Seven Lions

Jeff Montalvo (born March 31, 1987), known professionally as Seven Lions, is an American DJ, record producer, instrumentalist and remixer from Santa Barbara, California.[2] Active musically since 2010, his music combines styles as diverse as trance, melodic dubstep, drum and bass, glitch hop, and electro house. He has released eight EPs, multiple singles, and official remixes for record labels such as Casablanca Records, OWSLA, Viper Recordings, Anjunabeats, Republic Records and Monstercat.

Seven Lions
Montalvo in 2015
Background information
Birth nameJeff Montalvo
Also known asDJ Sven (Psytrance alias)[1]
BornMarch 31, 1987 (age 34)
Santa Barbara, California, United States
GenresMelodic dubstep, electro house, progressive house, trance, psytrance
Occupation(s)Musician, DJ, music producer
InstrumentsDrums, D.A.W. (FL Studio), turntables, synthesizer, guitar
Years active2010–present
LabelsCasablanca Records, OWSLA, Viper Recordings, Anjunabeats, V2 Presents, Republic Records, Monstercat, Ophelia, Maron Music
Associated actsKerli, Fiora, Shaz Sparks, Jason Ross, Kill the Noise, Abraxis, Illenium, Gem & Tauri, Slander, Dabin, Tyler Graves, NÉONHÈART

His second EP Days to Come was mentioned by Vibe Magazine as one of their Top Electronic Albums of 2012,[3] and it peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart.[3] His next EP, Worlds Apart, charted at No. 76 on The Billboard 200,[3] and the EP's track "Don't Leave" with Ellie Goulding entered the UK Singles Chart in 2014.[3] He tours regularly in the United States, and since 2012 has performed at festivals such as SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Camp Bisco. He was nominated for America's Best DJ, a competition held by DJ Times, in 2014.[4]


Early life and education

Jeff Montalvo was born on March 31, 1987 in Santa Barbara, California. His interest in music production began at the age of 7, when his father came home with a Macintosh and keyboard.[2] He also grew up playing bass and guitar,[5] and after playing drums for several metal and punk-inclined bands, he eventually segued into electronic music production.[6] Montalvo explains that accessibility was his initial reason for the shift, "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."[6] After a friend gave him the Fruity Loops digital audio workstation, he started learning production.[7]

In college he developed an interest in the genre of trance after being handed an old Tiësto CD.[8] At age twenty he attended his first rave in 2007, which inspired him to focus on producing trance himself.[2] Around 2010 he began releasing music under the moniker Seven Lions, mixing industrial drum beats with multiple genres.[2] The name Seven Lions comes from a fantasy book called Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe, who he names as his favorite author. Seven Lions is a character in the book.[5]

Musical career

2011–2012: First remixes and EPs

One of his first releases was an unofficial remix of "Cosmic Love" by Florence and the Machine in March 2010.[6] His remix was then included as part of the official single package for "Cosmic Love" by Moshi Moshi Records on July 5, 2010. Also in 2011, he released a remix of the song "Satellite" by Oceanlab. On a whim Seven Lions entered the Above & Beyond official remix competition on Beatport in 2011, remixing their track "You Got To Go."[9] The track sat at #2 on Beatport's Dubstep chart for over 6 weeks, largely underneath Skrillex’s remix of Avicii's "Levels."[10] The track also won the remix competition,[9] which led to Seven Lions becoming officially involved with Above and Beyond.[2] The remix was officially released on their Anjunabeats label on December 21, 2011.[10]

Seven Lions' first major tour started in March 2012, when he hit the UKF Tour with dubstep DJs Gemini and Koan Sound.[2] During the tour, Seven Lions also supported Bassex.[2] He also remixed the Above & Beyond track "On My Way To Heaven" in 2012. According to Mixmag, "His take on 'On My Way To Heaven' retained the original's euphoric opening before plunging into a maelstrom of super-sized beats and gurgling bass."[8]

2012: Polarize and Days to Come

His first EP Polarize was released on April 23, 2012 on the British drum and bass label Viper Recordings.[2] The EP includes six tracks, which incorporate a blend of genres such as dubstep, drum and bass, and house. Shaz Sparks is a guest vocalist on three of the tracks.[10] The EP was largely well-received, and his song, "Below Us" was featured as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record In The World,’[11] with Lowe writing about the song, "fresh sounding production marries an ethereal vocal with some clean tear out riffs."[11] After releasing Polarize, Seven Lions had several Beatport #1s (four in the dubstep chart) in 2012,[12] with remixes for artists such as Above & Beyond, Matrix & Futurebound, Paul Van Dyk and Delirium.

