The 276th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Ian Dillon.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
– I’ve recently turned 33, I now reside in a small town in Shropshire not far from Chester. and I’ve been Djing for 15 years and producing just over 2 years
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
– My musical roots are eclectic to say the least, I enjoy everything from popular music, classical folk/indie right through to the progressive and techno sounds I play, first memories of electronic music was hearing the global underground series and early essential mixes from the likes of Sasha, Digweed, Nick Warren Dave Seaman and Paul Oakenfold. they all had a particular sound that resonated with me. and made me genuinely want to pursue music as a career. In terms of producers at the time whom influenced my decisions Breeder, Evolution, BT, Slacker, Cass & Slide, Tilt the productions from each and everyone of these was second to none.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
– I t was very difficult and frustrating as having ideas and not really understanding how to translate them in a program actually tested whether I was serious in my pursuit of making music. , I’m self taught so a many aspects were and are trial and error and happy accidents. in more recent times I’m very fortunate to have worked with many producers whom have 20+ years in the industry who provide great pointers and tips.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
– The final arrangement, the initial phase is the most exciting working with melodies chords, creating sounds looping them up and getting a general feel, once those aspects are sorted sitting down and deciding the body of a track/remix how long, where breakdowns are, and where to build on elements takes the most time, and the most patience.
The creative thing is such a weird phenomenon, it normally strikes when you least expect it, normally when just messing around with ideas. so in terms of the creative block, If I hit that wall, i’ll just take an hour out, go for a walk clear my mind of everything. listen to something completely different. then come back to the project either later in the day or give it a few days. and come back with a fresh perspective.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
– A normal day for me usually entails working 11 hours at a seasonal food orientated restaurant/pub. pretty standard day to day running of it. then once i’m home I do work on a label I help run, and various bits for a magazine. plus I normally receive lots of projects from producers asking for feedback on what they are working on. a lot of my time is also based around doing mixes for radio, and working on material. and preparing for gigs. lots of very late nights. I love it though.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
– personally hearing acoustic music is probably my favorite so for instance Ben Howard I could listen to all day, just him and his guitar, conveys a raw emotion which i love. and his song lyrics are genius. but even from this aspect I try and take and implement these elements into electronic music.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
– first was more than likely Now that’s what I call Music 1 or 2. I’d love to say it was something cool rare and collectable but that’s not the case. The last one I bought was foals latest album.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
– I used to play football to a very high standard and was at several professional football clubs before serious injury to my knee and ankle cut short my aspirations at the age of 20.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
– there are so many very good producers out there it’s difficult to name them all. but in terms consistent output, Adnan Jakubovic, Real Gone Kid. Jonny Burg, Sean McClellan, Nathan Clement. the list is too long for here. but everyone is gradually getting the recognition they deserve.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
– Guy J everything he touches is a work of sheer beauty, Soulfinder also makes stunning music. Ziger, Blusoul, Qoob, Jos & Eli. there are so many again I’d have a list as long as my arm highlighting everyone.
In terms of inspiration. it comes from many things. I love going for long walks. It can be a solitary existence you spend long hours sat in your own company. so just getting out and about gives you a sense of perspective. i love watching the sunset and the sunrise. and stargazing we live in a spectacular environment so many things we can appreciate and take inspiration from.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
– First of all patience. to be competent and excel at anything takes time and a lot of hours practicing. i’ve lost count at the number of hours i’ve spent practising be it djing, producing. anything you want to achieve. takes time and effort and is not necessarily easy. so you’ve got to persevere. i’ll quote Aristotle here “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. You do need a little bit of luck also.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
– Hmmm, tough one, damn near impossible to be honest I suppose I’d maybe opt for BT & Jan Johnson – Flesh (Tilt’s Going Home Mix) it’s quite apt and a perfect piece of music in my humble opinion.
Ian has new music out this week on Emotional Content and Mirabilis Records, you can purchase those releases: here