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A Chat With Rotterdam’s Le Lion [Dubstep Interview]

1. Joel, we hope you have been doing well brother! What country and city is Le Lion repping? 

I’ve been doing alright! Ups and downs, ever evolving. I live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. But I wouldn’t exactly say I’m repping my city. I don’t really feel that way. If anything, I’d be repping south Africa! 

2. I’ve got one buddy from South Africa! And he’s a riot! When did you first come to realize that Lions were your favorite animal? Or is there a different inspiration behind your name? 

Apart from my obsession with the animals and being born on the 11th of August, my mom was born on the 5th , and my grandmother on the 10th. So all three of us are leos. I’ve never really been a family guy, but these 2 women are my basic building blocks for my “base”. I’ve also had 13 cats in total at my mother’s house during the time I’ve lived there, without siblings. So the cats literally became family. I can’t imagine life without cats, I’d feel really lonely. There was no reason for me not to take a lion as inspiration (and transformation). It resembles individual strength and confidence and that was exactly what I needed when I was about 14/15 years old; An identity I can work towards to, one that inspires me to become the best possible version of myself. 

3. That’s a beautiful explanation brother. Cats are definitely a blessing to this planet. How long have you been creating music? Do you play any other instruments that help you with your productions?

I’ve been playing djembé all my life so percussion is a huge deal to me. I fucking love percussion, words cannot explain, only the songs I’ve written! (Breaking Pattern VIP for instance).
I’ve started producing Dubstep on December 25th, 2011, after witnessing my first Dubstep party in an underground club in Rotterdam. I heard it, I knew this was what I wanted to learn more about. For me, it is the only genre I’ve come across that’s able to keep my interest for such a long time. I just pirated Reason 5, went on with the obsession and now we’re here. 

4. Those pirating days are long gone! When you were young what were some of the bands or musicians that your family would play? 

I am half south african / half dutch. My mom is white, but if you know her, you know that she’s blacker than most black people. What I mean by that is her enthusiasm and love for African culture. Paintings, drawings and music in specific. My mom would draw and paint all day around the house. Some of the artists she listens to are: Billie Holiday, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Mahlatini and the Mahotella queens. 

5. That’s an eccentric list of musicians! We noticed that last year you made a tune with St. Louis’ Riddim don, Bommer, how did this relationship start?

Great question. I had my first US tour around October 2015 together with the Greys. We were stopping by St. Louis for a small but intimate and very fun gig. That’s where I met Bommer and some of his friends. After the gig we had a pretty fucking hectic afterparty in someone’s basement. The rest is history! I had to include him in The Pack (My label back in the day) in some way .
I’m terrible with collabs, you can’t really depend on me. You can expect more from us though, just don’t know when hahah! 

6. You have a new project titled The Architect, what can you tell us about the inspiration and energy that went into creating this project?

I don’t really like the word God, I don’t think it’s appropriate and that it serves all the magic in incredible detail around us. When I look around me, I always think to myself: This was in someone’s head first, then translated to paper, then built. Whether our world was built by 1 entity or through natural processes, I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t care. But to make it in such detail and magical way, I can only respect that as the archtype “The Architect”. Whereas the Architect’s Glitch is a reminder that every structure has it’s flaws or imperfections. I could go on for days about this, I hope you’re still following me!

7. I am! This is a conversation for whenever we meet in person! Who are some artists that you would like to collab with, or perform a back to back set with before the year is over?
I am total shit with collabs so I could not answer this truthfully. I am a very in the moment guy. So I could promise one producer to do a collab but not do it for over a year, and take on multiple collabs on the spot because I was just very inspired to do so at that time.. So, you can’t really trust me when you apply it to a timeline. There are a couple of producers I will and would like to collab with though! Some of these artists are: Katch, Krimma, Bukez Finezt, Surreal, Ramsez.. I can’t think of anymore at the moment but it’s actually a pretty long list.

8. I can only imagine how gnarly these tunes would be! What are some other things that interest you and take up your time whenever you’re not making music?

I fucking love Rocket League dude.. (pc master race) Like, foreal. I have like 1400 hours in that game. I love to get better at it too and get new insights, tactics. Overall improvement of response time too. Apart from gaming, I love my cats, I love being with them. They really keep my headweight light. They tend to take away all the heavy thoughts whenever I’m in a seriously bad mood.  I also love to draw, write poetry, rap, dance, graphic design. Much to do in one lifetime.

9. Do you have any big plans for the fall? Any releases or secrets that you may be able to share with us?
I’m starting a new label. But I’m really good at procastrinating too, and I’m not in a hurry. Expect releases in 2019. Apart from that: my second US tour will be in november/december!

10. That’s exciting! If Le Lion has to choose between going visiting Africa for a month, but only being able to eat McDonald’s the whole trip, playing Lost Lands, but only being able to perform part Jump Up part  Hybrid Trap and part eathstep set, or win a flash drive with all the nastiest dubplates known to man kind, but having to change your name to Le Gatito (The Kitty), what would you do? 

What the fuck? I’d probably go for Africa and all the consequences that it brings. 


Thanks for the interest man! 

Thanks For Stopping By!

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Even Dutch Lions Can Be Fierce!

– Zyven

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