French DJ, producer and songwriter Martin Solveig has worked with everyone from Madonna to Madeon (“All the ‘mad’ guys!” he quipped), but most people know him for the irrepressibly catchy song ‘Hello’, among other peppy house music tunes.
The 37-year-old is no stranger to Singapore, since he has made a point to make a stop here regularly.
Returning for his second ZoukOut after his first stint here in 2009, Solveig considers Singapore as “the centre of Asia for electronic music since the beginning”.
For him, “it’s a must-do in my walk through as a DJ ever year or every two years”.
Before ZoukOut, Solveig first played in Singapore 14 years ago and is a frequent visitor.
“I’m very happy to have a long story with the people from Singapore,” he said.
He’s such a fan of the country, he even dedicated one of his wildly popular 'Smash' YouTube series episodes to Singapore, featuring scenes of Zouk’s Mambo Jambo dance routines and Marina Bay Sands infinity pool. The web series followed Solveig as a Richie Tenenbaum-type tennis player, travelling the world with his poncy manager Lafaille (or "manajuh", said in a heavy French accent by fellow DJ Gregory Darsa, who plays the role).
Martin Solveig's 'Smash' web series featured Singapore, as seen in Episode 2
When asked what Lafaille was up to nowadays, Solveig cracked up. “I think he’s now busier in the office, managing, not only myself, but some new artistes as well. So he went back to sort of a more discreet kind of manager career”.
He thanked his fans in Singapore for "their fidelity over the years".
It has been an eventful 2013 for the DJ, who has played the gamut of major electronic music festivals around the world including Ultra Music Festival (Miami), Electric Daisy Carnival (Chicago) and Tomorrowland (Belgium).
He capped off the year with ZoukOut on 14 December, playing a 90-minute genre-bending set with both pop music floor-fillers, and electro dance music staples, including his new track ‘Blow’.
The track, which is a collaborative one with Dutch DJ, Laidback Luke, has a hysetrical accompanying music video with a back story of its own.
The duo had already worked on and completed the track, when Solveig had an accident on stage. “We were playing a festival together and having fun, and I got hit by a CO2 cannon,” Solveig told inSing.
That moment is captured on amateur camera footage, which is now part of the music video. They turned the unfortunate event into something hilarious.
“It gave us the idea to imagine that ‘Blow’ is a body spray, so we made commercials and we made fun of it.
“It’s been a very big video project. I’m very happy because I managed to get a lot of friends involved in the video process like Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki, Perez Hilton, Madeon, so many different guys. I believe a lot in sharing, especially in the video process. I love to guest-feature my friends, so I do that,” Solveig said.
Watch the star-studded music video for 'Blow' by Martin Solveig & Laidback Luke
His catalogue of music videos is proof enough of his wicked sense of humour, which is a common thread among them all. He hams it up on screen playing larger-than-life characters such as a lovelorn tennis pro (‘Hello’) to most recently, a cheesy, moustachioed aerobics instructor (‘Blow’).
He is the brain behind them all. “Every song and every story is different from one another. The general idea or spirit is trying to be different and trying to have fun and make fun of myself. I try to not take what I do too seriously as well.”
Solveig is almost unreognisable in one of his many music video avatars. Here, he is 'Gary Course' in the video for 'Blow'
It is good advice from someone who has been deejaying since he was a 17-year-old in Paris and still going strong in the industry.
Now, running into his fellow DJs at festivals is a welcome job hazard. As fresh-faced Russian-German DJ Zedd plays on the main stage on Siloso Beach in Singapore, Solveig said: “We are good friends since the very beginning of his career. I’ve been following him from the start, so I’m really happy about his success and very proud of him."
A selfie from Martin Solveig's instagram account alongside DJs Zedd and Danny Avila, who also played on the second day of ZoukOut
When asked who he would like to collaborate with in future, he immediately cites American rocker Lenny Kravitz. He said: "I could mention a lot of people. There are a lot of indie people that I would like to work with as well, like (the up-and-coming) Banks. I think 2014 will be the occassion for me to collaborate with some new people.
"Maybe Zedd even," he added nodding to the stage, as his friend spins to a burgeoning crowd of 20,000 just a few metres away.