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Ils- Proving its never too late

Author: Katie Elles
Sunday, 31 August 2003
UK breaks producer Ils (aka Illian Walker) has remixed Art Of Noise, Roni Size, Layo & Bushwacka! and FC Kahuna, among countless others. He placed in the top five in three categories at last year's BreaksPoll Awards: Best Producer, Best New Act, and Best Album and won the Best Single award for his 2002 hit '6 Space (Next Level)'.

More recently, Ils has recorded the latest instalment in the hugely successful Y4K breaks series. I managed to pull him away from the studio for a quick chat about the latest album, his recent foray into Ding and his next artist LP.

"I was given about five weeks to put all the different track ideas together for the Y4K album and get a list of tracks," says Ils. "The thing that slows compilation albums like this down is after you put your list together you have to find out if all the companies will actually license it - so there's always a bit of a waiting period there. The actual mixing took about a week, believe it or not. It's like my first DJ compilation album so I've tried to make it sound a little like how I play sets really"

Unlike many producers in the industry, Ils began his career in the studio rather than behind the decks and has only been DJing for around a year and half. He says people were surprised he had not tried it sooner - labelling himself, as "a bit of a late starter."

"Most of life I've generally worked with or for DJs so, as a team that side has always been covered," explains Ils. "I work in the studio with other DJs who play out so, I'd usually be able to go into clubs and hear music from my studio being played without having to do it myself. I suppose I was just being lazy or something.

"It's been quite a mad year really. It's been a totally different experience from making tracks in the studio to actually being behind the decks and seeing the response. It's quite exciting really. It does give you ideas for when you go back to the studio so, it's good."

It seems Ils is full of new ideas and is already hard at work on his third artist album. His last LP 'Soul Trader' was the first, full-length artist album to be released on Adam Freeland's famous label 'Marine Parade.' Mixer Magazine hailed it as the "best breaks album of 2002," and as one of their top 20 albums overall.

"Fingers crossed," says Ils about the success of his new work. "I think it's starting to sound quite nice. It's got a bit of an Arabic feel to it. I've got quite a few demos together at the moment and I've been working on it for about two months, with about four different singers.

"There's some new talent on it as well - two Bulgarian singers who've got very special voices and they sing together kind of in stereo and I thought that was quite nice. Then there's Yolanda, an upcoming new diva from Bristol who features on Freq Nasty's latest album and loads of other people's stuff. I've also got this female, Indy/rock singer who's in a band so, I've got different influences and they all sit quite nicely on the tracks."

Before releasing the album, Ils will wait and see what A&R man Adam Freeland thinks of his tracks. "What I'd usually do is send Adam the tracks and then sift through them with him and pick the strongest tracks and finish them. That's usually a good process," he says.

Ils has never graced our shores but says he is keen to play out here and plans a trip down under later this year. "Everyone always says really good things about Australia so I'll definitely be out there soon."

Y4K is available locally through DMC Records
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