After Seven Lions' management[13] passed some of his demos to the DJ Skrillex, Seven Lions was signed to release an EP on Skrillex's personal OWSLA imprint.[5] In October 2012, Seven Lions' released his Days to Come EP, with four tracks included.[5] The title track features the vocals of Australian singer Fiora, and is the only dubstep song on the EP. Earmilk wrote that the song "pulls you in with the exquisite vocals and then hits you with that deep melodic bass." In contrast, the EP's song "The Truth" is progressive house, while "Fractals" incorporates electro house. The final track, "She Was," can be defined as glitch hop and features the band Birds of Paradise.[5] Days to Come was mentioned by Vibe Magazine as one of their Top Electronic Albums of 2012.[3] It peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and No. 13 on Heatseekers Albums chart in 2012,[3] and landed at No. 2 on the US iTunes Dance Charts and No. 1 on Beatports'[14] top 5 albums of the week.[5]

2013–2014: Singles

"Seven Lions' "Strangers" — the glitchy, peak-hour, rising-and-falling collaboration with Myon & Shane 45 [sic] — is a straight-up hit, a favorite of both bloggers and mix-show DJs."
Rolling Stone on April 28, 2014[15]

By late 2012 Seven Lions was receiving play by DJs such as Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, and Gareth Emery, among others.[citation needed] In May 2013, Mimi Page, Minnesota, and Seven Lions released their collaborative single "Fevers" on OWSLA. The single gained airplay on Sirius/XM BPM and Electric Area.[16] A Seven Lions remix of the Röyksopp song "Running into the Sea" was released in July 2013.[8]

Seven Lions' collaborative single "Strangers" made its debut on the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones soundtrack. The album was released by Republic Records in stores and digital retailers on August 20, 2013,[17] and peaked at #32 on the US Billboard 200.[18] "Strangers" is a collaboration between trance DJs Myon & Shane 54,[19] and features the vocalist Tove Lo. The song was officially released as a single on October 11, 2013 and went to #1 on SiriusXM BPM 51.[20]

Seven Lions was the subject of a short documentary filmed by Jason Ano, which was released in December 2013. The video followed Seven Lions on tour and as he created music in his home studio.[21] Throughout April and May 2014, Seven Lions toured in cities such as Austin, Calgary and San Francisco.[15] A new version of his collaborative track "Strangers" was released on April 15, 2014 as a promo single for his upcoming EP, with Vice Media calling it "more epic and lush" than the original.[22]

2014: Worlds Apart

Seven Lions' Worlds Apart EP was released on April 29, 2014 on Casablanca Records.[15] Among the EP's five tracks are "Don't Leave" with original vocals by Ellie Goulding,[22] and "Worlds Apart" and "Keep It Close" with Estonian singer Kerli.[15]

"[Worlds Apart goes] beyond the usual bang and boom of EDM and letting the songs wander into whatever genres they care to explore... Instrumental 'Nepenthe' wanders the most, running through Enigma-like exotica before the modern wubba-wubba of dubstep shakes the floor...
— David Jeffries of Allmusic[3]

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Seven Lions described the EP as more experimental than his last EP, and stated that "the focus is on songwriting instead of pure dance-floor aggression."[15] The EP combines diverse genes, with progressive house-style vocals and elements of trance, dubstep, bass music, and electro.[3]

The EP charted at No. 76 on The Billboard 200, and No. 2 on Top Electronic Albums in the US.[3] The single "Don't Leave" with Ellie Gouding entered the UK Singles Chart at number 141 on August 16, 2014.[citation needed] The EP was largely well received by critics, with Allmusic giving it a score of 3.5/5.[3] Sputnik Music gave it a score of 4.2/5, and wrote "The painstaking care taken with every stuttered roar and every icy percussive hit is absolutely stunning."[23]

External video
"Worlds Apart" Music Video feat. Kerli (Youtube, August 16, 2014)

In August 2013 premiered also the music video for the Seven Lions and Kerli collaboration song Worlds Apart where Kerli plays a mermaid in a story about "star crossed lovers."[24]

2014–2016: Recent projects

Seven Lions was the main support for Porter Robinson’s Circle Assembly tour, and since 2013 he has performed at festivals such as SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival New York, and Camp Bisco, as well as headlining the Avalon Hollywood, Webster Hall New York City, and several other venues in the United States. He has a North American tour with Krewella and Candyland set for the fall of 2014.[citation needed] He was nominated for America's Best DJ in 2014.[4] In the summer of 2014 he announced future projects, including an upcoming single for OWSLA, and an official remix of Röyksopp’s "Running to the Sea."[8] In September 2014 he announced in an interview that he was working on an upcoming EP, as well as several singles.[25]

