Leon of Athens shares excitement about SXSW performance, future plans

Sofia Treviño, Senior Life & Arts Reporter

London-based and born in Athens, Timoleon Veremis, who goes by Leon of Athens professionally, traveled across the globe to perform at South by Southwest. After singing with other European artists at the [email protected] event March 12, Leon of Athens performed solo Saturday at The Iron Bear. With a mix of Greek and English songs, the indie rock and alternative pop artist garners more than 25,000 monthly Spotify listeners from around the world.

The Daily Texan spoke with Leon of Athens before his performance Saturday about his SXSW plans, creating music and upcoming performances.

The Daily Texan: How’s SXSW been for you so far?

Leon of Athens: Very good. It’s my second time in Austin for SXSW. We did a show, the [email protected] on March 12. It was really nice (with) open-air (and) a city view in the back. Lots of people (and) good mood.

DT: Another Greek artist, Katerine Duska, is also here for SXSW. What’s it like having that connection here?

LA: We’ve written many songs, and also my new single that I’m going to release is co-written with Kat, David Sneddon and Joseph Wander. We have an amazing connection. We write together very well. Kat was featured in one of my tracks, and we both have done a duet, “ANEMOS,” in Greek. We’re a team — we help each other.

DT: How do you decide which songs you sing in Greek versus in English?

LA: ​​I wasn’t singing Greek until recently (when) I released two singles, and now I’m preparing some more. It’s really nice because both languages are my native (language). The English and the Greek language are very different, and it’s challenging in the sense that it has a different groove. It’s very interesting, musically, to work on a Greek song. When I start strumming the guitar and start writing a song, it depends what comes naturally. Sometimes there wasn’t even the question, “Should it be this language or the other?”

DT:  What song do you enjoy performing the most?

LA: (There’s) an unreleased track I’ve been playing in my last shows in Austin and also in London before. There’s a really good reaction from the audience, even though they’ve never heard it. It’s called “Ripped Up T-shirts.” It’s going to be released in April. I think they like it (because) it’s a fast tempo, and it’s really groovy.

DT: As your second year performing at SXSW, what are you excited for this time around?

LA: This time I’m playing in a very different venue. Last time, I played at the Central Presbyterian Church, which is a very nice venue. This time, it’s a bar in the center of the city, so a very different mood. I’m looking forward (to it) because it’s really different from my previous experience. Tonight, I’ll go and watch another artist, Lie Ning, from Germany, who’s amazing. We played together at EU, and I’m looking forward to watching many shows, like Katerine’s.

DT: What are your plans for the future?

LA: We haven’t announced it yet, but I have two opening shows in New York and Boston. I’ll be supporting Yoke Lore in April. I’m also playing at Shaky Knees in April in Atlanta (and) another festival in Manchester –– Bonnaroo.