To say that this 22-year-old is a breath of fresh air in the underground electronic scene might be a bit much, but just ask Lourdes Leon or Tayce, Drag Race UK alumni and Jean Paul Gaultier protégé, and they will tell you just as much. Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Only Fire is ready to take the techno scene to a whole other level. We talk to him about SOPHIE, his creative choices and sounding dirty.
Welcome to METAL, could you introduce Only Fire to our readers?
Only Fire is an electronic artist with catchy beats and a dirty mind.
When did you start making music?
I always had love for music and I think it’s the best form of escapism. I started making very amateur and silly mash-ups and remixes of other songs about seven or eight years ago. I didn’t even make my own beats back then, I would just download a random beat and an a capella, mix it up and it would sound very bad. After a while I started making my own beats and looking more into the whole art of music production.
When I listen to your music, I feel like I'm watching CupCakke and SOPHIE too. What do you think you can find from their music or essence in your songs?
I love that you mentioned that because both of them are some of the biggest inspirations for my music. CupcakKe’s clever and sexual lyricism inspired me to have more fun with the lyrics I write, while SOPHIE’s futuristic and catchy sound is what I thrive to achieve, even though I could never do it like her. She was just a one-of-a-kind artist and a genius that inspired a whole generation of electronic pop producers.
Previously on YouTube under Songleakz, you made yourself a name by using recognisable song titles but twisting them. Is it a marketing strategy or is it just for fun? It reminds me of Netflix’s film Bird Box and its meme-marketing strategy back in 2018. What do you think about that?
I started experimenting with the Siri-like vocals on my beats just for fun and made some of these dirty songs with clickbaity names because I was bored and wanted to see how people would react to them. I posted them only on my Twitter account at first and didn’t have plans of releasing them officially at all, but some of them went semi-viral and people were asking for me to release them on streaming services so I listened. Then I started getting more traction on Spotify and decided that this dirty and catchy electronic music is what I want to do since I enjoy creating it and there’s a whole audience for it. So this whole thing wasn’t even a marketing strategy because I never even planned on releasing the songs as a real artist. I am really satisfied by how it all played out though.
Your songs remind me of one of the themes of the viral series Euphoria: hypersexualisation. Do the themes of your songs come from your own experiences or are they made up?
All the themes for my songs are made up. I just think of a random subject and I make it dirty, or I just write about something that’s already dirty and sexual by itself.
However, these lyrics are understood as empowering when we hear them written and performed by a woman. When a man writes "My pussy juice makes everything juicy" and has it sung by a female voice, things change. Are you worried that they might be seen as controversial?
I don’t think my music is controversial because of it, I just like how the robotic female voice sounds on my beats and that’s why I use it. I would say there’s no deeper meaning to it. I tried using a robotic male voice a few times but it just sounds goofy and not exactly pleasing like the female one.
Why did you make the decision to use female synthesised voices?
I like how the hypersexual lyrics sound when recited by an expressionless robotic voice, I feel like it gives my songs a cold vibe on top of also being fun.
The covers of your songs mix new wave aesthetics with anime and androides. Where do these visual references come from?
My covers are mostly inspired by the cyber aesthetic. I find it very fitting for my songs because of all the futuristic aspects about them.
Your songs are known for their catchy beats and their playful atmosphere. For example, in Stain on Me there are dynamics that mix afrobeat with drill. How do you come up with the dynamics of your tracks?
About them, I see a connection between your music and that of other artists in the underground electro scene. What are your inspirations?
Minus the artists I already mentioned, I really love Shygirl’s music. Her beats are all next level and her voice and delivery are amazing. Flume is also one of my favourites. There’s so many other artists and producers that I could mention but the interview would go on for too long if I started naming them al
What does the future hold for you?
I’m currently working on a few collaborations with some amazing artists, and there’s also a new album I’m preparing that I’m going to release this year. A single from it should come out in February and it’s featuring Chase Icon. I’m also in talks for a few other dates for my shows in Europe after my first performance in Paris last October. Because of my social anxiety, I never thought I could perform in front of many people, but I loved the whole feeling of so many people in the same room vibing to my music and beats.