Cedric Gervais may have been born in Marseilles, France, but the Grammy Award-winning DJ is 305 all the way.
That's why he's celebrating his 35th birthday at LIV and inviting all of you party people to "party and have fun" with him at the swanky Fontainebleau nightclub.
Gervais may be days away from turning 35, but the uhntz-uhntz master has already reached several milestones in his career. Grammy success aside, the DJ recently signed a record deal with Universal Records, is working on a compilation album with Ministry of Sound, and is putting the finishing touches on his latest single with pop soul sensation Coco O.
In hype of his birthday, Gervais took a break from his busy schedule last week to chat with Crossfade about his ethical code of remixing, his hardcore Miami pride, and his life plans post DJing.
Crossfade: So what have you been up to lately?
Cedric Gervais: So I have a new single called "Through the Night" featuring Coco O that's coming out soon. I just signed a worldwide record deal with Universal Records. I'm working on my album, in writing sessions right now with Lana Del Rey's songwriter. I'm also doing a DJ mix compilation with Ministry of Sound. It's a two-sided CD. One CD will be classic house music with tracks I grew up listening to. The other CD is where I'm at right now.
What do you think was so different about your remix to Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" that made it a Grammy Award-winning hit?
Well, I think it's because I don't think it's ever been remixed before and is number one in multiple countries, so that's a big factor, and the song is a masterpiece. It was a down tempo song and I turned it into a dance song, but the song alone is amazing. It's not the kind of remake that you take a popular song and just remix it for the club. No, it was a song that was not on the radio. It's just beautiful.
The thing is, when I remix songs I keep the song intact. I don't mess with the song. I keep it the way it is and that's what a lot of remixers don't do. I wanted to make sure the song was there. The structure is very important. There's a lot of remixes I turned down because it doesn't work in my world.
I think that's what makes your music different. I find that a lot of DJs tend to take songs and create something entirely different from the original, making it almost unrecognizable. But you preserve the integrity of it.
That's why Billboard magazine called me "The Song Doctor." [Laughs] But seriously, I'm getting ten to 15 remixes a week. I just got Ellie Goulding and Juanes asked me to mix a song for him. I said no because [that song] didn't work, but I wanna work with him. I wanna do a song in Spanish. I respect every single artist, but it's just I don't wanna do a bad job for them and I'm not doing this for the money. The money is a big deal, but if the record doesn't do anything, it pisses me off, so I wanna pick the right song.
You'll be celebrating your 35th birthday at LIV this week. You must be really excited about that.
Oh God, I'm getting old [laughs].
Did I say 35? I meant 25.
You should say 15. I'm excited. My schedule is getting crazy. My agent told me the days I was free and I said, 'Listen, I was born June 7 and I have to celebrate in Miami. It's my hometown and it's during the [Miami Heat] playoffs. I gotta be there.' I turned down other places for this. Calvin Harris was booked that day [at LIV], but he was very kind and moved the date so that I can have my birthday.
Last year you also celebrated your birthday there. It's almost as if you have a loyalty to the club. What makes it so different than the rest?
It's a family. They've been supporting me since I started and basically they've been behind me ever since I was just a local DJ, and now that things are going amazing, they are my friends and I wanna celebrate there. Plus it's the Miami crowd. I feel like I'm representing Miami. It's very hard to be a DJ and have the city back you up, but I feel my biggest market is here. It's like they're all proud.
You were born in Marseilles, but are practically a full Miamian now. How old were you when you moved here?
I've been here for about 17 years. A friend of mine was living here at the time, and asked me to come for vacation, and I never left.
Do you consider yourself more French or more of a Miamian?
More Miamian. I'm French, but I'm American now. It's weird because I go to Europe and I feel I miss home, even if I'm in my hometown [laughs].
What do you love most about Miami?
I love everything about Miami and living here is amazing. It's such a mixed world. There are so many different flavors. You have Europeans, Brazilians, Argentinians, everything. You go from one city to another, and it's all one kind, but here, it's everything.
What do you think makes our city so different than the rest?
Living on the water ... There's no place like this. You have the most beautiful women in the world. What else can you want?
What did you love most about this year's Ultra?
Ultra is an amazing festival. It's well produced and again, it's representing Miami all over the world, and I was playing my own sound and everybody was there.
"Molly" is the track that really made you blow up. But the song isn't about the drug, it's really about searching for a girl.
I think it's the music. It's a catchy, gimmicky record and I think Madonna did a great job promoting it with Deadmau5. I'm looking for a girl called Molly.
Who is she?
I don't know. But t-shirts are being sold looking for this missing girl and everything.
Have you found her?
[Laughs] No, but I hope to find her one day.
We recently wrote a profile piece on you. You said, "The day that I'm satisfied, I'm going to stop. I'm not going to be a Tiësto. I'm not going to be a guy 45 years old still Djing." What will give you a sense of satisfaction in your career?
I'm enjoying being on the road and everything, but I don't think I'm gonna be able to do it for many years. I think it's better to leave on top, when you make it, and I wanna get there, but it's good to live and enjoy your life. It's very hard for a DJ to travel all the time. People say it's fun, but when you're on a plane 24-seven, flying, it's not fun. It gets tiring. And if you're not healthy, you get sick. Basically, a DJ is getting paid to travel. It's fun, but I'm not gonna do it forever.
What would you like to do later in life?
Just be in Miami, chilling. It's not like I'm making a track and then stopping. I've been DJing for 17 years.
What are you looking forward to the most about your birthday party?
To be honest with you, I haven't drank in a long time cause I'm very healthy and box every day, so I'm gonna drink. I don't know what's gonna happen [laughs].
What reaction do you hope to get from the crowd?
I just want everybody to party and have fun. I'm coming to have fun. I'm not expecting people to judge me on my mixing and track section. I'm working on my party, damn it! [Laughs]. Just do whatever you wanna do. Let's have fun.
Cedric Gervais' Birthday Celebration. With Mednas. Saturday, June 7. LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $40 to $75 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-674-4680 or visit livnightclub.com.
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