ILLPHONICS Discuss How They First Formed, Their Newest Music and More!
Posted On 18 Apr 2019
“Work” is the latest single out now by the St. Louis’ group, iLLPHONiCS. The song was produced by David Bowie’s long-time collaborator, Toni Visconti! “Work” will be the first single released under the project title dv8, a collection of tracks to be released throughout 2019.
You can check it out here- https://soundcloud.com/illphonics/illphonics-work/s-55IMb
The band is in their 13th year, and brings together all the best parts of old school hip hop, jazzy bass lines, sharp drums, ever-evolving keys, and crisp guitars.
Connect With iLLPHONiCS Here:
Learn more about ILLPHONiCS in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
During the day I hold down a day job working in student affairs. It’s a fun job yet very demanding.
Now that we are into the 4th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
2019 has been well! We have released new music and it’s getting a great reception! We are working on seeding in a couple of bigger markets outside of our home (Saint Louis) and diversifying our revenue streams so that making music the way we like is possible.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
We all grew up in University City, MO which is an outer ring suburb of Saint Louis City and has a rich musical history. So most of us aren’t unfamiliar as Spanky and Chaz played in Jazz combo and Keith and I did Hip-Hop and recording. Kevin came into the picture when I went to Webster. Long story short our original name “Fallout and Friends” was just a quick name as the group kind of formed without having a long term objective. Once we noticed we had a following and buzz we changed our name. It happened in one day and after a couple of hours of going back and forth we came to “iLLPHONiCS” and it stuck.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
Saint Louis is a big small city with a very rich musical history. So many talented and legendary artist have come from here or cut their teeth here. Saint Louisans are very “Show Me” as that’s our state’s motto. It’s a tough market and only the strong survive. You earn every fan and your respect. So for us to be in this for 13 years and have respect here it’s a testament to our work ethic and sound. Playing other places feels relatively easy. Saint Louis also influenced our music because of its rich Blues, Rock, and Jazz elements. These are things we have incorporated heavily in our music.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Work.” What was it like having the track produced by David Bowie’s long-time collaborator Toni Fisconti? What was the inspiration for this song?
Tony Visconti is a super brilliant and knowledgeable producer. What makes him dope is his finesse. He knows how to bring the best out of a track without being forceful. He knows how to sell his vision and play to your strengths to get what he see’s but something that falls in line with your vision. “Work” embodies this. Work was an idea I came up with after I heard the music. It really speaks to how most of us are working are tails off to level up. We celebrate the hustler and white-collar worker and the outcomes but it feels like we minimize the blue collar worker. Not everyone is an entrepreneur or the go-getter type. Doesn’t mean they work less hard. Objectives may vary. Positions will too! Work is work and if you are doing the best you can to get it props to you.
How does “Work” prepare listeners for more music from your new project, “dv8”? When will you be releasing more music from this collection?
We have releases scheduled for June and September. Work is but one of various types of tracks we did. Expect a new experience each release.
In the 13 years that you have been a band, how do you think that your music-making process has grown and changed over the years? What has remained the same?
Definitely has changed. We are at heart a pure live band and the benefits of that are we are phenomenal on stage. Listeners today though, in my opinion, don’t really care for live sounds when listening to music in leisure so we have adapted to make out sound more palatable for newer audiences by including more electronic elements. We still are an awesome live band but capturing things in the studio has changed.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
The guys usually jam on music or create something with the computer and I come in and write to it. Let’s make this clear. It’s not MY band but we are A band as I have much input on the music. They also have input on the lyrics as they pitch song ideas, work on hooks (or come up with them), and give feedback on lyrics. It’s all cyclical.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Wherever we get to play we are happy. We are happiest during festivals and while listening to songs we are finishing up as it is coming to life.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
We will be in Nashville and Atlanta in June. We play every two to three months in Saint Louis. The best shows for us are either intimate/acoustic or big festivals stages. We thrive on festival stages.
Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?
Social media is a gift and a curse. The gift is it’s a great way to connect to fans and show what’s going on and coming up. The curse is you have to have lots of GOOD content and everything is based on its metrics. The number of likes is indicative of what’s hot as opposed to the product itself. We are working guys and we try to handle our social as best as we can but it can be much. We’d like to give that to someone to do but finding someone to do it has been a challenge.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
They say “When your hobby becomes a job find a new hobby” and music is weird because it’s now a partial job but definitely a real hobby. One minute when working on songs it can be stressful but in the same breath when you get it right it’s the biggest thrill. One thing society needs to stop doing is making it like artist don’t get a say on the things that happen in the world. You may not agree with our stances but we have a right to our opinion as we live in this world too. We owe it to ourselves and listeners to get the facts right but that doesn’t mean we can’t share our thoughts. If we as a band feel strongly about a subject we speak on it. I’m an advanced degree holding artist so you better believe I put thought and research into anything of importance I say. Music is our escape but sometimes reality prevails and we have to take on things that need a voice.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
We are influenced by so much trying to list them would be asinine lol. I will say that Stevie Wonder ranks high but we love many types of music. We’d work with anyone in the industry who is genuinely down to work with us.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We try to make our songs fun and upbeat. I’ve worked over the years to make sure powerful lyrics talk with you and not at you. We are normal humans like everyone else. We understand the ups and downs of life so we work to write from that point-of-view.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Follow us on Spotify and on Instagram at “illphonics”
Thanks for the continued support!