Illenium: Interview, Concert Review, & New Single!
On the eve of his first headlining show in Denver at the Bluebird, I had the privilege of talking with Nick Miller, the Bay Area producer behind Illenium.
If there's one impression I got from my interview with Nick, it was his dedication & passion. Friendly and personable, he is a music head to his core. A long time listener and avid fan, he made the switch to producing in 2013 with his self-titled debut. Since then, it seems like he's been everywhere. Closing 2014 with Said the Sky at Decadence, he went on to release an EP on Nest HQ, win Kaskade's "Disarm You" remix contest, travel to Global Dance, Electric Forest, Imagine, and Das Energy, & secure his frist headlining show in Denver.
Getting to experience Nick's live shows, it becomes incredibly clear why he's been able to build such a loyal fan base so quickly. His shows are a journey through various genres, melodies, & sounds. He walks the line of beauty and rage elegantly, managing to create an emotional journey that you can dance to. The soundscape is filled with lyrics that connote pain and depth, originality and inspiration. Nick shows you his soul in his sound, something too often overlooked in mainstream music & it doesn't stop there. His live production, his drums, mixing, lights, and visuals make his sound a journey, a true experience.
All that inspiration and dedication came together magically last Thursday for his headlining show in Denver. After the incredible festival performances I've seen him do, I can say with some degree of authority that it was something different. At the peak of his game, he took me on a voyage through his sound, a live epic of music and light unlike anything I had ever experienced. Armed with his "Illenium Live" setup & complete control of the production, he was able to show us exactly what his artistic vision looks like. Emotion, melody, beauty, and rage, packaged with passion and dedication, & delivered with style. Its something that you have to experience to truly understand & something I'd highly recommend for any fellow music head.
If you still haven't got the chance to catch his live act, fear not! Kill Paris is coming to The Gothic on November 14* with Nick on support & he isn't one to keep ya waiting. He’s also touring with Minnesota & has a few other headlining shows on tap. On top of all the live shows soon to come, Nick is currently working on an album. He says it will be a "story," that "flows together," with more "chill sounds," and "melody." He's currently in the process of finishing it with plans to get it out sometime early next year, so keep an eye on his Soundcloud!
Read on for my interview with Nick on the eve of his most recent Denver show.
So, what does it feel like to have your first headlining show in Colorado sell out, with the “Biggest production the bluebird has ever seen?”
Yeah its pretty nice, the progression the past 6, 8 months has been fuckin crazy....Its gonna be huge tonight, bring your sunglasses!
You’ve been on a bunch of huge lineups lately, Dancefestopia, Global, Electric Forest. I think the last interview I saw you had was after EF where you talked about your excitement for the things to come. Looking back now, a few months later, what was it all like?
It was awesome. Playing festivals is so fun, because you generally have people that are there for your music, followers…but then you get a whole new realm of fans and its cool to try and captivate them and create an atmosphere. I’ve been playing kind of earlier sets, which at first is kinda ehhh, ya know, the then its also really nice because I can be chill and play more chill music. Which is what I really love...that’s my style for sure, my passion.
That’s awesome, your melodic productions are wonderful; They’re absolutely filled with passion, beauty, and soul. So I'm wondering, where does that come from, what’s your inspiration to create that atmosphere?
I think a lot of the melodic stuff is the journey that it creates, the emotional journey…Its fun to crazy in a show but its also one thing to be able to take someone out of reality with totally emotional music. I feel like the live stuff really adds to that, especially live piano, melodies, & drums, it really just picks up the emotion of whoever is listening. So yeah, That’s my goal.
So I’ve heard you talk about Bassnectar a lot, about your respect for his production and live shows…Was it true that he was your first EDM show?
It was my first show, & it was at Red Rocks, & I hadn’t produced any music at that point... I just saw it & especially his melodic stuff was just mmmmm, especially butterfly, it put me in exactly in the place I was, in the moment, but it also took me out of reality. & to me, that’s something that only music can do. Especially when its perfectly put in the right place…I don’t know, Bassnectar has a way of bringing a lot of crazy bass and going really hard, but then he crescendos it with this amazing, beautiful piece of art and then it goes back.
So you said you went to Global last year as a fan, what’s the comparison like? Going from a consumer to an act, only a short year later?
Its totally different, going to try to bring something to offer vs just going to take in everything. That’s another one of my passions is trying to bring something to people & give something back. Not necessarily festivals, but just listening to music before I got into making music or even learning have, was a huge live changing thing. ***6:11.
In your last interview you talked about Porter & your admiration for his music, Have you had the chance to meet him yet?
Yeah I actually just got to. It was crazy…I brought him a USB of my music, just like ‘ehhhh, whatever.” When I went to left I gave it to him and he was like “Who are you” and I tod him and then he was like “Oh don’t worry about it, I’ve already got all your tunes, you don’t even have to mention it…” and I was pretty star struck. His shows are really beautiful…There’s a little bit of heaviness in it & I think its tricky…Because he always has really main line, huge time slots. & to bring it to such a huge place is amazing. I just have so much respect for him.