Rifflandia Insights: An Interview With Illvis Freshly
Victoria, British Columbia is said to be “for the newlywed and nearly dead” but Rifflandia has been proving them wrong for years. With four days of packed venues, Rifflandia Festival continues to bring big names, big talent and eclectic beats for the past 7 years. Rifflandia has boasted headliners such as The Funk Hunters, Death Cab for Cutie, Death from Above, Keys N Krates, Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Courtney Love and Beats Antique. As you may have noticed from the list, this festival hosts an array of music genres from hip-hop, indie and rock to funk and disco house which makes it a unique experience for every attendee. In fact, Rifflandia has been a great way for up-and-coming artists to burst into the big-time and make a name for themselves. This year’s group to watch is Victoria’s own Illvis Freshly who have been shaking up British Columbia’s music scene with their fresh beats, stage antics and impeccable style for the past year. As usual, these boys will have a special surprise for fans at this year’s Rifflandia, so make sure to check them out at The Sunset Room, Friday September 18th at 11:30pm.
Kalisi Luv: How did you guys meet?
Kyle (The Funkee Wadd): Philly and I met in Tofino and played music there. When I came to Vic I was over at Bren’s (BMID) house and I was mixing with him and Dan and Jesus came up and threw down some crazy freestyles. Then we decided we should work something out. Jesus had a bunch of songs he produced that him and Dan were working on; then we brought Philly on board.
Dan (Danimal House): Jesus and I met seven years ago and we had been rapping together as Extended Adolescents and we wanted to rebrand and add a DJ and live instrumentation and make it dope and cool.
Jesus (Doc Zoo): There was an idea in my head of what I wanted to do but I didn’t have a means of putting it together but then the perfect ingredients finally came together.
Dan: I feel like we all can agree that one of the huge futures of performance is live EDM that people can dance to and live instruments overtop of it and fusing elements.
Kyle: People are getting tired of seeing the one man show, even two MCs, it’s a lot of the same kind of thing. You see one guy up there pumping his fist and we really think the future of live music is the integration of live and the electronic and we are going to keep giving it to them.
Jesus: It’s a helluva lot more fun to be out there with your friends then by yourself.
Philly (Groundskeeper Philly): We have been hanging out every day since we started Illvis Freshly…everyone is bringing something different to the table and four heads are better than one.
Jesus: It comes across in our live shows that we are all the best of friends and the audience reacts to that. That sort of energy we have is contagious to the crowd.
Dan: We call it “a band of brothers”.
KL: So, who does what?
Kyle: We all have a solid part in this, between Jesus taking care of all of the beat making–he’s the guy who knows how to keep books and all of that in order — Philly’s on stage antics are ridiculous, he absolutely rips a guitar like I’ve never seen before. Dan’s crazy vocal abilities, frickin’ Chali Tunaish…so much flavor to it and his freestyle capability.
Jesus: Kyle has been making the whole ship stay afloat and has always been on point with the cuts and the beats.
Philly: Kyle does all of our artwork, our graphic design, manages the bookings.
Dan: Everyone works together as a team. Kyle is also the one who put together the remix album which is the whole reason that people around the whole world are starting to find out about us.
KL: How would you describe your current sound?
Kyle: A blend of hip-hop and funk with some serious bass. A certain amount of stage antics.
Jesus: I think eclectic is probably the best word you can use. Funky fresh hip-hop. The one thing we can definitely say is we will keep our audience guessing as to what we will come up with next. There is nothing we are not going to mess with.
Jesus: Something that a lot of other groups haven’t done, that we have, is that as big of fans of hip-hop and rock and roll as we are, we love all the new electronic music that’s coming out. Everything from the West Coast bass scene and worldwide funk scene has really inspired us. It’s cool being a part of the scene, and artists like us try to reach out to other artists so much and build with other people and create part of that scene and it creates community.
KL: How was festival season for you this summer?
Kyle: Tall Tree Music Festival was one of the greatest musical experience any of us had.
Dan: Tall Tree was the favourite show of my life.
Kyle: [After Tall Tree] we came home and Featurecast is sitting on our couch here to do a collaboration. We are so blown away about the support we are getting from the international scene.
Kyle: That was the craziest summer of all of our lives. I played 10-12 sets at festivals this year.
Jesus: We had a whiteboard, and the whiteboard broke because it couldn’t handle all the gigs (hahaha).
Philly: My full time job was working in a food truck which traveled to festivals, so I’ve been working at these music festivals the last couple of years and this year I got to actually play. After Shambhala last year, we just started Illvis Freshly and there was a lot of fire under our asses and I said I’m going to play Tall Tree, Rifflandia and Shambhala next year. They laughed at me, and all three of those will be achieved after Rifflandia and MORE!
Dan: The amount of support we’ve gotten though, we all work hard, but it’s not possible without people going to bat for us, our friends coming out to shows and we’d like to hope that our music is good and people love it so without people showing support we’d –.
Philly: We’d just be four drunk guys on stage.
Kyle: I’ve never been more proud of three of my homies and myself, I’m so proud of what we have accomplished in one year of being together.
Philly: The small things to us mean so much.
Kyle: It’s one thing to get booked for a festival…but the feeling of being voted in by a community trumps that any day.
Philly: I remember we thought we had to do something that honoured the people who voted for us so in the middle of our set I did an acoustic sing-a-long. Kyle played harmonica, I did “Take A Ride With Me,” and “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” so everybody could sing along. That went pretty well because we thought: you voted for us, this is for you guys, so sing along if you know the words. Get all of the people in on it and give a reason to have us there.
Kyle: If that many people are interested in what we are doing then we gotta keep doing it. That was such a big push and will last with us for a very long time.
Jesus: It’s one thing to believe in yourself and it’s another thing to have people believe in you.
KL: Can you tell me more about your remix album?
Jesus: Kyle spearheaded the entire remix album project and networked with a bunch of international and local DJs to bring you guys what is now a three volume, soon to be four volume album.
Kyle:I was just blown away by having twelve different remixes. After the first flood of them came out, all these emails were coming in trying to contact me about it. New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, England, all through Canada, America, a guy in Mexico.
Phil: And they sound dope.
KL: What’s in store for Illvis Freshly?
Jesus: At Rifflandia we’re playing the Sunset Room. We are going to play a funky mix of our old tunes and some new stuff too.
Kyle: Rifflandia, what an absolute blessing to be a part of this. Atomique Productions is one of the most proper promotion companies that I’ve ever seen.
Philly: The best thing for me this year is that I won’t be working in a Taco Truck.
KL: What do you want people to know?
Philly: We want to play the east coast. We are going to go into a working and saving period, try to save and buckle down and work on a new album to have for everybody.
Jesus: We think we delivered a solid debut album and sometimes other groups have trouble following that up – that sophomore slump. So we want to really show people what we can do on our next album and have some really solid releases.
Kyle: So far what we’ve come up with in the first couple of tracks, it’s opened up. We’re not just focusing vocally on straight funk, hip-hop, bass music anymore – it’s going to be all over the map. We’re really excited to release that eventually.
All this in one year? I know I’m excited to see what these Gents have in store for us at Rifflandia and in the future — way to go boys on all the accomplishments you have completed over the past year! I’m rooting for you!
Kalisi Luv, #staygenuine