Melbourne hip-hop upstart Illy tells Noise11 about his back-to-basics, non-pop new album Bring It Back.
Illy broke through in 2010 and particularly last year with his second solo album The Chase and the big hit ‘It Can Wait’ featuring Owl Eyes on the hook.
Now he’s on the verge of releasing his third album Bring It Back, following the singles ‘Heard It All’ and ‘Where Ya Been’ featuring Pez.
Illy says that the new album is “definitely back to the roots of hip-hop as far as I’m concerned. The sound is a lot more similar to the music I was making when I was growing up, the music I was listening to when I was growing up.”
“A lot of my stuff is more pop-influenced,” he concedes, “This is definitely not a pop-influenced record, which is cool, y’know.”
He is proud of his last two albums – Long Story Short and the breakout hit The Chase – but says, “this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – get a lot of my mates on tracks and just rap for the sake of rapping. I’m psyched to see how it goes.”
The album was born of just that; recording raps with mates. The tracks built up and make Bring It Back almost as a sidetrack. “It wasn’t really what I’d envisioned the follow-up to The Chase to sound like,” he notes, but was happy to follow the lead.
It’ll feature buddies Pez, Thundamentals, Grey Ghost, Mantra and Reason. “It was just dudes I’ve met over the years, touring with and making music,” he admits, “We started collaborating and it’s come up really well.”
That said, he’s five tracks into the ‘proper’ follow-up to The Chase, with all those familiar hooks, which is due out early in 2013. He says he’s got vocals from “some pretty big singers”, and thinks that Daniel Merriweather (who has a hit with Urthboy’s ‘Naïve Bravado’) will also contribute. “That’s more like what people are expecting,” he nods.
He’s also just embarked on his biggest ever headline tour, and is part of the mammoth line-up for the all-hip-hop Sprung festival in Brisbane. “Last year’s event was awesome, one of the best show I’ve ever played,” he says.
“They really nailed,” he marvels, “It’s crazy that there are that many people supporting it and that many artists to put on a thing like that, just from home grown talent. It’s pretty cool.”
Fans can pick up ‘Heard It All’ and ‘Where Ya Been’ feat. Pez on iTunes now. Bring It Back will be released September 21. Watch the whole interview below.