Cedric Gervais is a legend in the scene. Known best for his Grammy for remixing Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" in 2014, Cedric Gervais started off as a DJ first and foremost when he was a resident DJ at one of the hottest clubs in Paris in 1998. Having moved to Miami at 19 years old, he's always made sure to create memorable sets at Ultra Music Festival in his hometown.
2017 has been a good year for the French artist as he's released multiple tracks on a strong release schedule including his latest releases "Touch The Sky", "Somebody New", and "Dead". Most importantly he has created arguably one of the hottest tracks of the summer season with his remix of "Mi Gente" that has been played by some of the biggest DJs this festival season like Tiesto.
EDM Canada had a chance to meet up with the iconic artist at ÎleSoniq in Montreal last month. We discussed his latest tracks, including how he created his "Mi Gente" remix in David Guetta's mansion in one evening.
How's the summer festival season been treating you?
Cedric Gervais: Very good. Been in Europe since the middle of June, and touring around Europe. Went to Ibiza and it was just amazing. I'm mostly touring Europe until September.
Can you tell me a bit of the differences between the festival scene in Europe vs.in North America?
Europe is still very heavy into electronic music, rap and trap music doesn't really work there. It's good to see that because I'm an electronic music fan. Over here it feels like it's getting more hip hop as we're seeing with the changing lineups.
You just came from the Ilesoniq mainstage - how did it go?
It incredible, and an amazing crowd. The way they treat the artist with the catering is very impressive. I've never seen a festival like this.
Did you drop any new IDs in there that you can share?
I played a lot of things. I played my new song “Touch The Sky” which is on the radio right now featuring Dallas Austin and Digital Farm Animal. I played my remix of “Mi Gente”, which is a really big record that everybody is playing right now.
"Producing is very important, and if you share it on Soundcloud, people will find it and play it. A lot of artists were discovered by guys like Tiesto, when they were simply passing him their tracks."
Tell me about your latest single "Somebody New"? How did you come about working with Liza Owen?
She's a songwriter that writes with another songwriter friend of mine, and when we listened to one of her tracks I fell in love with her voice and wanted to work with her. We sent the track to Island Records and they released it while preparing for a major radio push.
Did you enjoy creating a slower and a little bassier track? Is it a new direction?
No it's not something new. I just did a similar type of track with Madison Beer. It has a bassline and it is slower but it still does have a house bassline, but it is a little different for me so let's see where it goes.
You were one of the pioneering electronic producers getting major radio play with your Lana Del Rey remix - do you feel like you help pave the way for the new generation of producers who have followed your success to the mainstream?
They were there when I was there, like Zedd was already there. I was one of the first to break top 40 radio and Billboard's top 100. But it was David Guetta that was there before me.
Your remix of Mi Gente by J Balvin and Willy Williams has caught fire with you and Tiesto playing it last night. Is the Latin influence on club music just the beginning, do you plan on making any of these sorts of tunes?
2 years ago I produced a track with Juanes, a respected Colombian artist, that had people questioning on what I was doing. The song connected with South American fans, which was the first step.
This latest track came from a funny story. J Balvin is a Colombian artist, who shares the same manager as Juanes. We were all staying at David Guetta's mansion in Ibiza and listened to the original Mi Gente track, which I immediately thought that it needed to be remixed. I texted his manager who immediately sent me the parts of the track. David Guetta was gone and I was staying at his place and did the remix at his amazing studio in one night. When David Guetta came back, I played him the track and he thought he created the track of the summer.
When was this?
2 weeks ago.
So when David Guetta started playing it, all sorts of artists were wanting it for their own sets including Martin Garrix. Ingrosso, Steve Aoki and Tiesto called me up for the track as well. Zedd asked for the record yesterday. The reception has just been nuts. It's a great club record and the original is already massive in Latin America.
What's the scene like in Latin America?
If you go to Peru, Argentina and Chile, the scene is very techno. Colombia is very EDM. Depending on where you go, there will be a hot electronic genre of music played there.
Do you have any advice for new producers who are just now trying to break into the scene?
You got to make music. If you want to be a DJ, you have to learn where the DJ comes from, the history, the different genres. You have to know how to play in clubs, how to play in festivals, how to tell a story, and how to make people dance. I from a background as a resident DJ, and I think knowing how to make people dance is very important.
Producing is very important, and if you share it on Soundcloud, people will find it and play it. A lot of artists were discovered by guys like Tiesto, when they were simply passing him their tracks.
What's your view on the French artist scene and the new generation of talent emerging from France including tchami, DJ Snake, Malaa, Petit biscuit?
It's great. There are two different scenes where Pardon My French is very cool as they all have their own style. Then you have you Martin Solveig, whom I'm a big fan of what he does. Then you have David Guetta, Bob Sinclar and myself. Daft Punk did their thing and Laurent Garnier was huge in the past. French electronic producers will always be there.
What can fans expect from Cedric Gervais for the rest of 2017 and next year? Any new EPs or LPs.
A lot of music. Just have to make sure we're putting out things at the right time without flooding the market. I have “Touch The Sky” which is doing very well. Got my new track with Madison Beer just coming out, and a new track 'Somebody New”, that will be released in September. Then there's the “Mi Gente” remix that's going around right now.
What's going to happen to your “Mi Gente” remix, is it just being played by other Djs but will it have a wider release?
My label is freaking out right now because they had no idea about it as I did it directly with the artist. Now some of the big radio stations in the U.S. including Sirius XM have started playing it. It spread so fast because of all of the big Djs playing it. It proves to you the power of the DJ to break a new record.