Simon Zion is the guy we know from the TV-show Swedish Idol 2015, where he sung himself all the way to the final. Simon just released his first EP which he describes as: My first EP is a self portrait about me and where I am today. Honest music and real feelings to a world that often seem to exist only on the surface.
I have listened through your EP and I must say that it contains quite soft songs. But I remember you doing a bit tougher songs during Idol, such as Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine…
Yes, ha ha.
Will this be your thing in the future or will you alternate?
At the moment I am standing around screaming at home. To me it’s like; it is what it is. Genre may be important as to when describe your music but the most important is that it comes from something genuine. Which might sound as a cliché and rather obvious, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.
I suppose there are artists that fake a style or genre…
Yes I think so. My philosophy is that there are just twelve notes and then you add a lot of feelings and fantastic rhythms to them notes and mix however you like. And the red line is Simon to the people who like what I did during Swedish Idol or when I’ve been out doing shows. The positive thing is that I have a wide range. I did Bulls on Parade in the final and I like to go all in when it feels right. When we are put playing I must have a few songs where I can roar properly. If not I feel like I don’t get to express all of my emotions.
So you are playing in front of an audience now and then?
Yes but at the moment it’s calmer, at this point anyway. You never really know what’s going to happen in this line of work. The tour for this EP starts in the summer.
So there is time for another single and video…
Yes there is...
Will you be touring in Sweden and Finland?
I will probably go over to Finland. Above all Finland-Swedish audience has shown a real interest. They have been enjoying the fact that a Finish guy is succeeding in Sweden and it can be fun coming outside of Sweden.
Did you have a lot of Finish fans following you during Idol?
Yes in the Swedish part of Finland they are following Swedish Idol. The population is quite small; the people in Österbotten are able to tune in Swedish TV4. When I went to Jakobstad during spring after Idol it was packed, and that was the first time I was there.
It is hard to ask you a question about your musical influences as you are using things from everything…
I am but then there are things that stand out. Everything from the nerve in Miles Davies’ trumpet over to Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. I am quite happy listening to older music such as Doors, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley. But I do listen to new music as well; their in common thing is the nerve that sets me off. At that point the genre doesn’t matter. I am very impressed by James Blake.
So you are not too impressed by DJ´s?
No not that I can listen to myself. I can be impressed by the stage and the handiwork behind all productions, it’s fascinating. They have cracked a lot of things and that shows since it has become so big, it’s an interesting phenomena. But as I’m not a dancer or DJ myself, I can’t find my soul in it. I wouldn’t mind co-working with DJ: s as Skrillex did with Doors, so cool.
Your EP, will it be released digital only?
The plan is to add another single and make it to an LP, so there would be something physical to hold on to so to speak, but no CD.
Is it you behind both lyrics and music on the songs?
The lyrics on some of the songs are collaboration. The song ”Joy Was Born As Two” I’ve done on my own. The song ”Where Do We Go From Here” I wrote together with Jones and two guys from Örebro. The main part of the lyrics is my words but I have had help from friends with ideas and stuff.
How did you experience the Idol format? It seems like a lot of stress.
I would say yes and no. Yes it’s a full time job, especially when there just a few of us left. The whole show circles around very few individuals, but to sing one cover a week is nothing to what I did prior to the TV-show. I was playing gigs like three, four times a week. There was another type of stress. To start with I was just concerned about the rest of my life and how to take care of this if I was to go far in the competition…
The record company you are with, are they the ones that would have taken you in if you had won?
So they just scooped in everyone they believed in?
I guess so, there were three of us in the final, me, Amanda and Martin.
Do you have an odd or fun tour memory to share with us?
I can tell you about one gig at the Sweden live recently. Everything is going great and then I have this time based vocal effects on my voice during the intro, just me singing solo, and I loose my click. The cord slips out! It was a pretty important gig, to show Simon’s new thing after the TV-show. There’s a wave of sweat and I’m thinking nooooo! I rarely get nervous, but at this point it really hit me… But it was okay in the end. I get all sweaty just thinking about it.
For how long were you playing music prior to Idol?
I have never done anything else than music. After quitting my studies in 2012, I have played for a living. So it will be about three years.
And there will be music for the rest of your life?
Yes. I have not given myself an alternative. When we moved to Stockholm during spring 2013, we were about to have a baby and we got a three room apartment, second-hand contract and with a rent of SEK 11,000 a month. This was brutal money to me and to work as a freelance musician, I had to play my arse off.
Your surname Zion, is that your stage name or your actual surname?
It’s my surname. Räinikainen was my surname from the beginning but when my wife Annica and I got married; we took on the name Zion.
Is it from Bob Marley? The song Iron, Lion, Zion?
It’s inspired from that song yes.