Conversation with artist Lionheart. After meeting several artists in Berlin I thought that it would be important to engage with diverse genres from the typical sound art and ambient works this blog generally covers. It has been extremely insightful getting to engage and learn from this passionate artist. Below you will find a dialogue that is both informal and insightful；sincere and vulnerable. I would like to thank Lionheart and express my gratitude for his cooperation in this new dialogue series. It has been an honor!
Tell me about your musical background
Alright, so, when I look at my musical background, I have music in
my blood my whole life only I haven't practiced it so much, the thing I remember is is two years of Solfege, Solfege is the classical music theory, which got me bored after a time, but if i look back and I could choose to shift things around I would definitely continued, because i know now how useful it can be for my career as an artist.
Do Re Mi sorta stuff
Exactly. After two years I dropped the Do Re Mi stuff and for a long period of time I was in the consumption part of the music industry. I was loving Music. I mean I grew with Reggae mostly and then there was a point in my life where I went on a travel. A journey. I went away from my ordinary life. I bought a caravan. With this caravan I went together with a friend in the southern region of Europe. So traveling around France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco. And in that period I started to double up my skills on instruments. I started to play guitar. I started to play Jembee, didgeridoo and I tried things like the Moon Drum.
All the kind of instruments that were common use in the hippie communities.
Before this journey, when I was 18 years young, I started to go to rave parties and there
I incorporated the whole electronic scene into my being.
And specifically what genre? Was it just electronic in general, like dub house.
Was it just all of it?
In the beginning it was actually mostly drum and bass. Seen from an electronic point
of view, I grew up with drum and bass and then the evolution went into techno.
So now more techno?
But still more drum and bass. So techno was like I went to a couple parties but it
wasn't my main focus or my main pleasure. At that moment psychedelic trance wasn't in
my life at all. Like I knew it existested, but it came at a later point when I was traveling through Spain & Portugal.
Because there I went to several festivals. And there I met
this whole community and the lifestyle of these people and I fell in love with it cause, I mean, I
was dancing like crazy and it was really amazing.
And ya, so there I came into the
psychedelic scene and, for an in between story, when I was living in this hippie community it there was this continuous music flow.
Actually when we woke up people were already sitting around with the drum
and flute, playing together and jamming. It was the awakening of my musical skills.
Okay so, how did you end up at dbs or Berlin in general? Was there an attraction
to Berlin or to dbs? How did you get here from your travels from Luxembourg?
When I look from the perspective of our group and the whole creation of organizing
events, I was actually starting last january so in 2018 was the year I started to DJ.
Before I was into the management of events, organizing colourful events.
But then I was deciding I want to also start to have this career of an artist. To be an artist. At that point when I started to dj I quickly started evolving in my skills and everything. And at one point I was looking at other careers and people who are in this path like : Simex, Unlogix and Ace Ventura.
At that point I decided to go into production with the main goal of creating music which touches inner feelings and also especially with conscious content. I was always impressed from electronic music but I was thinking I would love to put more vocals inside.
Vocals are what the people can think about and grow from. So not only the bass which is very powerful but also the vocals can make you think about something and make you grow as an individual, that’s why i try to integrate them into my productions.
But to come back to the question, from that point I was searching for a production school. I went first to Amsterdam because it is really close to
I went there to check out SAE. I was impressed by the school and I also liked it.
But I was also thinking about Berlin, I was really impressed by the city.
There was a friend
who was talking to me about dBs because he had seen it on the internet.
Then I came to check it out and see some friends.
And Ya, I went through the building and was feeling a connection.
So you came here and tried it?
Exactly, I came here and had a tour. Then I went around Berlin. And both points were
good. I felt connected to the city and the school.
What is your musical process? Production style?
Not the easiest questions. I think for me its most of all based on collaborations. I
love to work with people together. Because I feel like having two brains and two
ideas and two energies can really create something beautiful. At the same time I don't limit myself that I wouldn't create something beautiful alone but i think it's the most exciting
part to work together collaborating.
Do you jam and grab recordings? Do you mix other samples? Are you sampled based?
Like, how do you get your sounds?
At this moment I am still trying to find this actually. I don't have a full workflow
plan, if I can formulate it like that, but what I do is I start with the basics.
Basic kick, bass and melody.
Sometimes, I try to sing something and then transform it into a melody in Ableton.
Do you Dj? Or do live performance?
Dj. I have my tracks and playlists that I make at home and then I go to Etikett
Radio or Events and then drop those beats.
Tell me about your EP
So basically the EP is the first EP I am releasing. The whole thing is done in the
genre of psychedelic trance.
And just so i understand, Trance in general. What is the difference between trance
and psy trance?
Well, actually it is the same thing. The name was developed that way. Some people
just say trance cause it puts you into a trance. Than there is Psy which is the abbreviation for psychedelic, together it’s : psychedelic Trance.
And what is another sub genre of trance?
There are a lot of sub genres. There is forest, there is Full-on. Forest is more the
sounds of the nature and more connected to nature. There is dark trance which is
more into the heavy bass and more in the "darkness".
And then there is Full-On which is like the morning vibe, so more uplifting.
