Jeff Montalvo is a former Santa Barbara surfer who grew up on punk and metal. He also happens to be Seven Lions, one of EDM’s most talented DJs/producers. Known for always bringing a unique twist to the table, Montalvo’s first major track of notice was his remix of Above & Beyond’s “You Got to Go” – which sat at #2 on Beatport’s Dubstep chart for 6+ weeks right behind Skrillex’s remix of Avicii’s “Levels.”
Since then Seven Lions has continued to produce massive tracks, many of which highlight his signature ethereal melodies and trance-style beats. His latest dance-floor fantasy (and awesome collaboration with Xilent) “The Fall” is a great example of this, with emotionally rich melodies, trance instrumentals and pulsing bassline beats that only leave you wanting more. Luckily, I had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his music style, his latest release and his proclivity for shady street chicken. EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When you aren’t on stage or catching up on sleep what activities do you enjoy doing? (I hear you surf – ever try snowboarding?)
Recently I've been doing A LOT of bouldering. I was big into surfing when I was a kid, I actually did Jr Life Guards for a few summers. Definitely have been snowboarding but not for a LONG time. We try and hike and then rock climb in the morning every day we are home to stay active.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: If you had to describe your sound in three words, what would they be?
Melodic, Moody, Epic
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You've talked in the past about having darker influences from metal/punk. What attracts you to these darker themes?
I'm not really sure why but it has been that way for as long as I can remember. Aesthetically its always been something I've been drawn too. Music that can make me feel like I am in haunted woods on a full moon in the mist is what I live for. I can't tell you why halloween gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside or why I want to live in a haunted mansion on a cliff, its just always been like that.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: I hear you’re a Game of Thrones fan. Any connection between “Throes of Winter” and “Winter is Coming”?
It wasn't a direct reference but I know GoT has a lot of influence over me, especially in a visual concept way.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: The Fall has an ethereal/fantasy feel to it, but also falls in line with your four-to-the-floor music as of late. How did the concept for The Fall get born and what was it like working with Xilent?
Awesome, Eryk is an awesome guy! We worked on that track for a long long time, going through many different versions. Basically I would work on it, bounce stems, he would work on it, bounce stems and we just kept it going for a long time.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: If you could work with absolutely anyone, living or dead, who would be your dream collab?
Sigur Ros, Imogen Heap, Zoe Johnston
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What would you be if you weren’t a musician?
I was an Audio Visual tech before I was doing music but if I could be anything I would be a professional BBQ master.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What’s something you’d tell your younger self back when you first started?
Your music sucks ass but its ok because you enjoy the process of making it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When you have an idea for a song, then sit down to make a new track – what’s the first thing you do?
Write the melody or put the drum kit together. Depends on the song. I work very linear thought. I don't skip ahead to the drop or anything like that.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What’s your favorite memory from a show or festival? Or (conversely) your most embarrassing one? Any notably awkward moments?
Burning Man, playing at Opulent Temple on a Tuesday night. We hit the fire button too many times and we pissed off the people running the show but the crowd was jammin out.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You have some exciting shows coming up, like EDC and Spring Awakening. Shows or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to out of the rest of 2015?
We are going to Amsterdam and then Ibiza this year. Amsterdam has always been on my list of places I would love to go. I can't wait!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: And last but not least: all-time favorite food
Shitty Chicken aka: Chicken and rice, preferably from a questionable source such as a street car or a shady restaurant.
You can get your copy of "The Fall" from OWSLA Records on Beatport here.
AUTHOR CREDIT: RACHEL NOVOSAD
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: ALLY SZETO