ILL’s new line-up: Harri, Whitney, Fiona and Ben.

ILL were the much-deserved winners of the LOUD WOMEN 2018 HERcury prize, and we couldn’t be more excited that this awesome band is travelling down from Manchester to play our next London show on 9 Feb 2019 at the Hope & Anchor Islington, along with The Hysterical Injury, I, Doris and Gender Chores. To get us in the mood, we asked them 10 questions.

Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?

We did a really abstract cover of an Iggy Pop track that we still really enjoy, we’d love to hear Iggy’s interpretation of us! A Gnod version of ‘Slithering Lizards’ would be super cool.

If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?

We like to experiment, maybe we’d have Bjork on the giant pendulum/ mind-controlled ipad, or whatever she’s cooking up these days. And Diamanda Galas on vocals, we could always be scarier.


What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?

We’ve been touring and we have had a few changes of guitarist as people have gone to pursue solo projects, so we have been playing existing tracks and are now itching to write new songs! I think the last song we wrote was ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’. Harri was going through a complicated break up and the lyrics came from the advice they received from friends, siblings and band mates around that time. The music was jammed out in the practice room as always, but it came together quite quickly. Tamsin was with us on guitar at the time and the song has a more solid rockiness than some of our earlier ones. I think it turned out well, we really enjoy playing it live and hope to include it on the next album. [Ed – you can listen to a live version of the song from the BBC 6 Music session ILL did for Marc Riley last sumer, here!]

Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?

Ooh, there have been so many great gigs over the years! One of the best ones we played was Sea Change Festival in Totnes couple years ago – we were on first at 4pm, at a venue out of town centre, so our expectations were pretty low to start with, but then all these people turned up, and cheered through out our set, and then formed a long queue and bought all of the merch we had brought with us. We couldn’t believe how well it went! And the festival organisers were very lovely and they treated us like proper rockstars.

As for the best gig we’ve watched, one which immediately comes to mind is Jack Off Jill’s farewell tour show in Manchester in 2015. It was a sold out night and the atmosphere was absolutely electric! It was very inspiring watching Jessicka giving it her all in the performances, and speaking openly about mental health and body positivity in-between the songs. Some moments just grab you and lift you above the mundane struggles of being in a band and fill you with love and gratitude for all the music in your life, and this was one of them. Pure riot-goth feminist magick!

ILL: Space Dick

Recommend a record you think our readers might not have heard of.

[Harri] I’d reccommend Nummo Twin‘s album ‘Deep Sleep‘. It is a really unique mix of low-fi electronica, folk and noise, creating this fuzzy dreamscape where occasionally beautiful songs bob to the surface and then sink away.

What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?

Be open minded. Music is a mysterious connection between minds so find the minds your mind works with rather than just other fans of the same bands. Be close to the people you play with, tell eachother stories. Don’t tone it down, in any sense, ever. If youre not visual-arty, find artists who understand you, be an audio visual experience, being seen helps you be heard. Do not sign too early, know who you are first, or you might get chewed up. Dont let anyone try to dilute you. Don’t wait to ‘get good’, just go out and start playing. Be authentic. Practice a lot. Record yourselves. Have snacks at practice.

ILL: Diazepam

Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.

Can we have 4 – 1 each? [Ed – sure!]

(Harri) White Light White Heat by The Velvet Underground, (Fiona) Gold by ABBA, (Whitney) Ocean Rain by Echo & The Bunnymen, (Ben) Journey in Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane.

What are your musical goals?

We dont really set out with a goal in mind, but I guess we are aiming at emotional truth, music that is really felt in the guts, music that shocks, entertains and inspires. ‘Noisier and heavier’ is a phrase that’s been said a lot as we head back into song-writing mode. What Whitney sometimes refers to as ‘dinosaurs having sex in space’…that sound that takes your mind back in time. We are all capable of doing more complex and rigorous things than we were when we started out, so we want to try different beats and basslines.

ILL: Cock in my Pocket

What’s the most important thing we need to know about you/your band right now?

We have a new guitarist, our friend Ben. And we are really excited to play gigs all over the UK and beyond with him! We are also working on new music and this is an incredible feeling. And our disco-themed breakup single ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’ will be hitting the airwaves soon. Watch this space!

Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians (and say why …)

Glove – because they are creating astoundingly original music with magical stage presence, Queen Zee – because they have a shit ton of swag and super fun live shows, Big Joanie – because they are fiercely political and their music is cool as fuck, Lone Taxidermist – because her music and her art are pushing so many boundaries and she oozes confidence and power and sexuality, and she’s a radical feminist, and Les Butcherettes – one of the most exciting live bands in the whole wide world.

Catch ILL live on tour:

9 Feb – London: LOUD WOMEN at the Hope & Anchor (with The Hysterical Injury, I, Doris and Gender Chores)
2 Mar – Leeds: Girl Gang Leeds Birthday Fest 
16 Mar – Reading: Uncle Peanut
6 Apr – Manchester: Soup Kitchen