Many people worldwide are suffering from lockdowns caused by Covid-19. One special artist who has won the hearts of millions of fans with smash hits like Nevermind and Anxious, shows us how we can nevertheless still find a silver lining to everything: Dennis Lloyd.
THE ARTIST DENNIS LLOYD
Dennis Lloyd started his career as a self-made musician. He published his first songs independently on the Internet, and the Spotify community noticed him.
However, like so many artists before and certainly after him, Dennis Lloyd confided in the wrong people. More precisely, he trusted the wrong partners.
The experiences that Dennis went through as a result had a lasting impact on him. In a negative way on the one hand. But on the other hand, in a decidedly positive one as well. Sometimes you have to fall to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Then you can find new ways to develop personally and artistically.
Last week the charismatic artist from Tel Aviv presented his new single Anxious. Seldom before had the 28-year-old presented himself so vulnerably. In the song, he openly addresses his struggle with his fears, depression, and loneliness. V-GUIDE Ronja had the chance to talk to Dennis Lloyd. They talked about Dennis’ new single Anxious, about his music, life, homeland, and much more.
RONJA IN TALK WITH DENNIS LLOYD
Ronja: It’s great that we’re finally able to do this chat. Of course, we would have liked to do it in person, but still, thank you so much for meeting us on Zoom. Where are you right now?
Dennis Lloyd: At the moment I’m in Tel Aviv, still under the influence of a lockdown. For the third time already.
Ronja: What can you tell us about the situation there right now?
Dennis Lloyd: I wouldn’t say it’s so good. I mean, they’re vaccinating a lot of people and we still have got many cases daily. But, it’s still very serious.
ANXIOUS – THE NEW SINGLE
Ronja: I guess the general worldwide situation is making lots of people feel anxious, which is also the title of your new song. In it, you confess that you sometimes feel uneasy, but you don’t want to talk about it. Could you maybe let me in on something that makes you particularly anxious?
Dennis Lloyd: I think uncertain times can cause anxiety, you know? I think that a lot of people are going through that right now. Everyone has made plans for the future. But now, nobody knows what is going on or even going to happen. I guess this would be something that a lot of people can relate to.
Ronja; And what can you tell us about the song?
Dennis Lloyd: I wrote the song about 2 or 3 years ago. Everything was still normal. Then, I was still with my previous music label, and I experienced a panic attack for the first time. I don’t know if you ever felt like that? However, it basically feels like your mind is racing, your heart is beating extremely fast, and you start sweating. It’s kind of similar to a heart attack. And to me, it was just really fucking scary at this very moment. And then, I just decided to write about it. Because for me, this is just the best way to process my life: translating it into melodies and lyrics.
Ronja: May I ask, if it is a diagnosed medical issue, or does it just happen to you in certain situations?
Dennis Lloyd: It is just some situations in life, where overwhelming feelings like that come through.
DENNIS LLOYD ABOUT THE ALTER EGO
Ronja: Dennis Lloyd is not your real name. I get that it is kind of an art figure or a musical alter ego you use to maybe separate both of your “worlds”. Still, in songs like Anxious, you talk about very personal topics, even about past personal relationships and feelings, etc. Is music – or this musical alter ego – a way for you to deal with personal feelings in a better way?
Dennis Lloyd: Yeah definitely. I think that everyone has an own way of processing the feelings of life. For me, it has always been music. Music was my escape. You know, when shit happened in my life, this was my personal way to take it all off my chest.
Therefore, yes, I would definitely say that my songs are my way of handling my personal deep emotions and certain events in my life, even though I’m doing it with an artist-name.
ANXIOUS – THE VIDEO
Ronja: I also considered the music video to Anxious very special, because of its impressive imagery. In it, the world completely falls apart around you. What is the specific message that you want to communicate to your fans through the clip?
Dennis Lloyd: The music video is pretty much all about trying to imitate a panic attack and how it feels. Everything happens so fast. You float in the air. Thereby, everything around you is collapsing. That is kind of the feeling you get when the thoughts are running through your head extremely fast. Thus, I think that anyone who’s ever experienced something like that or something similar, can also relate very well to the feeling we visualized in the video and the song itself.
Ronja: This is very interesting! So, somehow you had to relive these feelings. How was the experience of filming it?
Dennis Lloyd: It was pretty tough. It took like 12 hours to shoot it, and I was connected to the ceiling by hundreds of cables the whole time. (laughs) It wasn’t too comfortable, but I’m very happy with the final result.
