Jeff Montalvo, known professionally as Seven Lions, is an American record producer, remixer, instrumentalist and DJ from Santa Barbara, California. The name Seven Lions comes from a fantasy book called Latro In The Mist by Gene Wolfe. “Seven Lions” is a character in the book.
Montalvo’s interest in music production began at the age of 7 when his father came home with a Macintosh and keyboard. He grew up as a metal and punk-inclined drummer, but he eventually segued into electronic music production. Montalvo explains, “For me, it was the most accessible thing, to start picking up something like drums as opposed to something like electronic music. My transition out of playing with a band was because I got tired of waiting for my band all the time – I wanted to just start making music so I started composing electronic music by myself.” He took the initiative, and after a friend gave him the program Fruity Loops, he was set to become a producer.
Montalvo states that he is a metal and fantasy fan, and inspired by Viking metal as well as his favorite band Opeth. Although he produces electronic music, he doesn’t always listen to it. “I don’t listen to electronic music regularly, I still listen to metal honestly. I mean I only really listening to electronic music when I’m looking for songs, actively, to put in my set. I’m always into Viking Metal, I like folky stuff. I like stuff that really takes you out of somewhere you are and puts you somewhere else.” His recommendations and favorite metal bands: “Ensiferum, Månegarm, obviously Opeth, Storm Corrosion, their side project with Steve Wilson, stuff like that.”
Seven Lions’ contest-winning remix of Above & Beyond’s “You Got To Go” served as his introduction to the dance music world. The track sat at #2 on Beatport’s Dubstep chart for over 6 weeks, second only to Skrillex’s remix of Avicii’s “Levels.”
After releasing his debut Polarize EP in April, Seven Lions had several Beatport #1s (four in the dubstep chart) with remixes for the likes of Above & Beyond, Matrix & Futurebound, Paul Van Dyk and Delirium. His song, “Below Us” feat. Shaz Sparks, was also featured as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record In The World.’
Seven Lions’ management team Golden Ratio Management met Skrillex at a rock festival in Germany and passed along a few demos for him to listen to. After a few weeks, Skrillex personally contacted them to sign the EP, and that was the beginning of their relationship.
In October 2012, Montalvo released his Days To Come EP on Skrillex’s OWSLA imprint. The EP landed at #2 on the US iTunes Dance Charts and #1 on Beatport. By this time, Seven Lions was supported by DJs such as Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, and Gareth Emery, among others.
Seven Lions was selected as the main support for Porter Robinson’s Circle Assembly tour, has made appearances at major festivals, such as SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival New York, Global Dance Festival, and Camp Bisco, as well as headlined the Avalon Hollywood, Webster Hall New York City, and several other venues across the United States. He has a number of projects that are developing including a new single for OWSLA, in addition to an official remix of Röyksopp’s “Running to the Sea,” and a North American tour with Krewella and Candyland set for the this Fall.
Catch Seven Lions at First Ave Friday, April 25th! Tickets here.