Fridays at AVALON
Martin Solveig’s journey from playful DJ to superstar music maker is as animated as the man himself, so let’s indulge in a spot of history… still in the making.
Like so many, Martin’s love affair with music began at an early age, influenced by luminaries such as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder and Serge Gainsbourg. His eccentric taste and non-conformist attitude have been the backbone of what he is today – a multi faceted artist. He sings, he produces, he deejays, he acts and occasionally he dances too as well as a spot of tennis.
Aged 21, Solveig started his own label called Mixture Stereophonic & released ‘Heart of Africa’. The track went on to sell 10,000 copies, offering a clear signal to Martin that a career in music was well worth pursuing. Martin’s first album, “Sur La Terre” released in 2002, achieved critical acclaim and enabled the Parisian to work with Salif Keita for whom he remixed ‘Madan’, one of 2003’s biggest club anthems. The afro-disco bomb as well as Martin’s new funk driven ‘Rocking Music’ both helped to catapult his career to a whole new level.
Next up came the “Hedonist” album, packed with a ream of hit singles such as ‘Everybody’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Rejection’, and indicating quite clearly that Martin Solveig had well and truly arrived. “C’est La Vie”, Martin’s 3rd studio album, was his biggest to date, selling in excess of 300,000 copies and winning over fans from far and wide.
In 2009, Martin was presented with two of the most prestigious accolades any Frenchman could hope to win – the ‘Chevalier Des Arts et Des Lettres’ for his contribution to the arts, and the ‘Artiste de Musiques Electroniques de l’Annee’ award at the French Victoires de la Musique – further testament to his ever-growing popularity and truly forward-thinking music style and creativity.
As 2010 was drawing to a close it became very clear that “Hello” would be his biggest career landmark to date… that is until now… The genius creation that is the SMASH YouTube series, Solveig’s own, came to define a new breed of music videos, signalling Martin as a creative force, more powerful than most of his contemporaries – regularly described by many critics as being “in a league of his own”.
First came the legendary Roland Garros stadium, then the incredible Stade De France, a rooftop pool in Singapore as well as sequences shot in Japan. There really is nothing to halt the series from going on to achieving so much more. And this is without touching on the soundtrack that accompanies each episode.
“SMASH” is a modern day masterpiece, bursting at the seams with pure fun, frivolity and all capped off with timeless trademark sounds. Involving the undeniable talents of Dragonette, Bloc Party front man Kele, Sunday Girl plus US whirlwind DEV – it brings Martin to new and dizzying heights.
With Solveig’s magic and finesse for producing music so easily accessible came the demand from the biggest names in music, and right at the front was most successful female recording artist of all time – Madonna. The latter half of 2011 saw Martin Solveig achieve what is surely every pop producer’s dream, immersing himself in the production of what will be Madonna’s 12th studio album, entitled M.D.N.A. The lead single from said album, ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’, a Solveig produced masterpiece, is just one of 6 cuts that will surely cement the Frenchman as a solid production force in an industry that seems intent on exploding. Dance music meets pop is well and truly here, and Martin Solveig is all over it.
2012 will be like no other for the unassuming master, whether it’s headlining festival stages, including a debut performance at Coachella, or performing on national TV the world over for millions of viewers. Everything the man approaches, he does with the same intensity and flare that has spanned his entire career; he has an innate ability to make each and every person in a room feel welcome, invited and free of inhibitions. At the end of the day this boils down to one thing, Martin Solveig is one of the most exciting and talented performers in the world.
As resilient as they are melodically inclined, these supposedly opposing elements have made for the best of friends amid the rise of this young production outfit. Mustering the invaluable support of Steve Angello for ‘Release’, the song that would later become their Size Records debut, the globe proved as equally taken by their strong-willed production values for the enigmatic follow-up ‘Duel’ as the head honcho of their now permanent musical abode.
