Meet Jeff Montalvo, AKA Seven Lions

Jeff Montalvo, now better known to the world as Seven Lions, recently kicked off his  Worlds Apart tour in his home town of Santa Barbara.

The artist aims to hit cities all across North America (with more still being added to the tour), showcasing his distinctive dubstep-influenced music. On this past Saturday, he and his wife (who is travelling along with him) touched down at Uniun in Toronto for a packed show, and I made sure to stop by to catch it. While there, I managed to get a chance to grab a quick chat with him before his set. We talked about his current plans, his musical passion, and his many interests outside of music.

So where did you get the name Seven Lions?

Seven Lions is a name from the book “Latro in the Mist.”

And how long have you two (he and his wife) known each other?

We met on the bus to middle school, actually. (laughs) When we were like thirteen.

Backstage with wife (left) and friend

Tell me about the music you’re into.

When I DJ I play a mix of everything, I like a lot. I’m eclectic in my musical choices.

What about the music you make?

I make a lot of melodic stuff but a little heavier at the same time, so powerful and melodic. I use a lot of female vocals.

If you had to show that music to somebody using just one song that really captured the essence of the style, what song would it be?

I would say Days to Come.

Happy

What differentiates you from other performers?

I play a lot of different music that some people wouldn’t play. I like breakbeat, psytrance, minimal… I’ll always throw something weird in the set that a lot of people haven’t heart. Most of my crowd is the younger crowd so they haven’t heard a lot of this stuff, they’re used to big room house and dubstep and they’re like “what does psytrance mean?”

What is the single most important thing you would tell an aspiring new producer?

Just keep at it and be persistent and don’t get too worried about what other people think. Hone your craft, do your research on YouTube and online, learn how to actually make the music. And don’t get discouraged. It’s really labour of love.

What’s your favourite on-stage memory?

I’d say Bangalore India, just connecting with the crowd on the other side of the world in a really intense, deep way was pretty memorable.

What other interests outside of music do you have?

BBQing, drinking beer, and… nerd stuff. Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings.

Fave drink?

Dogfish Head 90 Minute,  but Guinness is my staple go-to.

You can find out more about Seven Lions on his Facebook page or by following his Twitter and Soundcloud accounts. You’ve just missed him here in Toronto, but he’s in Waterloo on April 4th and London on April 6th, and will be appearing in cities all over the continent as the months go by!

 Words: Tim Ellis