Saturday, 11 July 2015

Ilser - Interview Regarding ‘Breaks’ Single Launch [11th July 2015]

[2015.07.11] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.

Jakko Jackson and Rachael Whittle have known each other since college, but it is only since Whittle returned to the North-East, following studying Music Production at University in Southampton, that the old friends finally joined forces to make a band. Scott Jeffery was playing drums in a “stoner metal crossed with black metal” band with Jackson previously, called Mother Krussia. Sharing knowing looks across this Cluny table, Jeffery and Jackson agree - that band was a lot more chaotic - “Ilser was a saviour from that!” In Whittle they have someone to keep the focus - “an organised person!”

Though a quartet originally, the now-trio persevere for their passion, often rehearsing late into the night at their Off-Quay practice room, fighting for time amongst each of their supporting job’s shift-patterns. They are positive about this though, claiming to be “creatures of the night” and most awake in the thick of the evening. The music Ilser makes marries these darker hours perfectly, with its often brooding and sinister melodies and cathartic wrestle-away-the-day riffs.

The band are launching their new single, Breaks, on the 1st August at The Head Of Steam. The choice of this next single came from their fans. Jackson explained, “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback when we’ve played live about that song. Mostly about that  song.” Originally Whittle used to bring songs she had written at University for the band to work on, but now she explains, “we’re trying to write more together.” This up-and-coming single Jeffery sites as “the first song” they all wrote as a band.

Breaks builds from a driving bassline, rolling into an atypically Pixie-esque refrain before proceedings rejoin their heavier roots. The track premieres Jeffery’s wild and distressed caged-dog vocals taking on a more prominent role, ruling the verses of this track, with Whittle’s distinct bending and sorrowful voice then taking over to drive the choruses. The song builds in intensity over the six-plus minutes and finally rides out with a wild electric guitar. Compared with some of the more melancholy atmospheres of their previous tracks such as Led By Silence and Forgotten Youth, this recent offering is more euphoric. It has often proved a good finale for Ilser’s setlists. At a lively and sweaty ‘secret’ practice room gig recently, as Breaks entered its final act, fans were set free, moshing and swinging into one another, with Whittle jumping into the crowd to join in.

Jeffery admits that the band has “no plan” and simply as and when they can get the money together, they take a track to Newcastle’s Blank Studios and record it with Chris McManus. Utilising Whittle’s production skills too, they hope to work on longer plays in the future.

Ilser are deeply affectionate for DIY methodology and other local groups, and are keen to organise gigs with these bands they admire. As well as this being so with the single launch, another such occasion will take place at Brew Dog in Newcastle on 23rd August, where they will play with favourites of theirs, Shades.

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