Most New Year’s resolutions don’t last, but something about 2018 has made this year’s wellness goals seem like the ultimate priority. For me, that means more water, less alcohol and at least eight hours of sleep every night – all highly unlikely to last into February but hey, I tried, right? But Martin Solveig, the DJ behind 2017’s “All Stars” and 2010’s mega-hit “Hello,” is doing just fine with his genius New Year’s resolution: to do less and go home.
After years of jumping from one city to the next, 41-year-old Solveig has cut his touring schedule in half, and has officially relocated his basecamp back to his hometown of Paris, France. And with the extra time that he’ll have, new music is definitely in the cards. Although Solveig hasn’t exactly confirmed what he’ll put out, one thing is certain: 2018 will be a big year for his fans.
Below, see what Martin Solveig has to say about dance music and hip-hop’s impending merger, the kismet collaborations he plans to execute, and how his sound will evolve with the times.
So I feel like everyone is really obsessing about wellness right now… are you too?
After touring and traveling so much, I start to really feel the need to settle a little more and to be a bit closer to the people who I’ve been close to all my life—friends and family.
I know you’ve heard the stereotype about the “DJ life,” but you’ve been doing this for so long you must’ve nailed down a secret to longevity in such a hectic space, right?
I do everything that all the others do, of course, but the other thing I’ve done is reducing the shows I do in a year. I’ve counted more than 1,000 shows in my life, so I reduced it to save time for my real passion to create music—that’s my wellness routine. It’s also because I need some sleep. I would say that I cut the shows that take me way too late—although it’s super fun for very obvious reasons. Some shows in Europe don’t start until 4AM and you end by 9AM. Something I love about the U.S. is that people don’t wait until way late to go out, whereas in Europe—for some reason that I can’t explain, it’s always later.
Your first work came out in 2002—how has this industry changed the most for you since then?
I have to say, there are a couple of things—starting in 2017—that we haven’t really experienced before. One thing that’s super interesting is that back when I was in school—in the Stranger Things era—everything that you were listening to was very much an attribute of your style, whether you were an indie guy or a badass. But I have the impression that the younger generation’s personalities are so prevalent on social networks that they need that attribute less. You will find a badass listening to Taylor Swift. The attribute of style is less based on music than 20 years ago.
Also, technology has also evolved a lot recently, especially in the way that music is consumed. This is making shifts of unprecedented magnitude. 20 years back, the fact that people were buying music made it so much more precious and gave it so much more value—you’d get attached. And now, everything is a bit more versatile. People love you or love your song for a week, and then go to the next. And they won’t look back. Now we keep it more laid back, like “I like this sound, I don’t like that sound,” and then you often change styles. It makes the whole thing quite fascinating. It gives us as artists the ability to express ourselves exactly how we want to—you’ll find an audience whether it’s big or small.
Well I think the fact that you react that way to change—how flexible you are with your style—explains your success, don’t you think?
This is very true. This is the basis of being an artist—I think the big goal we can have is the ability to restart from scratch.
Dance music and hip-hop—if you even subscribe to genres nowadays—are my main go-tos. And I think it’s partly because artists in those spaces constantly collaborate.
It’s true that it’s a very collaborative world right now. When I started, I started completely on my own along in front of my computer. Like basically all the young artists do. And it’s true that over time I’ve come to meet with a lot of people, all of whom aren’t necessarily “famous,” but who I have around me. It’s not necessarily that they’re writers or musicians, but it’s six to eight people that are the core of my team and we exchange a lot.
Who have you worked with in the past and who do you still want to work with?
Dragonette (with whom I made “Hello”) and Madonna, of course, who invited me in her creative process to work on her album MDNA five years ago. Also some great writers like Amanda “MNDR” Warner, Peter Wade and Martin Picandet with whom I worked with on “All Stars.” With all these experiences and sessions I’ve found people with who I connect, and others with who I don’t, so now I’m trying to work with the people I’ve connected with most.
So what can fans expect in 2018?
I can’t make it official, but the only thing I can say is I am going to come out with new music obviously, but more than in the previous years. I’m working on, well, a lot of music. If it becomes an album, that’s probable, but basically I’m working on a lot of new music right now.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.