[Behind the Beat] Ill Deff Shares His Love For Dubstep
Tanner Taylor, aka. Ill Deff, is a Preston, ID native, who has now been living in Salt Lake City for 2-3 years, who has a passion for heavy beats and drum n’ bass! Starting off his producing as a freshman in high school and look where he’s at: he’s opened for 12th Planet and LUMBERJVK on their SMOG tour, and he recently just played the main stage at this year’s Get Freaky in Salt Lake City! This man is definitely going places!
I had an incredible time talking to Ill Deff himself backstage at V2 Presents‘s Get Freaky right after his mind-blowing set! Here’s what he has to say about his love for filthy bass:
At what time in your life did you know you wanted to produce music?
It was my freshman year of high school, but I didn’t decide to actually produce until my sophomore year! I went to one of my first shows and something just attracted me – the vibe, the people, the energy & love! Then one day I was watching Skrillex produce and perform live and I was like ‘That’s exactly what I need to do!’ because I didn’t really know what I was trying to do with my life quite yet, but in that moment I decided that’s exactly what I was going to do!
Why specifically dubstep?
I really like heavy bass and wompy womps and just gnarly sounds like monsters and whatever! That’s why I like it because it’s grungy and bouncy – basically just full of energy!
Who are your musical influences?
ISkrillex is the one that got in my mind, saying that I should produce – his music is a big inspiration to m, but Excision, Getter, Datsik, and Zomboy are also big inspirations of mine! They’re all amazing artists & producers and those are my inspirations as far as music goes!
When you started writing music, why did you decide to name yourself Ill Deff?
At first, it was ‘Hi-Def’ because I wanted to use the logo ‘HD’ because it’s on TVs and stuff. But then I realized there’s a rapper named Hi-Def and I was like ‘Well, shit. That can’t go down like that!’. So I went through a lot of other names like Absorb and all these other names and I wrote down Ill Deff one time and it was in the middle of my list, basically consisting of 50 names. I realized that I could play with Ill Deff – I could be the illest deff that you’ve ever heard!
Where would you say your first big performance was?
So my first big show was Safe and Sound in Salt Lake City and that’s when I started to step my foot in the game. After that it was 12th Planet’s SMOG tour, that was another big one! I’m slowly but steadily getting there!
I see that you’re very active in EDM community in Salt Lake City, how do you see your self in the ‘food chain’ of it all? Would you say you’re at the top or still working on it, etc.?
I love music as the movement – it’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s not about him, it’s about us. Music drives on and becomes more of a substance for everybody. So I don’t think I’m anywhere in the food chain, I think we’re all just trying to do our thing and make good music and try to promote a positive experience for everybody and I believe that it’s all just about the movement really, it’s not about me. I just love being apart of the movement, it’s amazing!
Well, you just answered that trick question correctly, there is no such thing as the ‘food chain’ in the EDM world because we ARE just people.
Exactly! We’re all on the same level! The music industry right now is actually growing so there are just going to be more and more artists as it goes on and it’s just going to be amazing!
When you produce a track, what do you want your listeners to get out of it?
Sometimes I make my songs around stories, like “Roboshark”, that was inspired by Megalodon and Excision, and I just wanted to get riddim and dubstep pop and that neck headbang! With other songs, it just starts off with the beat, and I go into it with the mentality of ‘Yeah, it’s going to be a heavy song or a trap song’ and then I kind of build it up around that. I just go for that motion – that beat that makes people pop their head up and down. That’s what I’m looking for when I design my music!
Out of all the tracks you have produced, which one is your favorite and why?
I have a couple of them actually! There’s a song I made called “Apocalyptic” and it’s an apocalyptic feel like the world’s going to end! But it’s not like I’m trying to make the world end, it just promotes this scary feeling, so that’s one of my favorites! The other one I would say is “Roboshark” because the evolution of that song has just been amazing and it’s been an awesome journey! Another one would have to be “Generator”, the bootleg that I made! It’s one of Excision’s songs and I just made it my own, I didn’t really use much of the sample, I just used a generator sample in the beginning with the vocals, and the rest was more organic!
If you were to choose any artist that you would go b2b with, who would you choose and why?
Shit! That’s a hard one! Probably Datsik or Excision! They’re both badasses!
Vodka, whiskey, or tequila?
Whiskey and tequila!
Follow Ill Deff on his social outlets!