Seven Lions, producer, remixer and DJ sat down with Ron S from Nexus Radio to talk about his track Stranger, Fruity Loops (not the cereal) and more.
Originally a punk-inclined drummer, Seven Lions got his start in electronic music production after getting tired of waiting for the other band members and started to release music in 2011, with his first significant track in 2014, a remix of Above and Beyond’s “You Got to Go”.
RS: This is Ron S with Nexus Radio speaking with Seven Lions how are you doing today?
SL: Good, just enjoying my time off .
RS: Your song “Strangers” is in our top 24 of the year. The lyrics are about a lost love, is there a specific person in the story?
No, not for me not for me specifically, I mean I’m a happily married dude, and I’ve been with the same girl for over ten years. So that one particularly doesn’t apply to me, but I think anybody can relate to some relationships being lost maybe not just intimate ones like that.
RS: “Lose Myself” is one of our favorite tracks of yours, I love the way it goes from ambient to glitch and Lynn (Gunn) sounds amazing in it. When you make a track what inspires you and what is the process?
SL: I usually come up a general idea of where I want to go with it first, and then I start with a melody and work it from there. Like I mean, I’ll usually have a plan usually when I start, whether I want the song to be in 4/4 all the time or whether I think it should into half time or — you know a general idea. I know a lot of people start with drums and stuff, but not me, I always start with the melody first.
RS: You started with Fruity Loops, are you still using Fruity Loops?
SL: Yeah. I’ve been using ever since the beginning. I’ve learned a lot of different programs. I went to school for sound arts and things and we learned Pro tools and digital performer, but for me Fruity Loops has always been the more streamlined. The easiest to just get ideas down really quickly which is really important in the whole creative process
RS: The name Seven Lions comes from a fantasy book called Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe. The character Seven Lions is a mercenary. Does mercenary describe your production style or Dj style?
SL: [Laugh] I’d definitely say that I’m a lone wanderer for sure. I’m not really in the whole like Dj inner circle scene that a lot of people who are doing this are in. I really relate to books that are about solo adventuring for sure.
RS: You also work with a lot of amazing vocalists; Tove Lo, Lights, Ellie Goulding — are you normally in the studio with them? Or do you send tracks back and forth with them?
SL: I just send tracks back and forth. Usually Dropbox or whatever, but that’s usually how “collabs” work nowadays. Basically what will happen is like I’ll work on a track, send it to a vocalist and they’ll work on it and send it back. Sometimes there’s things that need to be fixed in person, but generally it’s something that can be done remotely– which is really nice.
RS: Did you work with Kerli in the studio or was that remote?
SL: It was great! We worked in L.A., I went and met her in the studio actually, and then she came up to Santa Barbara a few times and we worked up here.
RS: The song “Throes of Winter” there was some talk online, that it sounded familiar to the classic Tiesto mix of Delerium’s “Silence“. Did you reference that or was it inspired by it?
SL: I don’t write to the vocal melodies very often, and particularly on that song I didn’t. But I know the song, and I’m not sure whether or not Haliene was inspired by the track are not. Yeah, I don’t know — but I know the song and I really like it– for sure.
RS: How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy marriage with such a rigorous tour schedule?
SL: My wife is actually my tour manager, so she comes with me everywhere which makes it really easy. We do a lot of rock climbing whenever we are home and we try to remain really active. The only thing is you know drinking becomes a problem always on the road, but when we’re home we try not to drink so much.
RS: What does being signed to the legendary dance label Casablanca mean to you?
SL: It’s awesome being part of a major label because they have such good resources, it’s really easy for find great vocalists going through them, so that’s been a really good thing for sure.
RS: What can we look forward to on your next EP?
SL: It’s going to be really diverse. I know a lot of people are gonna really like some of the songs, and probably really not like some of the other songs. It’s more gonna be for people who just generally like all types of music as opposed to people who are like “oh, I only like dubstep and that’s my favorite genre and everything else sucks.” Those people aren’t gonna like it at all — let’s just put it that way. But if you’re a music fan I think you’ll really dig it. I’m excited to put it out for sure.
RS: What would you like to say to all your fans out there listening?
SL: Just thanks for the support and I hope you like the new stuff that I’ll be putting out soon. Hope you had an awesome year!