2009 couldn’t have gone much better for Martin Solveig who has long been synonymous with forward-thinking electronic music for over a decade. Fresher than ever, the Frenchman’s whirlwind year has seen him adorned by his homeland as well as re-establishing himself as an electro-pop icon, not to mention breaking into the top 50 of DJ Mag’s prestigious Top 100 poll.
Awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to the arts in his homeland and across the world, appreciation for Solveig’s work is greater than ever, having also scooped the Artiste de Musiques Electroniques de l’Année at the French Victoires de la Musique last year.
Musically, Martin has remained at the forefront of the medium he adores; maturing like a fine French wine, Solveig’s irrepressible touch has coined successive hits from his latest album ‘C’est la Vie’, released in June 2008. ‘C’est la Vie’, ‘I Want You’ and ‘One 2.3 Four’ haven taken the airwaves by storm and demonstrated Martin’s primed production skills and electric approach – note, interestingly The Strokes was the key inspiration for making the album.
2009 and the masterfully engineered electro-pop powerhouse ‘Boys & Girls’ started life following a chance meeting between Martin and ‘fashionista’ Jean-Paul Gaultier. A shared admiration for each other’s work gave birth to the track that’s video, shot at Gaultier’s ‘Maison de Couture’, has gone on to amass over one million hits on Youtube. Bowing to public demand, a full release was scheduled globally featuring remixes from Laiback Luke, Les Petits Pilous, Bart B. More and David E. Sugar.
‘Boys & Girls’ featured on the ‘C’est la Vie Remixes’ album that was released for free across Europe through publications as a thank you to fans from Martin. A genuine gesture from the humble Parisian who enlisted some of his favourite producers to work on the alternative version of the album, including Fedde Le Grand, Laidback Luke and Felix Da Housecat, among others.
With over ten years in the industry under his belt, the French maestro continues to ‘woo’ audiences around the world and he has the awards to prove it. Relentlessly keeping one step ahead of the game, with ‘Boys & Girls’ still bubbling successfully and Martin back in the studio, 2010 looks set for Solveig to step up once again… but hey… what do you expect from the irrepressible, formidable Frenchman.
Martin Solveig (Born Martin Picandet; September 22, 1976) is a French electronic music DJ and producer from Paris. He also hosts a weekly radio show called "C'est La Vie" on stations worldwide including FG DJ Radio in his homeland. His label is called Mixture Stereophonic.
Born Martin Picandet in September 22 of 1976 in Paris (France), Martin was raised on classical music by his parents. He was drawn to electronic sounds at the age of thirteen, having been given a set of turntables. His first residency was at the Le Palace club aged 18 where Claude Monnet mentored him. Martin then switched to Les Bains Douches and played alongside the likes of Todd Terry, Roger Sanchez and Bob Sinclar.
He chose his pseudonym as an homage to the French actress Solveig Dommartin.
Solveig started to edit old tracks and loop percussions to add something different to his dj sets, then at 21 he took advantage of an internship while studying at business school to start up his own label Mixture Stereophonic. He released Heart of Africa which he took inspiration from the ‘twangy’ voice of his English teacher. The record went on to sell 10,000 copies and acted as a catalyst for Martin's career, attracting the attention of his peers and resulting in Bob Sinclar asking Martin to join the Africanism project. As part of the project, the collective released Edony which thrust Martin into an elite group of producers from France that had broken into the global market. Following graduation, Solveig ditched the books and donned the headphones, touring multiple countries around Europe.
In 2002, Martin Solveig released his album Sur La Terre, which contained hits Heart of Africa and Edony and was released internationally on Universal Music. Madan, which went on to sell over 100,000 copies, and Rocking Music featured on the frenchman’s second album Suite. Rocking Music established Martin’s identity as an energetic,funk producer who experimented with electric vocals, something that was quite scarce in electro music at the time. Success in the U.K was quick to welcome him, BBC Radio 1 had the track on constant rotation and you could not escape the record in nightclubs. Far from sitting back and resting on the success of Rocking Music, Martin set about working on his following album, Hedonist. The album was released in 2005 and tracks such as Everybody, Jealousy, Something Better and Rejection helped to make it a big success. Learning a lot from Arno Bani and Tristan Séguéla, Martin developed an interest in the visual elements to his music. He wrote the story of the video for Jealousy and finally directed Rejection. Rejection proved to be a milestone as Martin decided to move away from the conventions of electro videos that had preceded it. Appearing on screen himself, he deliberately chose to mock himself, emphasising his personality and music, ‘from geek to chic.’ Released in 2008, C'est La Vie has produced another succession of hits for the Parisian, the title track from the album, I Want You and One 2.3 Four. The album is rumoured to be inspired by The Strokes and their work, highlighting Solveig’s broad taste in music. The title track, C’est La Vie was born from a funk beat played by a rock drummer, a nod to Prince and his album Parade, a synthesizer Juno 106 and a phone call to Jay Sebag (singer on Rocking Music, Something Better and Rejection).
Another interesting twist to the album was the introduction of Martin’s own vocal performances, specifically on Bottom Line and Beauty False. He uses the microphone as a tool or instrument, singing, doing sound effects and beat-boxing bass line's and rhythms.
Off the back of the success of C'est La Vie, Martin decided to reward fans by releasing a collection of remixes of tracks from the album on C'est La Vie Remixes. It featured versions of familiar favourites from Laidback Luke, Felix Da Housecat, Popof, Les Petit Pilous, the Bloody Beetroots, Tiger Stripes and Fedde Le Grand. Rejection the norm, Solveig decided to release the album via free giveaways on magazine covers to say a thank you to fans that have supported his career. It featured on the cover of DJ Mag in the UK in October 2009 and Deejay Spain in the same month.
The ‘Remixes’ CD had one addition from the original album; Boys and Girls generated huge hype across 2009. Originally selected by Jean Paul Gaultier, the track was used to celebrate his Ma Dame Rose'n'Roll fragrance and to mark Ma Dame’s 1st anniversary.
Following an infamous meeting in a bar, Gaultier told Solveig of his admiration of his work and how he would love to use a track in some way. Boys and Girls was born; the video was shot at the legendary Maison De Couture and has received over 2 million hits on Youtube to date.
The track was also available as a free download on the Ma Dame website, and its success has led to a full release scheduled for the end of 2009.
Laidback Luke, Les Petit Pilous, Bart B More and David E. Sugar have remixed Boys and Girls, with plays from Pete Tong, Kissy Sell Out and Andy George and Jaymo on BBC Radio 1.
A songwriter, composer, DJ, producer and even singer on rare occasions, Solveig's well behaved manner and unconcerned looks, couped with his sense of self mockery has endeared him to many across the world. In 2009, he was awarded the Chevalier Des Arts et Des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture to recognise significant contribution to the arts, literature or the propagation of these fields in France. Solveig further solidified his position as one of France’s most revered producers by receiving the Artiste de Musiques Electroniques de l’Annee at the French Victoires de la Musique this year. His popularity is not confined to his homeland; huge success across Europe has confirmed Solveig's longevity and talent for making music. In Belgium and Eastern Europe Martin enjoys a high level of respect, as he does in the U.K.