In a few hours, Martin Solveig will show the crowd at Wake Up Call why he’s one of the most popular and in-demand DJs and producers in the world, energizing the crowd with relentless beats and boundless energy. But for now, he’s taking a moment to celebrate his birthday, as friends and fans sing to him and bring him a cake in the E-WOW at W Barcelona.
It’s a rare moment of downtime for Solveig, and not one he takes lightly. He admits that music can be “all-consuming” for him. If he’s not on tour, he’s probably working on a new song. “I make music almost every day,” he says, and he’s showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. He’s made acclaimed full-length albums such as 2005’s Hedonist and 2011’s Smash, but for most of this decade, he’s been focusing on releasing singles as they come to him, rather than waiting until he has enough material for a full album.
“In terms of what I release, I tend to be honest and say that the plan is there is no plan,” he says. “Everything has changed a lot in terms of how you release music. I’m trying to be true to myself, true to the people listening to the music. If I have 11, 12 songs I will do an album and if not, I will just drop singles and enjoy life.”
Martin on stage at Wake Up Call Barcelona
His latest song is the euphoric house smash “My Love,” which he views as a bit of a switch-up for him. “I had this tiny bit of music, and then I started singing ‘my love, my love’ and I was like ‘whew.’ The rule for me was always that I can’t have the word ‘love’ in my song too much,” he says.
“But then I tried different things and it never worked as well so I said ‘okay, if I’m going to call this ‘My Love’ and keep that kind of chorus–which came very naturally–then, I need to make a story that is a little bit more cheeky than ‘My love, you are the love of my life and I want to stay with you forever, And we’ll fly to the moon and all those things.’ So I basically came up with the line ‘for a minute/you can use ‘My Love.’ And so this is how the complete song came to me.”
Not only is Solveig always working, but he’s always changing up his sound, adding dashes of disco here, splashes of dubstep there. He credits his diverse tastes to working at one of Paris’ most respected record stores before his career began.
“I was basically listening to 200 vinyls a week and I was picking the ones that I thought were interesting for DJs, because it was a store just for DJs,” he explains. “And of course I got to expand my horizons a lot. I was listening to deep-house techno, but also urban music like hip-hop and electronica from the Chemical Brothers. Everything basically. It was a great moment.”
He admits that it can be tough to spend so much time away from beautiful Paris, the most beautiful city on earth. But that’s the job, he realizes. “As much as I love Paris, and it’s my base, I’m very much a traveler,” he says. “I’ve traveled for 20 years.” (Bonus Paris Pro-Tip: if you’re only in town for one afternoon, he recommends you take Bateaux Mouches, a cruise along the Seine River. “Basically you can see everything like almost everything in terms of monuments in an hour.”)On the cover of his album Smash and in his video for “Big In Japan,” he reps his love for tennis, but he admits “I’m still a Sunday player. I’m not great at it.” But appropriately enough for a guy who is always traveling, no matter what city he is in, he says he prefers to get his exercise by running indoors. “I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t like to run outdoors, I like to run indoor on a machine because I can just put my headphones on and do nothing else.” Because even when he’s on the move, he’s still finding a way to get lost in the music.