‘Everything changes’: Seven Lions reflects on progress and Ophelia Records from Electric Zoo
A lot can change in a year.
In February of 2018, Seven Lions took a career-altering step: he erected his own record label, Ophelia Records, swiftly consummating the imprint with the brand’s very first production, “Calling You Home.” The celestial, two-track EP, Ocean, co-produced with Jason Ross soon followed the seminal single. Not long after, “Horizon” arrived, with well-founded assistance from Tritonal and Kill The Noise. The Ophelia agenda continued raking in high-profile ammo in the months that followed.
“My vision for Ophelia was just a place for me to put out my music,” Seven Lions told Dancing Astronaut in an interview at Electric Zoo‘s recently concluded 2019 iteration. “[But] everything changes. Within the last two or three months, our release schedule has gotten so busy that I’m struggling with where to put my [own] music.”
The theme of transcendence, which Seven Lions credits as a key creative motivator both in the way that he stylizes his music and in the manner that he disseminates it, has been paramount to Ophelia’s progression in the time since its foundation. Whereas Seven Lions originally conceived Ophelia as a platform for his own releases, the imprint has morphed into something else altogether. Case in point, Ophelia’s takeover of Electric Zoo’s Riverside stage proved a multitudinous showcase of the label’s heavy-atmospheric talent that included Said The Sky, Wooli, Jason Ross, Blastoyz, Crystal Skies, Dimibo, MitiS, and, of course, Seven Lions himself.
“I never really thought it was going to be the way that it is right now but I’m super stoked,” Seven Lions said of Ophelia’s evolution to date. “I had no visions of doing a stage at EZoo or anything like that [when I first founded the label], so now that it’s happening I feel that I’m watching it happen, and I’m going to [continue to] dig further into it.”
More showcases and stage takeovers will be an integral part of Seven Lions’ Ophelia expansion, according to the producer. As 2019 continues winding down, many artists look considerably ahead to calculate their first major career moves in 2020, including Seven Lions, who hopes to book more shows with the express purpose of exhibiting the prolific talent of Ophelia artists.
“I want to have more showcases and want to do more stuff like [stage takeovers] where I can get more people like Crystal Skies in front of a crowd, so they can throw down and show what they can do, because I feel like they don’t really have that opportunity very often,” Seven Lions explained. “Specifically Crystal Skies, Blastoyz, Last Heroes, Trivecta, all those people who haven’t had the exposure that they deserve as producers, trying to get that for them: that’s my goal, to help them get in front of larger audiences.”
From his seat backstage at the Riverside stage, where his label mate, MitiS, is performing, Seven Lions traces Ophelia’s activity over the past year for Dancing Astronaut, noting that the exponential growth that Ophelia has gleaned is largely akin to his own rise as an artist.
“[Music] was a hobby and it turned into something,” Seven Lions reflects. “I’m going to go after it with everything I can. I guess I never dreamed that big and then once it’s right in front of you [it’s] like I’m going to get that sh*t.”
As Ophelia matures, its label head will nevertheless continue to advance the Seven Lions project, which he cites as his “legacy,” enduring on the forefront of the multi-genre master’s creative focus. The weighty entrepreneurial undertaking has certainly kept Seven Lions busy in recent months. In addition to producing and planning his own releases, Seven Lions has also been engaged with his Alchemy Tour.
The ongoing live initiative, which commenced in Long Beach, California on August 17, positions Seven Lions among co-headliners, The Glitch Mob, SLANDER, and NGHTMRE, among supporting acts like SVDDEN DEATH, Jason Ross, and Shadient for a 25-date run across North American cities.
For Seven Lions, the collection of artists convening for The Alchemy Tour represents a synergistic continuum of electronic seniority.
“I wouldn’t say SLANDER and NGHTMRE are newer, but they’re very on the ups [whereas] I’ve been around for a little while,” Seven Lions posits. “But The Glitch Mob has been around for even longer, so it’s cool to expose The Glitch Mob to a newer, younger audience. In general I feel like [the tour] ticks all the boxes: buzzy artists and legends; I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle.”
And with almost a decade of releases under the Seven Lions moniker spanning everything from hardstyle, to trance, to his globally reverberative approach to worldly chill-step, one would be hard-pressed to suggest otherwise.
Listeners can purchase tickets to The Alchemy Tour, here.
Photo credit: Rukes