TF Archives

Fractured Launches the DMC Ils Y4K album

Author: Clea Woods
Monday, August 11, 2003
Friday August 15 Fractured and DMC combine forces to launch the ILS Y4K Album.....

Come down early and join the crew for some discount drinks, album giveaways and shenanigans.

So who is this ILS fellow---

"All the guys that used to come through my house in the ¹70s used to leave me records," ILS remembers. "I got given that when I was five years old, mate. By a heroin addict that used to live on the top floor. I¹d never had my own piece of music. I couldn¹t read it at the time, so it was just this black album with a rainbow coming through itŠmy rainbow album."

And thus began Illian Walker¹s affair with soul music listening to hand-me-down copies of Dark Side Of The Moon in a community flat in South London with loads of hookah-smoking hippies that sat around listening to the Beatles all day. A befitting musical introduction for someone who spent two years cutting drum Œn¹ bass tunes for LTJ Bukem¹s Good Looking label, two year¹s handling assistant programming duties at Mo¹Wax during the U.N.K.L.E. era, and one year hiding in the back catalogue of one of Britain¹s most lauded underground labels. So where do you go from there- If you¹re ILS, you drop last year¹s hottest breakbeat single, "6 Space (Next Level)", and follow it up with SOUL TRADER, Mixer Magazine¹s "best breaks album of 2002," and one of their top 20 albums overall. That all this ever came to pass, mind you, is pretty remarkable.

"In all honesty, I quit the music business for a year proper and just gave up," confesses ILS. "I just slipped into the London nightlife, managing late-night drinking venues and stuff like that. You have an album on a record label and the album don¹t get releasedŠtrust me, mate. You might want to change your life. It¹s enough to break someone."

The label was Fuel, and the album was ILS¹ gritty, crepuscular debut, Idiots Behind The Wheel. "I had been coming out of quite an emotional time, so I was exorcizing a bit of demons on that album." Unfortunately, Fuel went under, to be born again later. So, while his demons never made it to retail, well distributed promo copies of the record solidified his street cred with magazine editors, DJs, and label heads. From then on, it was all about the hustle. Something ILS is rather good at.

In 1991, he started a studio to help pay the rent. ("I just put an advert out and started hooking up my mates who were playing at pirate radios.") It was simple math. ILS owned a sampler‹an expensive piece of gear in those days and DJs wanted original dubplates with their names dropped into the tune. The turnover rate was astounding, and once DJs heard their tracks were getting played out, they hit the clubs to trainspot.

"As soon as you go in the club and see a big name DJ play one of your dubplatesŠhe doesn¹t know who you are, but you¹re gonna fucking jump straight up and grab him and go,(It¹s me, man! Give me your phone number and I¹ll have you hooked up."

LTJ Bukem was one of those DJs, and ILS sorted him out immediately. In no time, the drum 'n' bass icon was stopping by the studio each week to check out new material. Once ILS forged a strong relationship with the studio, business picked up even more. "You could come into (my studio) for a day, have a spliff, have a cup of tea, and have a track out on Good Looking by accident. That was the good old days, man." His career continued at James Lavelle¹s influential Mo¹Wax label, where he not only benefited from the expert tutelage of one DJ Shadow, but was handsomely commissioned for a bundle of advertising gigs.

"I never got paid by any record company for like four years of being in the business. I had to have people in for $10 an hour just to pay me rent even though I was having hit records out!"

By the time ILS resurfaced in 1999, he was ready to give the business one more shot. Still riding high on Idiots¹ mysterious momentum, he caught the ear of Marine Parade boss Adam Freeland. Over the next 18 months, the two worked pains