Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
There are plenty of good recipes on TikTok. Heck, the platform just announced that some of the food its users have come up with is so good, it’s opening a food delivery service where fans can order trendy creations like corn ribs (with an unspecified portion of proceeds going back to the dishes’ original creators).
But there being “plenty” of good recipes does not mean that all recipes on TikTok are good.
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And if you create a food abomination involving pizza, pasta, or other Italian staples, be prepared: The Pasta Protectors will look for you. They will find you. And they will……make fun of your food on their rapidly growing TikTok and YouTube accounts.
@lionfieldmusicOriginal video by @spypas ##lionfieldmusic ##italian ##pizza ##italy♬ Dorime (Ameno’s Hybrid Orchestra) – Peiroten
Under the Pasta Protector masks are Matteo and Emiliano, two lifelong best friends from the tiny town of Campoleone, Italy. While they’ve become known for their food critiques, they actually got their start as creators in the music business. Emiliano got into guitar when he was 14, and not long after convinced Matteo to pick up a secondhand drum kit and form a band. They’ve been playing music together ever since, and in 2020, officially debuted themselves as the two-man band Lionfield.
When they joined TikTok and YouTube at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was because, under lockdown restrictions, Lionfield could no longer perform live shows or go to studio sessions. So Matteo and Emiliano figured they’d take their tunes online for a while. They started uploading at least one video per day, but despite this consistency, their content didn’t really take off.
That is, until they started talking about food.
Matteo and Emiliano’s first food video was a clip correcting common mispronunciations of Italian dishes. To their surprise, it immediately went viral–and immediately gave them a new direction for their digital content. They began pulling in and reacting to other creators’ videos documenting mortal sins against Italian food: everything from pineapple on pizza to hot dogs stuffed inside manicotti to those objectively “ugh” videos where people empty entire jars of sauce and bags of cheese on kitchen countertops and/or dining tables and/or floors and smear them around for…fun, we guess?
The Pasta Protector duo began uploading their food content to YouTube Shorts regularly in August 2021, and as a result, their channel jumped from around 300,000 views that month to 136 million in September, 309 million in October, and 313 million in November. Their subscriber count has grown from around 1,000 to more than one million. Over on TikTok, they’re now at 3.7 million followers.
Lots has changed for Lionfield over the past few months (which we’ll let them tell you about in our Q&A), but one thing will always stay the same: If you screw up Italian food, Matteo and Emiliano will give you the cross.
Check out our chat with them below.
Tubefilter: We know you two are longtime best friends. Where are you both from? How did you meet?
Matteo and Emiliano: Ciao! We were both born and raised in the same little town not too far from Rome in Italy, Campoleone. We met each other in elementary school and became best friends right away. We actually attended middle school, high school, and college together, being always desk mates. We basically grew up together.
Tubefilter: How did each of you become interested in music? Did you develop that interest together or separately? When did you form Lionfield?
M&E: Emiliano was the first one to become interested in music. He got his first guitar at the age of 14 and started taking private lessons. A few months after, he asked Matteo to put together a band and to become the drummer of it. Matteo bought a secondhand drum kit and started playing with Emiliano–their favorite songs from Metallica, Guns ‘N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day…
We kept playing together through the years with many bands in Italy and in the U.S. In January 2020, we officially put together the duo “Lionfield.”
Tubefilter: When and why did the two of you decide to start making videos? Which platform did you go to first—TikTok, YouTube…? Why did you pick that platform?
M&E: We decided to start posting videos right at the beginning of the pandemic. It was January 2020. As professional musicians, we both couldn’t work either for live shows or studio sessions, so we decided to open a channel on TikTok. TikTok was the first platform where we uploaded our videos. Why? Because the whole world was talking about it, so we decided to jump on it and create a space where we could share our creativity and art with everyone.
Tubefilter: You’re now on multiple platforms—TikTok, YouTube, and you go live on Twitch every night. Why is it important to have so many avenues to share your music and content?
M&E: Having more platforms where we can post our music and content allows us to get in touch with more people every day. The daily livestreams on Twitch are a fun way to spend time and stay connected with our community.
Tubefilter: So a lot of your online presence is built around being comedy-oriented “pasta protectors.” How did you start making videos about days in the lives of two Italians? Did you find an audience for it pretty quickly?
M&E: We didn’t plan to make such content at the beginning. In fact, our earlier videos were more music-oriented. One day, after four months that we were posting videos daily, we made a video on TikTok about “how to pronounce Italian food correctly” and it went viral. After that day, we kept posting content about Italy and Italian culture, gaining a lot of views and followers. At that point, it was clear to us what kind of content to make.
Tubefilter: Your YouTube channel has recently seen a big boost in number of views and subscribers. Do you know if there was one specific video that took off, or did numbers go up across a bunch of videos simultaneously?
M&E: Our channel on YouTube started gaining views and subscribers all at once after a while we were posting Short. We believe it wasn’t a single video that took off, but instead all our Shorts suddenly started performing very well.
@lionfieldmusicWhy, tell me why 😭@Kamilla ##lionfieldmusic ##comedy ##pizza ##italian♬ That’s Amore – Dean Martin
Tubefilter: Have you noticed any trends in your videos that tend to get popular? Or are their topics a bit random?
M&E: We don’t think we have ever started trends, but we know our audience really liked our series of video “Get the cross” and food wars with other countries.
Tubefilter: As we mentioned before, you manage making content on multiple platforms, plus you regularly produce music. That must lead to some very busy days! What does the average day look like for you in terms of time spent producing content, time spent making music, and just taking time to breathe?
M&E: Since we put together Lionfield, we dedicated our lives to the project. As of today, we work full-time as content creators, songwriters, and streamers, and our days are very busy! We meet every day of the week with the only exceptions for holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Since people from our community come from all around the world, we have mornings free and work from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. In these 12 hours, we have time to make one to two short videos, engage with the community on all our socials, answer comments, scout new video ideas, rehearse, write new music, record, and produce music, and livestream. It’s a very busy schedule, but we love our work and our community!
Tubefilter: Do you think you would have uploaded content to YouTube without YouTube Shorts? Or was Shorts your main reason for choosing to start making content on YouTube? What role has Shorts played in the growth of your channel?
M&E: We uploaded some longer videos on YouTube in the earlier days of Lionfield, but we saw good results only when we started posting Shorts videos consistently. So yes, Shorts were the key to the success of our channel on YouTube.
However, now that we have almost one million subscribers, we have begun posting longer videos as well.
Tubefilter: How do the two of you split responsibilities for your social media channels and for music? Is one of you more into doing PR, is one of you more into video editing…?
M&E: We administrate our social media channels together as well as making music and content-making. Emiliano is the main songwriter and the producer and video editor of all our videos, while Matteo is more into public relations.
Tubefilter: Has your recent engagement uptick changed anything for you professionally? Do you have any new plans or goals for your content career?
M&E: Beside seeing our community grow, we work pretty much in the same way and we have same enthusiasm as before.
We are definitely planning to make more long videos on YouTube while we keep going with all our other activities related to the Lionfield universe.
Tubefilter: What’s next in the immediate future for you and your channel? Where do you see yourself in five years?
M&E: It’s hard to say where we see ourselves in five years. We live this journey day by day. Our main priority is and will be to keep making content, music, and livestreaming while having fun with our community.
Thank you so much for interviewing us. We warmly say “ciao” to all Tubefilter readers and pasta lovers.
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