One of Aussie Hip-Hop’s most prolific artists, illy is back in Port Macquarie on his “Two Degrees” tour and his most extensive tour to date … with 10 more epic shows to play under his belt before wrapping up the year, he caught up with FOCUS for a quick chat …
Hi Al. Congratulations on your album, Two Degrees. I know it’s been out for a while now, but what excited you the most about releasing this one?
I think it is the best album I’ve done, so I was really confident with it. There are still anxieties and the pressure that comes with releasing music to the world, but I was excited for people to hear it. I kind of made the decision to put Papercuts out, which in hindsight couldn’t have worked out better, really. On a whole, I am blown away with the support in being able to do this – the biggest tour I’ve ever done is testament that the album has been really well received, which is amazing.
Everyone has their favourites on the album, but what is your favourite song and why?
Papercuts is definitely my favourite to perform, to play live. I love playing it, because it gets people so worked up. Highway, I really love … Oh my, to be honest, I kinda love all of them. Degrees is great; I’d talk about every track on the album if you keep me going.
Your Two Degrees regional tour looks like it’s going off! I love the fact you caught the train to your home gig at Frankston; how did that all come about?
A lot of my high school mates were going … I’m not Frankston, I’m from the Frankston train line. From 12 – 20 I spent a lot of time up and down that train line, a lot of my friends still live on stops on the line. They were all going to come, so I said, “Let’s just catch the train down” – so we just did that. That had been my plan, and then someone started a Facebook event … It was cool; it was something nice to do. I hadn’t played a show on the line in six or seven years, so it was nice to do something like that.
You have 10 shows left on your tour. Will there be some serious down time afterwards?
After this tour I think that will be the end of this album cycle, as far as live shows, but, I will basically be going into the studio and working on new stuff. I didn’t really do too much in the studio this year, because we’ve been touring so heavily. My summer plans are mostly going to consist of being in a dark room, with loops over and over on end, but it’s what I’ve got to do. I’m actually really excited about it.
You were here two years ago as the headline act for FOTSUN, and the crowd was pretty epic.Are you excited to get back here? And what can we expect from your show?
Of course I am; I loved that show. In November, obviously, with the album being out we’ll be playing a much longer set than Festival Of The Sun. I’ll be playing a lot of Two Degrees, some of the older stuff that people still really dig; we will be well oiled by the time we get to you guys. Citizen Kay are support, who are great live as well – so it’s a party! I’m looking forward to getting back, because I do have really fond memories of being there.
You have six collaborations on your current album. Whom would you most like to collaborate with next?
That’s a tough one. I can’t really answer it – as far as a feature act, I’m not sure. I’d love to work with producers like Whatsonot, Peking Duk … More on the production side of things is where I want to go. If you ask me in like a few weeks when I start really turning one eye to new music, I’d have a much better answer for you.
Whats on your iPod right now?
My iPod right now is Citizen Kay’s Belly of the Beat, and Kuren’s new single, Mastercraft – and incidentally, because they both came out on my label in the last couple of weeks, how’s that for a plug?
If you could take any three people out to dinner, who would it and why?
Any three people? Man, I don’t even know – maybe like Trump, Hitler and Nickelback, and blow up the dinner.
Don’t miss Illy on his Two Degrees regional tour with special guest Citizen Kay on Friday 3rd November.
Doors 7pm | Show 8pm | PRE-SALE $40. DOOR $45.