ill.Gates: a name that is inextricably tied to Shambhala. As a long standing favourite performer at the festival, he comes back year after year pushing the envelope and bringing tons of energy, good vibes and his unique signature glitched-out sound to his sets. His performances are packed full of original tracks and his 2013 set from the Village is no different. Featuring collaborations with the likes of Mat the Alien, Masia One, Bassnectar and Youngsta, ill.Gates keeps us on our toes by seamlessly blending his signature hip-hop driven West-Coast sound with heavier, dancefloor crushing dubstep influences. This one is sure to keep you dancing start to finish and is a must-have for all those festival road trips coming up.
AYNiB had the opportunity to ask the man himself a couple of Shambhala related questions and here’s what he had to say:
For a lot of people your name is synonymous with the Shambhala experience. Your highly anticipated sets are always festival highlights complete with absolutely packed dancefloors. How many years have you attended? Did you start out playing at the festival your first year or did you attend first and come back to play later?
My first Shambhala experience was way back in 2004 when Dave Dub brought me along for the ride (I was in BC on tour anyway). I soaked it all up for the first two days – mind blowing, life changing… you know the deal – then on Sunday Dave was kind enough to invite me to perform with him in the Fractal Forest. Everybody loved it, Rich decided to have me back the next year and then we just went from there. I’ve played the Fractal 4x, VJ’d for Bassnectar in The Village, played The Living Room once and then this year will be my fifth time rocking The Village. I can’t wait!
As a producer/DJ who has toured all around the world, what is it about Shambhala that draws you back to the farm every year to play? What is it about the festival that makes it so special to you?
Shambhala – more than any other festival – is a part of who I am. It changed my life forever and I probably wouldn’t have had the imagination or the balls to attempt being a full time professional DJ without it. The thing that makes it the most special for me is the people and their attitude about the event. More than the art, more than the music, more than the raging parties it is the beautiful way that people interact at Shambhala that really gives me hope for the future of humanity.
What can we expect from ill.Gates this year? Can you give us your best rave forecast?
ill.Gates: As many of you know for me 2014 has been the year I started playing proper hands on live music during my performances. I vowed on New Year’s Eve 2013 that I would practice some kind of instrument until I was good enough to play on stage as a part of my sets. After trying a few different controllers I settled on the MIDI Fighter (a grid of 16 arcade buttons) and managed to start designing performances where I can play an entire song with my hands in real time. No looping, no backing track, no shortcuts; just me and my fingers and some sounds making improvised music on stage. SUPER FUN!
This live aspect has made a huge difference in my sets, changing them dramatically enough that I felt completely OK with releasing my set from The Village last year. I normally would have kept my set unrecorded, but I am ready to let it go now. It is very cathartic. See, when you release a set for people to download you pretty much have to ‘retire’ most of the material from your live sets or else they can feel like they have seen the wizard behind the curtain. My new sets are different enough that there is no risk of that any more.
As far as releases go I have a bit of a backlog that I am still figuring out what to do with. There are a few funkier tunes that I am really excited about (one of which is on the mix, near the end) and then I am currently turning all of my live Sound Packs into full songs. It’s an awesome way to write music, much more like a band’s writing process. I have been concocting the songs as performances, trying them live to see what works, revising them and then playing them differently each time – all without ever ‘writing’ anything or making any mp3s. It’s a very liberating way to work and I feel the songs have a lot more life to them as a result.
If you want to experiment with finger drumming on my sound packs or learning anything else about music production you should check out my new website and blog over at http://illmethodology.com. The “Free” section has all kinds of goodies. Dig in!
FREE Download available at iLLMethodology
Special thanks to PK Sound for bringing the bass and stage; Shambhala Music Festival for hosting the party; Head Effect Mobile Recording who recorded this set; The Village Stage volunteers for making it magical; and everyone who danced their asses off all weekend long.