The Lion: MOTi on New Single, Martin Garrix Collab, & Upcoming Projects

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With a year as hot as MOTi’s, it’s no surprise that the Dutch DJ/producer is wrapping 2014 up by embarking on his first-ever headlining tour of the US. Before “Virus,” his blazing single with Martin Garrix, was officially released, it had already been tearing up festivals all summer long. However, this event-dominating anthem is just one piece of this year’s puzzle amidst collaborations with DVBBS and Quintino, performances at EDM staples like Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, and even a remix of DJ Times November cover boys Basement Jaxx’s single “Never Say Never.”

Now, his eyes are set on the release of “Lion (In My Head),” his latest single on Tiësto’s Musical Freedom label. DJ Times caught up with the fiery electro house artist to discuss the new track, his ongoing #LION tour, and how he first caught the attention of Tiësto.

DJ Times: How did you first get into production and then catch the eye of Tiesto?
MOTi: I started producing in 2005. The guys at the record store told me I couldn’t cut breaks out of records, so I decided to make my own music. I had a career in a duo called Groovenatics, which I played a lot of shows and did a lot of releases with. I started my career as MOTi a few years ago. My first release under the alias MOTi was “Circuits” with Quintino on Afrojack’s [Wall Recordings] label. Tiësto put it on his Dance Red Save Lives compilation and followed me on Twitter after. That’s how we first had contact.

DJ Times: “Virus” came out earlier this month. How did you and Martin Garrix come to collaborate?
MOTi: I’ve known Martin for almost 3 years now. The first time I met him, I was working in the studio together with a good friend of mine named Kenneth G. Martin walked in and started telling me how to make the breakdown better. Back then he was still 15, so I was like, “Who’s this kid telling me how to produce?” [laughs] We’re still good friends now. I think we were on Skype and I was working on “Virus,” and Martin really liked the first idea I had made and the melody of the drop. He added his sick breakdown to it, and we finished the track together.

DJ Times: You’re about to release your new single “Lion.” What went into the creation of that track?
MOTi: “Lion” was actually made before “Virus.” Before I started on “Lion,” I had a studio block. I didn’t know what to make, felt like everything sounded the same, and wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go with my music. “Lion” started of with the lead sounds. I wanted to try something different; it needed to be melodic but banging at the same time. The creation of the lead synths didn’t take much time. I think it’s three layers and two of the layers were presets. The kick took a lot more time, though. It’s 4 kicks layered and compressed. Later, I added the string arp in the breakdown, which I love. I think it’s my favorite part of the track because it reminds me of the dance music I used to play seven years ago in Amsterdam. My other favorite parts of the track are the short vocal stabs that I added to the last 15 seconds of both drops. When I had a first version, my management and publishing team started looking for a vocal, which took forever. That’s why virus was released first. But in the end, I’m super happy with the end result. For me personally, this is my favorite track I’ve made up until now.

DJ Times: You’re embarking on your headlining US #LIONTOUR. What are you looking forward to most about the shows?
MOTi: Most of the clubs I’m playing I’ve never been to, so I’m really looking forward to all the shows!

DJ Times: Do you prefer DJing or producing? How do they give back to each other?
MOTi: I like both. When I make something in the studio, I want to test it at a show, and when I perform at a show, I get inspired to go to the studio.

DJ Times: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
MOTi: I’ve got a lot of releases coming: collabs with Tiësto, Dzeko & Torres, and more. I’ve also got a lot of solo tracks coming. I think I have releases planned until June!

“Lion” is set for release on November 17 via Musical Freedom. Listen to the track below and go to MOTi’s Facebook page for more information.