Words by: Duke DuRock
For our first show of December, we’re excited to welcome back acclaimed producer and DJ, ill.Gates to Los Angeles, where he’ll be playing along with his close friend, An-ten-nae and special guest, WeDontSpeakFrench at King King. But before ill.Gates rocks the dance floor with his ubiquitous beats, he’ll be imparting some of the wisdom picked up over 17 years of producing music, through his informative “ill.Methodology” workshop, which is an essential tutorial for anyone who’s serious about getting started in electronic music.
“When I was coming up, I didn’t have anyone to tell me to just relax, trust your ears, trust your heart and write the music that you like,” recalled Gates during a recent break preparing for his up-coming tour stop in Los Angeles. “I was so hung up comparing my music to other people, especially all my musical heroes. Once you start going out into the world and searching for some of these things, there’s all these online posts telling you the only way to do something is a certain way, which really bugs you out when you’re just beginning. If I had had that right person come and lay this stuff on me when I was starting, I would have saved myself years of agony.”
The ill.Methodology Workshop
Helping emerging artists has become a particular passion project for Gates. And while he is still a relatively young producer himself, his tireless work ethic over the course of his career is uncanny. Gates spends countless hours honing his craft in the studio and his hard work has culminated on his recently released sophomore artist album, “The ill.Methodology.”
“If it was up to me I’d be in the studio all day, everyday,” said Gates. “Music is as much a part of my days as eating, sleeping and taking a shower. It’s just who I am. My basic message with the workshops is just to get people to stop trying to make reality conform with their own preconceptions and focus rather on aligning their thinking, techniques, work flow and approach to what the actual dynamics of the process are. There’s so many different ways you can go about it but I try to boil it down to the simplest, most straight-forward way to address how are you going to finish music. It takes a few hours to explain but much of that is unlearning as it is learning. I want people to get out of their own way and start finding out who they are as an artist.”
Those who attend Gates’ “ill.Methodology” workshop will not only walk away with helpful insights, but they’ll also learn production tips along with getting access to his famous DJ and studio templates that are used by such successful performers as Beats Antique, Pretty Lights, Bassnectar and DJ Vadim during their live stage shows.
“The thing to realize is that there’s really no right or wrong,” explained Gates. “The only mistake that you can make is to hesitate and question yourself. If you look at the history of music, how many times have we seen some punk kid come in and change the game with something simple like, cut, copy and paste? People just get so hung up on learning all these amazing new tools and reading articles and forget that music is really about who you are as a person and what you have to say. That’s the one thing in the world that you alone are truly an expert on.”
He added, “Before any of that technical stuff though, I really like to underscore as thoroughly as possible that many pieces of music that have changed any music lover’s life are made with a pencil, eraser and scissors with the most basic technology compared to what we have today. Just because there are these tools and overwhelming sea of options does not actually mean that there’s any reason to be overwhelmed.”
Providing Aspiring Electronic Music Producers Proper Guidance
In a time where electronic music is bigger than ever, talented young producers such as Skrillex get nominated for five Grammy’s while established artists such as Dave Guetta now top the charts with the likes of Pop music icon Usher, a lot of hopeful producers now see the genre as a quick way to make money and achieve superstar status, all in a short amount of time.
“If you’re getting into electronic music and thinking, ‘Is this gonna get me more sexual partners, money, or will I be famous,’ then you’re going to be counting the hours and treating it rationally like an investment,” Gates explained. “But love, especially love of music is not a rational thing. You can’t really get to where you need to go if you’re being motivated by money or fame only. The music itself has to be the reason for you to be able to put in the 10,000+ hours it takes to really master a craft.”
“I DJ’d for years before I got more than $100 for a show, so anyone who thinks that going to one of my workshops is going to be a quick shortcut to fame and success and being a cool dude, they’ve completely lost the plot,” he added. “Basically I’m providing people with the tools and it’s up to them to use those tools well and really understand the larger message.”
Creative Collaborations on New Album
Rising artists can experience firsthand the musical diversity and pure passion that Gates has put into his “ill.Methodology” album. On arguably the producer’s finest work to date, he collaborates on many tracks with some of his close friends and equally progressive performers, such as Ana Sia, Tigran MiMOSA and recent Do LaB performer, Opiuo.
“I was really challenging myself to really step out of my normal, ill.Gates sound on that album,” Gates recalled. “Working with all these different artists who are great friends of mine, to share our different approaches with each other was great. On each one of the tracks, I was trying to go outside my comfort zone, get into their world and see how diverse I could make the album.”
He added, “I feel like I really grew a lot as an artist. But the next project I’m working on is an all solo ill.Gates EP, which will be the opposite of “The ill.Methodology.” My basic objective every time I sit down to write a song is finding out what underlying assumption there is that is common in everything I’ve done and do something completely different.”
One of his closest friends is current electronic music fan-favorite Bassnectar, who is also a frequent collaborator, and the two have long discussed doing an album together, much to the delight of their respective fans.
“We’re already a few tracks into it,” revealed Gates. “But every time we do a track together, we get so excited by it that we just decide put it out. But we are gonna do it. There’s about 4-5 tunes that we’ve already earmarked for it, where we’ve been like, ‘Ok, we’ve gotta stop putting these out.’ So it’s currently in the pipeline.”
Tireless Work Ethic & Touring Schedule
Internationally renowned for his extensive touring, Gates’ live performances are full of vibrant energy and plenty of original productions. Currently on his “ill.Methodology” tour, he’s also achieved cult status in the creative community through his epic performances at Burning Man.
“Burning Man is an experience like no other,” Gates shared. “I find that people are the most open there and ready to have an experience. I do it for the love; otherwise I never would have played 21 sets in 5 days! It was a challenge that I presented for myself and when I set myself challenges, there is just no room for failure, so it had to be done.”
Next up for Gates will be performing at his very first show for The Do LaB alongside An-ten-nae. The two have been performing together on the festival circuit for years and are a particularly potent musical pairing.
“I couldn’t be more pumped about it,” Gates exclaimed. “Coming down to LA and playing with Adam (An-ten-nae), I’m really excited. I’ve been a big fan and a friend of his for years now. I can’t even tell you how many festivals we’ve played together and how many sunrises we’ve seen.”
Returning to The City of Angels
For Gates’ return to Los Angeles, the producer is excited to unveil plenty of new and unreleased material at King King.
“I still haven’t had that magical gig in L.A. yet, but I’ve been waiting for it and this could be it,” Gates shared. “So I can’t wait to see The Do LaB family on their home turf and show them what’s up!”
He added, “At the end of the night, I just want people to go home inspired. I don’t really care if they go home and are like, ‘ill.Gates is the man, I can’t wait to bring him back to L.A. or join my Facebook page.’ I just want them to be inspired and to want to get their hands dirty in various creative projects. I want people to see my enthusiasm, hear my love for music and bring a little bit of that love into their own lives.”
Be sure to join us this Thursday, December 8th at King King for a special night featuring the music of ill.Gates, An-ten-nae, who will be playing a special live set celebrating the release of “Acid Crunk Vol. 4,” and the impressive female duo, WeDontSpeakFrench. Along with live art from Jennifer Springman, this is going to be a party you don’t want to miss! We encourage you to arrive early and tickets can still be purchased in advance here.
The ill.Methodology Workshop will begin before the show at 2:00pm at King King. Register here.