Influences ranging from Nas to Bob Marley, Biggie to Bob Dylan, and the newest addition to the Obese Records Family, Melbourne MC Illy is blowing up to say the least!
With regular JJJ airtime, and an up coming tour with Phrase, the 23 year old brings a diverse sound, with a massive variety of subject matter, from the summer inspired sing along “Full Tank”, to the politically driven hard hitting “Generation Y” Illy brings an aural experience like none other.
I recently caught up with him for a chat, here's how it went!
For those who haven't heard of you, can you tell us a bit
Well my names illy, an MC from Melbourne, Frankston train line, which is South of the city. Been at the hiphop shit for about 10 years, signed with obese records at the start of this year and put my debut album Long Story Short out in may.
How much of an effect has where you grew up had on your music?
It has been hugely influential. I can't imagine my music would sound the same if I didn't have my experiences to draw on. I love Melbourne and have always had a strong group of mates, within music and outside of it, and yea, I definitely feel I owe a lot of where I'm at musically to Melbourne and the mighty Frankston line in particular.
What is in your pockets right now?
My blackberry case, keys, wallet, lighter and a pass from the gig in did in sydney with hyjak and torcha a fortnight ago.
Whats been cranking through your speakers lately?
Hiphop wise i've been smashing Hilltops new one, the Gully Platoon album, a few tracks off m-phazes soon to be released album (its sick), and a couple of random tracks (check chiddy bang – kids, so ill) and some shit I'm working on.
Phrase and Illy
Favourite place to chill out and relax?
Probably my place with some mates a load of drinks a cranking bbq and a bunch of playstation games.
No doubt shit gets a bit loose on tour, what’s the best way
to bounce back after a massive night?
Sleep in! That's the upside of staying at ghetto ass hotels or at the venues you play at – no kick out at 10, you can sleep til midday.. Other than that, valium haha
How does a day in the life of Illy unfold, when you're not behind the mic?
Generally wake up around midday, sort my emails, then do some study, some playstation, eat.. Usual shit man, pretty cruisy.
In Generation Y you talk about some pretty real issues, it's rad to see more people starting to get a grip on reality, what are your views on firstly Australia and its governing bodies, and secondly, the state of the world?
I think Australia is the best country in the world. A few people have taken exception to the fact that I am unapologetic about being a proud Australian, but I couldn't care less about bleeding hearts. With half my family being Maori, I see the pride they have for their country and think its a shame that sometimes our culture almost tries to shy away from being patriotic for fear of being deemed racist. Like I say in 'our country' “I'm ashamed as the next man by the race riots/ but I bleed aussie.. So I'm a proud motherfucker with my flag raised high” I think that sums it up.
Our governing bodies do what they do. I do wish that pollies would act less in their own interest and more for the greater good but that's never going to happen. There's too much to say about it all, but as regards the state of the world, the young people seem to see the world in a much different way to the people older than us, its really inspiring, and hopefully we can do some big things in the coming decades.
What first attracted you to Hip-Hop?
I think it was just the rebellious nature of the music. I heard it through mates older brothers and sort of fell in love with it from there.
In Long Story Short you speak about writing graff, have you always been involved the broader Hip-Hop scene?
I talk about attempting to write haha, but I never could do it. I was shit as and liked the musical side of hiphop more. I'm a big fan of dope writers, and its a really underappreciated artform, but its not something i've been actively involved in. Same deal with djs, big fan but I'm fucking useless on decks!
Now days there seem to be as many kids out there blasting beats as there are listening to rock, what do you think about the state of Aussie Hip Hop?
I think its great. You've got a broad broad spectrum now, really is something for everyone. You've got your underground acts, mainstream acts, acts like nine high and polo club who are pushing new sounds, producers like m-phazes who are getting love from the likes of premo and battlecat, and a lot of young acts like myself getting opportunities that mc's wouldn't dream of a decade ago. So I think the state of it is good, and there's no fucking around about it, its the support, particluarly from younger people, that has given artists the chance to make shit happen.
Anything in the mix that you can tell us about?
Yea, I'm on tour with obese and phrase for their tours in September, October and November. You can check the dates and locations on myspace.com/illyal.
Word association, you know the deal, say the first thing
that comes to your mind when you read the word.
Biggie Baybeh! haha no shit that was first thing!
My album Long Story Short, is available on itunes and in jb hifis australia wide. My songs pictures and generation y are currently on high rotation on triple j, check them out on myspace.com/illyal and if you like please send a request to 19757555.
Thanks so much for your time man!
All good man peace!
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