Despite their familiar Progressive appeal, Third Party remain a force to be reckoned with amid a musical revolution to which they have contributed considerably. Taking on Electronic luminaries Cicada for ‘Feel’ and making the familiar reverie of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s ‘Otherside’ their own with a game changing remix, further remix duties for Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Save The World’ as well as Steve Angello & Alex Metric’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ have established them as an outfit of wide ranging ambition and unlimited capabilities to match it.
Still loyal to club and country alike, their global movements alongside their illustrious Swedish
peers and their inherited musical bloodline at Size Records remain untamed and intense at the outset of their biggest year to date. Next time you think of double-barrelled British House music, think melodic, think tectonic, think Third Party!
Shrouded in mystery, all that’s known about this hard-working, visor-wearing star is that he was previously a promoter in Manchester before he decided to delve full time into the world of production. The decision paid huge dividends from his very first release – the enormous K2, one of the biggest anthems of the last few years, which Tiësto picked up for his nascent Musical Freedom label back in 2011. Since then he’s graced the legendary Spinnin’ Records, remixed acts as diverse as Swedish House Mafia (his Don’t You Worry Child reworking with Tom Staar a staple in their sets) and Pnau. He’s collaborated with rising Mercury Records signing and star of BBC One’s The Voice, Bo Bruce, and played at Tiësto’s night at the gargantuan Privilege in Ibiza – a room made for his expansive, explosive sound.
Heavy support from the aforementioned Swedes, Pete Tong, Calvin Harris, Laidback Luke, Eddie Halliwell, Zane Lowe, Erick Morillo, Capital Radio’s Andi Durrant and Judge Jules to name but a few have bolstered his status as one of the leading lights of the scene. It’s his melting pot of sounds that has afforded him such widespread support and coverage; those soaring trance chords; guttural electro basslines; hammering techno percussion; anthemic vocals. Whatever sound palette he’s using, his tracks are consistently built to fill those epic spaces and to provide the fireworks needed to give peak-time sets the required energy. From straight-up, heads-down bruisers to melodic belters, his range continues to impress and surprise.
Far Too Loud
At fourteen he started a successful club night and raised enough money to build his own studio. One thing led to another and he was offered his first record deal after his friends sent out some of his demos. ‘It was a very exciting time, no boundaries; I was able to grow up with freedom. At first I mainly worked as a ghost producer for other people, trying out all sorts of different styles and through all of these different influences I developed my own sound.’ Since then he’s collaborated with the likes of Example, Diplo, Angela Hunte, Laidback Luke, Noisia and Dragonette and remixed a diverse array of artists that includes Public Enemy, Martin Solveig, Macy Gray, The Chemical Brothers, Gorillaz, Tinie Tempah, Cassius and many others.
However you wish to classify Diablo’s sound, whether it’s Hooligan House, Punk Funk, Dutchstep or Distorted Disco, he prefers to leave things rather more open. ‘If people on the street ask me what I do, I say I play around on my computer… if they want more detail I say I make electronic music.’ Original productions have come thick and fast and Diablo has become best known for standout records like ‘Blow’, ‘Hooligans’ featuring Example, ‘M1 Stinger’ featuring Noonie Bao, ‘Make You Pop’ featuring Diplo and ‘Animale’ featuring Dragonette. Meanwhile, Diablo’s sound has taken him around the globe and he’s played everywhere from Tomorrowland to Glastonbury, Creamfields, Ministry of Sound, Razzmatazz, Space, Future Music, Summerdaze and Avalon in Los Angeles.
Besides music Don also has a passion for film, before he started releasing music he brought his audio-visual visions to life in the form of several short films and music videos. Later on he was able to combine his love for both artforms through soundtracks and scores he worked on for a number of motion pictures and tv shows. While traveling around the globe he also managed to secure a degree in journalism and set up his own record label, “Middle Of The Road Music”, to release music by and for his friends. He struck gold with the third release on the label: “Mason – Exceeder” got licensed to over 25 countries and became one of the biggest tunes in the year of its release.
