Zeon talks new single “Criminal”

YEM spoke with Zeon about his new music and what’s to come. After doing music videos with artists like Lady Gaga, Brooke Candy, JoJo, Icon For Hire, and others, Zeon is going rogue on his own musical journey. “Criminal”, his edgy debut single, sets the tone for this new chapter. A dark yet uplifting, synth-heavy song that is about facing your darkest times and your biggest struggles. Pushing through all obstacles no matter what, both the ones people and life throw at you, as well as the ones you throw at yourself. The lyric video for “Criminal” is out now! 

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved in music?
Zeon: I’ve always had music in my life in one way or another. I started doing animations and editing music videos originally, and at the same time, I was already writing lyrics here and there, recording melodies and playing around with DAWs. I realized that I not only wanted to make visuals to go with the music, but actually create the music itself. Finally doing so has been the most rewarding feeling ever. I’m lucky I had awesome people like my producer Alex Vazco to guide me through the process.
YEM: How would you describe your sound? How did you find your sound?
Zeon: Dark Pop. My sound is a mix of many musical influences: so I’d say it’s a mix of pop, industrial, electro rock, and electro house.
I found my sound through producing and writing lots of songs. The sounds that always inspired and appealed to me the most were the ones that dictated my style…which always ended up being the darker, edgier, heavier synths and guitars. So without even knowing it was a “thing” or some kind of genre, I ended up doing these dark songs that I feel fit in Dark Pop pretty well.
YEM: What do you like better: producing behind the scenes or performing up on stage?
Zeon: I love both in different ways. I grew up making my own music videos to other artists’ songs, and before I had actual artists be in front of camera, I performed myself with my cousins and friends. So both feel very natural to me.
But there is something very special about performing that I’ve never found in editing or directing a video. There’s this big adrenaline rush and excitement that I feel when I’m performing that I can’t get from anything else and I love it.
YEM: You’ve done music videos with artists such as Lady Gaga and Jojo. What have those experiences been like?
Zeon: Those were really special videos for me. I’ve always looked up to these artists, so being able to say you’re somehow part of their journey is an honor. On those sets I’ve met some of the nicest, coolest people that I still work with today.
YEM: If you could work with one musician whom you haven’t worked with before, who would it be and why?
Zeon: I’d love to work with Grimes. If I’d been asked this question three years ago, I’d probably have said I’d love to do a music video with her. But now it’s all about the music. She is very talented and I love how involved she is in her creative process, both musically and visually.
YEM: Tell us about your new single, Criminal.
Zeon: This is the first single I put out officially so I’m very excited about it! I wrote this song about some of the hardest times in my life and the challenges I’ve been through. Out of the songs that I have coming out this year, I feel this one really sets the tone about what’s to come musically and also tells you about where I’ve been and where I’m going thematically.
YEM: This song sounds very personal for you. Is it challenging to open up about yourself in your songs, or is it therapeutic?
Zeon: I think that songs have to be somehow challenging to write in order for them to be good. Sometimes the struggle comes from perfecting the structure, rhyme or melody, other times from finding a way to be the most honest. It’s definitely been a therapeutic process for me. As I’ve written songs, I’ve been surprised about things that have come up. But that’s how it’s supposed to be: you’re discovering parts about yourself and then finding the best way to share them. If you’re being honest, people are more likely to connect with the message. That’s the most important thing.
Every new song I write, I try to be even more honest. It’s a complex process but it’s extremely rewarding in the end.
YEM: The lyrics of your song include, “When I’m in the zone, you’re gonna call me a criminal.” When you’re working on music, how do you get in the zone?
Zeon: I block out everything and everyone else. I meditate. Then it’s no phone, no people around (unless I’m in the studio or co-writing with someone). And it’s just me on my headphones with my keyboard and my computer. We’re living in a world full of distraction, so I think the most important thing we’re missing is full focus.
This lyric in particular refers to that moment when you feel confident, empowered and have overcome all of the things that once held you back. You’ve been told that being and feeling this powerful, freeing way is wrong (by either other people, society, the voices in your head, you name it)… so let that be a crime and still do it.
YEM: You mentioned you have other songs. Can you say more about that?
Zeon: I have a couple of songs that I’ll be releasing in the next few months. They are all very special to me and each have a different style and influences. But still belong together inside this same Dark Pop-like world. I’m putting out visuals for “Criminal” first, and then more singles are to come. I can’t wait to finally release everything I’ve been working on.