elektro exclusive interview with Seven Lions
- How, if at all, influential was it to have been a drummer in a band before moving to the independency of a genre like electronic music?
Jeff: “I’d say extremely influential, because when I write music, I think of how I would play it as a drummer. Unless I’m doing four on the floor but especially for genres like Breakbeat and Dubstep, I can use that to come up with interesting rhythms and ideas. I actually miss playing drums and right now I got a smaller place in Santa Barbra and there is not enough room for a drum set. But hopefully one of these days Ill rent some extra space to start jamming again.”
- Describe to us, what is it like to be an aspiring musician behind the computer, around friends with day jobs. What role did your parents play in the path you chose to pursue?
Jeff: “That’s a really good question, cause no one’s ever asked me about my parents before. They have been extremely supportive. My dad plays a number of instruments and he actually taught me how to play drums, bass guitar and acoustic guitar. My mom is my no.1 fan as she is always on top of all the blogs and YouTube stuff. It’s pretty crazy actually. And because I never wanted to pursue music as a profession in the first place, there was never a conflict of them telling me what to do. They supported what made me happy and music made me happy.”
- You attended your first rave in 2007. How would you have described the EDM scene where you grew up in, and how much of an impact do you think it had on sculpting your sound?
Jeff: “I guess going to that rave really turned me on to trance. The experience of being in a room full of a thousand people jamming to that one music is truly amazing. I was drawn into it right there.”
- Your remix of Above & Beyond’s “You Got To Go”, essentially earned you a spot for your future chart-invading records. Tell us where you saw yourself going after observing the success of this remix. How did that help you fine-tune your future plans?
Jeff: “Um... that’s tough man. I guess I didn’t have a clear idea how things would change, but I definitely knew that I was up to something here. From the the opportunities just presented themselves and actually Mario from Myon & Shane 54 approached me and asked me to do the Velvetine remix, and I realized im getting all these great opportunities to work with all these artists. Everything was so positive and I knew I had to F*** nail it. It was both stressful and exciting and every time I tell myself this has to be the best song I have ever made, so I’m never happy and constantly looking to get better. It’s a steep road to climb but I’m willing to do it.”
- When was your first encounter with Skrillex? What did it mean to you to sign up with OWSLA for the “Days To Come” EP?
Jeff: “It was one of those things. Imagine when your young and you see a girl and your like “man that girl’s way too pretty for me, ill never be with her” it was that kind of thing. So to all of a sudden be on a label like OWSLA is like wow. My management met Skrillex at a rock concert in Germany and gave them my stuff and they liked it so we met.”
- “Days To Come” was released in October 2012 and made its way to the top of iTunes and Beatport shortly after. Give us a little insight of what its like to be the subject of such high praise in the dance music world.
Jeff: “I’m honored and I want to keep it up. I actually have a lot of new material ready to come out and I’m really proud of it. I just can’t wait to keep going and trying new things and trying new things.”
- Talk about your studio set up and surrounding. What piece of advice can you give to a younger version of yourself when it comes to making music?
Jeff: “Right now, I just work on a PC that I built in 2008, which I need to upgrade hehe. I have Dynaudio speakers and no hardware. Also I’ve built a lot of basstraps in my room and customized it myself. If I had to give myself an advice it would be to never mix you’re tracks with the limiter, be patient and have real expectations. I do have a very strict routine too. I wake up at 8am either go for a run or lift, walk my dog and get coffee at the same f*** coffee shop everyday. Its actually ridiculous, they’re like ‘does this weirdo have a job even?.’ I get all my emails done by 10am and start working on music till about 4-5pm, I guess. Having a regimen really helps me stay focused and not lollygagging.”
- Do you consider yourself more of a live performer or a studio wiz?
Jeff: “I’m definitely a studio-wiz. Live performance came as a kind of necessities as result of being a producer.”
- Name us a couple of things your not too fond of while touring?
Jeff: “Airports. It sucks enough to go through it once, but imagine going through 4-5 days in a row. They look at like you don’t know what your doing as you go through TSA, and your like ‘this aint my first rodeo f***er, just chill the f*** down’.”
- In April of this year, you had the chance to go back to your hometown and play alongside some of your fellow OWSLA recruits like Porter Robinson and Alvin Risk. How did it feel to go back and play where it all started for you? Is the personal connection different at all compared to other places?
Jeff: “Most of friends aren’t really into EDM, so it was nice to have them all there for a show. My friends are into burning man and BBQs and good beers haha... they’re not really into raving and stuff, so it was a great experience to have 30 of friends there in support.”
- Where do you look forward to play for the first time?
Jeff: “It would be New Zealand probably. My wife grew up in New Zealand so I’d
like to go see where she grew up in. South Korea is pretty cool too.”
- What aspect of your lifestyle do you enjoy the most, besides hotel room services?
Jeff: “[Laughs]...Oh man...”
- Dream team collaboration?
Jeff: “I’m actually working with Xilent right now which pretty cool, I feel im pretty thankful to have worked with the people I’ve already worked with. Like Mario from Myon & Shane 54 has taught me so much about house music. Nadia Ali was an amazing person to work with, she gave me the best advice I’ve gotten from anybody.”
- Can we expect more of the good stuff in the coming days? Any new vibes or sounds that have recently inspired you that might surprise us with your future projects?
Jeff: “Well I’m trying to make my stuff a little more dance floor friendly just cause ‘ve been playing so much. So I think there is going to be songs that are more dance-oriented and songs that are not at all meant for dancing. But t he stuff that are really exciting to me is the stuff that doesn’t really matter where your listening to them.”
- Favorite food?
Jeff: “Growing up Id say was corndogs, but at this point I really Sushi and the Americanized TNT and Caterpillar rolls n stuff.”
- Favorite drink?
Jeff: “I live heavy beer like IPA and stuff. My favorite IPA is Pliny The Elder, which
is definitely a cliché.”
- Favorite hobby?
- Prized non-music related possession?
Jeff: ”Hmm... that’s interesting...I guess my laptop. I mean I’m constantly browsing
on the web with it.”
- EDC or Ultra?
Jeff: ”Oh you’re going to get me into trouble there. I haven’t played at EDC in a while. I did play at the New York one, which was cool, but since I didn’t do the Vegas one this year I’d say Ultra is definitely the shit. I’ve never been to a place where you walk by and go ‘Oh there are the people from Anjuna, Oh Skrillex just walked by’ its pretty rad. It’s a very mutual enjoyment amongst all of us since we are all isolated when we are touring separately but for everyone to be at the same community is a good feeling.”