Breaking Barriers: Stephen Gawking, Aewon Wolf & Nathan

Blur Discuss ‘Demons and Disorders’ Collaboration in Fanbase Music Magazine Interview

Interviewed by David Devo Oosthuizen

Stephen Gawking The Nuclear Lyricist Photo by Precision Photography Ballito

Nathan Blur Photo by Thabo Nyembe



Today, we have the incredible opportunity to delve into the captivating world of music and advocacy with none other than Stephen Gawking, Aewon Wolf, and Nathan Blur. Their latest collaboration, ‘Demons and Disorders,’ is more than just a song; it’s a powerful statement challenging mental health stigma and fostering empathy through the universal language of music. Join us as we explore the inspiration behind this ground-breaking project and gain insight into the creative minds driving change in the industry.

Stream ‘Demons and Disorders’ by Stephen Gawking aka The Nuclear Lyricist featuring Aewon Wolf & Nathan Blur from Friday, February 23, HERE



Hi there Welcome to Fanbase Music Magazine, Congratulations on the release of ‘Demons and Disorders’! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this collaboration and what message you hope to convey through the song?

Stephen Gawking: The initial inspiration for the song was the tragic passing of Riky Rick and how it made no sense for someone who seemingly had everything going for him. I knew I wanted to explore the complexities of mental health in a song. A few years later, I reached out to Aewon with the concept, and we clicked immediately. When Bobby Johnson, my producer, wrote a beautiful chorus/hook, we reached out to Nathan, and he absolutely nailed it vocally. I hope people resonate with it and understand they are not alone in life’s struggles.

Aewon Wolf: The collaboration came about through Stephen Gawking reaching out to me some time ago with a desire to collaborate on something that speaks about depression, especially considering recent losses in the creative space. This being a subject close to home, I was keen, and Stephen put everything together brilliantly.

Nathan Blur: I had the pleasure of being introduced to Stephen and Bobby by a friend online. They told me about the project and what they were trying to achieve. At first, I was a little unsure if I would be perfect for the song. I’ve traditionally worked on songs that are very mellow and never ventured into this type of sound. I’m glad I gave it a go; the song turned out great. I got to explore different parts of my voice that I don’t usually visit. I hope this song inspires the people who are barely holding on. I hope that it inspires people to keep moving forward regardless of their circumstances.

Stephen Gawking, your journey as The Nuclear Lyricist is truly inspiring. How has your personal experience influenced the themes explored in ‘Demons and Disorders’?

Stephen Gawking: I am fortunate not to suffer from severe depression personally, but I do experience short periods of negativity. I’ve witnessed first-hand what depression does to people, and it’s frustrating to see it eating away at their souls without a definitive reason. That’s why the song is a philosophical journey of questions trying to understand depression.


Aewon Wolf, as a seasoned artist in the South African music scene, what drew you to collaborate with Stephen Gawking and Nathan Blur on this project?

Aewon Wolf: I can’t be that old, but to be honest, what drew me into it was simply a chat with Stephen that convinced me his heart was in the right place. He also had a proven track record of following through on his work, so I knew I wasn’t dealing with an untrained “rookie.”

Nathan Blur, your soulful voice brings a unique element to this collaboration. How do you feel your style contributes to the overall message of the song?

Nathan Blur: I am happy with how my vocal contributions added a unique texture to the overall sound of the song. It challenged me to sing notes I don’t usually sing. Bobby, the producer, had the initial concept, and I just took his great ideas and embellished them in a way that drives the overall message home.

Stephen Gawking, the title ‘Demons and Disorders’ hints at the complexity of mental health issues. Can you share with us how this complexity is reflected in the lyrics and musical composition of the song?

Stephen Gawking: Yeah, like I said previously, the song is basically a philosophical journey of questions trying to understand what depression is and how to try to mitigate it, especially the verses. The chorus is basically an anthem universally relatable because everyone at some point in time has or will feel like they are “Barely Holding On.”


Aewon Wolf, you’ve been described as an advocate for love and compassion. How do you see ‘Demons and Disorders’ aligning with your personal values and musical style?

Aewon Wolf: This song aligns with those values by addressing a subject often polarized and interrogated without effort to look at what lies behind the science and religion we use to explain it … real people. If you listen to the song, you notice that I conclude everything after all the anecdotal analysis with just a simple call to action of “just being nice,” essentially giving love and compassion to all people because you can never really know what they are going through.


Nathan Blur, your music has resonated globally, reaching audiences far beyond South Africa. How do you hope ‘Demons and Disorders’ will impact listeners around the world?

Nathan Blur: I hope it inspires many people to live fulfilling lives and not be controlled by the challenges they face.