THE THING WITH THE SUCCESS
Ronja: It was definitely worth the effort though! Your musical career started really going places with your debut EP Exident. It now has over a billion streams. Besides, Alien just reached 120 million streams on all platforms too. Congratulations on that! How have you been coming to terms with your success and dealing with everything that comes with it?
Dennis Lloyd: I think that what you just asked exactly describes the content of my debut album. It is about all this. Handling the past 3 or 4 years of my life since “Nevermind” was simply exploding. I used to be an underdog and an outsider. Then, suddenly, I’m a frontman. I am on stage in front of thousands of people.
Sometimes, these feelings can get really overwhelming. It’s also special to be on tour for concerts and promo, and, hence, being on the road all the time. And then, in 2019, I had my final tour in Europe. After that, I realized that I need some time off. So, I wanted to process everything that happened in my life in a relatively short period during the last 4 years. That is pretty much how I was coming to terms with it.
DENNIS LLOYD ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS
Ronja: Yes, wow, I can understand you well. Do you think that all the overwhelming things you just described, the positive and the negative ones, as well as the stress touring and success entails, are also connected to your anxiety?
Dennis Lloyd: Of course. Before releasing any piece of content – if it’s a song or a video – there always come stress and anxiety with it. I think it is just inevitable.
Ronja: Currently you’re being supported by Sony Music, but at the start, you released your own music. How important was this former independence for you? And what has changed now?
Dennis Lloyd: I think this plays a key role in general. I feel like many musicians just don’t think about the business side of showbiz. They only contemplate the factor of the art. But I really believe that talent is just not enough to make it in a world like ours. Because besides your creations, you have to be wise, and you always have to make the smartest decisions for your career.
In every business you want to build up, whether it’s music or high tech for example, or whatever, you need to plan beforehand. And you need to be able to manage it. I used to be my own manager. I used to print my own merch and sell my own tickets – all by myself. And I think that this had to do everything on my own really helped me to learn and know every single aspect of this business.
A TRIP TO BANGKOK
Ronja: And since when have you already had your plan you said one would need to make it in the music business?
Dennis Lloyd: For me, there was a certain point. After I finished my service of 3 years in the navy, I realized that I need to go somewhere. I started to save my money. One day I got a call from a friend who invited me to Bangkok. He said he was sure that I’m going to like it there.
Moreover, he was sure that in return, people from there would like my music. So, I just did it. I spent a whole year over there. So, I think when I decided to do so, I recognized at this moment that I was fully on board. I mean the whole music thing, and that is what I want to do with my life.
DENNIS LLOYD ABOUT THE PANDEMIC AND LONELINESS
Ronja: It is nice that you already mentioned your trip to Bangkok as I was going to ask you about it now anyway. In the past, you mentioned this trip now and then and talked about how it was a very solitary, self-reflective experience in a way to focus on your music. Now, we’re going through this current pandemic, where we have been forced to spend a lot more time on our own. Do you have any advice on how to self-reflect or find peace in this loneliness?
Dennis Lloyd: Yes, that’s true. Nowadays, the situation is unfortunately very different as you’re not allowed to travel to places like Thailand. I think that’s why the mindset I had back then definitely differs from the one I and others have right now. When you travel, you automatically feel freedom. To get a similar feeling during these Covid-influenced days is very difficult, in my opinion. But I think that the general key to feeling like this is reinventing yourself, even in these hard times. You have to figure out what you want to do and how you want to achieve it. So, you can plan accordingly. If life isn’t challenging, it would be boring. Don’t you think so? Thus, my advice would be to take everything as an opportunity. I think that’s the spirit you need to overcome difficulties like this.
THE YEAR 2020
Ronja: That’s a piece of good and well-thought advice! After your incredible success in 2019 and the “Never Go Back” Tour, you surely had a lot planned for 2020. Was there much that had to be put on pause?
Dennis Lloyd: Actually, there wasn’t. I finished 2019 with my European tour, and when I got back home, I called my manager. It was like: “man, I need some time off!” I was really exhausted. Because in 2019 I had been on the road all the time. Either for touring, for promo, or simply for writing and creating. I just felt like I needed some time for myself. And, literally, only a few months after this call, Covid has already been starting and they began to order all these restrictions.
DENNIS LLOYD ABOUT THE BREAK
Ronja: Oh okay, so I guess it was kind of lucky timing for you, as you planned on taking a break anyways.
