This Is Only Fire, Croatia’s Next Techno Prodigy
This is Only Fire, the Croatian techno freak whose songs don’t just cut glass, they shatter it. Interview editor-in-chief Mel Ottenberg catches the Lourdes Leon-approved musician before his big Paris debut.
MEL OTTENBERG: I love all your music so much!
ONLY FIRE: Thank you!
OTTENBERG: When I was shooting Lourdes Leon for Interview last month she was playing your music and I was like, “Wait, what the fuck is this?”
ONLY FIRE: Oh, she introduced you to it?
OTTENBERG: Yeah. And it was this song like, “You drive your car. I drive your dick.” Wait, what’s that song called?
ONLY FIRE: Oh, “ASMR.”
OTTENBERG: I was like, “What the fuck is this music?” And then I was in Paris for Paris Fashion Week and I was driving around in my car and I was just listening to Lana Del Rey and slow music and my friend Marc Goehring got in the car and was like, “Oh, I’ve got to play you this thing.” And then it was “ASMR.” I’m like, “Dude, I’ve been listening to this all the fucking time.” And then I was like, “Wait. Fuck. Sorry, Lana, but right now let’s listen to Only Fire.” I am only listening to Lana Del Rey or Only Fire. Those are like my two moods this fall. They’re both horny and right.
ONLY FIRE: I like her song “Cola,” where she talks about her pussy tasting like Pepsi. I love that song.
OTTENBERG: Wait, what does she talk about?
ONLY FIRE: She says, “My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola.” She’s a queen.
OTTENBERG: So, okay, some questions. How old are you and where were you born?
ONLY FIRE: I was born in Zagreb, Croatia. I’m 22 even though everyone thinks I’m under 18.
OTTENBERG: How did you start out in music?
ONLY FIRE: I started with random music remixes. Then I started making my beats. And then I started with these explicit songs like three years ago, I think, or two, maybe. Not sure, but at that time I was really influenced by CupcakKe, if you’ve heard of her.
OTTENBERG: Yes. I saw CupcakKe in concert like two years ago.
ONLY FIRE: She’s great. I love her.
OTTENBERG: She’s really, really, really, really good. Wait, what’s that CupcakKe song that is really the one? It’s really great. Fuck. What’s it called? Her most popular song?
ONLY FIRE: Oh, maybe “Deepthroat.”
OTTENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s it.
ONLY FIRE: Yeah, I was influenced by CupcakKe in lyrics, and in sound, I was influenced by electronic producers like SOPHIE and PC Music. That type of sound.
OTTENBERG: Do you write all the lyrics to your songs?
ONLY FIRE: Yeah. I do it all myself. I first think of a concept for the song, like something related to sex, but then something new, because even though all of my songs are related to that, every one of them has a different concept. So first I think of a concept and then I write that, write a chorus, and then everything else comes. Sometimes when I’m really out of ideas, I even go to rhymezone.com and look for, not full verses, but I search up a word and see what rhymes with it. And I come up with words.
OTTENBERG: Are people uptight about sex in Croatia?
ONLY FIRE: They are more uptight than they aren’t. I would put it like that.
OTTENBERG: Are your lyrics autobiographical? Are you talking about your real-life experiences?
ONLY FIRE: What? Sorry.
OTTENBERG: Are your lyrics autobiographical?
ONLY FIRE: No. They’re actually all just from my head. I think of something that will be funny or clever and catchy at the same time and I just think of a scene. They aren’t related to anything personal. I just write it for fun.
OTTENBERG: Do you listen to Only Fire when you’re having sex? I have never done that, but it seems like it would be really funny.
ONLY FIRE: Well, no, but I do get messages from people telling me that they listen to it, that it’s the best sex playlist ever.
OTTENBERG: I love the double penetration song. What is it called? “Double Penetration?
OTTENBERG: Okay, some random questions. How many hours do you sleep at night?
ONLY FIRE: I’m a night person. I usually go to sleep at 2 or 3 a.m., sometimes even 4 a.m. Then I wake up at like 10 or 11 a.m. So I would say seven hours, maybe.
OTTENBERG: Do you have nightmares?
ONLY FIRE: Sometimes, but they’re rare. I don’t think I’ve had any in months.
OTTENBERG: What’s in your system?
ONLY FIRE: In my system?
ONLY FIRE: Coffee.
OTTENBERG: Me too.
ONLY FIRE: There’s no Starbucks in Croatia, so I had to go to Starbucks here in Paris to try it out.
OTTENBERG: What’s your Starbucks order?
ONLY FIRE: I ordered a caramel maple latte today.
OTTENBERG: What size was it?
ONLY FIRE: Venti.
OTTENBERG: Whose approval matters to you?
ONLY FIRE: From producers that I like and enjoy, their approval would be like a dream come true for me. Because even though the lyrics I make are silly and everything, someone would think I really put myself into the beat-making and creating catchy beats, and that’s the thing that matters the most to me, even more than the fun lyrics.
OTTENBERG: What makes you nervous? Are you nervous about tonight?
ONLY FIRE: It’s actually tomorrow. I’m really nervous since it’s going to be my first performance. I hope I won’t disappoint or fail at anything.
OTTENBERG: What are you going to wear?
ONLY FIRE: It’s kind of funny since it’s a Halloween party, so it’s a costume party. But I’m probably going to go in a hoodie and sneakers and all basics inside. I only got word I’m going to be performing there like two weeks ago, so I didn’t even manage to get any special clothes for my performance, since I’ve only been working on the set for two weeks.
OTTENBERG: You just need like a hoodie and a mask, right?
ONLY FIRE: I was actually thinking about buying some mask here, but I don’t have any ideas.
OTTENBERG: My advice is you should wear exactly what you like wearing and then a dumb mask, like the Killer in Scream.
ONLY FIRE: Oh, yeah.
OTTENBERG: Because that goes perfectly with the black hoodie.
ONLY FIRE: Maybe I could try it, but I don’t want it to look corny or anything like that.
OTTENBERG: You won’t. I wish I could go! Okay, next question. What was the first thing you did this morning?
ONLY FIRE: I took a shower and then I took a walk from my hotel to the Louvre where I spent like three hours.
OTTENBERG: That’s a very classy answer. What was the last thing you stole?
ONLY FIRE: I don’t steal anything. I’m not a thief.
OTTENBERG: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
ONLY FIRE: I really don’t know, I can’t think of it to be honest.
OTTENBERG: Okay. What would be your last meal that you would want to eat?
ONLY FIRE: Last meal?
ONLY FIRE: Probably chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s.
OTTENBERG: With which sauce?
ONLY FIRE: With sweet-and-sour for the nuggets and sour cream for the fries.
ONLY FIRE: That’s my go-to meal when I don’t know what else to eat. So, yeah.