Known to my inner circle as Lil, a hyperactive, clumsy creative with about 10 different hobbies (master of none), I’d say my infectious energy and ability to read people quite well is what’s made it so easy for me to navigate this world. I go by the name Empress Linoleum for all things music and art related. Linoleum was a nickname one of my school teachers gave me and I decided to roll with it.
When I was still living in Berlin in 2019, I had a conversation with my then housemate, Kate. She’d mentioned meeting someone who had a ‘god complex’. Later that week I was in the bath (casually) having a hearty sing to myself and started thinking about that conversation.
That’s when the lyrics “I ain’t f****ing with no God complex” came to mind. I then started thinking about how we all think we’re different, which we are, on a surface level, but actually how we’re all made of the same stuff (bones and blood and that). Thus being the inspo for “thought that I was different, but I’m just like everybody else“.
I’ve done a lot of mindfulness over the last 4 years, traded in my reckless nights out for good habits, skateboarding and meditation (that’s where the lyric “knock a couple back to just keep myself afloat” came in – alcohol was an old way of coping).
There’s lots of types of meditation, but for me, that just looks like sitting in silence and focusing on the breath, cleansing residual emotion from the body, trying to think less and connecting with God’s energy. And with that, I learned about the ego and how it can separate us from our true selves if we let it drive what we think, feel, say and do.
This has helped me to (1) allow myself to be more kind and compassionate towards others, since I now see clearly that we are all one and (2) be more compassionate towards myself because I know I’m not perfect and this ‘one size fits all’ society is not realistic and was most likely built by ego.
So I came to the conclusion quite quickly that I just gotta focus on being my best self and not worry what everyone else is up to. That can be hard though with it being so easy to compare yourself to others and feeling you ‘should’ be somewhere or ‘should’ be doing something, and there’s also just a lot of human emotion that can sway you from your correct path if not dealt with properly.
Hence the lyric in the first verse being “I try so hard to be myself, sometimes I just need help, God moving through me just like everybody else“. Life is a game of lessons and we don’t have to figure it all out right now but we absolutely should be focusing our energy on the things that we want because where we put focus is where we go.
And one of my main focuses for a while has been reducing my personal carbon footprint which looks a lot like minimising my plastic consumption, using refillable containers at the zero waste store, using public transport/cycling and protesting with Extinction Rebellion (I might have got arrested for that one!).
I also have a YouTube series on my main channel called ‘Trash Talk’, feel free to check it out. So I do try to include light hearted lyrics that portray this message, one example in “God Complex” being, “ditch the plastic with my ego“.
And on to the video… I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant last year from Youth Music’s Next Gen Fund with the help of a colleague, Bryan Foster (big up!), who convinced me to apply and did my character reference.
I was actually shocked to discover I’d been chosen as an awardee because I’ve never really applied for anything like that, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m eternally grateful to Youth Music for making this happen since the funding covered the whole video and the expenses for a new hard drive and camera which I desperately needed (thank you!!).
Then at this point I was just needing a film crew to get things started. I had a stroke of luck one Sunday when walking through Moseley. I’d noticed the new Col8 x Minor Formula shop had popped up on the high street and me being new to Moseley (I didn’t know about these guys), I went in and chatted to them, later finding out they do also music videos (Minor Formula Media) and suddenly everything started to come together.
We shot in two locations, a studio and a room above the shop, we managed to make the second shoot look fiiiire with lots of pink lighting, plants and mirrors after the original plans for a nightclub location fell through. The video ended up turning out 10x better than we expected so I feel it defo happened for a reason.
Big up Quan and Max for the support and for bringing on the right people to make the video come to life. And to Ty and Matt for the artistic direction and Joel for shooting. Of course the amazing extras, Laury, Ava and Fabian. And to Wolves Records for the PR. I’m extremely happy to share it with the world!
Watch the video for “God Complex” below:
Words by Empress Linoleum // Follow her on Instagram