[Behind the Beat] The King of Melodic Bass: An Interview With Illenium
From being under the (electric) sky, to being lost in the (electric) forest, to running wild with the animals in the (electric) zoo, I was lucky enough to have an Illenium filled festival season. His music resonates with me in such a deep and meaningful way, unlike anyone else. After just releasing his sophomore album, Awake, I simply had to learn more about the mastermind of melodic bass.
1. The first time I ever saw you live was this past EDC Las Vegas, which was also your first time playing there. How did playing that festival differ from others?
Playing EDC has always been a dream of mine so it was amazing being able to fulfill that. That whole experience was surreal- flying in on a helicopter, the carnival rides, the giant crowds. It completely transforms the area it’s in.
2. Your sophomore album, Awake is finally out! It was truly an emotional journey listening. I couldn’t love it more. Do you have a specific song you’re closest to?
I’ve gone through phases where each song has been my favorite at some point. Currently it’s probably “Crawl Outta Love” with Annika Wells. That track was a lot of fun to create and I’ve been able to play it out in interesting ways.
3. Your debut album, Ashes came out in 2016, and Awake in 2017. Do you plan to continue that pattern and release another album in 2018?
No plans yet but we’ll see.
4. Soon enough you’ll be on your Awake Tour and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I’m traveling from New York to Colorado to experience it, and I’ll be seeing you in New York as well! How does touring city to city in venues feel different than playing at various major festivals? Do you like one more than the other?
Festivals are fun because of all the production and the amount of people. They all have a unique feeling which is cool but not everyone’s there to see you. Venues are more intimate and have a different vibe. Its hard to choose between the two but Headlining shows are probably my favorite.
5. What’s it like being apart of Lost Lands for the first time? Are you going to be doing anything special?
I’m stoked for it! We even made a custom Lost Lands jersey for the festival. The lineup is awesome it’ll be a fun time
6. You attribute your passion for starting to make music to seeing Bassnectar perform at Red Rocks in 2012. Did you believe that just 5 years later you’d be where you are today?
I never imagined I’d be anywhere close. I’ve been incredibly blessed.
7. What lead you into the direction of future bass, melodic dubstep, etc.?
It’s what I like listening to so its what I end up creating. That’s the type of music that makes me feel something so I gravitate towards it.
8. Aside from music, what are some of your other passions?
Gaming, WW2 movies, hiking, and just chilling with my friends. Traveling is fun too when I can go explore.
9. What is the main message or feeling you hope your audience takes away from your music and/or live set?
My main goal is to evoke some sort of emotion in an audience when they hear my set. If I connect with a listener on that level I feel like it’s a success.
10. What do you feel is a common misconception in the EDM world and how can we all contribute to changing it?
That producers aren’t “real” musicians. I typically see this from people looking in from the outside who don’t understand what goes into creating a remix or song. I think this will start to change now that the genre is getting bigger and more people are learning how to produce.
11. Throughout your career, I know you’ve dealt with hate and hardships, what’s a way that you deal with the negativity? What advice would you give future producers getting into the industry?
I focus on the things I have control over like making the best possible music I can. Every struggle I’ve gone through has only made me stronger so my advice would be to make lots of mistakes and learn from them. Don’t worry about the haters because everyone has them. Make something you can be proud of and that’s true to you.
12. Top 5 dream artist collaborations?
Porter Robinson, Rezz, Odesza, MitiS, Adventure Club.
13. If you had to choose between collaborating with Porter Robinson or Odesza, who would you collab with and why?
Can I choose both? That would be a dope collab…
14. So, I recently tweeted out that my birthday is November 5th and that I really wanted your jersey. 3 days later I received one in the mail. None of my friends are confessing to sending it to me! What do you make of this?!
Illenials are some of the most generous people I’ve met! I love hearing stories like this!
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