The genre defying and ARIA Award winning artist Illy has returned with his sixth LP, The Space Between.
Released on Friday, the album is the culmination of over three years of persistence, grind, and continent hopping. Illy split the album’s recording sessions between his hometown of Melbourne, and studios around the world, including, Los Angeles, New York, London and Berlin.
The record is also being touted his most personal to date. The artist dives deep into the experiences and moments that have defined his life, and his perspective, and mined them songwriting gold. As Illy explains:
“The Space Between is about change. How much there is from one point to the next, and how those trips — not the destinations — define us. My music has always been about real life, and since last time we spoke, mine happened between albums, relationships, parties, therapy, triumphs, breakdowns, celebrations, mourning… all of it.”
Amongst the record’s fourteen tracks, feature the previously released “Loose Ends”, Illy’s collaboration with G Flip, and “Cheap Seats”, which features Brisbane outfit WAAX. Regular Like A Version listeners would’ve caught Illy joining up with the Brisbane locals for their performance of “Labrador”.
With over ten years spent honing his craft, from the release of his debut in 2009, Illy has become a mainstay of the Australian music scene. So it’s, no surprise then, that when we asked him to put together a guest playlist for us to celebrate the release of his new album, he gravitated for artists who display admirable staying power.
These are the artists that, according to Illy, “changed his life”. So press play, and read on to find out more from the man himself:
I did this list and looked at the artists, and the constant is they’re all acts that have had staying power. No flashes in the pan round here! I think the longer I’ve been fortunate enough to have the career I do, the more I appreciate just how fucking hard that is. All of these influences on me have made music that has sound tracked my life in its own right, but more than that have been role models for how to create, innovate, and sustain the pressure.
The GOAT, no question. No rapper will ever make more of an impact than hov, over a longer period of time. From Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne, that’s like a fifteen year run of nothing but success, usually unparalleled. His influence is everywhere in hip-hop and beyond now.
Song: “Public Service Announcement”
As much as he can be hit and miss in recent years, there’s a reason Kanye can get away with more than anyone else could – he’s built up enough cache with his catalogue that (more than once) redefined what hip-hop could sound like. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was for me the best rap album of the 2010’s, and everything before that is classic.
Song: “All Of The Lights”
The modern equivalent of Jay and Kanye as far as influence. Is there a single artist out there now that hasn’t borrowed from Drizzy? Doubtful. When melody in rap was so frowned upon that Jay had an actual real hit with “death of autotune” (can you fucking imagine that there was a time when autotune was viewed like that!), Drake came out singing his ass off haha, and the entire genre moved with him. But somehow, twelve years since his first album, he remains steps ahead of anyone else. Jay-Z level longevity, and consistency. You don’t get that without being really, really, really fucking good.
Song: “Hold On, We’re Going Home (Ft. Majid Jordan)”
I remember the first time I heard “Chandelier”, I was in an Uber and the radio was on, and I heard a song that sounded like Sia. But, this was when I knew Sia from Triple J “clap your hands” etc, and this was commercial radio. But that rasp is unmistakable. Within a week, the song was everywhere, and within a year Sia was a household name. But beyond that song, and her unbelievable talent as an artist, it’s her incredible run as a songwriter for other people that has been so inspiring to me. At one point became arguably the biggest pop writer in the world, everything she touches is magic.
Song: “Elastic Heart (Ft. The Weeknd, Diplo)”
No surprise here. The reason I was comfortable being myself and rapping in the accent I talk with. I always give the Hoods their props, and always will, as everyone involved in rap in Australia should. A lot of the artists mentioned have inspired me with (among heaps of other shit) their longevity. I think within Australia, the Hoods even give Jay a run for his money. Going on twenty years of being at he forefront of the genre, now the biggest act in the country, of any genre. And they did it by being themselves, and created a path for many who followed.
Song: “Exit Sign Ft. Ecca Vandal and Me (Duh!)”
The Space Between, the sixth LP, from Illy is out now. Listen to the album HERE. You can keep up to date with Illy via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Sydney album launch show at The Factory Theatre has been rescheduled for March 4th. For more information and tickets head HERE.