At iHeartBerlin we always look for inspiring people in the city who we can present to you. So when meeting the musician Sion Hill last weekend, who is the supporting act on Pete Doherty’s tour, we took the chance and asked the newcomer some questions.
For those of us who don’t know you or what you do and stand for: Tell us in three sentences who you are.
Irish by birth, Musician by day, Full-time mad bastard by night.
When did you first decide to do something with music?
At 10 or 11 years old I wanted to be Drake from Drake and Josh so I got a cheap Fender Squire starter kit Electric guitar and started writing song leading me to set up a band with some mates and practice in my garage. We were called The Big Fat Avocados… A sort of unintentional homage to The Chillies. Lol.
Many musicians use their lyrics as a form of diary or are processing their feelings with it – are you doing that when writing new songs? Where do you get inspiration for new ones?
I’m just a sensitive soul making my way in the big bad world, writing songs and making a few buck along the way.
Since there is such a large choice nowadays of old and new music stars and genres – What are your personal music icons and why?
Green Day – performance, lyrics, melodies and first inspiration when I was about 12.
John Mayer – He’s an incredible guitar player and songwriter and he helped me find blues music and really start to explore different genres. Plus he always tries new things with every album which I believe is really important for an artist to stay relevant and have fun with making music.
Pink Floyd – Do I need a reason?
How is music changing in todays society?
Artists are proving we don’t need labels anymore – look at Chance the Rapper, he won a grammy this year and never signed to anyone. With the advances in technology and social media, it is much easier for anyone to record music and to get it out there and spread it… which can be a problem because there is so much out there now it’s hard to get through it and really find the good stuff.
Do you wish for something to change in the future in the music industry?
I like how the vinyl industry is growing again, that’s cool. I love having a tangible, solid product that you can hold, touch, feel and OWN, that you can open it up and look at the sleeve inside and really get to know an artist. That is so important, so I hope that continues to grow… I would definitely like to see more people bring music back to community, and not just strive for mainstream success. I like to perform, I like to write songs, I like to tell stories and make art, that’s why do music. I would like to see more people do it for something other than money.
What made you move to Berlin?/ What makes you move back to Berlin again?
I liked the vibes there and there’s a great street music scene so I wanted to be a part of that. There’s always something to do, always somewhere to go.. some show, event, club, gig etc… which can also be a dangerous thing! I left for a little while because it just got too much, but I’m going back for the summer because it is absolutely amazing when the sun comes out.
When in search for new energy, ideas and creativity – what are your inspirational places in Berlin?
I love reading and soaking up the atmosphere at Hackescher Markt, it is so beautiful there. Klunkerkranich is great when the sun’s out, it’s this cosy rooftop bar with a great view of the city and there’s always some good music on. Cafe Manu in Kreuzberg is a great spot for a beer and a smoke… No matter where you go you’re going to meet some really interesting people so it’s just about getting out there and exploring.
If you are rocking the stage or touring through Europe – What are you favorite Berlin spots to calm you down and relax?
The ones I said… but I also like to go to the cinema a lot, there are some great art house cinemas in Berlin.
Last but not least: What are your plans for this year? Can we see you at a concert soon again?
I’m releasing my album in Autumn, it’s been a long wait but I’m excited for that and to go and tour it. I’m heading to L.A in April for a while for some shows over there, but I’ll be gigging a lot in May and June all around Europe so just keep an eye out for me! Otherwise you’ll probably just see me in a bar somewhere sipping on Gin & Juice.
Interview & photos: Alicia Kassebohm