Following on from the release of his much-loved EP 'The Blizzard Awaits' in recent months, which found praise in dozens of publications online, emerging artist ION recently returned to deliver his rousing new single 'Vega'.
Capturing more of that warm and tender electronic aesthetic he is known for, 'Vega' makes for a wonderfully rich return to form for the artist at the helm. With its sweet and embracing atmosphere measured against his dreamy vocals throughout, he is returning for the new year with one of his most impactful cuts to date here.
So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background, his recent releases, and his ambitions for the future.
What's your go-to tool for making releases in your studio?
I wouldn't say that I have a 'go-to tool' as such. I believe it's good practice to try and refrain from becoming too comfortable reaching for the same things every time I put some sounds together. If I allow this to happen then the resulting music will be formulaic and uninspired (copy-pasted, if you like), which is something I want to avoid by all means. I aim to approach every song that I make in a fresh artistic manner, as this allows me to realise each set of concepts authentically.
You've recently released your trippy new single 'Vega' - what does this track mean to you?
To me Vega is the embodiment of introversion. I naturally tend to be quite aloof as a person and this is something that I'm completely ok with as we should all be proud of our own individuality! I decided to use this song as an opportunity to express this theme, providing an authentic reflection of me in the process.
We're really enjoying the hypnotic and visually pleasing music video. What was the inspiration behind it?
For me a music video should be the visual extension to the sonical concepts explored in the song. So before I'm even set on a decision to make a video I must first have a vivid idea on the creative direction I would like to go in, being certain on the kinds of textures, colours, themes (and so on) that I think will amplify the music.
At the planning stage, it's then a case of sourcing the right references so that me and whoever I'm working with on the video can put together the strategy to get all the shots we need. In the context of Vega, I wanted to further explore the theme of accepting individuality and two main references provided the inspiration for the scenes.
The first reference is from a 3D animated short film known as 'Jibaro'. The distinct dancing performed by the golden woman in this animation inspired the style of movement that I ended up implementing throughout the music video. The second reference is from one of Leonardo Da Vinci's most well-known drawings known as the 'Vitruvian Man'. The proportions illustrated in this sketch inspired the way space was used and manipulated within scenes and when transitioning from scene to scene.
In short, a lot of thought is put into these videos as I know the experiences they create can be very moving. I really enjoy trying to augment the feelings that my music makes, with the purpose of potentially stirring new inspiration in others and myself included, I feel proud that I am able to do this.
You've gained serious heat with renowned publications including Clash and Notion recently, how does it feel to be an emerging artist that is recognised for their talent?
My feelings before and after these publications began taking notice of me haven't really changed at all. Whilst it's nice to see that people are starting to like what I'm doing, the only approval that one really needs is the approval they get from themselves. I like to think that this trust in my intuition is what leads people to become interested in what I do. So being recognised by these publications is simply a small nod for me to keep doing things in my own unique way.
What's your favourite album that's on repeat at the moment?
I've been going back to JPEGMAFIA's 'All My Heroes Are Cornballs' lately, it's a very peculiar accumulation of sounds that I find intriguing to travel through.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I don't like the idea of collaborating with an artist just for the sake of being able to say that you have 'said artist' on your song. For me a collaboration not only needs to make sonical sense but should be an opportunity for both artists to make new ground by creating something that they wouldn't necessarily make on their own. Breaking musical boundaries, learning new things and progressing on an individual level in the process. For now I'm solely focussing on building my own artistic foundations, which should in time clarify the kinds of collaborations that will make sense for me. So unless an opportunity like the one I've described above arises then I'm not actively thinking about collaborations.
What's been the biggest challenge for you as an artist this year?
The biggest challenge has been trying to break through and stand out as ION. The music industry unfortunately rewards you based on who you know as opposed to rewarding the integrity of the talents. So I feel proud that I'm now making ground with this obstacle by staying true to myself.
What's been the most notable milestone in your career this year?
The year has only just started but I can say that it's already been a massive success with the release of Vega, which I guess could be seen as a milestone! Releases like this are what will open the door for me to create at a grander scale and keep building on my capabilities.
What's the best piece of advice you can offer emerging artists?
I'd like to close this interview in the same way that I closed our previous one, by offering this small piece of advice: you've got to just be yourself! I can't stress enough how important it is to follow these simple words, to be your true and authentic self in a time where we are constantly being told who we need to be. It's a legitimately difficult thing to pursue, much easier said than done, but the moment you start to become able to distinguish between your own true feelings and what has been pushed onto you it will take you a long way.
ION's new single 'Vega' is available to stream now. Check out the new video for it in the player below.