Producer Seven Lions has never had a problem breaking rules and transcending musical boundaries to satisfy his creative vision. Catching his break after winning a Beatport remix contest in 2012 with his dubstep-focused version of Above & Beyond’s “You Got to Go”, Seven Lions, born Jeff Montalvo, garnered early support from the likes of Skrillex and his OWSLA label. 2013 tour dates with Porter Robinson and Krewella pushed Montalvo and his genre-bending production style to the forefront of the modern electronic music scene.
Putting sheer technical production prowess to work in soulful, deep, hybridized creations all distinctly his own, the multi-talented musician is single-handedly changing the sonic landscape for future generations to come by bridging the gap between the soaring, ethereal vibe of trance and intensely adrenalizing bass music. His productions have seen stages at world-renowned festivals such as Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival (New York and Las Vegas), Electric Forrest, Electric Zoo, South by Southwest, and HARD.
After several successful releases under the OWSLA label (his debut EP, Days to Come, reached #2 on the iTunes Dance charts), Montalvo released his highly anticipated 2014 follow-up EP, Worlds Apart, on Republic Records’ dance imprint Casablanca. Containing several notable features which include Ellie Goulding and Tove Lo, Worlds Apart debuted at #1 on the iTunes Dance charts, and the title track was also featured in Billboard’s “Top 10 Electronic/Dance Songs of 2014” list. Even with the release of his fan-controversial single, “Lucy”, Seven Lions continues to receive high praise from notable EDM publications glorifying his itch to avoid creative stagnation. According to Billboard, Montalvo “continues to champion [dubstep’s] melodic potential” and Dancing Astronaut, while acknowledging that “Lucy” was a significant departure from his previous sound, praised the track as “a potent crossover track that is destined to go over well in trance and big room sets alike”.
Seemingly not content to simply alter the soundscapes that people will associate with EDM, Seven Lions has also begun to rearrange the way tracks are released and grouped, forgoing the typical “track by track” scheme for a more thematic EP format. 2015’s “The Throes of Winter” hints at a larger seasonal theme, to be continued through to his future releases. When asked about the spark for this vision, he explains, “Since artists aren’t releasing proper albums anymore, it makes sense to create something that’s digitally artistic with real cohesion as opposed to tossing out singles and just haphazardly seeing what sticks… I wanted to start making the music more thematic, interesting, and part of something larger.”
Bucking more trends and breaking from convention, his 2016 Creation EP [Casablanca Records] represents the next chapter. Instead of relying on the standard digital approach, the artist and producer (a.k.a. Jeff Montalvo) followed a different path for his latest body of work. “This time, songwriting really took place on guitar,” he explains. “There are more acoustic elements in the songs, and that ties it together. I wanted to get a little more experimental. I didn’t worry if something was going to be a big banger on the dancefloor or not. I just made what felt right at the time.” Ultimately, Seven Lions continues challenging himself and musical genres. “I want to do something different,” he concludes. “Everything doesn’t have to fit into just one genre. I want people to walk away loving different kinds of music and sounds.”