Anjunabeats legend Ilan Bluestone is embarking on the Scars Tour to celebrate the release of his first full-length album. The tour kicked off in Miami at the famed Club Space. Bluestone was joined by new Anjuna talent Spencer Brown who began the night with some chilled out Anjunadeep vibes that got the crowd amped up and ready for amazing show. Ilan certainly delivered, and we were fortunate to get a chance to sit down with him for a chat.
In a world full of EP and singles, what has inspired you to come out with your own artist album?
“I’m always looking at developing my sound skills in general and when you write singles for labels you’re always putting your ultimate best into that production. Creating an album lets me explore those boundaries of being a music producer by letting me play with what I can do by trying to do new things and having an album lets me express myself in the ultimate form.”
How does the sound differ from your album from what you typically put out?
“Let’s just say people were expecting it to be Anjunabeats worthy, club bangers, here we go… but this is an album which is just me in the studio experimenting with the sound that I like to produce for myself and what people will feel. Very different from producing ultimate bangers which is something I have shown people I can do. But now I want to be able to explore the horizons by having some 80’s in there, some chill out, some deep house. Stuff a lot of people can go to. This was a very important thing for me to do, being able to explore my boundaries with my music and let my fans hear what I can do with that and how I develop that. I want them to connect to it as much as I connected making it.”
Tonight at your show (Club Space Miami), what should we expect from you?
“Well I’m playing quite a few tracks from the album seeing as it is Miami and it’s more of a commercial kind of crowd and you need please the non-trance crowd that’s coming to the show by friends who dragged them out. I need to be able to convert those first time people into trance lovers which is what I’m going to do.
You work with Giuseppe de Luca quite a bit. ‘Bigger Than Love’, ‘Frozen Ground’, ‘Scars’, how did that relationship start and evolve into what it is today?
“Funny enough, one of Above & Beyond’s sound engineers turned to me and said ‘hey listen I got a guy for you, he’s amazing, hit him up’. So I did and we started from there. He’s more of an Indie rocker. So having an Indie rocker perform on a trance track is very different but yet special because he’s not some trance vocalist who’s been around for ten years. He’s someone fresh and out of the box. He’s got a great voice as I’m sure you can tell. He’s got character which is really important and it comes across that way on the records.”
So when you work with Giuseppe, how do the tracks come together?
“It starts with very good chemistry. Giuseppe is such an Indie dude, you look at him, looks like he came out of the 1940’s and he wears clothes from the 40’s because he’s just cool and he can, he can get away with it. And he’s pure nature hipster. And having a character like that in the studio with me is very inspiring because Giuseppe is doing something different. Trance isn’t his thing. So if I can make something that is acceptable for him to groove along to and for him to like it… he’s very fussy, which is great. There’s one particular track on the album that people are going to push play on and be like ‘whoa, what is this?’. And that is the correct reaction they should have. That’s the emotion I’m expecting because it’s such an 80’s record. Can’t name that one just yet, but it’s the sort of track that will blow a lot of Anjuna fans away in that they’ll think ‘what is he doing?’. I’m a huge 80’s kid, I grew up in the 80’s, I’m an 80’s boy and I’m very influenced by the 80’s sound hence my music and I think this track really portrays Giuseppe. I really wanted to the best out of Giuseppe and I wanted to portray what Giuseppe wants as a record. And luckily, Anjunabeats is letting me express myself as an artist which is the most important thing as an artist. Being able to express myself to the fans and have the fans connect to what I’m feeling, it’s very important.”
You and Anjunabeats have a very strong relationship. How did that relationship begin and how did it remain so strong?
“Funnily enough it started where I met a guy named Maor Levi who’s on Anjunabeats as well, and Maor has always been a good friend to me even before he was on Anjuna and always kind of pushed him because he’s a great producer. At the time I was doing cheesy music for other people because I was trying to survive and pay my bills. Maor heard one of my tracks was like ‘listen dude, this is really good’ and he sent it forward to A&R, the label, and the label called me straight away and asked me if I had any other material and in that moment in time I had zilch. I had nothing. And I sat in the studio for nearly ten days straight working my ass off trying to perfect one track called ‘Namaste’ which was my first track on Anjunabeats.
