Seven Lions is blazing a mashed-up trail through the forest of EDM. Officially endorsed four months ago by Above & Beyond (listed as #5 on the world’s top 100 DJs) for his wicked remix of “You Got to Go”, Seven Lions producer Jeff Montalvo is now beginning his first DJ tour with Koan Sound, Gemini and Bassex.
What caught my ears at first, though, was his remix of “Cosmic Love” by Florence + The Machine, posted on Soundcloud a month ago. Just the fact that he picked Flo to cover warranted my initial thumbs-up. Further listening led to fantastic recent tracks including “Tyven”, “Isis” and “Below Us” – not to mention clever older numbers like “Deep Divide” and “Luna”. Under Viper Recordings, Seven Lions is currently releasing an EP called Polarized, featuring vocals by Shaz Sparks.
Montalvo has a way of combining melodic influences with the best elements of dubstep to create extremely gratifying dance tracks with a hint of dreamy revelation to them. The sudden deep bass drops, unexpected echoes and creative vocal twists result in song structures that provide listening pleasure without veering into the overly typical. He layers cultural influences and sweet little chip tunes against softly exploding backgrounds, all of which provides a novel element to a genre that’s seen a lot of repetitiveness of late (see Duh-dubstep).
Hailing from Santa Barbara, Montalvo has been producing music for most of his young life. At 24 years old, he first started making computer music at age seven and played in metal and punk bands through his teen years. When he realized he could make his own music instead of waiting for others to get around to collaborating with him, Montalvo started using the program Fruityloops to make trance beats. As a drummer, though, he found breakbeat more satisfying and began to tool around with mixing genres. Fundamentals of trance music infect his sound, which offers emotional investment and gentle residues of darkness without going overboard into creepiness.
Maybe it’s his history as a drummer that gives Seven Lions’ music its edge. Montalvo’s not afraid to play around with rhythms – that’s for sure. His beats offer a nice, clean edge at the same time as they push into new territory. You can hear Montalvo’s musicality just in the way he organizes a song. Crisp, satisfying and – best of all – not monotonous! This guy knows how to manipulate both sounds and beats to create something eclectic. I can’t wait to see what happens when he and Skrillex partner up on some tunes.
Seven Lions is so fresh, he’s not crawling all over the web like many popular EDM acts. You can find mentions of him and samples tracks on Soundcloud, UKF Dubstep, Beatport, The DJ List and Viper Recordings. He’s categorized under dubstep, progressive dubstep, and even lovestep – obviously the beginning of something new. Watch out for Seven Lions as Montalvo takes the club scene by storm in 2012!