A collaboration with Myon & Shane 54 and Tove Lo, titled "Strangers", made its debut on the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones soundtrack. He had a North American tour with Krewella and Candyland set in the fall of 2014.[citation needed]. Later that year, DJ Mag also revealed that he had placed #144th in voting for their annual Top 100 DJs poll, despite not campaigning.[26] He also collaborated on a track with Polish producer Xilent via OWSLA entitled "The Fall" which was released as a single.[citation needed]

He released a new EP, titled The Throes of Winter on March 3, 2015 via Casablanca Records. The EP features more guest appearances from singers than his previous releases, and features more tracks that are musically similar to his "Days To Come" EP, compared to the "Worlds Apart" EP which was a departure from his previous effort.[citation needed] In 2016 he released his Creation EP, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart.[27]

2018–present: Founding of Ophelia label and Start Again EP

On February 14, 2018, Seven Lions announced on Twitter that he was establishing his own record label, Ophelia, which would be used as a platform to release his music.[28] Since its launch, Ophelia has grown to include artists such as Kill the Noise, Wooli, and Jason Ross. On February 16, 2018, Seven Lions dropped single "Calling You Home" through Ophelia, making it the new label’s first release.[29] On March 30, 2018, he released a two-track EP on Ophelia with Jason Ross titled Ocean, containing tracks "Ocean" and psy-trance-influenced "The Sirens".[30] On May 18, 2018, Seven Lions collaborated with Tritonal and Kill The Noise to release "Horizon".[31]

He released "Dreamin'" on July 13, 2018 which featured vocals from Australian singer Fiora.[32][33] He worked again with Fiora on his next psytrance single, "After Dark", which was produced in collaboration with Israeli psytrance artist Blastoyz and released on August 10, 2018.[34][35] These two songs were later featured in his four-track EP, Start Again, which was released on August 24, 2018.[36] All four tracks on the EP featured Fiora's vocals.

On October 13, 2018, Seven Lions released the chillstep single "First Time" through Ophelia, which was produced together with Slander and Dabin.[37] The song was premiered during his performance at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium a week prior to its release.[38]

His first dubstep single of 2019: "Island" with Wooli and Trivecta featuring Nevve, was released on January 4.[39][40]

Style and equipment

A live PA by Seven Lions at Spring Awakening in June 2015.

Seven Lions uses Image-Line's digital audio station FL Studio, and Image-Line has named him an official FL Power User.[41] Among the analog equipment he uses as of June 2014: Dynaudio BM5A monitors.[4]

Seven Lions' production style has been described by reviewers as trance, dubstep, bass music, and electro, though he incorporates other genres as well. When asked in 2013 how he would define his genre, he stated, "I like a little bit of everything to be honest, so I try and make a little bit of everything... I try and keep my style on what I want to do, so I have dubstep songs, glitch-hop, electro, trance."[42]

Critics have in particular noted his blend of trance and dubstep.[3] Thump clarified in April 2014 that "Seven Lions is currently one the biggest names in EDM, thanks to his unique and powerful brand of melodic, larger-than-life soundscapes that... mesh massive bass drops with emotional progressive-trance breakdowns."[22] In 2014, Seven Lions' explained that "I think that whole dubstep/trance sound was basically just from having an open mind about different genres and realizing that most of the trance I liked was at 140 bpm and most dubstep I liked was at 140 bpm, so it naturally made sense."[25]

Seven Lions' has described himself as a fan of "epic" music, and he is a long-time metal and fantasy fan, inspired by groups such as his favorite band Opeth. Although he produces electronic music, he doesn't always listen to it, unless actively looking for music to put into his DJ set. He has stated that "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."[42] Among his favorite metal bands are Ensiferum, Månegarm, Opeth, and Storm Corrosion.[42]

Personal life

As of 2020, Seven Lions lives in Woodinville, WA[2] with his wife Emma and their girlfriend Courtney.[5][43][44]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
2011 Beatport Remix Competition "You Got To Go (Seven Lions Remix)" Best Remix Won
2014 America's Best DJ Competition Seven Lions America's Best DJ[4] Nominated


