Interview: Martin Solveig
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:24:49
Martin Solveig Videos
French DJ Martin Solveig has a major hit on his hands with the Gold-certified single "Hello," the story of which you'll find out is a lot like the film Memento, where everything happens in reverse. When you read this riveting question and answer session with ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto, you'll find out that the song was inspired by a short film that Solveig was directing. A case of art imitating art, no?
Solveig, one of France's most beloved DJs, spoke about how the song is bigger than he is; how despite being an electronically tinged pop song lead by the dreamy female vocals and the catchier-than-an-STD chorus, the guitars really do matter; and how not having control in the music industry is what makes it so exciting for him.
A few more fun facts about "Hello": it peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes Top Dance Songs Chart and Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play songs. Solveig collaborated with Canada's electro pop outfit Dragonette for the song. It was used in Trident Gun's "Trident Vitality: Vigorate" campaign and is promo spots for New Girl, the upcoming sitcom starring "It" girl Zooey Deschanel.
In your opinion, how did "Hello" become such an international hit? Give us the back story!
I recorded the song after I shot the video.
Wow! It's usually the other way around! How come it was the reverse in this case? The video incorporates a massive tennis tournament theme…
I was working on a short movie as a director --that is my other passion. I direct videos. It was not meant to become a music video. The film was a story where you mix reality and fiction, which I like about making film. The inspiration for the song came from the shooting of this video. It was a bit of a premiere. It was shot for broadcast TV and we agreed with the directors of the tournament [The French Tennis Open, with 12,000 spectators on hand] to let us play a fake game for 15 minutes, so everyone was caught off guard, including the audience, and that inspired the song.
The video inspired the song?
We love that it's so backwards.
Exactly. At this point, I was not sure I was going to do a new album or single. I was taking a break, and I was focused on this short movie project that went on to became my biggest success as a record.
Why is this song so massive, in your opinion? We know that's a tough question since you don't want to sound pompous when answering it, but seriously, what is it about the song that resonates?
You can never predict anything with music. There is a large part of music and how it connects with people that you don't control. This is obviously excitement about making music and creating stuff. Honestly, I think that there is probably a little magic in the fact that there is not much that falls under control. It was grabbed by the people and it became something in the song. This song is much bigger than myself. People know this song, but not Martin Solveig. It is one of the magical songs of 2011.
The song is bigger than you!
Does the success your are experiencing with "Hello" make you want to focus more on music?
From there, I tried to do both to sort of link both projects. My first idea was to make a short film or series of short films. Then do the music. I am going to work on this project Smash.
Do you think "Hello" is just a phenomena or a novelty song?
It is slightly different than a regular dance track, for many reasons. There is the importance of the guitars. Lots of people use synthesizers, and I do that myself. This is very much guitar and rock oriented song. I think it made a little bit of a difference. It sounds immediately different than everything else, which makes it recognizable.
What are your other non-music hobbies and/or interests?
I have a good knowledge of French wine. I have a big interest in that. So I actually invested a little in a small winery and I am following this winery production with a lot of interest and I like the way we assemble the wine. I am very interested in it. It's a little bit creative, which has more to do with the way I like to enjoy life a lot. Wine is one of the pleasures in life that is very hedonistic.