Stephen Gawking, your collaboration with HemelBesem, Loufi, Gazelle, and Vicus Visser on ‘Cheslin Kolbe In An Office Cubicle’ was powerful. How does this new collaboration differ in terms of its message and approach?

Stephen Gawking: ‘Demons and Disorders’ is much more of a dramatic approach aimed towards a sensitive and serious societal issue that needs to be spoken about more without judgment or shame. Aewon and Nathan were both just a perfect fit for the vibe and message, and it was an absolute honour and pleasure to work with them.

Aewon Wolf, living off-grid as a vegan and minimalist is quite unconventional for a musician. How do you think this lifestyle informs your artistry and creativity?

Aewon Wolf: All those things contribute to my happiness. They all play a part in feeding my soul and keeping me balanced and happy. With that, it all feeds into my artistry because now I speak from a good space. My music and artistry all try to share elements of that happiness with others.

Nathan Blur, your journey in music has been remarkable, with numerous accolades and performances. How do you maintain authenticity and creativity amidst success?

Nathan Blur: I try to always make music that is inspired by my own personal experiences. It helps maintain my authenticity and allows people to relate more. I find that speaking about lived experiences allows me to always have a creative baseline to work with.


Finally, to all of you, what do you hope listeners take away from ‘Demons and Disorders’ both musically and thematically?

Stephen Gawking: I want people to know that they are not alone in the struggle, and they mustn’t feel ashamed of it. Just never give up and keep fighting the good fight.

Aewon Wolf: I hope that they leave with some enjoyment in listening to the music but also choosing to be a little kinder to each other afterward.

Nathan Blur: Musically, I just want people to vibe with the song as we intended. Thematically, I hope they all find bits of their own stories in the lyrics. Music is all about personal interpretation, I want them to let their imagination run wild! We crafted this track to take people on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, from highs to lows, leaving a mark that sticks with you.

As our conversation with Stephen Gawking, Aewon Wolf, and Nathan Blur concludes, it’s evident that ‘Demons and Disorders’ is not just a song, but a movement … a rallying cry for compassion, understanding, and action. Through their collective talents and unwavering dedication, these artists have crafted a masterpiece that transcends boundaries and ignites important conversations about mental health. As listeners, may we carry their message forward, embracing empathy and breaking down the barriers of stigma one note at a time.



Stream ‘Demons and Disorders’ by Stephen Gawking aka The Nuclear Lyricist featuring Aewon Wolf & Nathan Blur from Friday 23 February HERE

About ‘Demons and Disorders’ by Stephen Gawking aka The Nuclear Lyricist featuring Aewon Wolf & Nathan Blur

In an innovative blending of musical prowess and social advocacy, South African musician Stephen Gawking aka The Nuclear, alongside esteemed collaborators Aewon Wolf and Nathan Blur, ignites a powerful conversation with their latest single, ‘Demons and Disorders.’ This genre-defying anthem transcends traditional boundaries, serving as both a compelling piece of music and a catalyst for change in the discourse surrounding mental health.

At the heart of ‘Demons and Disorders’ lies a profound exploration of the complexities of depression, skilfully navigated by Gawking’s poignant lyricism. Drawing from his own experiences as a disabled artist and advocate for resilience, Gawking infuses the song with raw authenticity, challenging listeners to confront the multifaceted nature of mental illness.

Joined by Aewon Wolf, a trailblazer in South African music renowned for his unique approach and dedication to love and compassion, and Nathan Blur, a rising star celebrated for his soulful voice and eclectic style, Gawking’s message gains resonance and depth. Together, this collaborative powerhouse delivers a message of empathy and understanding, urging listeners to break free from the shackles of stigma and embrace the humanity within us all.

With its bold blend of indie, hip-hop, and pop influences, ‘Demons and Disorders’ transcends genre boundaries, mirroring the complexity of its subject matter. As the music pulses and the lyrics resonate, Gawking, Aewon Wolf, and Nathan Blur invite audiences to join them on a journey of introspection and action, challenging society’s preconceptions and inspiring a new wave of compassion.

Beyond its musical brilliance, ‘Demons and Disorders’ stands as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration and advocacy. Through their shared vision and unwavering dedication, Gawking, Aewon Wolf, and Nathan Blur have crafted not only a remarkable piece of art but also a rallying cry for change … a call to break barriers, foster empathy, and confront mental health stigma head-on.

As the world listens and the conversation unfolds, one thing becomes clear: with ‘Demons and Disorders,’ Stephen Gawking, Aewon Wolf, and Nathan Blur have not only created a song but a movement … a movement rooted in compassion, understanding, and the unwavering belief that together, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges.

Stephen Gawking Commentary:

‘Demons and Disorders’ is a musical exploration of the profound and often perplexing concept of depression. It serves as a platform for introspection and challenges us to ponder the age-old question: What is depression? Is it a scientific problem, or does it have spiritual dimensions?

