i’lls are done with compromises
The Melbourne three-piece talk progress and premiere their new video.
Melbourne trio I'lls have been a huge part of the city's live electronic revival over the past four years. With a collective background in everything from jazz to visual art, they separate themselves with their immersive and experimental approach to production. We sat down with Hamish, Dan, and Simon to discuss their recent work, and where they are heading creatively as a group. With their latest EP ready for imminent release and a debut album on the horizon, i-D is also excited to premiere their new clip for "Fifty-Phiphti".
I heard you guys are working on expanding the visual element of your work. Tell me about this push.
Dan: I think it's about immersion. If it works out the way we the EP launch won't be focused on us at all. We've been throwing around ideas of how we are going to do it: whether we are a focus at all, or whether it's literally going to be people in a white room with their own reflection, where they have no choice but to be completely "in it".
How do structure something so ambiguous?
Hamish: Just a hundred people at a time, visuals all around. Maybe a drop sheet with us playing behind. We've toyed with the idea of even going a level deeper and doing a silent show with headphones and no sound at all. We don't want the visual side of things to be thrown up there as something extra—it needs to be a reactive experience.
Dan: It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it.
This is all very lofty—do you guys have any solid plans?
Hamish: Subject matter-wise, we are trying to achieve fusion between VHS stuff and digital environments—digital and analogue together.
Dan: I think that it's also pretty nostalgic. Our music itself is of that nature, so that feeling sort of naturally flows into the visual.
You have been playing together for a while. How has the focus shifted with time?
Hamish: I feel like we are only just getting focused now. Everything up until this point has just been—not irrelevant—we just finally know what we wanna do.
Dan: We'll always be chipping away. The first EP was very general, the second…we are just chipping away at what we like. I think now the progression for us will be about removing ourselves from similar circumstances, putting ourselves in circumstances we aren't used to. I think that's how the progression will come.
How important is it for you guys to have a set way of working together?
Dan: I think it's getting more important. Simon has his solo, Ham has his solo, and I'm…an idiot. Everyone has their own thing so it's becoming more and more about the three of us together. That's not to say we don't bring in ideas that we've come up with ourselves.
Simon: I think we've realised that it's important to utilise what we are vibing at the time. We know when we are working well as a trio, so we hone in on that and make something of it. Similarly, we know when we are making better stuff individually.
Hamish: I think it's happened in all different ways from the beginning. At the moment we are definitely in a together kind of place.
Do you feel like you've sort of found who you want to be as a band?
Simon: Yeah. That's what has changed in recent times. We haven't really released anything with that mindset yet. I think this next EP is us 100 percent confident in what we are doing.
Dan: Yeah it feels like a complete work.
Simon: It's funny the whole thing about us "knowing what we want to be" isn't so much with regards to the type of music we want to make. It's kind of just that we have zero compromise now. We know we want to have that mentality.
Hamish: Absolutely. No compromise.
Text Liam Alexander