If there was a planet where heavy BASS resonated through the valley, dreads were adorned atop the heads of the people along with leopard spotted dyed patterns and your weapon of choice was a laser shooting midi controller. On this planet ILLGATES would be your alien leader. His goal is to leave the world a little bit better than we found it. While I was working on some mixes at Pyramind Recording Studio his named floated through the air like a ghost about to crush Thor’s Hammer upon your head.
Interview Meikee Magnetic – photography Topher Adam
What planet are you from, looks like your from another dimension?
I was born in the future, music sounds super awesome there. I traveled through time and space forever to let you all know about it, so don’t tell La Migra.
I’m very fond of Canadians, they have such a different way about them. Can you describe the dance music scene there for us?
The dance area of Canada is very long and skinny so it’s actually many different scenes. I’ll describe them from East to West: The very East coast (Maritimes) is a bit more geographically isolated so the scene there is younger and ravier. People are friendlier and a lot less jaded in the Maritimes and there are quite a few solid festivals in the summer. If you DJ there they will really appreciate it and go absolutely mental every time, tons of fun. French Canada is culturally quite different from the rest of the continent and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Montreal is a hotbed of creativity of all kinds, so expect a lot of fashionable people and art installations at warehouse parties that go ‘til noon. There are hordes of young people and the girls are stupid hot. You see these gorgeous supermodel types with total losers all the time. It’s amazing, you can get by without speaking French for the most part but it definitely makes it harder to get laid. Also: you better REALLY like techno… Also: Mutek Festival rules, Go. Ontario is the most populated province and most of the super famous Canadian EDM acts are from there. Toronto likes to pretend it’s New York and act all tough so the artists choose names like Zed’s Dead, Deadmau5, The Killabits, etc. My name wasn’t bad ass enough so they kicked me out and I moved to California. OK I actually moved cause I like eating fake chicken. In all seriousness though, the scene there is pretty great and fuck me there are a lot of talented artists from there. Next up is the Prairies where it’s so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days. It’s ungodly cold there much of the year – think 40 below (which is co-incidentally the exact same temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius). It’s basically skin rape for 8 months a year. This means that people stay inside and write lots of music and then they party way, way too hard when they leave the house. Venetian Snares, Propagandhi and The Weakerthans are from there and it’s a liberal stronghold politically, so: thumbs up, flatlanders! After that you get Alberta, which some Americans think is part of America. They’re not that far off to be honest, people wear cowboy hats downtown. The plus side is that there is tons of work there and one of the best party scenes in the whole country, no joke. It’s basically a Canadian Colorado. PK Sound (the best sound company ever) are there so every venue in the whole province has enough bass to make your eyeballs shake. Also: lots of hot girls (which means nothing to me personally). Then you hit British Columbia, the weed capital of the universe. It’s beautiful and has by FAR the best festival scene in the country. Festivals like Bass Coast and (my favorite) Shambhala are there and draw people from all over the world. Excision, Datsik, Lighta! Crew, Yan Zombie, Mat The Alien and all kinds of other talented humans are from there. There are loads of tiny ski towns with amazing party scenes there so it’s actually possible to do driving tours, which is awesome. They love Jamaican music there too, which wins big points with me. Americans don’t listen to enough Jamaican music.
How did you come up with the name ill.Gates?
I made a list of hundreds of names and that was the one that fit the best. It’s the only way really, just keep writing them down and eventually you’ll get lucky. Weed helps.
Bass, Glitch, Indie, Hip Hop, Experimental are some words that come to mind while listening to your sounds. Describe your sound for our readers?
I make Bass Music. You play it as loud as possible and dance around with your friends. Super fun, trust me. I’m heavily influenced by Hip Hop and Electronica so my sound is somewhere in the middle. I often get pretty experimental with it but never at the cost of listen-ability and I’m basically allergic to boredom. I do lots of collaborations with rappers and other vocalists and I often work with other producer types too. It’s all about having fun and trying new things. I absolutely love performing live and have built all kinds of crazy tools that allow me to fuse audio and video in my performances without having to repeat a timeline.
Producer, performer and music educator… What do you love about each?
