@skopemag Q&A with Australian meme-pop artist Guard

– Hey Guard! What’s the story behind your stage name?

I basically got it from my last name “Gardner” & used it to be a reminder to myself to keep my heart guarded. I really wear my heart on my sleeve & go into everything with my whole soul & energy – I wanted to remember to protect myself – but sometimes I still forget lol

– How did you go from a lord meme to a recording artist?

I started making memes around 9 years ago & saw instagram as an escape from my reality. I learned really quickly how to grow & network & things took off quite quickly. In terms of music, it’s something that has always been a passion & I have always been writing songs for as long as I could remember. I kept the two quite separate for a while (also at the request of a label) but slowly realised that it’s easier to authentically be me when memes & music are merged – instead of pretending I don’t have ridiculous meme pages lol. I get a lot of trolling when I promote my music but I kinda like the heat.

– How did you come up with the concept for your latest single, “Luvbomb”, and what inspired you to explore the topic of love bombing?

It was really organic – I basically just started writing the song & these are the words that came to me. My producer sb90 actually suggested I call it luvbomb based on a lyric “love bomb you in the taxi with the roof down”. It’s sort of a buzz word at the moment as well as narcissism – I really wanted to break down why people behave like this, why people love bomb & look at the psychology behind it. I have for sure been love bombed, in moments of retrospection, I feel as though I have love bombed others unintentionally by being too generous with money, too complimentary & desperate for connection – I can’t demonize someone else for love bombing me because I feel as though this behavior stems from insecurity & trauma which I relate to heavily. I think it’s important to have empathy for everyone, however it’s vital to protect yourself & identify red flags! Someone who love bombs isn’t inherently a “bad” person – but it is up to them to change it.

– Can you tell us more about the music video? Did you come up with the themes on your own or you worked with a team?

The majority of my music & visuals have always focussed on mental health – this song I guess takes it to another level – instead of being a victim to my circumstances, I’m acknowledging my toxic patterns & choosing to love myself regardless. The music video concept was created in collaboration with the incredible director Fractrd based in Melbourne. We really wanted to make something shocking. I play 10 different characters to show how the good & bad parts of our psyche. Why not embrace the bad with the good & stop judging yourself? 🙂

– What message do you want people to take from your music?

I guess just that you can come from anywhere, experience really intense trauma but make the decision to transcend beyond your circumstances. Suffering from mental illnesses for so long, it really is a daily choice to choose life, something which I really love. If I can do it, so can you! I’m just a random dude from a small country town in South Africa – there is nothing stopping you, except your own self doubt.

– Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that you have in the works?

Absolutely! I have a collaboration with Terror Jr front woman Lisa Terror on my upcoming album as well as a collab with one of my close friends in Melbourne Soarer. Both really organic collaborations that I feel blends our styles together well! Outside of my own project, I also have a feature coming up for my friend Indiana Williams – an amazing indie pop artist who recently moved to LA – Indi helped me write two songs on my album (Color by Numbers & Clear Eyes) – which I am forever grateful to for helping start the creative process with this project.