If you want groovy-crunchy beats with an atypical personality, look no further than our featured artist of the week, ill-Esha. The producer’s songs cannot be pinpointed to one genre, but you can be sure that there is always some signature swag bass in her work. Ill-Esha gives unique live shows by overlaying her smooth vocals over her original DJ tracks, giving her attendees a new type of listening experience. Her most recent release Imaginary Friends spans the glitch hop genre and integrates recordings from the Costa Rican jungle, weaving them into an ethereal backdrop for the album. Check out my interview with ill-Esha below and explore her new music, get some free downloads, and find out what makes this artist really tick.
How would you describe your sound?
Living, breathing electronic music.. synth parties with organic washes.
Do you think living in San Francisco has influenced your production of music?
My time living in SF was definitely a motivator. There are so many talented and cutting-edge artists creating and performing here that you really need to step up your game and keep on top of things. I’ve heard a lot of crazy new sounds that are still just making their way to the rest of the country.
How long have you been a vocalist? When did you start incorporating singing into your songs?
I was a vocalist from the start of my electronic music adventure. I had come from singing and playing bass in bands, at the same time I was hanging out with my graffiti artist friends who were teaching me how to freestyle.. so I came into the scene, 15 years ago, initially contributing as a vocalist/MC only. That came before DJing and production.
The recent album you dropped is called Imaginary Friends. Did you ever have an imaginary friend growing up?
Yes and funny enough he strikingly resembled my friend NastyNasty … The weirdest coincidence was that his name was also Jasper.. He was a rad scruffy looking skid dude who was too cool for school and just hung out in the parking lot being badass.
Have you adapted a lot to the metamorphosis of EDM over the years?
Absolutely. I always enjoy hearing what’s fresh; that being said, I do think that the loudness/midrange squeal wars are a bit out of control, so I admit that I have a hard time sometimes getting into some of the stuff that’s really big right now. I always like innovative stuff with interesting melodies, clean mixing and intelligent edits, and I’m definitely always incorporating new stuff into what I do. Why do the same thing over and over again?
How have you focused your musical influence to raise social consciousness?
Working with Critical Beats is a real inspiration; it’s a connection portal for projects promoting Amazon rainforest conservation and sustainability education. I hope to spend some hands-on time in South America contributing to this cause soon! I also have a fifteen-year plan to start a series of programs focusing on letting high-risk youth experience creativity within the technical side of the arts, particularly young girls. If you’re a girl and you’re into art you’re encouraged to paint, craft, sing and dance.. but what about operating a Steadicam? Mixing a band? I’d really like to help sway this balance in the right direction. Technical stuff is cool and girls are just as good at doing it -and gender alike, not everyone is inclined to be a performer, but many are not so lucky as to have access to try all the other facets that might interest them.
What’s next for ill-esha?
I’m on several musical vibes right now and am collecting all my new music into a few projects to be released in as drastically different arenas as possible . Some deep dubstep vibes, another album more focused on songwriting and vocals, and some fun bouncy midtempo inspired by the atmosphere of my new home, Colorado. I’ll be doing some touring in the spring with Phutureprimitive and others, and have been spending time collaborating with my talented friends at Headtron, such as ChrisB and Gladkill.
Connect with ill-Esha