See also


  1. ^ "Seven Lions Played Secret Psytrance Set At EDC Under "DJ Sven" - Your EDM" . Your EDM. June 22, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Seven Lions Bio" . The Untz. Archived from the original on June 3, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lymangrover, Jason (2013). "Seven Lions" . Allmusic. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Caruso, Chris (June 16, 2014). "Seven Lions Shares His Top Seven Production Tips" . DJ Times. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Seven Lions - Days To Come [EP Review + Interview]" . Earmilk. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Seven Lions Biography" . Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "Seven Lions Radio" . Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d "Hello: Seven Lions" . Mixmag. Archived from the original on July 24, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston "You Got To Go" (Seven Lions Remix) Winner of the Beatport Remix Competition" . Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "Seven Lions Polarize EP Released on Viper Recordings" . Drop Beats Not Bombs. Archived from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Hottest Record - Seven Lions Feat. Shaz Sparks - Below Us" . BBC. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Seven Lions - Days to Come EP" . Fast Forward and Rewind. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "GOLDEN RATIO MANAGEMENT" . Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Seven Lions Drops His Massive Days To Come EP on OWSLA" . Sound Logik. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d e Murray, Nick (April 28, 2014). "Hear Seven Lions' 'More Experimental' New EP 'Worlds Apart' - Premiere" . Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  16. ^ Calvano, Jordan (August 19, 2013). "Top 15 Producers With Pipes" . The Untz. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" . iTunes. Retrieved on July 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "Atli Örvarsson - Chart History" . Billboard. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  19. ^ "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" Archived August 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Ultimate Music, Ultimate Music online Archived February 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 18, 2013.
  20. ^ "iTunes - Music - Strangers (feat. Tove Lo) - Single by Seven Lions & Myon & Shane 54" . Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  21. ^ "Watch Now: Headbanging With Seven Lions" . Thump. December 27, 2013. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c "Seven Lions Announces "Worlds Apart" EP; New Single "Strangers" Will Tug At Your Heartstrings" . Thump. April 16, 2014. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  23. ^ Robinson, Will (July 6, 2014). "World's Apart" . Sputnik Music. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  24. ^ Wass, Mike (August 15, 2014). "Kerli Stars In Seven Lions' Fantasy-Themed "Worlds Apart" Video: Watch" . idolator. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  25. ^ a b Sachs, Lucas (2014). "Your EDM Exclusive Interview: Seven Lions Hints At Upcoming 'Dark' Release" . Your EDM. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  26. ^ "DJ Mag Top 150" . Beatport. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  27. ^ "Seven Lions" . Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  28. ^ Narozniak, Rachel (February 15, 2018). "Seven Lions founds his own record label, announces new single to come" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on February 16, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "Seven Lions Once Again Creates Pure Sonic Beauty in 'Calling You Home'" . EDMSauce. February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  30. ^ Narozniak, Rachel (March 30, 2018). "Seven Lions returns with two new tracks in tow" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on April 1, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  31. ^ Castillo, Ryan (May 18, 2018). "Seven Lions, Kill The Noise, Tritonal, & Haliene combine for the stunning 'Horizon'" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on May 19, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Sweeney, Farrell (July 13, 2018). "Seven Lions releases stunning new single 'Dreamin' featuring Fiora" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  33. ^ Smith, Cody (July 13, 2018). "Seven Lions Drops Melodic Banger "Dreamin'"" . Your EDM. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  34. ^ Serrano, Omar (August 10, 2018). "Seven Lions Collaborates With Blastoyz And Fiora For "After Dark"" . Run The Trap. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  35. ^ Sweeney, Farrell (August 11, 2018). "Seven Lions surprises with new psytrance collaboration, 'After Dark'" . Dancing Astronaut. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  36. ^ Hernandez, Christina (August 25, 2018). "Seven Lions expands palette on new EP, 'Start Again'" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  37. ^ Bagshaw, Bella (October 13, 2018). "Seven Lions leads the pack on Slander, Dabin collaborative track, 'First Time'" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on October 14, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  38. ^ "Watch Seven Lions Drop His Slander and Dabin Collab Ahead of Its Release" . October 11, 2018. Archived from the original on October 14, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  39. ^ Bein, Kat (January 4, 2018). "Seven Lions, Trivecta and Wooli take Nevve to a dreamy dubstep 'Island': Listen" . Billboard. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  40. ^ Sweeney, Farrell (January 7, 2018). "New single 'Island' by Seven Lions, Wooli, and Trivecta featuring Nevve is as captivating as they come" . Dancing Astronaut. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  41. ^ "Seven Lions: Power Users" . Image-Line. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  42. ^ a b c "Ten Questions with Terry Gotham: Seven Lions" . Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  43. ^ "Seven Lions and his Wife Welcome New Girlfriend and Create DJ Duo" . Exron Music. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  44. ^ "Seven Lions Wife and GF Celebrate Anniversary" . Mix247EDM. Retrieved September 27, 2020.

Further reading

Interviews and articles
Profiles at review sites

External links


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