“I know I will always pay great attention to the lyrics. I want my record to be a record that you can listen to the club but also at your house because you’ll love the lyrics. I want my songs to resist time.” - Ilia Darlin
Newly EMI signed Ilia Darlin isn’t on much of the mainstream’s radar as of yet, but if her early releases of various songs on YouTube and official website are enough for us to go off of, we think it’s pretty safe to say she’ll be creating a lot of attention and buzz for herself once her debut record releases in 2012. “Car Crash,” noted for it’s stripped down, but extremely melodic and simplistic mixing techniques has become a Pop favorite for 2020k and different explorations of pop outlets, such as the stripped down “Sin,” which sounds like something straight out of a David Lynch movie all show the beginnings of a pop star blossoming before our eyes.
Speaking of David Lynch, we talk about him in this interview! We also discuss the current state of pop music, how traveling keeps Ms. Darlin creative, what we can expect from her untitled debut record, and how to make an artist comfortable while in the studio with her.
It’s a nice, serious chat and look into the current life of an ambitious artist who’s filled up with countless amounts of emotion needed to be expressed and about to be unloaded upon the public in glorious pop form. Oh, and the pictures you see in this entry? New press pictures. They’ve made their debut on our blog and we love them!
Without further ado, we present to you: Ilia Darlin.
Hello! How are you?
Hello, RJ. I’m very good thank you.
You’ve been recording in lots of interesting places. From Los Angeles and New York City in the United States, to Greece and other places across Europe. What have you taken in from all of the different cultures you’ve experienced since all of the traveling?
I have to say I feel really lucky I’ve been given these opportunities to travel around and collaborate with so many talented people. It’s interesting in how many different circumstances I’ve found myself in. I’ve recorded with underground artists in East London and Athens in home studios, but I have also recorded in the Universal studios in L.A and in Billy Mann’s house studio in Connecticut in the woods…What can I say, really? The colours are different, the energy is different, the language obviously, and that’s the beauty of it for me. I have to adapt myself each time and try to understand the perception of each culture of music. I think Europeans favour kind of unsettling sounds whereas Americans love and can create big sounds that more people can easily relate to and I think you need both, so that’s why I travel a lot.
How did you go about spreading your music to get the attention of record labels?
I started gigging a lot. I felt a genuine need to do it. It was the only way to connect with people and eventually the record labels. I’ve never said that before but in one of my biggest appearances I was actually not 100% invited. I had a friend who invited me to do this big gig, but when I arrived to the venue nobody else was informed I was supposed to sing. I didn’t back down though. Our show ended up being the best of the night and the other act hated us. [Laughs]
How does it feel to be signed to major record label EMI?
Oh, it feels like heaven, I’m not going to lie. I love my label, they’ve been unbelievably supportive and good to me. I have a very personal relationship with them and it feels good to be a team. I can’t thank them enough for the faith they’ve shown to me.
As I told you, I was gigging a lot and putting my work out there. My project caught their attention and it happened. Well, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds in two lines. I’ve worked a lot to evolve and make myself ready to be where I am right now. Three words if you really want something: work ,work, and work.
That songs we’ve heard from you so far have a very nice, stripped down, not overcomplicated electro-pop sound to them. Will you be maintaining those sort of sonics for your upcoming debut, or are you venturing into different, more exploratory territory?
Well, I’m still in the creative process so I can’t say anything final, but I know I will always pay great attention to the lyrics. I want my record to be a record that you can listen to the club but also at your house because you’ll love the lyrics. I want my songs to resist time.
Can we expect the album any time soon? Have you titled it yet or can give us any further details?
I’m quite positive the first single will be out very soon, but I can’t say more right now.
What was the first album that meant something to you?
It was the soundtrack of The Beach. I was so young and it felt so exciting. It sounded like an adventure. I remember listening to the “Beached” by Angelo Badalamenti, performed by Orbital, whom some years later I opened for. “Never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar…just keep your mind open and suck in the experience and if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it”.
[Click here to listen to "Beached" by Orbital. A great track!]
If you could go back in time and tell yourself a lesson you know now that you didn’t know at the start of your career, what would you tell yourself and why?
Don’t waste time on other people’s insecurities.
What’s your favorite David Lynch movie or project?
I’m obsessed with Lynch, how do you know? It’s hard to pick one out but I’ll say Mulholland Drive. I’ve watched this movie a thousand times. The scene where Rebekah del Rio sings “Llorando” will never leave me. I’ve sang this song acapella in a huge festival in Greece and it’s one of the happiest and most honest times of my life.
[2020k's Note: If you haven't seen the scene discussed above, we recommend taking a few minutes of your time to watch it here. It's mesmerizing, haunting, tear jerking, and mesmerizing. And while you're at it, check out Mulholland Drive..or anything by Lynch, for that matter. It's our favorite David Lynch film. As you can see, Ilia's got some great taste!]
Your projects have taken on a very visual element to them. How does combining fashion, videos, and personality all together help the music you put together? Or alternately, how do you come up with the ideas for how you’re going to present the art visually?
I vision my songs synesthetically. I listen to something and I see a story growing or the other way round. Everything I do I perceive it as a whole experience-everything is about an atmosphere. I always go in the studio with movies, pictures, clothes that would inspire the people I work with and will make them get the vision. Sometimes it’s too much but it’s fun…
Being a pop musician, how do you feel about the current state of pop music?
Firstly, I want to say that I believe pop music to be the most difficult genre to write. Wanting to write music to reach a big audience can be really tricky cause you may end up with something that you think people would like to listen instead of what you as an artist would like to put out there. Right now, I feel we’re going through a pretentious period not only in music and I’m trying to brake away from it. I’m trying to get closer to a raw state. A state of truth and immediacy, a stripped down version.
Being as though 2020k likes to focus on the more technical aspects of music, we’d like to know what makes you feel the most comfortable when you walk into the studio? What can a producer, engineer, studio manager, or intern do to ensure you keep a positive and creative vibe when recording a song?
Being open and communicative is all you need to make things work. Traveling so much and working with so many different people I learned discussion and patience to be the greatest means for wonders to happen.When I first started, I was impatient but I’ve been taught by great artists that art can’t be forced. It will show itself when you’re ready.
What do you hope your fans and listeners take away from the music you create?
Inspiration, strength, excitement. I hope my songs to leave a taste in their mouth, whether good or bad.
Do you have any announcements, closing comments or statements in general that you’d like to throw out into the world to the readers of 2020k?
Don’t let any fucker tell you what you can or can’t do.