Illzilla: Telling us the score

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Illzilla deliver a notably unique style and sound on stage. Not only do each of the members have a very tasty musical background, they’ve been unearthed by Triple j and are working on a spanking new album. These guys are set to deliver quite a performance at the Aussie Finals of the DMC Championships happening at the Metro Nightclub in Melbourne on August 17th. We check in with J-Zilla for a chat.

Tell us about how the various band members came together to form Illzilla. Was there an instantaneous click?
A lot of us had played together already in different groups but not ALL together. It was only a matter of time before we ended jamming together. I think you would have to say there was an instant connection, music needs that sort of chemistry to make it really happen. When we (rhythm section) hooked up with Mantra I think we knew straight away we had something good.

You hit the stage just a week after forming. Take us back to that first gig.
We went under a different name for maybe the first couple of shows, the first show was at the Empress in North Fitzroy. It was quite loose and very improvised, it was a lot of fun! We had different vocalists back then too.

Tell us about some of the various backgrounds the respective members came from?
Jake Savona our keyboardist is a classically trained pianist, who also produces reggae/dancehall under ‘Mista Savona’ his latest release is out through Elefant Traks, Mantra was with the group Equills when we hooked up, Tom Martin and I met at the VCA where we studied the jazz course together. Bob Knob loves to dance salsa.

What Illzilla puts out there is more than just music, it’s a message. What inspires you all?
Life and all the things that go with it – fun times, hard times, injustice, politics, love, war…and salsa dancing.

Give respect to other local hip hop crews – who should we look out for?
Definitely Fortknight Productions, Wan Siksth, 360, Cylones and The Melodics.

Tell us about being Triple J unearthed artists. How much of a boost was it?
It was quite a boost to our profile. It meant that people would hold the door ajar and listen to what we were saying instead of slamming it shut straight away.

Are you guys working on an album? If so, how it’s sounding?
We have been working on our album for a while now, it’s taking far too long and it’s very frustrating! We have been hampered by all kinds of things but it will happen eventually. The tracks which are nearly there are sounding quite good, there are others which are still in skeleton form and need quite a lot of work still.

We hear you checked out Splendour in the Grass recently. Who were some of your favourite acts?
I was up there playing with Blue king Brown, I used to play drums for them and they invited me back for a show. The Herd were banging as usual, Powderfinger are an awesome live band, Lily Allen didn’t live up to the hype for me and The Cat Empire played a number of new tracks which have quite a different sound to them.

You’re performing at the Australian Finals of the DMC DJ Championships. What’s the band got in-store for everyone?
We’ve got some brand new material which we will play as well as special guest DJ Jumps for the night. Wan Siksth will also be with on the mic with us for the show.

Any other news you’d like to share?
We have another show coming up at the Evelyn Hotel on September 8th. Be sure to check it out because shows are few and far between at the moment! More surprises and guests for that show too.

Catch Illzilla perform live at the Aussie Finals of the 2007 DMC Championships. Friday 17th August @ The Metro, Melbourne.

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