Dennis Lloyd: Yes exactly. It’s not like I had booked a big tour for 2020. I was only planning my first arena show in Tel Aviv. But this got just postponed to July 2021. Hopefully, it will be able to take place then.
Ronja: Cool, sounds awesome! However, did this year affect you in other ways. For example, personally or regarding your music production in general? Even though you were taking a break?
Dennis Lloyd: Yes, I did use the lockdowns we had in Israel to be creative. I worked on the upcoming album and just tried to be as productive as I could and can. Sure, I had some bad days now and then. Days, when I wasn’t able to motivate myself and consequently did nothing at all. And days on which the mood wasn’t right. Days, when I just felt depressed. But I told myself that it is okay to have days like these. And that it’s just also part of it.
THE NEW ALBUM
Ronja: Anxious is already a great kick-off. But what can we expect from this debut album? Does it have a name already?
Dennis Lloyd: Actually, I can’t say much about the album now. I’ve got to save some things up for later. But I think that it is going to be very interesting for people. They will hear first of all the diversity of genres I incorporated in this album. Because every time I get asked about my kind of music genre, I always give the same answer: It’s a generalist, an all-rounder.
I’m inspired by so many different kinds of music. Therefore, I don’t really have a particular box where I fit in exactly. This is the aspect I can tell in terms of the album’s music, and on the other hand, there are very interesting topics and contents I’m talking about in my songs. I think that many people will be able to relate – “Anxious” was just the beginning!
Ronja: I’d consider your music as quite soothing because when I listen to it, I immediately calm down a little bit. Is that an intention of yours?
Dennis Lloyd: Yes, that’s definitely a vibe I’m going for!
DENNIS AND ISRAEL
Ronja: You were born and raised in Israel, and I was wondering if your individual style of music was or still is influenced by your origins.
Dennis Lloyd: Of course! When you grow up in a city like Tel Aviv, there is just music everywhere. I mean, pre-Covid, if you were walking down a single street in Tel Aviv, you were able to hear all kinds of music, from reggae and jazz to dance and techno on just one kilometer. I think the diversity that we have going on here in terms of the music scene and especially the more oriental vibe and middle eastern sounds are immaculate and to be heard in many Israeli songs. All these sounds and especially the mixture of pop music and oriental are so inspiring, and it really, really influenced me and my work.
TEL AVIV & FOLK MUSIC
Ronja: That sounds beautiful! Would you also say that there are folklore or really traditional influences to be found in your music?
Dennis Lloyd: Yeah, sure. Back in the day, I’d say it was 2014, I used to make folk music. My songs had a very acoustic vibe as I would listen to a lot of Bon Iver and similar artists.
Ronja: How would you describe Tel Aviv in 5 words, and why should we make sure to visit it, as soon as we’re able to travel again?
Dennis Lloyd: The weather here. The food. The people. The beaches we have. And the simply amazing landscape. Israel is a small country, you know. In one day, you could cross the whole state: You could start in a very northern city bordering Lebanon, where it is currently snowing, and go straight up to the Israeli desert that borders on Egypt. You can take this whole trip in like 6 hours or so. So, you could basically start the day skiing and end it scuba diving at the beach. (laughs) You see, it’s just an incredibly interesting place. Besides, it’s also extremely beautiful.
DENNIS LLOYD ABOUT THE FUTURE
Ronja: I am coming to the last question. We’re still at the beginning of 2021. What are your personal hopes for 2021? What do you hope this new year will bring?
Dennis Lloyd: I’m just really, really looking forward to releasing the album. This is what I’m really waiting for. I think it is going to be very special for me and my fans as well. The time will be very interesting. Thus, I hope that this album will touch as many people as possible. Moreover, I hope that it probably even helps them get through difficult times in their lives – especially now.
Ronja: Besides the album is there anything else we can look forward to?
Dennis Lloyd: I guess just a lot of good music, videos, live performances – I mean probably online live performances – and that’s pretty much it.
ANXIOUS – OUT NOW
His single Anxious is now available on all platforms and it’s definitely worth a listen! Even if the song was inspired and shaped by a difficult phase in Dennis Lloyd’s life, it still exudes a nice positive vibe. It makes you long for spring and summer, the time when the birds are singing their songs again everywhere, and we will hopefully get this crippling crisis under control.
Interview conducted by Ronja Buchin
Text: Marco Kokkot, Erola Puigsech Autonell
Transcription: Ronja Buchin
Pictures: SONY MUSIC