“I always knew trance was my thing but I could never get my stuff out. I didn’t know where to go. I never knew how to approach a record label so I always sent out demos but no one ever opened it at the time and now it’s a lot easier because now you can just send a bloody email with your stuff on it. Back then it was more difficult it was harder to send an mp3 and have people open it and listen to it. You need to have someone put it on the table and have a little play and they contacted me straight away and got a phone call from Jono (Grant from A&B) saying ‘Hey listen Ilan, this track ‘Sonar’ you made is amazing, any chance we could play this track?’and from there is how it all blossomed with Anjuna.”
You’ve worked with quite a few people from the Anjuna family and beyond. Who haven’t you worked with that you want to work with in the future?
“Let’s just say there’s been talks of me working with a high ranking DJ slash DJ’s maybe… there’s a project in the works. There’s teaser there for you, let’s just say it’s a dream come true for me.”
Here in Miami, people like to say the best Cuban food in the world is here in Miami. You being somebody who has traveled the world and experienced so many types of cuisines, what is your favorite type of cuisine that you’ve had and what type of food could you eat for the rest of your life?
“Ok so in the last couple of years from touring, my body has just taken an absolute toll on food. It’s gotten to a point where I’m lactose intolerant; literally in a matter of weeks. My body is just not accepting foods at the moment. Spicy foods. Can’t eat it anymore. Love it. Can’t eat it anymore. Milk and dairy I can’t eat, hence the almond milk in my coffee. My favorite was pizza, now I can’t eat it anymore. My favorite thing was mozzarella. I love you mozzarella but I can’t eat you anymore. But now I’m just sticking to simple foods like chicken and meats, the boring stuff. It’s horrible, a complete catastrophe. But I love eggs, I can eat those.”
To all of your fans who may not know you very well, what are three interesting things about yourself that you would want your fans to know about you?
- “Well let’s just say for people who don’t know, I’m trying to bring a sound which is acceptable to their ears. You know you tell people I make trance and they’re like ‘ew, what’s trance music?’. I want to bring trance to the masses. I want to bring that sound to people who don’t know trance music and bring that sound to people who have never heard my music before and bring more people on the Anjuna team.
- “My long term goal is to finish my pilot’s license and fly myself to my own shows. Tour manager here next to me wanting to do his helicopter license.
- “Third thing about me, I’ve worked with a lot of artists, and with me, I live, breath, sleep my music. When we went to the beach, I was making music. I am on my computer a lot and on my keyboard a lot. I’m listening to some tunes, getting an inspiration. Going out seeing something out of the window, a city, a state, a landing, a cloud. I don’t get to see a lot of places. I don’t get excited to see places anymore, I know it sounds sad but I want to focus on my music. It’s my dedication and commitment to deliver something fresh and new to my fans, I will take my absolute time to go out and talk to my fans after the show.”
Any release date yet for the album?
“There is no official release date yet, just because I’m not satisfied yet with it. I’m a perfectionist, once it’s done it’s done. But we were looking around for late Fall, maybe beginning of the new year. My most important thing right now is to get this album done to a point where I’m so happy with it but I’m sure I’m not going to be happy with it when I release it as well. It’s exactly the same way where I can listen to ‘Bigger Than Love’ right now and I’ll think ‘I could’ve made the kick drums ten times louder, I could’ve done this, I could’ve made Giuseppe sound like that’. There’s always things you can listen back to and think I could’ve done this better. Once I’m really satisfied with it then it will have to go through the label and once they’re happy with it, I release it. The main thing for me is that A&B approve of it.”
After speaking with Ilan, I was lucky enough to hear one of his unreleased tracks from his upcoming album mentioned during the interview. It was yet another collab with Giuseppe de Luca and as like Ilan said, it was something very different from what he usually produces. The song personifies the 80’s. The rhythm, the beat, even the vocals bring in a different, yet beautiful 80’s vibes that is made in perfect harmony.
If this is any indication of the how versatile this album is going to be, it will make more than just the Anjuna faithful turn their head. You can expect Ilan Bluestone’s new album to drop later this fall or early next year on Anjunabeats.