District Fray is on the road. We are excited to be in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2022 after the festival’s two-year hiatus. All week long, we’re covering local and international artists and creatives showcasing their talents. To learn more about SXSW 2022, visit their website here. To stream shows, including panels and musical performances, visit here.
Timoleon Veremis, better known as Leon of Athens, is no stranger to the festival circuit. Over the last few years, the London-born Greek-raised artist has brought his upbeat yearning-fueled lyrics and melodies to some of the most sought-after festivals around the U.S. like SXSW, Firefly, Okeechobee and Summerfest.
Now set to return again to SXSW this Saturday night at The Iron Bear, the indie-pop artist is ready to perform his latest single “Mad Into You” and put on a show to remember for the audience. While flying to Austin for the festival, the “Aeroplane” singer told us some of his inspirations behind his music, and who he is looking forward to seeing when he lands.
District Fray: On the SXSW’s page, they liken your work to LAUV and MARINA. How would you describe your music?
Leon of Athens: I’ve supported both of these artists on stage and love their work. I generally describe my music as something between alt-pop and indie rock.
You split your time between Athens and London. What about the Greek culture inspires you?
I call both cities home. I was born in London, lived all of my childhood and finished school in Athens and then moved back to London to work on my music. Greece inspires me a lot. The light, the history, the islands, the mountains, the people. I feel so lucky to be from the Mediterranean. It’s such a blessed part of the world.
Your most recent single, “Mad Into You” was written by David Sneddon (who’s worked with artists like Lana Del Rey and Lewis Capaldi). How did the collaboration come about and what was your experience behind creating the song?
David is a songwriting genius and one of the kindest people I know In the industry. I am honored to be working with him and Katerine Duska. We have real chemistry and it’s always inspiring. We first worked as a team when we wrote “Better Love” for Eurovision in 2019 when Kat represented Greece. “Mad Into You” was written during quarantine. Just like most people we missed going out dancing and having fun. I was rewatching Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the time which inspired the lyrics.
Do you find your music changed since the start of the pandemic and mandates?
Yes, I think so. I feel like I needed more of a sense of fun in my music and a lightness. A more open and carefree version of myself.
When was the last time you were in the United States? Where were you and were you performing or just visiting?
I was in Nashville in September 2021 for Bonnaroo festival but it got postponed due to the hurricane. I was able to get in the studio though and work on a couple of new songs with Don Miggs.
You attended the 2018 SXSW festival. What was your experience like then, and what are you looking forward to about the upcoming 2022 SXSW Festival?
Yes, it was definitely one of the craziest music festival experiences. The vibe and energy of SXSW are truly something else. I met some amazing people I still keep in touch with. I’ve missed touring so much that I’m really looking forward to connect with people again through my music and put on a show to remember.
Are you excited to see, meet, or reconnect with anyone that will be at the 2022 SXSW festival? If so, who are they?
David introduced us to a very cool new artist called Lie Ning. [I’m] excited to see his set.
Will you be performing with Katerine Duska who will also be at SXSW?
We haven’t planned anything but we might. : )
And finally, what are you doing or watching on your flight to Austin, Texas for the festival?
I’m on the plane this very moment actually. Planning to watch “House of Gucci” and “Power of the Dog” after this interview.
Catch Leon of Athens SXSW 2022 performances at The Iron Bear on March 19 at 11:00 p.m. To stream SXSW performances, visit here.
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.