The Creator and the Self: How Chris Lanzon’s ‘Dark Side’ Portrays the Duality of Human Nature and Artistry

Chris Lanzon © 2023
Chris Lanzon © 2023
Sydney-based singer/songwriter Chris Lanzon explores different themes in his latest EP ‘Dark Side,’ allowing listeners to interpret songs through their own lens.
Stream: ‘Dark Side’ – Chris Lanzon

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If you want to become whole, you need to accept all the bits – that’s why I titled the EP ‘Dark Side.’ I wanted to explore those themes of vulnerability and diving into things that are a bit uncomfortable or hard to feel.

There is duality in everything. The silver lining. The other side of the coin. Regardless of what you call it, understanding both sides of a situation, moment, or person allows for more perspective. Being aware of your own duality creates room for awareness and growth. It is a recognition of linearity and completeness rather than just looking at the parts of a whole.

Chris Lanzon explores this in his latest EP, Dark Side. Being brought into the music industry at a young age made it more difficult for Lanzon to establish himself as an artist. In his formative years, it was easy to get caught in the image of being a musician rather than fully stepping into it. This was surrounded by feelings of self-doubt, creative block, and loss of individuality. Dark Side is a testament to these stages and how Lanzon has begun to step into his identity as both a person and artist—not as two separate entities but as one and the same.

Dark Side - Chris Lanzon
Dark Side – Chris Lanzon

With a mix of acoustic sound, electronic zeal, and basement rock, Dark Side gives listeners a romanticized feel to life.

Each track presents a different idea that ties back to the same message. Though the piece holds personal meaning to the artist, it leaves room for listeners to connect to their lives and what it might mean for them.

Lanzon presents a unique perspective and artistry – showing a bold step in vulnerability and clarity in his music. Whether riding down the street, top-down in a convertible – or sitting on the roof watching the stars – Dark Side is the perfect soundtrack for any stage of life. It is an accumulation of all the good, mundane, and bad moments of being alive.

“That’s always my favorite thing about talking to people who’ve listened to my songs, is just hearing their perspective on it because everyone’s got a different story of what they think the song is about or how they relate to it,” Lanzon shares. “That’s the best part about it.”

Atwood Magazine reconnected with Chris Lanzon to discuss his EP and how it can apply to others through the bigger picture.

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:: stream/purchase Chris Lanzon here ::

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Dark Side - Chris Lanzon

Atwood Magazine: Hello! How is your morning going?

Chris Lanzon: Good! It’s only 9 AM but I got up and went to the gym and just had breakfast—so I’m just chilling. So far, so good.

That’s good! Well, I’ll start by saying congratulations on the release of the EP, that’s super exciting.

Chris Lanzon: Thanks so much!

I started listening to it a few days and it was really cool because some parts feel like the end credits of a 2000 film — at others I felt like I was sitting on a roof, contemplating life. There is a lot of versatility in self-exploration and intention throughout the album. Could you give a brief introduction to the themes in the album?

Chris Lanzon: Definitely, and I love the way you described those feelings. I think that all of those things are a big inspiration. I was very inspired by the nostalgia of being a child and teenager and the different things that we feel. A lot comes from that coming-of-age feeling and what I’ve been experiencing as a young adult over the last couple of years – transitioning from being a teenager into an adult. It’s such a weird thing to navigate – figuring out what I’m doing with my life. Who do I want to be? What do I want to stand for? The project tells the journey of not giving up and persevering – of embracing the good and the bad.

I know you started young, and I remember reading that it all started with a toy recorder. Would you mind telling me about that and how your family helped you in the industry?

Chris Lanzon: I actually have the toy recorder somewhere—I was going to try and find it but I think it’s packed away. I still keep it. It’s literally just a little microphone and a cassette tape. It was so funny because I totally forgot about it and then my mom showed it to me because she kept it somewhere. It still had the tape from when I was four or five years old. I’d constantly record into it, just the most random things. So many weird memories kept on this thing.

I used a couple of little recordings from this tape at the very end of the last track on the EP. You can hear me talking to my mom if you listen super closely. This represents a lot for me because it was my introduction to expressing myself through sound–as simple as it was to start recording.

My dad was always playing guitar around the house and into music, and my mom was always listening to the latest CDs. Music was always around and I’m really grateful for that because it opened my eyes to seeing the possibilities of music and what you can do to express yourself through it. It always felt like the most true way I could express myself.

