Get To Know: Illyus
GET TO KNOW: Illyus
Perhaps the one thing that can dishearten an aspiring producer is the perennial struggle of getting their music signed and heard. You’re convinced that yesterday’s all-nighter has produced the most exciting slice of underground House since DJ Pierre started fiddling with his TB-303, but getting a label to listen is next to impossible. The influx of bedroom producers over recent years has made the competition fierce, something which makes Illyus Brown’s first release all the more impressive. Having been messing with a copy of Logic for little over nine months, he was convinced by good friend Dominic Martin to send it out. It would be Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim’s label who would reply.
Securing a release on Southern Fried’s ‘Fried & Tested’ compilation, he quickly gained the confidence to apply himself more fully to what had started as just a ‘mess around’, shaping a sound which is deep, hypnotic and ludicrously sexy. Again, it was fellow Glaswegian House producer and Synth favourite Dominic Martin who recognised the potential, giving him an enthusiastic recommendation towards the end of 2011. Needless to say we’ve not been disappointed with what we’ve heard, earmarking Illyus as a future talent that is likely to stay firmly in the ascension.
Claiming his first Local Hero award with us back in March, he has attracted a growing fan-base through releases such as the sensational ‘Lovers’ on Deep Dash and an imminent contribution to label of the moment Sccucci Manucci. With such a quick rise to prominence and a baby on the way, you would perhaps expect his momentum to be slowing down somewhat, but with new collaborations, projects and gigs in the pipeline, it looks like he might just have to settle for a life without sleep for the forseeable future…
Check out samples of Illyus' tracks below as well as his recent mix for Sccucci Manucci and an interview with the man himself:
Synth: So let’s start at the beginning then, how did you originally find your way into electronic music? Were there any major influences looking back and what eventually lead you into production?
Illyus: A-trak & Craze were without doubt a massive influence. I come from the world of hip hop & turntablism so when I saw these 2 guys DJing with electronic beats I was hooked. Another massive moment of clarity came to me when I saw Jazzy Jeff & happened to be at a Ferry Corsten gig the following week (don't judge, I was dragged along plus there was free drink). Even though I didn't enjoy the sound of Corsten, the 2 gigs had one significant difference - everyone at the Corsten gig was going crazy to his own productions compared to Jazzy Jeff's where he was playing classic hip hop anthems by other people. I dabbled in production with an MPC (I thought that everyone just used an MPC to make beats) and explored with various styles of music before this, but the Corsten gig convinced me I was on the right path when it came to trying my own thing.
Synth: You had your first release last year on Norman Cook’s Southern Fried records, how did that come about and how did you find the journey up to that point? Did you spend a lot of time selling it to labels?
Illyus: Southern Fried was a weird one. I only had logic for about 9 months so I was still at the stage of figuring it out. The track 'YuYeah' was made completely from samples and to be honest just a bit of a mess around, I was a beginner & didn’t even know what EQing was. It was Dominic Martin that said I've got a track that people would snap up, so I did the onr thing people tell you not to - I sent out a mass mail to as many labels as possible with the track, never expecting to get an answer...Southern Fried asked me about it and I didn't hesitate.
Synth: Your incoming release on Sccucci Manucci and the recent track ‘Lovers’ on Deep Dash are both quite deep and hypnotic, would you say your sound has changed at all since you first started producing and how would you describe it now?
Illyus: Yeah, my sound has changed massively. Those 2 releases plus a few others that are coming out are on the deep tip as you mentioned, but I’ve actually adopted a style of doing whatever I feel like, I suppose it depends on my mood. At the moment I'm really feeling a lot of tech & minimal garage orientated things. For me, it's hard to try and describe my sound because I enjoy so many styles – I think there should be a genre called 'Fuck It, Anything Goes'. I think the problem for most producers is that by the time your tracks come out you have developed musically and your skills have improved (in regards to the software you use and how your brain functions). I always refer to making music like going back to school, you’re always learning new things.
Illyus: smooth operator
Synth: We were originally put on to you by Dominic Martin who is one of our favourite House producers in Glasgow, do you feel there is a good support network for up and coming talent here?
Illyus: This is actually a constant topic of conversation amongst us. I feel Glasgow at the moment is creating a real scene and movement. You have guys at the top of the chain like Hudson Mohawke, Rustie and Koreless making big moves, plus local guys about to break through like Mia Dora, Dominic Martin, S-Type, HaHaHa & Slow It Down. This can only be encouraging for up & coming producers like myself and any other guys coming from Glasgow. People out there are paying attention and listening to what's going on here. With regards to help for up and coming guys, everyone I meet through music is always wanting to chat about it - this in itself is support and help; this is what’s given Glasgow a buzz again. Everyone is an addition, everyone is welcome, and if one producer gets noticed then it benefits everyone in a way.
Synth: You also DJ, so let’s get a taste of where your at musically, what would be the top 3 tunes your playing out at the moment and why?
Illyus: Bobby Champs – Charlie (Pictures Music)
I’m actually really into Champ’s sound at the moment; I like the idea of not overcomplicating things at breakdowns. Plus the fact that he distorts things but at the same time brings in little snippets of synth stabs. When I’m playing it out it just encourages a constant head nod.
Charlie by Bobby Champs
Paleman - All Good (Still Feeling This) (Fulcrum Records)
It’s been out for a while now but I just love the attitude this tracks brings. After the first break and when things kick in it’s just immense. Great fun factor in the tune too.
Paleman - All Good (Clip) by Fulcrum Records
Todd Terje - Inspector Norse (Olsen/Smalltown Supersound)
Now this is a weird one for me but I'm blaming Rob Etherson, he is the reason why I'm adding this tune to my list. To understand my choice all people need to do is watch the video....everyone should have a friend like the dude in this video.
TODD TERJE - Inspector Norse by toddterje
Synth: Finally, what else are you looking forward to over the coming months? Seems like you have a bit of momentum behind you now, any gigs or releases in the pipeline?
Illyus: I have a baby on the way, not music related in any way but I'm looking forward to that, gonna put the wee one straight onto Maschine. Musically I have another release on Sccucci Manucci coming in October or November, a release on Tronicsole still to happen, working with Dominic Martin on a few things & I'm also in the studio with Rob Etherson (Mia Dora). Gig wise, looks like there's something new happening for us in the Buff Club which is still to be announced, plus other things I've been asked about but I’m too superstitious to confirm, just incase I end up looking like Pinocchio.
Illyus 'Saif' is available Sep 12th via Sccucci Manucci
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