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Martin Solveig

Last Night a DJ Saved My LIfe

French producer Martin Solveig started out enjoying classical music as a child, before he was drawn to electronic music. While many of us in the U.S. were not familiar with him until this yearís melodic and catchy hit "Hello," featuring Dragonette, he has toured around the world, sharing his forward-thinking electronic pop music for over a decade. With music videos that reflect his charming and playful personality, itís hard to believe that he is considered a veteran on the electronic scene with hits like "Rejection" and "Boys and Girls." Donít miss him at Ruby Skye on February 26th, and if youíre one of the lucky ones heading to Ultra Music Festival, heíll be playing there on March 25th, as well. He spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from Los Angeles.

SFS: What was the first time you realized you wanted to pursue a career in electronic music?

MS: Well, I think it was when I discovered I could play instruments very easily. More seriously, I got my first set of turntables at the age of around 13 and from there, it went on. The creation of my own label Mixture and my first releases were a very important step, but itís been a continuous process.

SFS: Does your moniker happen to be dedicated to French actress Solveig?

MS: Actually, this has nothing to do with France for once! Iíve always loved the Scandinavian first name ĎSolveigí and so I used it as my last name. Now, Iím really happy because ďHelloĒ is also working pretty well in Scandinavia.

SFS: How do you manage to stay so prolific? You have had a hit single every year since 1999.

MS: Focus, inspiration, and enjoyment is all that drives me forward. Having a good team around you is also very important. I wouldnít say all of my records are hits, but a fair few are for sure. I mean, in France they are mostly hits-ish, but for example here in the U.S., it is only with "Hello" that I am finally able to bring more of my sound here. It was about time!

SFS: Why do you think ďHelloĒ was such a big success? I hear people singing it in the streets of SF all the time.

MS: Thatís great to hear! Actually, the success of this record was a bit of a surprise to everyone working on the project. We knew this was special, but couldnít expect such a smash. Itís become a bit of a virus really. You hear it sung everywhere ó on peopleís phones ó it just doesnít stop. I often see on Facebook people saying ďHello,Ē and then friends adding uh uh uh oh. Itís cool!

As you know, I worked with Dragonette on the previous record and I wanted to do more with Martina. I love her voice and attitude. Iíve also begun working with her on another single, which should be big.

SFS: I heard your track "Boys and Girls" was personally selected by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. How did that make you feel?

MS: It was more of a collaboration that started when I met Jean Paul by chance in Paris one day, and we got talking. It was an honor he agreed to take part in a project and we all had a lot of fun making it a reality. Shooting the video for the song at Jean Paulís "Maison de Couture" in Paris with Dragonette was a really amazing experience.

SFS: Your music videos are quite hilarious with very whimsical themes, especially the tennis theme with the "Hello" video. Do you have fun making these videos, and also, what's your favorite aspect of directing?

MS: These videos are all my own concepts and they are intended to entertain people while bringing them into my world. Iíve never taken myself too seriously, what is the point. Iím just someone having an amazing time, and hopefully making people have an amazing time, too. If that includes laughing with or even at me, then Iím happy!

SFS: And do you really play tennis?

MS: Yes, of course, it is my favorite sport. I try to play as much as I can, but itís difficult when Iím so busy. My manager Lafaille and I also love swimming when we get the chance.

SFS: Who is someone you would like to do a remix for or collaborate with this year?

MS: Well, nowadays I very rarely do remixes for anyone, keeping the focus 100 percent on my own music and video productions. As for collaborations, the next single from the forthcoming album is with Kele from Bloc Party. Iím super excited about this record; itís one of my favorites.

SFS: What are you looking forward to on this tour?

MS: The tour has been super cool so far. Iíve been welcomed very well by the American people, and itís certainly great to be back after so long. San Francisco is my final stop for this particular tour, but Iíll be back quite a few times this year. Itís all looking very good!

Martin Solveig performs at Ruby Sky on February 26th. Tickets are $25 and the party starts at 9pm.