And you still have it?

Chris Lanzon: And I still have it.

Chris Lanzon © 2023
Chris Lanzon © 2023

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It’s like a souvenir from the start of your career. I did hear a little clip at the end of “You’ll Find It” and I was wondering if it was a family home video or something. Tell me more about that, you said you were talking to your mom?

Chris Lanzon: Yes, I was. It must have been a moment where I just hit record and there is a part where I was trying to reach for something on a high shelf and my mom was like “No, you’re going to fall over and hurt yourself. You’re too small to reach that.” And I’m like “No I can reach it. I can reach it.” I thought there was a really nice metaphor for when you want to go after something but everyone around you is telling you that you can’t. That’s the message of “You’ll Find It”—to just keep trying if you believe in something and not to give up. I thought that was really nice—not to vilify my mom in any way because she’s the best. I just thought that recording was super sweet.

It’s perfect for what you’re trying to incorporate into the album and how you wanted to close it. I think it’s really cool that you were able to connect the toy tape recording you started with. It seems like your parents have a pretty big influence on your start in music. I also saw that you’re number two in Malta for your single, “Dark Side”?

Chris Lanzon: I know that’s so funny because my family is originally from there and my auntie still lives there. She’s just been sending all my songs to the radio station there. She’s like, “Oh you’ve got to check out my nephew,” and it’s in their top 10 which is so wild. I’m just like, thank you Malta. It’s so cool.

Especially since that’s where your parents are from and now you have people from there listening to your music. It’s a full-circle moment almost.

Chris Lanzon: Super full circle. It’s very wholesome.

Then going into the EP, you start with just you and the piano. What made you decide to start the EP that way?

Chris Lanzon: Well, we had “F*ck It Up,” which was going to be the first track. I felt like that was such an abrasive and abrupt start that I wanted something to ease us into it. That first intro track is just an iPhone recording of me playing around with the song on the piano. Then we added a couple of extra layers to build it up and ease people into it.

I like how you repeat “Don’t think I’ll ever know this is going to work out somehow” then you have it echoed in “F*ck it Up” when you say, “We’ll never know, is this going to work out on its own.” When you look at the second piece, it’s carefree, almost reckless. How would you say you went into that transition from the first stripped-down piece to a more “Let’s jump into it” attitude?

Chris Lanzon: The whole message of “F*ck It Up” is that mission statement of “No matter what happens, I’m just going to go for it even if I don’t have all the answers and I have no idea what’s going to happen.” Having the intro be quite ambient and a bit blurry sounding is almost like “Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever know. I don’t know what the answers are” but then when “F*ck It Up” comes in it’s like, “Okay, I’m just going to go for it. Let’s be super clear and just let go.”

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You released “June,” “F*ck It Up” and then “Dark Side” and “Rollercoaster” as a preview. “June” was your earliest release and you had a little event where you asked people questions and had them write down answers. Could you tell me a little more about that?

Chris Lanzon: For the “June” event, I wanted to do something to celebrate the song because I hadn’t put out music for over a year. I didn’t feel like I was ready to do a full show, but I wanted to get people together. We had this idea to do an exhibition-type event where we played the music video for everyone, did some songs acoustically, and set up bits from the music video all around the room.

Then we thought it would be really cool to have an interactive thing that people could all be a part of. We hung up this big sheet on a wall, and then I put a couple of questions that I felt tied into the song. It turned into its own thing because everyone was adding to it, and it was really nice to have this piece that related to June but also turned into its own thing with everyone’s answers on it.

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Yeah, you get to see everything in the flesh with different perspectives. You talked about how this portrays the duality of the human condition through your album, and you can see that within the “June” event. I would say you get to see a lot of perspectives through people's vulnerability. Could you talk about how that’s incorporated into the EP?

Chris Lanzon: Like I was saying about the journey of coming of age and figuring out who you are, a big part of what I’ve found is that you have to embrace all parts of yourself and all of your experiences. You have to accept everything that you’ve been through as a person, including the bits that you don’t really want to think about – like things that you’ve done or things that have happened to you that you’d rather just forget about that. If you want to become whole, you need to accept all the bits – that’s why I titled the EP Dark Side. I wanted to explore those themes of vulnerability and diving into things that are a bit uncomfortable or hard to feel. It’s important to feel those things grow and find the light at the end of the tunnel.



