French DJ/producer Martin Solveig just released the album SMASH in the U.S., but after his high-profile appearance as the in-house DJ at the MTV Movie Awards, he won’t be back in the U.S. to promote the album until the fall. He’s spending the summer on the road with Madonna in Europe instead. Still, he feels like U.S. fans should now have a good grip on SMASH.
“If you know ‘Hello,’ with Dragonette and if you have heard my new one called ‘The Night Out,’ those two songs showcase pretty well my whole album,” he tells Rolling Stone.
Solveig worked extensively with the Material Girl on her recent MDNA album, a collaboration that should have raised his profile considerably. That was certainly the case for fellow electronic music artist William Orbit, who after over a decade on the dance music scene became known to audiences worldwide for his work on 1998’s Ray Of Light. But, as Solveig points out, this is a very different culture today, one where dance producers are known for their own work.
“So many dance music producers today, like Skrillex, Deadmau5, David Guetta are pop stars as well in their own world,” he says. Still, as one would expect, collaborating with Madonna is unique. “Working with Madonna is a different experience because you’re working with a legend of music first and more of a pop music legend and then you can do very different things with Madonna because she’s really embraced all styles of music.”
He explained to us how they crafted the songs he worked on for MDNA. “For Madonna, all the other songs, other than ‘Turn Up The Radio,’ which existed before, we created them together from a basic starting point, a loop, a synth, a little bit of drums, something very basic, and we were working on the vocal melodies, sort of sketching a song, then I was finishing the arrangement and then we were finishing the production together,” he says. “She basically opens the microphone and she sings or she whispers or mimics some instruments and that’s how all the ideas come.”
The pairing was a natural one: “We have a little bit the same very instinctive way of working,” Solveig says.
And for that reason, it’s worth it to him to spend the summer on the road. Besides, he has no doubt the album will make its mark while he is in Europe. Talking about his return to the States in the fall he says, “By then it’s going to be a SMASH in the U.S.”
He is so secure in the album’s eventual success here that he doesn’t even mind sharing its name with the NBC series starring Katharine McPhee and Debra Messing. Solveig does point out, however, that with the album having been released in Europe last summer, his title came first. “It was called SMASH even before Steven Spielberg did his TV show, so I’m not gonna apologize for calling my album SMASH, because it existed before,” he says. But Solveig is willing to let bygones be bygones on the dual name. “I’m not gonna sue him either. It’s okay, you can go on with your series called SMASH,” he says, smiling. “It’s good, I’m happy that it’s finally released in the U.S.”