Martin Solveig is a DJ with a longstanding affinity with the island of Ibiza. Something of a national treasure in his homeland of France, Solveig is also an esteemed producer and a man who has clocked up an impressive number of crossover house anthems in his time.
Although he’s renowned for his electro and nu-disco inspired sound, this summer will see the Parisian maestro go back to his house roots courtesy of his aptly titled new night, My House, which sees him take centre stage at Ibiza’s world famous Pacha nightclub.
Promising a night of high-end glamour and killer tunes, it’ll see Solveig line up alongside an eclectic cast that features everyone from Tiga to A-Trak to The Magician and 2manydjs. Here’s what went down when we caught up with him ahead of his busiest season on the White Isle to date…
Tell us a bit about growing up in France. What was it like for electronic music?
“In the late '80s I discovered electronic music through crossover tracks like Inner City’s 'Big Fun' and Lil Louis’s 'French Kiss', which I’m quite sure even topped the French charts for a while. In the '90s, dance music was the popular thing, especially to us French guys thanks to Daft Punk’s 'Da Funk'.”
And at what stage did you start taking the music seriously?
“Probably in 1990 when I got my first vinyl decks and started mixing records. I had enough money for two 12’’s a week and started with techno and acid house, then NYC house such as Strictly Rhythm and Nervous. I was DJing at every occasion I could, from school parties to weddings, sometimes simply in my room for hours. It was a passion. It has always been a passion and I have always found it hard to consider it a job. I started to make beats on a home computer in 1996, but back then I’d no idea it’d turn into my profession like it is today.”
How would you describe the vibe in the clubs in France at that time?
“My first real club experience was at Le Palace in Paris. People who knew the place in the ‘80s used to compare it to New York’s Studio 54, but claimed it’d lost something by the '90s. But to me it was everything, and it was where I got to see guys like Todd Terry, Mousse T, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles. Back then it was one of only two clubs in France that would book international DJs, so in many ways it was the beginning of a new era in France too.”
Your international DJ career really took off when you released tracks like ‘Everybody’ ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Rockin' Music’. How do you look back on those days?
“I’m proud to have made them, and I think they’re particularly indicative of the time. The only thing that I didn’t really get back then was the lyrics. The lyrics in those tracks are so awkward, but it’s so difficult to write in a language that’s not your own. I’ve been working very hard on this recently, especially as I’ve been working with Madonna in the studio.”
What’s that like?
“Well, it has been a life-changing experience. As you can imagine, Madonna is a strong personality who I’ve learned a lot from. She’s also super fun, a great writer and someone who likes to party and joke a lot. I’ll always be a fan.”
You were particularly prolific in the early '00s. Do you concern yourself with making ‘hits’ these days or are you more concerned with other projects?
“I suffered from writers block after [2012 release], 'The Night Out'. I was a bit lost and wasn’t feeling comfortable with the new trends in electronic music, and was feeling a bit uninspired. I even considered stopping working as Martin Solveig and concentrating solely on new music projects.
Then I made a series of new tracks that I liked and figured I could enjoy a few more years of this incredible life. Everything I do from now on I really have to believe in. But now I have tons of projects, ideas and other bits I want to concentrate on once the DJ years are over.”
What does it mean to you to have your own night in Ibiza at Pacha this summer?
“It’s a real achievement. Pacha is a club with one of the longest histories in the world. It’s a classic place with a strong identity, and it’s an honour to be given the chance to orchestrate a part of it this season. Pacha is commonly known as a house music club, and since my music is kind of going back to house, I figured the My House concept would fit well.
That’s why we’ve got guys like The Magician, Blonde, Clean Bandit, Diplo and A-Trak onboard. Working with the team at Pacha allows me to create not only a party with a cool line-up, but a complete experience with interior, video, dance, sound and lights. You can spend every night of the week at Pacha and experience seven completely different parties if you like. That’s amazing.”
So imagine you’ve got unlimited money to create your own festival. Who’d be on the bill?
“What a question! Ok, how about these guys: Daft Punk, Florence and the Machine, Kanye West, Nas, Shamir, Lana del Rey, Madonna, London Grammar, Fela Kuti, Gesaffelstein, Neil Young, Porter Robinson, Phoenix, The Strokes and Radiohead…”
Similarly, you’ve one last weekend to enjoy Ibiza. What would you do?
“Ibiza is a very special place and a very charming island. But places mean nothing if you are not surrounded by your loved ones. So first of all, I would bring them here to join me and then the fun could begin! One of my very close friends owns a wonderful place called El Chiringuito, an incredibly charming restaurant on Es Cavallet beach, near Salinas.
I would definitely go there and spend the whole day between the sea and the lunch table. And of course, we would go out partying until the early hours of the morning. But who knows where the night would take us?”
Martin Solveig’s My House takes place every Wednesday at Pacha until 30th September
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