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I like that you are able to express that throughout all the different layers of the album and to see different dynamics in “Dark Side” where you talk about “I’ll go for this even if it breaks me” and being aware of somebody’s ‘dark side,’ but still wanting to approach it. Then “June” is more lighthearted but still portrays this unattainable love in a sense. Could you tell me more about that concept throughout both songs?

Chris Lanzon: It’s interesting because you said relationship—and I feel like that is its core. For me, it was a bit abstract because I was thinking of personifying my relationship with being creative and my relationship with inspiration—I was having this period where I was super doubtful of my ability to write songs and be inspired. It felt like every time I wrote a song—that I had no part in it, almost just like, this idea popped into my head. I was like, “Wow, this is really cool.” But then this fear comes saying “What if I can’t do that again? What if I don’t get inspired?” It was like I was thinking about that and the creative process–how so many things are out of your control but all you can do is show up and do what you can control. That’s where I was coming from—which is super abstract, but I think it is interesting that it can be applied to being in a relationship with a partner or a friend.

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I really like that idea of you as a person and you as a creative because sometimes it's easy for that line to become very distinct. It's almost like it's too separate. In this EP, you're able to join that as one and say – yes, I'm both a creative and a person. Would you say that starting in the industry young defined how you should go through the creative process? Or do you feel like you had a lot of freedom with that?

Chris Lanzon: It’s interesting you say that and I feel like you’re probably right. It probably was defined for me a little bit. I think growing up, being so young in the industry, there were a lot of people telling me what they think I should be doing or what songs I should be writing. I think that definitely had an impact when I got to a place where I was stepping away and doing my own thing. I had to rediscover my own creative process and what I wanted to say and how I wanted to be an artist.

Yeah, I agree. You worked with Simon Lam, who helped you produce the album correct? What did that creative process look like working with him and collaborating?

Chris Lanzon: Yes. It was so good because I’m such a fan of his. I’ve listened to the music that he’s been working on for a while. My manager works with him and thinks we would be a really good fit. At the start, I was really hesitant because I’d only really… I’d worked with other producers in the past, but not on my own music. When I was doing my own stuff, I felt like it was a super vulnerable process. I wanted to make sure I was in control of this, but we started chatting and we were on the same page. So I really trusted him. Pretty much all the songs were written, and I had started producing them to a place where I felt I’d hit my limit. They were all at a point where I didn’t really know how to finish these. I took them to Simon at that point, and we worked on fleshing everything out and making sure it was as good as it could be. He was just so great to work with in that way.

It seems like he helped you further develop what you wanted to finish and it’s probably really refreshing to have somebody who understands the ideas you have and how you want to execute them. I know you worked with Eluera for “June,” which I did a little bit of a deep dive already with my song review – but I want to hear more about that process with her and how you guys ended up coming to write this song?

Chris Lanzon: Yeah, and thanks for your review, by the way. It all happened like it was meant to be. It was strange because I wrote the song with my friend Demmy, who I had written with in the past. She’s an amazing writer and we wrote this song a few months before Eluera was even in the picture for it. I’d just been mulling it over and working on it and I felt like something was missing. Then one morning I thought that it would be really cool to get someone else on it and Demi texted me right at that moment… she just had lunch with her friend, Eluera, who I knew about.

She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I showed her “June.” I feel like she’d be a really good fit for the song.” And I was like, “Oh, this is crazy, I was just thinking it would be really cool to have someone else on the song to give that other perspective.” Then I started talking to Eluera about it, and she wrote a verse for it and sent me an iPhone recording and I got goosebumps. It was crazy. It just all happened and felt so right. I’m really glad it worked out.

It’s always cool when stuff like that happens.

Chris Lanzon; Yeah, and it further inspired the idea I had of creativity and how things just happen. It was such a theme at the time of writing these songs when all of these things kept happening. That felt totally out of my control.

Chris Lanzon © 2023
Chris Lanzon © 2023

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It all falls into place with the EP it seems. Sometimes when it’s forced it can be a little more difficult to make yourself feel inspired or put in a creative position. It says a lot about these things that fell into place for you and collaborations and everything. When we look at “Starlight,” it's almost like a medium between “Dark Side” and “June.” How would you say this taps more into your lyrical? It seems more like a poetic part of your writing.

