Cedric Gervais was born in France, but he's been a local Miami DJ since he was 15 years old. More recently, he's become a worldwide superstar, thanks to an infectious brand of pop-dance and a girl named Molly.
He's celebrating a birthday this week, and he's more than stoked to come home and mark the occasion with a special performance at LIV. His success has been a long time coming, and this is his biggest year yet.
We spoke with Gervais about the best move of his life, his recent career highlights, and how a dude with more than 15 years of experience keeps himself ahead of the game.
Crossfade: Why did you want to come to Miami?
Cedric Gervais: At the time, I was actually the youngest DJ to be a resident at the famous club in Paris called the Queen. When I stopped playing in Paris, the government shut down every single club for some reason, for like three months. There were no bars, no clubs open, nothing in Paris, and my friend at the time was living in Miami and said to me, "Come to Miami for the time being and then when everything resolves, go back to Paris." I came to Miami, fell in love with the city, and never left.
That's kind of incredible. How old were you when you learned to DJ?
I started at 13 years old. I was learning how to DJ in my house and everything, I was still going to school, but that was my passion. My father, in the summer when school was over, he was like, "OK, come be the resident of my club in San Tropez." So I was very happy and I started being a resident and everything started snowballing and everything started happening to me.
Does it make you happy when you see all these other young kids getting breaks now on the dance music scene?
Yeah, it makes me very happy, because I know. I mean, I went through a different way than the kids are going through now. I went through the real learning how to be a DJ, and learning how to make people dance by playing any kind of music. These days, the kids are making records in their bedrooms and then getting a break and getting out there. So it's a different path, but it makes me very happy, because I went through this, and I know the joy that it is to be successful and doing what you love.
What are you working on right now? Are you just focused on touring? Or are you working on any productions?
I have my new single right now with Howard Jones called "Things Can Only Get Better," so that's what I was promoting during Miami Music Week. I'm working on the next Lana Del Rey remix "Young and Beautiful," which is actually part of the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby. Then I have a remix for White Lies that I'm about to start, and some original production. I am always working every week in the studio, just trying to make new stuff and working on my podcast for the fans. So I'm always working.
You mentioned Miami Music Week. What was your favorite part about the experience this year?
My favorite part of the experience probably was to play Ultra main stage. As a Miami resident, and as an artist, you know how big this festival is. And 15 years is a big accomplishment. For me to be part of it and then like that, I was just looking forward to it all week, to be on that stage and performing in Miami. That was a big highlight for me.
There's been some talk from other DJs that the EDM scene is starting to get stale and repetitive. What do you think about that?
I don't know if it's stale. I think it's true that a lot of things are happening, but I can tell you that I'm doing a lot of 18-and-over events all over the country right now, and those events are selling out everywhere. I think the new generation of kids are embracing it and loving it, and those are the kids that are going to be going to nightclubs soon at 21, so I don't think it's getting stale.
I mean, seven years ago, it was hip hop everywhere. You had no parties like this, and I think it's just blowing up. It's just a matter of being more creative. It's true that producers are producing the same thing and copying each other so much that everything is sounding the same, and I think it's up to the producer to start changing the game a little bit, like Daft Punk kind of did and came up with something a little different, trying to educate those kids that are growing up. I think they need to push themselves a little more, and I don't think it's about promoters or DJs and stuff. I think it's just about producers and the music that's coming out. I think it's a little bit too much the same.
Are you pushing yourself to innovate on these productions you're working on now?
Yeah, I'm always trying. You're always trying to find the sound, trying to find different things. I'm kind of all over the place all the time the way that I produce. But it's hard, it's a hard process because you get tempted. You hear a record that you like, you want to do it the same way, so you want to kind of copy but turn it into your own. It's hard to be creative. You're always going to get inspired by something that you heard. But I always try to push myself and do different stuff.
What are some sounds or artists that are inspiring you right now?
To be honest, not that much. There aren't many artists that inspire me right now. There's not really cool stuff coming out that is inspiring me. Daft Punk is one of them. Yeah, I can tell you so far their album that I heard and what they did is very inspiring to me. And the way they campaigned the whole thing was very impressive. They got everybody's attention and everything, so that was kind of inspiring. That was a boost and made me want to get in the studio and do some stuff.
Might you experiment with instrumentation going forward?
Yeah, I've done that before. I play myself -- guitar and drums. So that could happen.
Anything else you're proud of and want to mention?
The Lana Del Rey "Summertime Sun" remix. It's going crazy on the radio.
What kind of feel are you going for with that song?
Well, they asked me. It's one of those remixes, you know? When you get asked to remix after the success of the song "Molly" and all these things, all the labels come to you and they're like, "Oh, we want you to remix this and Usher and this and that." There's a lot of things, but I'm like, "Yeah, it's great, but I don't feel the song."
And then Lana asked me to remix one of her songs and I was like, "I'm a huge fan of Lana Del Rey." So I was like, "OK, great," and I had no idea what song it was. They said it's "Summertime Sadness" and I was like, please. I didn't even ask how much it was, I was like, "Send me the vocal," and I did this song in one day. Now, it's all over the radio everywhere in the world. In France, my father calls me every day like, "It played 9 times on the radio."
It's sick, you know what I mean? It did very, very well. I'm very proud of it.
Cedric Gervais's Birthday Bash. Saturday, June 15. 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.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.