Don Diablo 2.0
We are now witnessing Don Diablo 2.0. Don is rediscovering his dancefloor roots with a completely fresh outlook and is excited to tell his story through his new music. He’s got a colossal year planned involving collaborations with Kelis, Alex Clare and R3Hab, a release on Axwell’s label “Axtone”, a brand new syndicated radioshow called “Don Diablo’s Anarchy Anthems” and he is currently prepping his ‘Hexagon’ live show, a motion censored DJ performance. L.A. based visuals company “V Squared Labs”, creators of the Skrillex and Amon Tobin liveshows, are currently developing the show which is due to kick off in Spring. Besides all this he is also working on new material for his debut album on Columbia Records with whom he recently signed a worldwide record deal. As hectic as this schedule may sound, Don Diablo is taking it all in his stride. Don’t expect him to slow down any time soon either as he continues to bring the ideas in his head to life in any way he knows how…
Sound Of Stereo
It is said that quality always distinguishes itself. “Sound of Stereo” was a hit from the start. Their first tracks ‘Nic Nag’ and ‘Supah Dupah’ were played worldwide by artists such as ‘Crookers’ and ‘The Bloody Beetroots’. In the fall of 2008, not only a couple of months after Jochen and Vincent joined hands, “Sound of Stereo” was signed to the infamous Belgian label ‘Lektroluv records’, home to artists such as ‘Mumbai Science’ and ‘The Subs’. Lektroluv gave home to ‘Sound of Stereo’s vision and forward-thinking branch of electronic music. In 2009, Jochen and Vincent released two new EP’s on Lektroluv: ‘Heads Up’ (including a videoclip with half a million views) and ‘Zipper’. Both achieved worldwide praise and were supported by artists such as ‘Fake Blood’, ‘Armand Van Helden’, ‘MSTRKRFT’ and ‘Crookers’. The success of their ’09 EP’s delivered them a ‘Music Industry Award’ nomination. Only a year after the birth of ‘Sound of Stereo’, Jochen and Vincent had put their mark on the electronic world.
After their music, it was time for ‘Sound of Stereo’ themselves to go overseas. In 2010, ‘Sound of Stereo’ released their ‘Flatland EP’ on Steve Aoki’s ‘Dim Mak’ label, followed by a tour throughout North-America (SXSW in Texas, WMC in Miami and various clubs in the USA, Mexico and Canada). Later that year, Jochen and Vincent released their ‘Helium’ EP and several remixes, going from underground artists such as Proxy (Turbo Records) to R&B superstars Ciara and Ludacris. According to their critics, ‘Sound of Stereo’s music was maturing and evolving into a more complete sound. The following year, 2011, ‘Sound of Stereo’ travelled even further to Asia and Australia to be part of the ‘Future Music Festival’ among other artists such as ‘Chemical Brothers’, ‘Richie Hawtin’ and ‘Steve Angello’. In between tours, they found time to release their ‘Hurricane EP’ and ‘Mineral EP’ and kept on remixing artists such as ‘ZZT’ (‘Tiga’ and ‘Zombie Nation’) on Turbo Records. In September 2011, The famous radio station ‘Studio Brussels’ approached them to fill a monthtly residency slot, which would convince friend and foe that ‘sound of stereo’ are – next to established producers – also passionate DJ’s.
It’s a funny thing, that how popular they may be, ‘Sound of Stereo’ will never truly be satisfied with their work. Jochen and Vincent have played on events such as Tomorrowland (Belgium), I Love Techno (Belgium), Electronic Daisies Festival (USA), Beatpatrol Festival (Austria), Amsterdam Dance Event (Holland) and Future Music Festival (Australia). In 2012, the duo went for a surge to bring the ultimate “Sound of Stereo” experience. The duo worked most of the year on an audio-visual liveshow, combining older, current and unreleased work with spectacular visual elements, ready to take on 2013. For Jochen and Vincent, a lot has changed over the five years. But some things will never. Their passion for electronic music and their drive to push boundaries. Never satisfied, always looking ahead.