By: Jordan Calvano
TheUntz.com correspondent Jordan Calvano recently got a chance to review the latest effort from Seven Lions, and chat with Jeff Montalvo about his life and work. Here is the review and interview in its entirety.
To say Jeff Montalvo is on a roll as of late would be an understatement. The venomous young producer, now signed to Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats, has been rampantly busting out breathtaking, vocal-infused dubstep cuts that continue to defy the laws of gravity. He is a monster when it comes to carefully designing gargantuan synth lines that have the ability to burst open the layers of the Earth’s inner core, which can be heard on clock stopping remixes of Above & Beyond, Florence + The Machine, and of course on his dynamic originals “Luna” and “Deep Divide.”
On his debut release from Viper Recordings, we witness Montalvo’s Polarized EP take a massive step in claiming dominance in the bass world.
Opening up the addicting EP is the mind-warping, bass-blasting track “Below Us.” The cut features ominous drum work and the soul gripping vocals of Shaz Sparks that will instantly captivate the consciousness of anyone tuned in. The release also features a remix by fellow Viper Recordings producer Smooth, who turns the song into a full on drum and bass banger that will move a crowd like nobody’s business.
The title track of the release also appears on the EP in two different forms. The original version features confident, dubbed out soundwaves that layer perfectly under emotive synth instrumentations and vocals from Sparks, while the Extended DJ Edit adds some punch to the already massive track and makes it even more worthy of dropping on a rowdy audience.
“Tyven,” opens up with a lengthy intro that will quickly entrance the listener and relieve any stresses or anxieties they may have. The track eventually drops into a whirlwind of steady bass whompin grooves that will transport anyone engrained in this cut to the pyramids of Egypt.
“Isis,” is a pulsating, death defying cut that puts out a vibrant Middle Eastern aura and releases its full energy when each unique drop strikes with relentless synth work.
The new Seven Lions EP is a gigantic hit that will quickly establish him as the king of the jungle. Sit back, relax, and let the speakers do the work.
Jordan Calvano: What are the biggest goals of your musical career?
Jeff Montalvo: As cheesy as it sounds, I just want to reach people the way my favorite artists have reached me. I know how much music means to me—all kinds of music. It is my ultimate goal to continue the chain of inspiration and influence somebody somewhere to make something awesome.
JC: What was the creative process like on your debut EP, and was it any different than your previous works?
JM: I wrote the tracks when I was just coming out of my shell and exploring dubstep and breakbeats. “Polarized” is actually my first tune with breakbeats in it. I sent the tracks to Viper and they helped me along quite a bit. They got me in touch with Robbie and Shaz Sparks and laid down the vocals, which turned out excellent! It is very much influenced by my days of listening to metal.
JC: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
JM: Opeth, Delirium, Above & Beyond, Porcupine Tree, my Dad.
JC: How did you get into producing dubstep? And did you create any form of music before this?
JM: I produced trance and house for quite a while before I started dubstep. I also made Industrial way back in the day. The first time I was really exposed to dubstep was at Burning Man 2009 and I was completely overwhelmed. It was EVERYWHERE. I couldn't stand it for the longest time. Living in Santa Barbara, there is absolutely no scene for trance/progressive. I would say I made the move to dubstep reluctantly and out of a want to stay relevant to my friends, but after I made my first few tracks I realized that there is so much potential to create amazing music without the constraints of the constant 4 on the floor beat of trance/house. It reminded me of playing the drums and really let me explore electronic music in a way that I was unable to before.
JC: Supporting the UKF tour was your first major touring experience. Have any particularly awesome memories?
JM: The whole thing was just insane. I had never played to a crowd of over 50 people up until then so it was a little nerve wracking. I've heard the term "feeding off the crowd" so many times, but I never really got it until this tour. It’s impossible not to get amped up when you’re playing one of your own tunes and the dance floor reacts well.
JC: What does the name Seven Lions mean to you?
JM: The name Seven Lions is from one of my favorite books, Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe.
JC: If you could play one festival anywhere in the world, what would it be?
JM: Shambhala - Canada