For an eighth year, all things epic, neon, lit and bass will gather for two evenings of Lights All Night in Dallas. Like previous years, the 2017 lineup is rich with electronic dance music’s most popular DJ-producers and served with a small side of hip-hop.
Porter Robinson, Seven Lions, AC Slater, Nghtmre, Bassnectar, Illenium, Marshmello and 30 other artists will bookend 2017 at Dallas Market Hall. The festival has raised $22,000 for the Houston Food Bank through its sale of special Houston Relief passes in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey.
The Observer connected with headlining DJ Jeff Montalvo, also known as Seven Lions, the Friday morning before Christmas.
The name Seven Lions comes from fantasy book Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe, and Montalvo’s dog Khaleesi is named after a character in Game of Thrones. Montalvo tells us that the evening before our talk, he and his wife enjoyed their annual Christmas Harry Potter movie marathon.
It doesn’t take a genius from Hogwarts to notice the imaginative fiction attraction. And perhaps it’s Montalvo’s imagination that’s made him one of the most interesting dance music artists in recent years.
He's inspired by fellow EDM DJs Ferry Corsten and Above & Beyond, and there's a smidge of Anjuna in his sound. But only a smidge. Montalvo has rock band metal roots and trance music interests, which somehow yielded the melodic-cosmic-dub sound that's original to him.
“I’m proud of my track ‘Leaving Earth’ because it’s unique and no one has made anything that sounds like it," Montalvo tells the Observer. "It’s a zero genre. I don’t want to be put into a box."
It seems the members of Above & Beyond are also Seven Lions fans. Montalvo opened for them this year at two of their biggest dates in 2017: Red Rocks in Colorado and Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington.
It's “impossible to say" which of the legendary venues was his favorite, Montalvo says, "but if I must choose, then I’d say Gorge No. 1 and Red Rocks No. 2, but only because you can camp at Gorge, only because of the camping.”
Montalvo wouldn’t reveal much about his Lights All Night set.
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“I’ve had a few engagements at my shows. For a proposal, I’d recommend asking the question when I play ‘Falling Away’ or ‘Days To Come’ — either of those should work — but then again, I haven’t been playing ‘Days To Come’ much lately,” he says.
Lights All Night is for people 18 and older, and there will be free water stations throughout the event. Visit the Lights All Night website for a list of prohibited items, such as e-cigs, refillable bottles, massagers, laser pointers, frisbees and selfie sticks.
Vape essentials are available for purchase on site. Items such as fanny packs, LED gloves and hula hoops are permissible. Also, Camelbacks smaller than 1.5 liters and with less than three pockets are also allowed if empty upon entry.
Lights All Night, Friday, Dec. 29, and Saturday, Dec. 30, Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, eventbrite.com, tickets $99.99 to $399.99.