INTERVIEW: French DJ Martin Solveig Says "Hello" To Los Angeles
Halfway through his North American tour, Solveig is known for his unique style of music videos which often humorously tell a story of him being the underdog athlete. His worldwide #1 hit "Hello" featuring Dragonette, and "Ready 2 Go" featuring Kele both fit this category. Exceptionally humble considering he was ranked 29th in the world by DJ Mag, he describes himself as "Martin Solveig, the nerdy Frenchman who makes fun music." He brings a "fun and light-hearted" element to house music, and during the backstage interview Solveig openly chatted and cracked quite a few jokes in his French accent before his highly-anticipated set.
Q: Growing up, what was your inspiration to make music?
A: That's one terrible thing about me, because I'm 35, and I started music when I was 4. So I've got about 31 years of music, and that's a lot (laughs). When I was 4 I was singing in a baby choir, and it's funny because at the time I was not into it that much... I wanted to do sports. I wanted to be an athlete.
Q: Is that why you play the role of an athlete in your music videos such as "Hello" and "Ready 2 Go"?
A: Yes! Basically, I did these videos to compensate all the frustration of the fact that I am not an athlete! But it's been a long way, and I've embraced DJing very early, when I was 13 years old. It's pretty common now, but it was very early at the time I started. Everything was so much more complicated, the technical stuff. Today everything works almost alone, you just need to say I like this track & I like this track (gestures) and the machine is almost going to mix them together for you.
Q: Do you think there was any kind of advantage to learn the old school technique before the new technology came about?
A: No, it's just... I hate technology, which is one thing... but you live with the technology of your time. Sometimes you have to catch up, but you try... at that time I played on vinyl, then on CDs, now it's still changing. But in the end, it's all the same. The outcome is still the same.
A: Ah, that's a great question. I guess in the U.S. or Europe, it would be the same the same in terms of there are some good places and some bad places. Well, it's not like good or bad places, I wouldn't rate it that way, but it's just places where you feel more comfortable, you know, and you just connect, and some where you don't.
Q: Where is a place you haven't felt very connected yet?
A: Okay, one place I really don't connect for a reason -- and they're going to hate me for saying this -- is the UK. I almost never play in the UK, I've always had a very hard time in the UK, it's like that.
Q: Why do you think that is?
A: I have no idea, you know, I'm pretty sure it's just luck, or bad luck, or fate, something like that. Because some people love it there, and I mean I worship very much a lot of UK artists, and Radio 1 is a great radio station, probably one of the best in the world. It's just like that.
But for example, Italy is a place where I'm very, very comfortable, I've played there for a long time. Because you know, in the first place, I probably got in the right place, in the right party and got started properly and then it developed through the years. But I'm having really a blast in the U.S., it's very different from one state to another, one city to another.
Q: What is your favorite city in the U.S. so far?
A: Well, New York is my favorite city in the U.S. to stay, it's also the place I know the best so that's probably the reason why. And for some reason, I haven't had a very good party in New York... but I'm sure that will happen. Los Angeles, I played only once but it was great! Detroit was amazing last week, Denver is really amazing, Miami can either be the worst or the best.
Q: How do you like Los Angeles as a city?
A: I'm not very experienced so I'm not going to play the big guy and say something about it, but I've been here only twice, this is my second time. Um, I think it's natural that I feel very, very lost in the city, you know. But at the same time it's very exciting, very impressive, and the people are super nice.
Q: What unexpected things would we find on your iPod?
A: Oh my God, so many unexpected things. What you'd like is something of very bad taste, right, and I'm sure there is something like that (laughs). I'm very much of a pop guy, so I listen to a lot of pop tracks. For example I listen to a lot of Britney tracks, you know, I'm certainly not ashamed to say this! But in the same time you will find a lot of classical... a lot of Chopin and things like that... and a lot of dubstep! (laughs)
Q: What are some upcoming projects we can look forward to?
A: I have a few songs... I mean, I have an album called "Smash" which I think will be released in the U.S. soon. It was released in Europe already but it's still quite fresh and I know that most people in America don't know about it. So it's my next big thing, and of course I've been collaborating for the last 3, 4 months and I'm really excited about the result, I think we did a good job so I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome of this.
Needless to say, his countless fans worldwide are also looking forward to more musical gems from Solveig. After the interview, the talented French DJ went straight to the stage, greeted the crowd warmly, and rocked the full house until 3 a.m. Fans were undoubtedly pleased with his impressive skills, and some even flew from other countries to see him play at Avalon.
Solveig opened with "Hello" and went into "Ready 2 Go," following up later in the night with tracks such as "Big in Japan," as well as Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close," "Bounce" and "Awooga," and Steve Aoki & Afrojack's "No Beef." In addition to playing his signature-style remixes of classic pop and rock songs, Solveig also played Skrillex, Duck Sauce and Swedish House Mafia, keeping the enthused Hollywood crowd dancing into the early morning amidst laser lights and shooting confetti.
Watch video of the interview here.
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