Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Meet Ariel de Lion, Artist, Musician, and Entrepreneur

Ariel de Lion is an Israeli-American, Brooklyn based Artist, Musician, and Entrepreneur. As a conceptualist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, Ariel has led several musical and art projects most known by DE///LION, Punk hapoalim, Casino Ayalon, She Lion, and Hostel Ayalon. Best known for his multidisciplinary approach, he is also the creative force and founder of the start-up company and Brooklyn Art collective, Music Wagon. You may also know Ariel as the founder of the Lower East Side radio station, LES.FM at the Ludlow Studio and The founder of Hostel Ayalon, non-for-profit venue in Tel Aviv, Israel.

1. When did you first start playing music--what was the first instrument you learned?

8 years old, guitar and singing. I was awful and lazy, but I got better as the years went by. At year 11, I had my first band with Erez Moshe. It was a punk band, and we rocked the school holiday event, and everybody was terrified. The song was about a whore named Zippy and none of the words made any sense, but me and Erez convinced Assaf Efraim Weisman, a fat kid that was always shy, to come up and sing--he asked "but what should I do," and we told him just scream the words when we tell you. Assaf was standing with his back to the people, and once I gave him the key, he screamed so hard that it was terrifying, better than anything we could possibly imagine to the point that, me and Erez couldn't stop laughing in the show--it was painfully funny but yet so good! All the older kids in school where like, these young kids know how to Rock!

2. What does it mean to you to describe your work as conceptual?

It's a big word, but it doesn't mean anything but a fine way of saying weird. Besides being a musician, I am a writer, I curate weird events, and I'm always part of weird stuff. Calling it conceptualist is like calling a gardener a landscape architect.

3. How do you balance your time and your work between New York and Tel Aviv?

For the past 6 years, I have only been based in New York. In my 20s, I used to be all over the place, and I love Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, and Australia and what I've done there. But, I need the size of New York to focus and operate.

4. What are some projects you're working on right now?

Apart from She Lion, I am working now on a collection documentary and a record that will sum up the 2-3 years we lived in The Music Wagon StART up collective in Bushwick 2011-2013: 150 people, artists, DJ's, visionary preachers were living there along those 2 magical years and the Blue Bus. Emerging from the Lower East Side, The Living Theatre, LES.FM radio, the Ludlow studio, Mr. Bugsly present and the Rainbow gathering along with the House Of Yes across the street, Aldorado Afters with Burymeinbrooklyn under our shaking asses. I have so much material, and finally I got the time to work on something to remember, super excited. Gonna be super real s**t!

5. How do your strengths as an entrepreneur help you as a musician--would you tell us more about your work as an entrepreneur?

I was always interested with hosting--being modest, I am a great host. So it started with me having always the best houses, where all the kids hang, and later on it became venues with my bed somewhere under a guitar amp.

Then, in 2005 I opened my first real venue, Hostel Ayalon in Tel Aviv, a non-for-profit venue that hosts art events and music shows, and we recorded a bunch of albums there, too.

In 2011, I got offered to open a radio station in the lower east side at a mythologic rehearsal space from the 90s, where Blondie, David Bowie, and the Ramones used to practice. I opened there the LES.FM, the Lower East Side Radio, with the help of the neighborhood legends such as Clyton Paterson, Judith Malina, The Living theatre, John Zorn, The stone, Max Fish, Pink pony and Pianos. They were the main reason of the radio station's success. We gained 1000s of simultaneous listeners in three months.

But as usual in New York, they sold the building, and we all moved to our next entrepreneurship, The Music Wagon. The radio crew and the Living Theatre crew combined forces at a warehouse in Bushwick in 2012. We bought an old prison bus and converted it to a mobile radio station, and I went to Israel for several months to cut a deal with a development company that built for us an app for broadcasting, and we opened up a start-up art collective. In 2014, the start-up got nominated for the top 40 start-ups of the year by Tech Weak, sponsored by American Airlines.

These days we are working on a documentary, collection record that will sum up those magical 2-3 years, and we will have something to remember.

Thanks, Ariel!

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