Montreal-based Synth Pop artist Liyon reveals a dreamy exploration of the “Crashing Sides” of beauty and despair in life with his new single. A mellow and increasingly exhilarating soundscape comprised of pulsating synths and a compelling beat set the scene for Liyon’s intoxicatingly smooth tone. His honest and reassuring vocals ebb and flow throughout this universally relatable track as he reflects on the undeniable fascination found in the best and even the worst of times. A genuine and candid reconnaissance of the world’s balance and beauty, “Crashing Sides” is a testament to Liyon’s promising future.
Rising up his way from Montreal’s music scene, JD was enriched with studio session affairs and downtown shows at just 14 years old. The Montreal native soon echoed his come-up and began his journey into the music realm. Straying from music’s corporate route, JD found his moniker in Liyon. Liyon, stemming from his love of cats, the newcomer created a new persona in order to regain his power from commercial music and helm his destined future.
With a signature sound, self-described as “drugged out synth-pop,” Liyon produces atmospheric tracks drowning in hypnotic synths and tantalizing riffs. Emphasizing his goal to “bring good vibes to the world and connect with other humans in a genuine way,” he brings an ambitious sound to cater an authentic experience for his music. Liyon’s talents and ideals of authenticity will carry him to a promising career capable of exceeding new heights.
Learn more about Liyon in the following All Access interview:
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you have scheduled the rest of today and this week?
On a weekday I’ll set up in the studio around 11am and start writing music for whatever gig I’m on at the moment. Usually it’s music for an ad (no not jingles, real music), sometimes films, sometimes artists. When I don’t have any gigs going, I’m happy because then I get to work on Liyon. Also, sometimes I’ll direct a music video or an ad.
This weekend, I joined a bunch of grown ass people at an off season overnight camp for kids. It was dope, we had teams and had to compete in various activities that really tested my will. It was a crazy party all weekend. Next weekend I might go out to Vermont with some friends and see where the trip takes us. The energy in the city is intense, there’s always someone screaming, trucks banging, construction, people in cars honking like crazy fucks. Although I like the action and the people in the city, sometimes I need to get away from this and cool down a bit.
Now that we are in the latter half of the year, how has 2019 treated you? What are some goals that you have had for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them or did you already? What are you already excited about for 2020?
Dude, not gonna lie, 2019 was rough. I went through a big breakup, moved back from Toronto to Montreal and kind of burnt myself out with work stuff. It was so bad, I had to take time off work this summer. That’s when I started working on Liyon again after a long time where I couldn’t release anything because I had to work to pay rent, and life, and shit. Back in Montreal, I was brought back in contact with art. I realized that writing and promoting my personal passion project is what has been missing in my life. My goals for the near future is to release these dope tracks I wrote recently. I want to release them now because I’m stoked on them, but everyone advised me to wait and do it right. In 2020, I’d like to have the full team behind Liyon and promote the new 6 song EP with lot’s of touring.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be in this industry? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I always loved music, I remember being very young, and being very emotionally affected by music. I’ve always been kind of sensitive and always had this genetic anxiety/depression disorder in my brain. I’d play songs over and over again when I had access to them, they helped me accept the way I was feeling by relating to the stories, the melodies, the feelings. I didn’t always have access to music as we do now, I remember calling radio stations to hear a track I wanted to listen to so bad. The moments where it pivoted for me was when I broke my foot executing a near perfect front flip off a two story bed in 3rd grade. When I had my cast, my mom bought me this cheapo synth that I loved and used so much through the following years. Later on, as a teenager, on the day that I finally decided to follow my dad’s advice to take baseball seriously and aim to go play for an American college for which he had connections to, I broke my arm in two places in a collision. Not long after the cast was taken off, I starting fucking with my friend’s guitar. It was sort of a therapy for my arm and I loved writing songs, it was stronger than me. That’s when I realized I wanted to do this more seriously. It was something that was building up inside me for years. I guess it was written in the stars that I needed to be a music writer and not a baseball player. I don’t see it as a choice, I see it as a predestined calling. I don’t think I would have made it through if I didn’t have music, and now I live this normal life with the coolest job ever. I guess my greatest weakness is my greatest strength too.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
If I were doing something else that is interesting to me it would be psychology or business. I definitely wouldn’t have been happy in a sports environment where our social construct of what how a man should be is so backwards. I don’t think I’d be happy or even functional doing anything else but music.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part about it all?
