2. I always end up with some short stories from Edward Gorey. I also like interesting coffee table books, especially stuff with dark humor like The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley.
Best venue/festival that you played at this year and why.
TomorrowWorld (which took place in Miami, FL in September) was pretty amazing. I always love being a part of an OWSLA ”“ you know, Skrillex’s Record Label stage at festivals. The production was top notch as well. My favorite all time place to play though is Burning Man, the Nevada based new-age, radical festival. Nothing beats Black Rock City!
You’ve also once spoken about how you don’t mind being locked in the studio by yourself, making music even if nobody ever wanted to hear it. Would you honestly be OK to be just a studio musician and not hit the road ever again?
Right now, I have this great opportunity to travel and see the world so I am very excited about it. I think what I was referring to in that statement is now that music has become a profession, I’ve changed the way I think and perceive it. Music for me is therapy, it takes me to another world, gets me out of the stress of daily life and centers me. Now that it is my job, it’s hard to feel the same way about it. Of course, I try not to worry about what people are going to think when they hear it, but it’s impossible when it’s what keeps a roof over my head and puts food on our table. I guess what I am trying to say is I miss the time when music was a personal hobby for me because it really helped me get through the hard times in my life.
Seven Lions will open for Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy Tour India:Â
November 22nd ”“ EZone, Bengaluru
November 23rd ”“ Amaanta, New Delhi
November 24th ”“ Kamalistan, Mumbai
Tickets availableÂ here.