Chasing Illy on Tour

It’s been a blockbuster year for Illy. Riding on the success of his latest album The Chase and an extensive Australian tour, the Victorian MC is set to hit the road again in the coming months to extend his steadily growing fan base.

LUNA recently took some time out to chat with Illy about his upcoming national tour, impending new album, future direction as an artist and how homegrown hip-hop in Australia has entered the mainstream.

The wordsmith has already promised this coming tour will be his biggest yet.

“The scale of the shows is much bigger. A lot of the dates are festivals, but even the shows we are putting on ourselves with Spit Syndicate, Sietta and M-Phazes are at much bigger venues than I’ve played in those cities before. Beyond that, we are bringing in a lot more as far as production to make the show more engaging, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of new tracks make an appearance too.”

Promises of new tracks are an exciting proposition for Illy’s devout followers, with the Victorian looking to push the boundaries on his eagerly anticipated follow up to 2010’s The Chase.

“It’s all progression and learning from experience. I think this next one will be a bigger sounding album than the previous two. Thankfully I’m at a point where I am not working on a shoestring budget anymore, so I’ll be looking to really push the sound further, which we haven’t been able to do in the past. I’ll also be getting some hip-hop friends of mine on the album, which will make a difference since The Chase had no guest verses. I’m very excited about the whole process.”

Illy’s unique brand of hip-hop, which has helped shape his identity as an artist, can be attributed to his non-discriminatory musical tastes, which branch outside of the genre he inhabits. Citing acts such as The Jezabels and Washington as sources of inspiration, the wordsmith said that he can see himself working even further outside the boundaries of conventional hip-hop in the future, but rest assured, his hip-hop roots will not suffer.

“Definitely. But it would have to be with the right project, at the right time, not just trying something different for the sake of it. At the end of the day, I am influenced by a lot of genres, but my heart and roots are still firmly within the hip-hop sphere, and that’s never going to change. So while I’m open to experimenting with new sounds, it’s never going to be at the expense of what I’m doing now.”

And what Illy is doing now is certainly turning heads, with his recent inclusion in the line up of 2011’s incarnation of Splendour in the Grass a strong indication of his growing presence in the industry. The festival itself boasted a healthy contingent of Australian hip-hop acts, which Illy feels is proof that the genre holds a very strong presence in the current Australian music scene, despite what the commercial outlets are pushing.

Australian hip-hop is mainstream. And if it isn’t yet, we don’t need it to be. Commercial radio and TV can fuck around all they like, but the facts are the last 2 Australian #1 albums were Drapht and Bliss n Eso.. If the commercial outlets want to continue to push the same bullshit junk they pass as Australia’s answer to American pop/RnB stars, that’s up to them, but the population isn’t really buying into that any more. We have the crowds, sales, and dollars spent/dollars made ratio’s to show that our supporters aren’t fools – you’ll NEVER see any local hip-hop act pull a Jessica Mauboy and blow a million on making a (very bad) record [sic], but you will see some of us do similar sales figures on a fraction of that budget.”

You can catch Illy on tour throughout the months of September and October alongside the likes of M-Phazes, Sietta and Spit Syndicate with tickets on available from

Friday 30 September – The Gov, Adelaide (lic aa)
Saturday 1 October – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart (18+)
Saturday 8 October – Full Noise Festival, Townsville (aa)
Friday 14 October – Factory Theatre, Sydney (18+)
Saturday 15 October – Sprung Festival, Brisbane (lic aa)
Saturday 22 October – Fat as Butter, Newcastle (aa)
Friday 28 October – The Palace, Melbourne (18+)

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