Love Song To Myself—An Interview With Lemon.

By Helena Najm

Toronto-based musician and former University of Toronto student Lemon. writes intimate music that combines smooth, delectable sounds in order to evoke themes of sensuality, self-love and scorn. As unassuming as she is creative, Lemon. does not seek to push a certain message through her music, but recognizes the importance of her rise as a female musician and producer in a heavily male-dominated genre. She is extremely accessible and open through social media, where she showcases a humour and light-heartedness that is reflective of the complexity of her musical persona: her essence cannot be distilled into one song or one post.

Demo: I felt a set of conflicting styles on “Dope Baby”, namely some minimalist hip-hop beats and some trance-inducing synths. Do you actively incorporate varying styles into your music?

Lemon.: I really try not to overthink my music too much and just create what I am inspired to create. I feel like you can tell when a song is contrived and I don’t want my music to be like that. I’m inspired by a lot of different styles of music and kind of just let the inspiration take over. I think the most innovative songs/artists are the ones that combine different elements to create something new. That’s my hope for my music – that it be something people haven’t heard before.

D: What kind of equipment and software have you been using (in general and as of late)?

L: Since I started messing with music production about 8 or 10 years ago I have been using the production software Logic Pro. Right now I’m using the latest version, Logic Pro X and a Novation Ultranova synthesizer to create my music. Tay Lewis, a fellow Toronto-based producer, is the magic behind a lot of my percussion and he works with FL.

D: Are the subjects of your songs the same? You seem to be talking to a specific someone on ‘Dope Baby’ and ‘Your Friends’ but is this person the same individual or something more abstract?

L: I like to keep inspiration fresh, so not all of my songs are about the same subject. But I do tend to write a lot of different songs about a certain set of experiences, as I think you’ll notice with the music I plan on releasing this year. As far as “Dope Baby” goes, I actually think of that one as kind of a love song to myself smile emoticon.

D: Are you planning on releasing songs more frequently in the future? What does your schedule look like?

L: All I can say is that I’m working on a lot of music behind the scenes right now. You’ll definitely be hearing a lot more from me this year.

D: How much do covers fit into your plans? Your ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ cover garnered quite a bit of praise/attention; do you have anything specific in mind that you might cover next?

L: I’m constantly adding to a list of songs I’d like to cover, from Johnny Cash to Usher to Daft Punk. I love the idea of taking an amazing song and giving it a completely new vibe. But right now I’m just focusing on writing and creating my own music.

D: Do you have any major non-music influences? What about musical influences?

L: I am super inspired by art, film and nature. Just like the music I listen to, I don’t stay on one thing for too long. As I’ve said, I like to keep my inspiration fresh – there is so much to see in this world, so much to be inspired by. That’s sort of why I don’t follow a few artist’s entire body of work. I prefer to just listen to the one or two songs I really enjoy from many artists. Right now I’m listening to music from Kavinsky, Sza, Flying Lotus, James Blake and Anderson Paak.

D: Your music fits right in with the minimalist synth-pop that has become increasingly popular in the last couple years. If you could pick a current musician or band to tour with, who would it be? Who fits your vibe?

L: I kind of think it would be dope to tour with someone who’s vibe is totally different from mine, especially because I think my music combines elements of many different genres. Maybe a hip hop act or something? To be honest I don’t follow a lot of synth-pop music, so I’m not sure who fits the vibe. I do think BANKS and Alina Baraz are super dope though; I would be honored to tour with either of them.

D: You can only recommend one place. What should people check out in Toronto?

L: Kensington Market! Really positive vibes in the summer.


Photo via Lemon.’s Facebook


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