Q&A with ill-esha

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City on a Hill Press: You’re from Vancouver? How did you make the journey from Vancouver to San Francisco and now Denver?

 

ill-esha: I’ve always just looked for creative like-minds in what I do. Vancouver is a great place to grow up and everything but as an artist, San Francisco a few years ago was where music was and where people were creating. I find that that energy has kind of gone over to Denver. And Denver’s got a little bit of home as well. Mountains and a lot of open space which is something I grew up with and something I’ve missed a lot while I was in the city in California. So I’m really just enjoying the energy of Denver.

 

CHP: Awesome. And how did you get into music? I know that you play a number of instruments.

 

I: Yeah. My family is very musical. My dad always played guitar and everybody sang. I’ve played piano since I was four and various instruments throughout my life. Just in bands or little projects that I was doing. I always wanted to be doing something new all the time.

 

CHP: What was it about electronic music that really struck you?

 

I: Just the capability of having endless possibilities and no limitations. When you have a band or an orchestra, you are limited to the exact number of instruments or members or physical capabilities of the members. When you have electronics you can create anything, any amount. You don’t need a big budget or recording studio. It levels the playing field and puts your dreams into reality.

 

CHP: That’s awesome that it can open up your possibilities like that.

 

I: It’s great, I feel like a kid in a candy store. Sometimes I don’t even know what to do because there are so many possibilities.

 

CHP: The term Glitch Hop gets attributed to your music a lot. Can you tell me a little bit about what that is for people who may not really know?

 

I: It’s hard. It’s turned from something that was fun to almost a stigma now. When I helped start Glitch Hop Forum, which is part of the reason it gets associated with me, Glitch Hop was the word used to describe a music that had no boundaries. Since that date, Glitch Hop has become this very segmented electronic genre with sound characteristics and tempo characteristics. To me, I want to distance myself from that. Not because I don’t like the music but because anything, to me, that becomes a pigeonhole is something I need to get away from. So, I would say, in its best sense, it’s that funkiness of brokenbeat and electronic music fused with crazy technology and a lot of editing. Those are the things I love from it. But, these days I prefer future bass. It’s a little bit more generic. It covers everything and allows you to sort of do whatever you want.

 

CHP: I also read you did some film scoring in the past. Can you tell me a bit about that?

 

I: I mean it was always on a kind of indie level production. I’ve done some short films, I’ve done a score for a video game that’s a mobile phone game. I really love that. I really love composing to picture. That’s a whole different challenge of creating a mood that fits someone else’s vision. I would definitely love to do it if the opportunity came up again. Lately I’ve just been so busy with touring and doing my own stuff.

 

CHP: There were thousands of tickets sold for this event. Have you ever played a show similar to this magnitude?

 

I: Yeah, I mean the festival scene is pretty big for us. I think Lightning In a Bottle is about 12,000, Coachella is probably 90,000 all weekend and I’ve done a couple of those. You know, this is special because it’s a school sponsored event and what I like about that is instead of just bringing the strict music fans, you just got kids that are sort of fresh into college exploring themselves, open minded and discovering what they like still. So you’re getting people who may not be your fan yet but are totally willing to be convinced. They’re at a place to enjoy it.

 

CHP: It seemed like that was the disposition of the crowd too. Everybody was having a really good time.

 

I: Yeah, totally.

 

CHP: Are your dancers always with you?

 

I: No, this is very special for me. They were some friends of friends, except for White Tiger — he’s just a local personality in the area. We’ve been working on stuff for a while. I really like what he does because he’s very different in his category, as am I, and the two of us together provoke a lot of questions in people for different reasons that are very similar at the same time. You know, if a big blonde guy can grind half naked as a dancer and a little Asian girl can be doing nerdy technical stuff and keeping the crowd going, I think that’s something cool.

 

CHP: Your first full length EP came out last year?

 

I: Yeah, my first full length electronic album. I’ve been doing music for a really long time so I’ve put out pop albums and I’ve put out shorter EP’s but that was definitely my biggest, sort of more instrumental centered production.

 

CHP: And what was the process of creating that like?

 

I: That was kind of a long process. I wrote a lot of other things in between and every once in a while a song would come along that would make me realize I’m saving it for that. In the last six months, I did a lot of inspiration and new writing but I would say the whole project was me going through a couple years of growth. I think when we get into our late ‘20s or so, we all start to get to that point. We’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for a while and we’re forced to start to look at it and figure out where we want to go next. That’s what that evolved out of.

 

CHP: Are you working on a new release now?

I: Yeah, I have a new EP that’s very kind of ‘80s inspired. I’ve also got some collab projects with a lot of rappers. Zion I and I are doing some stuff. Working with my management, Ineffable, they work with a lot of hip-hop and reggae artists so they’ve really helped me connect with different artists.