Producing is my favorite thing in the world. I could sit in the studio and write music every day for the rest of my life. It’s much more important than having children to me. We are here to love, to share and to leave the world a little bit better than we found it. Creating music is the best way I know of to accomplish those aims. Performing is super fun and a great way to make a living if you can handle traveling all the time. You get these magic nights where something completely ‘other’ just flows through you and the crowd at the same time. It’s a huge rush and is extremely addictive. Even though it can be a bit intense when people want to come thank me for a set all at once I try to let them all know that it means a lot to me when they do it. Music is meant to be shared, and the people who listen to my music and support me mean the world to me. Without them I am totally useless. If you give a shit enough to read this interview, you’re the reason I make music so thanks! OK, so now onto education: When I was coming up it was a lot harder to make music, I had to carry record crates five miles through the snow every day and it was uphill both ways. I started when I was 7 years old and the technology sucked ass back then. No wobs, no compressors and not even Myspace. Super lame. I always wished I had someone there to say “Hey relax, this shit is a LOT easier if you just (fill in the blank).” Every time I had one of those ‘where is my time machine’ moments, I would try to tell as many people as possible and that slowly turned into me doing workshops and writing about what I do.
“It’s ALIVE, it’s ALIVE!!!” Dance music is now a monster stomping it’s way towards all in it’s path. What is your feeling on the growth and impact of EDM Culture on the world?
It’s about fucking time!
I have a feeling you LOVE technology as much as I do. What are some of your favorite gadgets?
Other than my collection of giant black dildos, I’m a big fan of all the crazy MIDI controllers coming out these days. I’ve got way too many for my poor computer and have to use about a billion USB hubs to make it all work. Of the publicly available ones my favorites are the Livid Ohm, Midi Fighter and Quneo. I also own two of Moldover’s custom ‘MOJO’ controllers, which are still way ahead of anything else. The only problem is that they are fucking huge and a big pain in the ass to fly with. PS: Apple sucks now.
Describe in detail one of your most memorable gigs: where, when, what happened?
A couple years ago I randomly got to play a gig in Laos. I basically pirated this giant sound system that Tiger Beer had set up downtown and (perhaps due to the Communist government’s 11pm curfew) the people there hadn’t really heard a whole lot of Bass Music before. All of the adults just kind of stood there staring with their mouths open but the kids figured it out pretty quick and started tearing the dancefloor apart, it was awesome. Afterwards they all wanted photos and were really cute about it so I handed them the CD’s I had used to play the set. Those CD’s had all kinds of unreleased tunes on them I would normally never give out but I figured fuck it, what are the odds of them ever ending up online? I still wonder what became of those CD’s.
Our mutual friend Lorin (Bassnectar) has grown into a massive stadium EDM act, are you guys going to collaborate on anything in the near future?
I actually just got another tune back from him today. We’re working on a new EP together. It totally sucks and you’re all gonna hate it.
What singer would you most like to produce alive or dead?
Santigold hands down. Hey first album was a real landmark and every single song on her second album is a hit. If there was any justice in the world, she would have a house full of Grammys and a bazillion dollars. She makes me want to flail around like a schoolgirl at a Beatles concert in the ’60s.
We at Dark Beauty are very in tuned with fashion and you have a great look. Especially your signature hair styles. Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
Mostly homeless drug addicts, computer nerds and old Asian ladies. My girlfriend can dress herself pretty well sometimes too. We do each others hair and are generally into each other. Puke!
Let’s have our gypsy look into her crystal ball of wonders, tell us what she sees and what’s next for ill.Gates?
I am planning on launching a land war in the Caucasus and have started shaving one eyebrow ritualistically in preparation. I like to train and groom Chinchillas and will be launching my own line of 100% human hair merkins targeted at the emerging Muslim market. My STD collection is nearly complete and I practice jumping over desk chairs from a standing position. Also: I am relaunching my website, making music videos and starting a new site called Producer.DJ where you can get Ableton templates, workshops, synth presets and stuff like that. Again the website URL is literally Producer. DJ. It’s awesome.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
To me it’s more than just a magazine. It’s a community of creative people who say “Fuck trying to be normal, lets push art, fashion and music as far as they can possibly go and see what happens.” I’m a big fan and it’s an honor to be here, you guys rock! More of everything please.