Houston Calling

10 Questions for Ill Ease + show tonight!

June 21st, 2005 · No Comments

Sorry for the late notice, but Ill Ease is currently touring and plays tonight in Houston at Super Happy Fun Land.

Ill Ease is the solo recording project of musician Elizabeth Sharp. The most recent album, The Exorcist, came out this past fall on Too Pure. Torben Pastore of The Lilys is playing with Sharp on this tour.

Here is an interview I recently did with Elizabeth of Ill Ease.

10 Questions for Ill Ease

HC: How did Ill Ease get started?

IE: I’d been playing drums and bass in two different bands for a few years, had recorded at different studios, and ended up sharing a practice space with a friend in Brooklyn who had an 8 track. I’d always been interestred in the recording process and wanted to try writing songs playing all the different instruments myself. It was before home recording was anywhere near where it’s at now, so it was a really cool endeavour to jump into and a totally new way for me to approach writing songs.

HC: What do consider to be your musical influences?

IE: Probably too many to name…I’ve always loved music and have worked at a few record stores so my record collection is pretty huge. I’ve always loved early rock and roll, you know, like from Texas 🙂 Especially some of the Texas country/rock stuff — Buddy Holly, Lefty Frizzell, classic western swing like that. And I really love a lot of dissident noisey stuff, good pop writers like Tom Petty, classic soul, math rock that still rocks, hip hop thats not overproduced…My roots and so I guess deepest influences are in punk and hardcore. The first album I remeber being totally blown away by was Gang of Four’s Entertainment, which my uncle got my brother and I snuck listens of when I was about 15.

HC: Your live show is descirbed as “a fun whirlwind mix of deconstructed guitar riffs, bass loops and drum licks.” What’s your goal in your live sets? How has the tour been so far?

IE: Our goal is to get people dancing and jumping around. So far so good. We had a totally fun show last night in Mobile, Alabama. Live, there are two of us and when we finish, most people get really excited about how much is going on with just the two of us and say it sounded like there were five people were up there.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How do you use the internet as a tool to market yourself?

IE: I think the MP3 revolution is american entrepeurship at its finest. CDs that cost $2 to make were being sold at $13 and $15 in record stores. So there was a place for someone to jump in, and they did. Never thought I’d say this — but I agree with Courtney Love on this one: the people that are losing out are the middle men. If people want to support bands, they should go to shows and buy the records as often as they can. I personally don’t usually download more than a song or two for free from any given album to find out if I like it and if I do, I buy the whole thing.

I design and maintain the ill ease website myself. Have stuff up on myspace. It’s just such a great way to stay in touch with people, come across new bands, meet people who like all the same kinds of music.

HC: Do you enjoy playing live or in-studio more?

IE: I love both. I love music.

HC: What’s your songwriting process?

IE: It’s changed over time but most of the stuff I’ve recorded to date, I recorded by starting with drums and then adding textures and layers of bass, guitar, piano, Rhodes, lots of percussion — shaker, clave, etc.

Lately, though, I’ve been really stripping things down. The Exorcist is a pretty stripped down, black and white kind of recording — less layering, more focused. The most recent recording I did was in Athens, GA — two days on the road during this tour — nothing but an acoustic guitar and vocals. I wanted to try something totally different — the music has always been about rhythm and repetition, I wanted to try really just melody different tones.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

IE: Robert Palmer, “Ruler of the Ho Dum” — I’d love to hear him singing “I should’ve f**ked you when I met you”. Maybe with a nice chorus of girls in black dresses and lipstick joining in.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

IE: I read something the other day that described it as “that everything sucks” kind of music and referred to the song titles from the last album. That bummed me out mostly because I think the music is pretty fun and happy and the lyrics may sound negative but a lot of the time I think it’s people missing the humor. Like, even on this tour — the album is called The Exorcist and the cover photo is a picture of Highway 666 in Florida. A few people have actually been asking if we were like satanist or something. I mean, come on.

HC: What’s next for Ill Ease? More touring? Recording?

IE: Right before heading out for this tour, I finisished writing all the stuff for the next album so I should be doing some real recordings of it soon. When we get back to NYC in July, we’re playing a bunch of shows in our hometown — Brooklyn. More east coast shows in September and then back to Europe in October…So, yeah, lots more touring and lots more recording. Can’t wait.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

IE: I have a mix CD of songs I downloaded: Heavy on The Grey Album, and some other DJ mixes — like Missy Elliott with Nine Inch Nails…

Some CDs I brought on the road with us — Los Cincos, Japanther, Mates of State, Turing Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, Ray Charles’ Atlantic Years.

A special “thank you” to Elizabeth for taking the time out to answer these questions for Houston Calling. Please be sure to come out to Super Happy Fun Land tonight to check out the show — should be great.

You can learn more about Ill Ease from their website and MySpace site. There’s information on the band, plus MP3s, videos, reviews, and interviews.

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Tags: Music