Illangelo has been keeping himself as busy as ever, with an experimental album named History of Man and work on his new group Youthquaker. He's also got a great song out titled "Clockwork," which paired him with the exciting up-and-comer Phlo Finister, and the song has been all the rage in the dark and gritty sides of electronic music.
The visuals for said track have just been released and they are strange, bizarre, and exactly everything that is great about both artists involved. Set in black and white with a stunning Finister and a badass looking Illangelo, there's also a story of murder and chaos in a high contrasted filter, and the look is a pretty good description of Illangelo's musical style.
When I saw that there was an opportunity to send over some questions to the producer himself, I was ecstatic. It's not every day the man who was largely responsible for three of the biggest mixtapes in the 2000's was going to be answering everything I wanted to know from him.
Check out all that he had to say below!
EARMILK: Hello Illangelo, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! I remember coming home to my roommate blasting House of Balloons every evening, but it’s definitely been a while since then. After working with The Weeknd, it seems like you have the entire music industry at your disposal.
Illangelo: Thank you, but It always hasn't been like this. Just before House of Balloons I flew to Los Angeles begging to take meetings. Understandably (& thankfully) no publishers would meet with me, and no producers or A&R’s wanted to take a chance. I was told no & rejected countless times but as you could imagine, it was quite a fulfilling moment months later when I had success with The Weeknd.
EM: You’ve recently been working under Bromance Records; out of all of the labels you could pick, what made you pick this one?
I: There are some really great people involved at Bromance. They are very forward thinking and not scared of taking chances. It was a perfect match.
EM: Since your last work was based entirely on Milton’s Paradise Lost, was this inspired by any particular text? The instrumental version of the track could be maniacal enough for Clockwork Orange!
I: You're correct. I wrote it based off the scene in Clockwork Orange where he wakes to being locked in the upstairs bedroom and is driven to madness. I imagined what it would be like in that moment that he jumps.
With History of Man at first listen, the music can seem to be very chaotic with no structure, but as you read the accompanied literature you will start to notice the parallels. Take for example the song ‘Farewell’ - I needed to capture the eerie feeling of abandonment, isolation and self reflection that the protagonist experiences. On ‘Seven Phases’ I created the sounds of earth being formed. If you read the literature and experience the visuals and music simultaneously, It will be a much more satisfying experience.
EM: Besides text, your songs all have a strong cinematic and aesthetic feel, do you find any inspiration in cinema or visual artists? From House of Balloons to this current release, everything to me evokes an image. Do you go into the studio with a certain feel in mind?
I: My process changes constantly. I’m always reflecting - pushing myself to become more efficient and understanding of myself and others. My original inspiration was and will always be sound design - I enjoy design very much. As of recently I’ve been getting inspired from my readings of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
EM: You’ve chosen to collaborate with Phlo Finister for “Clockwork.” How do you know when an artist is someone you want to work with/are there distinct qualities you look for in a vocal artist?
I: "Clockwork" was an internet collaboration. It wasn’t until we started working together in person that we were able to realize just how much a chemistry we had. We’ve formed a group called Youthquaker and written an album together since then.
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EM: Do you tend to choose to explore the topic of love and all that the emotion entails, or is that something that comes up more when you work and collaborate with other artists?
I: I leave the song writing to the artist and writers. My goal is to get the best song or many times in my case the best album from them. It’s more about the subtleties then big statements. What I mean by that is to keep the goal of what I want to achieve in my conscious, but not to directly verbalize it. It allows time for the artist to discover it for themselves, which is more effective.
EM: I heard that most music out past 2003 has been relatively uninspiring to you, has that changed at all in 2013/2014? Are there any artists currently out there you believe are changing the game for the better? If you could have any artists remix your work, does anyone come to mind?
I: That era was very special to me so I hold it close but I think we’ve entered a new golden age. I love Four Tet - He is the future. I love Jamie XX - He is one of the greatest producers in my opinion. I love James Blake - He has a very exciting career ahead of him.
I’m really feeling Yung Jake, Aston Matthews, and Vic Mensa. Chance the Rapper and The Social Experiment were a pleasure to work with - All live jam sessions? Come on! Sam Dew is insanely talented - We have a crazy chemistry. My mates Gesaffelstein and Brodinski are very inspiring. I’m quite lucky to be surrounded with such talent.
EM: You’ve gone through a lot to get where you currently are, even including physically demanding jobs- what lessons have you learned along the way that every artist (or even every person) should know?
I: To love.
EM: What else can we expect to be hearing from you in 2014?
I: This year we will introduce our group Youthquaker, and a series of releases from our album Projections.
Clockwork (Feat. Phlo Finister)
- Bromance Records