Step into the world of LION and his unique brand of hard-hitting, theatrical electropop. In this interview, we delve into LION's creative journey, inspirations, and aspirations. From his early fascination with EDM heavyweights like Porter Robinson and Deadmau5, to the impact that Ethiopian pop music had on his musical journey.
LION's fusion of influences shine through to show a truly unique artistic perspective in his debut single "Not Your Fetish". Having made a home in Melbourne, a city full of culture and creativity, LION draws inspiration from its diverse and thriving arts scene. LION brings an unmatched intensity to his music with camp looks, fierce choreography and dynamic, powerful vocals along with thought-provoking messages that define the LION sound.
How long have you been creating music and what are your musical inspirations?
I’ve been creating music now since early primary school! I was really inspired by EDM producers such as Porter Robinson, Madeon and Deadmau5 and I just had to know how they were making such amazing sounds. I was also equally inspired by femme-bodied pop stars such as Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna though.
You were born in the UK and have Ethiopian heritage. In what ways have these influences shaped you as a person and an artist?
I only spent a little bit of my childhood in the UK, but I still listen to Ethiopian pop music to this day. A lot of Ethiopian songs were quite formative in my early years, and that definitely shines through in the beats and melodies I create.
What inspired the move to Melbourne/Naarm?
My family moved to Melbourne honestly because of a family illness, and Naarm (Melbourne) is near where my dad grew up, so it seemed like a logical choice. But I feel extremely lucky to be here, because Naarm has such a diverse and thriving arts scene that continuously inspires me.
The what was the inspiration behind "Not Your Fetish" and what message did you want to convey?
This idea of power and control was always something I wanted to play with in the film clip. In the clip we play with different power dynamics, with Adam Malone (the dominator) at times accessing my space, and other times not. There are also scenes with either of us standing in our own power and sexuality. I wanted to convey the idea of consent and being in control of who enters your space.
We’ve been loving the ‘Not Your Fetish’ remixes and are eager to know, how did you select the artists you collaborated with?
I think it’s really cool that all of the DJs who remixed Not Your Fetish are in different scenes and play to different audiences. Ruff Loaderz had a bouncy house twist on the song, Pooks made it dirty, dark and edgier, and Buzz took it into slick, melodic house. I selected the artists based on how defined their sounds are, and how exciting it is to feel into those scenes.
Your mission is to subvert the norm and create a revolution. How do you envision achieving this through your music, and what changes and/or impact do you hope to see as a result?
I have always gravitated towards political pop, and it’s incredibly powerful how catchy songs can start important conversations. Social movements and revolutions always have anthems that bring them together, and that’s what I wanna do for my queer community, for people of colour, femme-bodied people and so many other underrepresented communities.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Live life with death as your compass. That sounds morbid but, If you live life always keeping in mind that death is inevitable, it alerts you to the limited time we have. Therefore, I always try to make sure I’m spending my time in a way that I wouldn’t regret it on my deathbed. It’s the best way to ensure you’re living by your values.
Do you have any upcoming shows we should keep an ear and eye out for?
Nothing announced yet, but I’ve got some awesome gigs in the works and are almost finalised! So watch this space!