The first biggest surprise was getting my first job as a full time music writer. Everyone in my life was telling me “oh you want to do music, what are you going to do? Teach?”. No one told me to go for my dream because it’s unimaginable to most people that there’s a possibility of finding work in that field. After about 10 years of writing producing, performing, and making no money from music. I was working in a shitty job and thought to myself “this can’t be it for me”. I gathered my best songs, made a website and started writing to companies. Within two days, I had an interview, and two weeks later I had my first full time music writer job. The second biggest surprise was winning a Gemini award for a film score. I had applied for a film music masters a few years earlier to perfect my skills while still working full time in music, and got refused. Next thing I know I’m up on stage, with my colleague, accepting this prestigious Canadian award for film music. I like proving people wrong when they try to bring you down. Fuck yeah.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Crashing Sides.” Where did the inspiration for this track come from? How does it compare to anything else you that have you previously released?
For Crashing Sides, I went back to my roots and came up with something more genuine than ever, not trying to make a commercial hit, just trying to make music that comes from the heart. The song talks about a lot of things, one of which is that life gets fucked, but it’s so beautiful at the same time. We, as humans, force ourselves to do things that are against our nature, so we get depressed, drown it down with drugs, booze, and what not. We don’t take time to do the things that feel natural to us, and appreciate how beautiful it all is. We just push ourselves so hard and succumb to pressures implemented by society. Crashing Sides comes from being super stressed out with work and wanting to go back to a simpler life.
Do you have plans to release more songs and/or a full collection of new music?
Fingers crossed I get grants or funding to promote the new material or y’all probably will never hear it. Sad but it’s a reality. I have an EP coming in next year. I’ll be releasing singles til then. One single every two months is my goal. I also have a music video coming for Crashing Sides, and other tracks, hush hush.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have any fall tour dates scheduled yet?
So far I only have Canadian Music week in May 2020. I’d like to hook up some tours in 2020 but nothing is confirmed yet. I’m looking for a booking agency and management to be able to take Liyon to the next level and hook me up as an opening act for tours.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I think I’m more chill now, and I think we can see that from the bpm on the new tracks. I used to want everything fast, and now I just want to sustain something that makes me happy. I also work on my tracks way longer now. Instead of doing only what’s intuitive, I really take the time to go after the fresh sound I’m looking for. This helps me get to a sounds that, I think, sounds like no other artist.
How do you feel about social media? What has social media done for your career so far?
I don’t like the fact that it’s mostly bots out there, liking and following people to get followed back. Though, I understand a lot of people are trying to promote their stuff and we’re willing to do a lot to get ourselves out there. I think it’s necessary these days to link up with fans through social media and that’s why I do it. I hate when people comment on my tracks just because they’re trying to promote their own page, it doesn’t feel genuine. With Liyon, I’m after genuine human connections. If it’s though the internet and it’s genuine, then yeah I’m all for it. DM me, comment on my stuff if you actually like it, say hi in the street if you see me, and I’ll become your actual friend. It’s weird how fans reaching out really gives you that extra energy to keep going. Oh yeah, add me on instagram @liyonmusic do it now, go go. Dm me, I’ll reply with love.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I mean, there are so many but Slowdive, Kweku Collins, Drake, Daft Punk, The Strokes are some of them. My musical taste really varies and I’m influenced by both hip ho and indie music for Liyon. We’ll see what the future brings to me in terms of working with others. I’m super opened to collab, and my sound is wide in terms of genre, so I think there’s room to play.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Oh man, I don’t think my brain even works that way. After years of writing for budget, it’s hard to imagine what I would do. I think I would do something like what I pitched to Director X in our brainstorm meeting for Gyalchester which they ended up using for Gods Plan; If I had all the money in the world for a music video, I would find a clever way to give the whole budget to the poor or to conscientious and green organisms. I’d document it as a music video to insight others to do it as well.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
I’d love to hear my songs played at random places that aren’t related to me in any way. In a clothing store, on big playlists that my friends told me to check out. I’d also love to hear it played as covers on youtube by some random fans in other Countries.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope they can feel better, love themselves, and connect with me as I did with other artists’ music when I was young.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Don’t hesitate to write to me if your feeling down in the slums, have been out of energy, overworked, or whatever is happening that you might wanna talk about, I’ll reply.