Chris Lanzon: As we got towards the end of the EP, like “Starlight,” and “You’ll Find It,” I was trying to get better with my lyric writing so that it’s more than just the surface level stuff and a bit more poetic. So “Starlight” was definitely me trying to do that and it sums up that feeling of the inspiration relationship feeling like the lyric “away at your call, like a dog and bone.” It’s literally like, “I’m here and I’m going to be open to whenever you’re ready.” It’s just that feeling of, “I can’t control this, but I’m open.

I wouldn't have known or thought about it that way – as the creator and then the person--that conversation between yourself. It's cool because “Rollercoaster” taps into that aspect of self-doubt and uncertainty. How have you been able to either grow more or be more comfortable within that uncertainty?

Chris Lanzon: I think the more you do something, the more you learn to trust the process. It is getting out of your own way and letting things happen. If you’re trying to control everything, you can stop so many other things from happening. If I was in the mindset that I didn’t want anyone to be on June, maybe Eluera never would have been part of the song. That would have been a really bad thing because I think she did such a great job. It was this realization that you have to let things happen even when you have no idea what’s going to happen and you feel really doubtful about it. That idea of showing up and trying to stay optimistic and push through. That’s what I’ve learned from this whole process.

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“You’ll Find It” ties everything together as an oath to “persevering and trusting the process.” Now that I know that it includes a little audio clip from your youth, how have you been able to look back with a full perspective on your start in music to where you're at now with this EP?

Chris Lanzon: “You’ll Find It” feels like the song that sums up everything in this EP and everything in my life up to this point. That breakthrough realization to keep going. I wanted to end the EP on a super hopeful note because I feel like a lot of the songs get quite dark and there isn’t much conclusion. Many of the songs end in this place where you’re like, “Oh. It feels a bit uncertain, and a bit open-ended.” So I wanted “You’ll Find It” to tie everything off and be this hopeful end that even though things might get dark and uncertain, you just keep pushing through.

In what ways is this you taking a stand? Claiming your individuality as an artist and understanding that it's okay to be comfortable in the uncertainty?

Chris Lanzon: I feel a lot more open to being okay with that uncertainty. When you’re doing your first couple of projects, it can be a question of, “Oh, my God. Is this worth it? Is anyone going to care about this? Does it matter? Should I be doing this? Is what I have to say worthy of people listening to? Are these songs worthy of being songs?” I think the more you do it, where I’m at now is just this place of like, “Okay, I love to do this. I’m open to doing it. And that’s all it needs to be. I’m just here and this is what I do. The songs don’t have to be super meaningful or important o to matter.” I feel like that’s where I’m at now.

The songs are there for people to listen to. Besides Malta, as far as fan feedback, how have they been reacting to the releases of each single and then the EP?

Chris Lanzon: It’s been great. I feel like everyone seems really excited, which is always nice. It’s been sweet doing a lot of singles without the context of the whole EP. I feel like people have been able to interpret them in a really different way from what I imagined, which is cool. That’s always my favorite thing about talking to people who’ve listened to my songs, is just hearing their perspective on it because everyone’s got a different story of what they think the song is about or how they relate to it. That’s the best part about it.

Dark Side - Chris Lanzon
Dark Side – Chris Lanzon

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Everybody is going to interpret it a different way and it doesn't need to have this deep meaning. I mean, it might have personal meaning to you, but for somebody else, it may mean something completely different. Is there anything else you'd like them to know, or should we be on the lookout for some live performances?

Chris Lanzon: Yeah, totally. I’m trying to figure that out because I want to do a tour in Australia so that’s on the table. Hopefully, we can make that happen, but I also want to get out of Australia and go to America and the UK. We’re just trying to figure out how we can make that happen. It’s definitely all in the works, so keep an eye out.

How does that feel with the anticipation of performing live again?

Chris Lanzon: I did a couple of shows over the last couple of months to try and warm back up into it. I felt quite anxious leading up to it just because I haven’t done that in so long. All of these songs are so personal. It’s quite scary. But once I get out on stage, everyone’s been so warm and open to it. It’s been really nice and I’m excited to do it more. I got a band together at the end of last year so we’re trying to do more of that.

I'm sure they'll be just as welcoming, especially after announcing this EP. Live music is just so cool. It's a whole different ballpark with being able to connect with the artist and being able to experience that together.

Chris Lanzon: Yeah, it’s magical. I’m excited!

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Dark Side - Chris Lanzon

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