The song’s core meaning is rooted in the intricate and multifaceted nature of depression. It intentionally refrains from providing a definitive answer to the scientific vs. spiritual question, instead encouraging listeners to embark on a deeply introspective journey. The title, ‘Demons and Disorders,’ hints at the duality within depression, symbolizing both the internal struggles and the external perceptions that often accompany it.

At its heart, ‘Demons and Disorders’ seeks to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health by advocating for a more profound examination of the subject. It highlights that depression cannot be reduced to a simple binary explanation but rather represents a complex interplay of scientific, psychological, and spiritual elements. The song serves as a reminder that understanding and compassion are vital when dealing with this intricate issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

My goal with this song is to foster a more open and empathetic conversation about mental health. Through my music, I aim to provoke thought and discussion, encouraging the audience to reflect on their own perspectives and experiences with depression. Ultimately, ‘Demons and Disorders’ invites a broader appreciation of the multifaceted nature of this critical issue and the need for a compassionate and inclusive approach.


Stephen Gawking aka The Nuclear Lyricist Bio:

Ijay Swanepoel, professionally known as Stephen Gawking (The Nuclear Lyricist), is a remarkable musician whose journey is defined by an unyielding spirit in the face of severe disability. Afflicted with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 (SMA), a condition akin to that of Stephen Hawking, Ijay transforms his challenges into a symbol of hope and inspiration.


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Aewon Wolf Bio

Aewon Wolf is an unconventional, award-winning, genre-bending singer, rapper, poet, writer, director, and producer born and raised in the city of Durban, South Africa. He has collaborated for over 15 years with some of South Africa’s most prominent artists and brands, including Sketchy Bongo, VW Polo, Shekhina, Kyle Deutsch, Nasty C, Khuli Chana, Jack Parrow, Cell C, Bacardi, Pro Kid, Big Zulu, and many more. He has also graced the stages of major festivals such as Rocking the Daisies and Oppikoppi, as well as opening for a sold-out Justin Bieber concert at both FNB and GreenPoint Stadium. Additionally, he has showcased his talents overseas at festivals in London and India. Despite his success, Aewon Wolf eschews conventionality, preferring a simple life as a vegan and minimalist.

He resides off-grid in a tiny house on a farm on the Dolphin Coast of South Africa, where he spends his days micro-farming his own food and enjoying the surf nearby. In between, he works on his own projects and those of others with his artist agency, 6 “The Farm ZA.” Aewon Wolf has dedicated his life and art to spreading love. While he is primarily recognised for his work as a musician and producer, he prefers the titles of “Artist” or “Creator.” He plans to return to live shows in 2024 after fully introducing his latest offering of Orchestral Hip-Hop music, a genre he pioneers to challenge the disposability of modern music. This innovative fusion marries classical fundamentals with the youthful counterculture of hip-hop, all while promoting a message of love.

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Nathan Blur Bio

Siphiwe Mtshali, born April 1, 1995, is a South African singer/songwriter known mononymously as Nathan Blur. Melding old-school R&B with hip-hop and pop elements, Nathan’s music is distinguished by impactful drumbeats and infectious choruses. Nathan’s vocal talent traces its roots to his late mother, whose constant singing sparked his love for music. This inspiration fuelled the creation of his unique style that resonates globally.

With over 1 million views on YouTube for his covers and original music, Nathan Blur officially entered the music scene in late 2017, sharing his creations on SoundCloud. Encouraged by the positive response, he triumphed in the 2018 Moshito BET/MTV Base Africa music showcase, showcasing his exceptional musical prowess. Acknowledged as a versatile artist who seamlessly navigates genres to evoke emotions, Nathan Blur’s accolades include winning the 2018 Moshito MTV Base/BET Africa music presentation, crafting a viral soulful cover of ‘Labantwana Ama Uber’ by Semi T, and amassing over 1 million YouTube views.

Noteworthy performances feature Nathan sharing stages with esteemed artists like Zakes Bantwini, Ziia (international), Khamo Mphela, Major League DJs, Bontle Smith, Dbn Gogo, Priddy Ugly, and Wanda Baloyi. His compelling presence has graced significant events such as the Moshito opening night concert in 2019, the 2019 Gauteng Summer Cup Games (Voguish Marquee), and the 2017 Heritage Day Festival (Social Yaruna).

Nathan Blur’s music has found its way onto screens, with songs placed on the American TV show ‘Bel-Air’ and the local TV show ‘Uzalo.’ This marks another milestone in his journey, expanding his reach across borders. Nathan Blur continues to enchant audiences with his soulful voice, dynamic performances, and unwavering dedication to his art. Embark on this musical journey with him as he explores the limitless possibilities of sound and emotion.

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