Furthermore you have tribal, high-tec, progressive, hard, psy-dub, basically there are endless variety’s, but to keep a sight over all there are certain one’s which get categorised or labeled like the one i’ve mentioned.
Ya i have heard trance that is really inspiring and uplifting.
Ya exactly. That is one of the things I love to do, is put messages in the production. Like in "The Fountain of Creation" I put a sample of Rastafarian culture. Talking about the rastafari way of life and what it is about. I like to put samples inside the music.
And how do you find your samples?
I found this one on youtube. That is something I am not sure about…
You mean license wise?
I think it is okay because it is an old recording but also I am not 100% sure, anyways i contacted the persons to ask for permission, and if they tell me no, i will take it out.
Then there is my second song. Its "The Lion Roar". It started by the idea of putting
a lion roar inside. So to put my artist voice inside of it. and It started in January. It was
produced over five months. Always taking stuff out and putting it back in. Trying to
get the master piece. I am pretty close now. There is some stuff that I need to do
but in this production I focus on tribal sounds. So it is about African bongos and
percussion in the background. The usually bass and kick of psy trance inside. and
then the progression of the kick.
I put some bird sounds and ambiences of the forest.
Do you have artwork?
I do yes, I was going around Berlin and there was this market with a guy who had pictures of eyes, I asked him what it’s all about and he told me that he can make a close-up from my eye, I was directly thinking about the EP and that’s how i got my artwork.
The first track I was trying to write down my own story but from the perspective of a cub. So like a lion. So I took this metaphor of this cub being me and talking about my story of how
I grew up in the world. And how I see the system. and what it is doing to our
people. Our brothers and sisters. and I also put the perspective of an alien inside.
So actually it is the future aliens who are talking about me and they are talking about the one who changed the course of humanity forever. Its kinda a narrative thing with fiction in side. And I have done it with a synthesizer. What
is it called? a vocoder. Its my voice and a bit darker and more like alien kinda. That is
actually the most exciting part of the EP because the people can feel what I am
doing in the music. You can hear the why
in that track. I am talking about how the kids grow up in the system and how it
gives a lot of dark energy inside like a lot of people have depression, hate, and
dissatisfaction towards life you know
and there I am talking about myself because I was in that position too , not really
depressed but dissatisfied with my life and then there was one day when I
went out of school and I was
feeling really this, ... the energy which lies in everyone of us. To believe in
something greater and something that can keep us on track and makes us stand up
everyday and not lie in bed you know.
And then I felt, well the track tells how I felt this energy running through my body
and rejuvenated my whole being and how I spoke up to the heaven and how I pronounced
Jah which is the God I believe in which is in everyone of us.
And which God is this?
The God of the Rastafarians, He is called Jah. But I am not strictly following the rastafari religion or anything its just that I look at the whole thing and take the parts that can actually benefit my life. I realized for myself that its very beneficial to believe in something and even the God essence that lies in everyone.
That is what I am describing in the first song.
You take spiritiual beliefs and share them with the Rastafaris?
Exactly. I take those beliefs,... those parts in that religion. I am actually building my own religion in the sense. I look at the different one and I see that there is something that they want to teach us. But a lot of times they teach us something that is not really right or puts us in a cage.
Make it makes sense in today's world. I think that a lot of religion. If we can make it make sense now then it would be more applicable. If we can figure out how to take the philosophy
of all religions and update it to make it more practical or something we experience
now. I super believe in what "they" are trying to say. So I can relate and
understand what you are saying, in terms of applying a spiritual context.
And how would you describe the audiences experience?
That is a very good question. Probably the introduction track will be played again
because it is not very easy to understand everything. Then later if they go on into the EP, I think audiences are going to feel what I am talking about in the first track because I try
to implement a lot of melodies which are kind of uplifting. And later on they will
go through a jungle, a lot of animal sounds and psychedelic sounds and sounds where they might ask "what is that?". In that sense audiences are going to rewind and listen again
because they think "what is that?"
"I wanna know what it is".
You play with the delicacy of the sounds?
Ya I try to implement that.
And "The Fountain of Creation" is which part of the experience?
It is the soul uprising. It is the first track where the beautiful melodies come in.
Do you have any plans for where it might be performed or released?
I am going to do it through our label. We have a label called "Omnivision". There are
three sub labels and I am in charge of one of them which is called "Omnivibes".
"Omnivibes" is there for psy trance and reggae and my EP will be released on this label. It will also be played at those parties because we will also be organizing parties and events. We
have our ecosystem built in the electronic music world.
More in Luxembourg. "Omnivision' started in Luxembourg and has grown and I
am trying to expand it to Berlin.
Leipzig has a huge Psy trance scene. Its still possible for groups to through squatting events there so you should try to reach out to them as well. It used to be possible in Berlin but nowadays that is happening more so in Leipzig. People just text each other
coordinates and then meet with huge speakers for these events.You should try
reaching out to that community.
Your gonna go there tomorrow?
I will give you two cards then!
I will let some people know! It has been a pleasure discussing your artistry and your upcoming release! Audiences as well as myself are looking forward to your output and what the future holds for your Lionheart. It has been an honor.