- —DANCING ASTRONAUT
Known as Seven Lions, his professional stage name, Jeff Montalvo was born March 31st, 1987 in Santa Barbara, California. He is an American musician, DJ, and music producer, making a large name for himself in the Electronic Dance Music Industry. His alias 'Seven Lions' originates from Latro in the Mist, a fantasy novel written by Gene Wolfe, in which a character in the book was named Seven Lions.
Jeff Montalvo found an interest in music production by the age of 7 when his father came home with a Macintosh and keyboard. He was raised as a metal and punk-inclined drummer, but he eventually segued into electronic music production. Montalvo had explained, “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 stated 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'm 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." He had also commented on who his favorite bands were: "Ensiferum, Månegarm, obviously Opeth, Storm Corrosion, their side project with Steve Wilson, stuff like that."
Musical Rise and Career
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 winning, he had stated, “I won the official remix competition, which is how I got involved with Above & Beyond. I don’t know if they were expecting the track to do as well as it did. But it definitely got their attention, and now they’re wanting to work with me more.” Also around his beginning year of 2011 he had released other remixes to Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love" and Oceanlab's "Satellite".
After releasing his debut Polarize EP under Viper Recordings 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 future EP, and that was the beginning of their relationship.
2012: Days to Come
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.
By 2013 Seven Lions was selected as the main support for Porter Robinson’s Circle Assembly tour, made appearances at major festivals, such as SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, the Electric Daisy Carnival in 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. During this time he had released "Fevers" and "Serpent of Old" two new singles for OWSLA, including an official remix of Röyksopp’s “Running to the Sea,” and by fall of that year, Jeff went on a North American tour with Krewella and Candyland.
A collaboration with Myon & Shane 54 and Tove Lo, titled "Strangers", made its debut on the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones OST. The Worlds Apart EP was released on April 29, 2014 on Casablanca Records. The EP contains five tracks: "Don't Leave" with Ellie Goulding, "Worlds Apart" with Kerli, "Nepenthe", an alternate version of "Strangers", and "Keep it Close" with Kerli. Seven Lions had stated that "It's more experimental than the last EP and the focus is on songwriting instead of pure dance-floor aggression." The EP showcases a wide variety of genres including elements of trance, dubstep, bass music, and electro while also including more vocals. "Don't Leave" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 141 on August 16, 2014. Also by August 16, an official music video was released for "Worlds Apart" and by September 5 a remix competition was hosted by beatport for the track.