Def 1 and Jreel on their irresistible new single...

In a time of isolation, iLL BLU are releasing bangers that you can blast in your house that would basically induce a one man party.

From our own isolation, Clash spoke to iLL BLU for a rundown of their sound, origins, and any challenges they’ve faced as producers.

With the release of their newest single ‘Magic’ featuring drill newcomers OFB, they’ve sent the high quality tone of what’s to come from them this year and it has us itching for more.

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New single is called 'Magic' which samples Sticky’s Triplets, was the beat made in mind for OFB?

James: So in regards to that, we stockpile so many of our tunes, we had a few ideas and the sample was close to home, obviously coming off the chop my money sample. With this one, we knew we wanted to get a drill artist on this record. We got in contact with OFB and they liked the record.

Darius: We really wanted a credible drill artist on there that was certified within the drill scene especially with pushing the boundaries of the genre.

Why did you choose that song in particular?

James: It’s something that was played on radio, played in the clubs and at raves so it meant a lot to us. We’re forward thinking and always trying to bring worlds together and we wanted to elevate the track. Plus, we’re really feeling drill at the moment so we thought we’d bring our touch to it.

Darius: The ‘Triplets’ instrumental itself is very recognisable. When it first came out, I didn’t have the money to buy vinyl so I had to memorise songs and this one was very easy to remember because of the bassline and so songs like this that have a great identity are really cool to sample. 

You guys were a pivotal part in UK Funky House scene, how important is it to you to still incorporate those sounds in today’s music?

James: It’s part of our heritage and it’s something that makes us unique back when we were going up and down the country doing DJ sets, and so to put that it today’s music, it gives us a sort of responsibility to expose the younger generation to sounds they’ve probably never heard before or were aware of.

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During the Funky House scene, when it’s time started to fade, were you guys worried about adapting?

Darius: We weren’t really worried as we’re well versed in UK Music. I also grew up on drum and bass, garage and hip-hop so our landscape was quite broad into what we could do next.

We’re quite good with dipping into different genres and always stayed in touch with cool and credible artists as well as independent labels so we were always keeping busy on that front. 

James: Also, looking at the way music moves, all genres have their moment when they’re at the forefront and are popular. As producers we saw that in the UK market, we’re going to have to pivot to different genres and not box ourselves in, always remaining versatile and diverse.

Where else do you find inspiration for your sound?

James: Inspiration comes from a lot of places. From different genres, to movies, it’s cool to find something that you wouldn’t usually listen to but could flip it in a way where it fits your sound. We’re always taking from a variety of genres and with streaming, there’s access to so many different sounds such as classical and electronic and much more. 

What is the most challenging thing, if any, about being producers?

Darius: One thing I will mention is trying to get artists to trust us regarding the song and have them come out of their comfort zone. We want them to take a step into something that’s not their norm and quite different to them. 

Any valuable lessons that you’ve learnt so far?

James: I would say, always being consistent with tunes and always trying to learn new things. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Also, when we put out records now, we don’t set high expectations because as long as we’re feeling it, we’ll trust that the record will do what it needs to. 

Darius: Also for producers that are not in the position where they’re not attached to one artist, it's good for them to work with up and coming artists and try to develop and break them out from the underground. They’re more likely to succeed with that than trying to get placement with a bigger and more established artist, because as your underground artists gets more exposure, so will you.

Worked with numerous artists on their own projects, any plans to release your own?

James: Yes, we’re working on that! We don’t have a release date as of yet but we’ve got singles ready to go!

Darius: One thing about being a producer for other artists, is that it’s easy to get lost in their projects and not focus on your own but at the same time, that ensures that we’re always working but we will be releasing very soon.

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Words: Debbie Ijaduola

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