Cedric Gervais Talks 'Summertime Sadness' Remix Smash, Linking with Lana Del Rey and Blowing Up
The veteran DJ reaches the Top 10 and works on his own major label debut.
While many in clubland know Cedric Gervais for his residency at Space in Miami, his consistent output of remixes, and an outsized personality on and off the decks, the DJ is reaching a whole new audience this summer thanks to Lana Del Rey. Gervais’s rework of the singer’s “Summertime Sadness” reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 last week (it slipped to 10 this week despite a continued rise in sales and streams), giving the experienced EDM jock the biggest hit of his career.
Billed as Cedric Gervais vs. Lana Del Rey, the track was originally remixed by Gervais as a labor of love. “After the success of my track ‘Molly,’ a lot of people asked me to remix big artists,” Gervais explains. “To me it’s not about the money, so I turned down a lot of people. But Lana Del Rey came in. I didn’t even ask how much money I just said please send me the vocals right away and I did the track in one day. I wasn’t thinking if it was going to be a hit or not, I just love and respect the artist that she is.”
Touring Europe this summer, Gervais has watched the sleeper hit grow, even the giving the seasoned producer a sense of accomplishment. “In every country I’m going to, I hear my remix on the radio,” he says happily. “I heard it on the MTV Awards while they’re introducing Selena Gomez. It motivates me. I started a long time ago in the business with the passion of being a DJ and all of the sudden I make a track like this I get even more excited and motivated. It opens the door to so many things.”
One of those things includes working with Interscope, in an arrangement championed by the label's A&R honcho, John Ehmann, who was responsible for the “Summertime” remix, even though the track was ultimately released through indie dance label Spinnin’ Records--a move designed to reach and appeal to Gervais’ core DJ fanbase. According to Gervais, when Ehmann saw “60,000 people singing the song” at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas he returned to Interscope’s L.A. offices ready to put the weight of Del Rey’s home label behind the song’s promotion.
“I love the label and I really love what they’re doing with Zedd at the moment,” says Gervais. “They’re putting me with so many great songwriters and producers that it’s the right thing to do.”
Working with “Summertime’s” veteran co-songwriter Rick Nowels (profiled recently in Chart Beat), Gervais promises an album of less-than-obvious featured vocalists but rather “very cool, very iconic” new artists.
Co-written by Nowels and Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness” first appeared on Del Rey’s 2012 album “Born To Die” and was even released as a single in Europe that year. While Gervais was also asked to rework “Young and Beautiful,” the featured single from The Great Gatsby, promotion for that track is being held until awards season this winter.
Despite an uptick in studio time, Gervais remains a touring DJ. For that facet of his career, the song’s success is directly seen in his renewed ability to pack a club, particularly in North America.
“The [previous] time I played Vancouver the promoter called my agent and said ‘we’re not moving a lot of tickets, we can’t pay the price we’re paying.’ And last time I played Vancouver [at the beginning of the summer], I sold out the week before.”