Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is St Louis-based indie fusion band iLLPHONiCS. We’ve not covered iLLPHONiCS in the past, so we are just learning about them and their music! If you’re not familiar with iLLPHONiCS, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Our band name is iLLPHONiCS, and we are a “Hip-Hop Fusion” band. We all grew up in Saint Louis, MO but the majority of us are from an area within Saint Louis called University City. Chaz (Drums, Keys, and Vocals) and I (Lead Vocals) are distant cousins. Simon (Bass) and Chaz grew up with each other and played in the Jazz combo in high school. Keith (Keys and Vocals) and I are friends and have been making music and into music production since high school. Simon, Chaz, Keith, and I all went to same high school (University City High School), so we’d see each other a lunch rap sessions or in passing. Kevin (Guitar and Vocals) and I went to college (Webster University) together and were in the same program (Audio Engineering) and became friends at that time. Simon also attended the same university, but his degree was in Music. It was while Kevin and I were in college the band, in short, formed as we had access to a studio and I was working on separate projects with Kevin and Keith simultaneously and decided to combine the two. After the merger, we went to go for the live feel, so I asked Simon and Chaz to join, and the rest is history.
As an artist, how do you define success?
I think we define success by being able to make a decent living off of what you love. We love music, so if we can feed ourselves, take care of our necessities, and not want for much of anything making music then in our minds we have succeeded.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
The biggest struggle for us is that music industry doesn’t feel like it’s about talent but popularity and image. We know that image and having followings are necessary but too many people gauge talent off of social media status or “what’s in.” We live by the “No short cuts, no cheat codes” mantra and we have had to claw and scratch for every fan, opportunity, and bit of recognition we have. We have had to develop, make mistakes, and keep evolving to stay in this. It hasn’t been easy, and we sometimes get discouraged, but we believe, or work ethic and or songs will soon be recognized.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
It would be our song “We Got Soul” the instrumental bridge on that song is money. I’ve heard nothing close to it in Hip-Hop. It’s a personal favorite. I’m sure what song varies with each member.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
As a group we have many that stretch through all genres. Our influences run the gamut from classic rock legends to the groundbreaking Hip-Hop artists. Instead of particular artists, we are more genre inspired. We all love Jazz and Hip-Hop heavy. Each member then has their taste ranging from Gospel with Chaz to Indie Rock with Kevin. Simon is big on Jazz and Jazz Fusion while Keith leans a lot towards R&B in various forms. I like Jazz Fusion as well and certain types of House music and Electronic music.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Life. Our music reflects our life and our growth. Every one of our seven projects over the last eleven years is a window into our worlds individually and collectively and serve as a musical timeline of our evolution as a band.