DMNW Sits Down With Illvis Freshly (Exclusive Interview)

BC's freshest exports

Victoria, BC is known for many things: year round warm weather (by Canadian standards), endless beaches and parks lush with life unique to the Island, and an abundance of good vibes among others. But in recent years, the Garden City has been setting up shop on the front lines of the Canadian music scene, constantly pumping out artists that are helping define that West Coast sound. One group in particular has been making waves around the PNW with their unique brand of funky, bass heavy, hip-hop.

Illvis Freshly blends the mic skills of Danimal House & Doc Zoo, with the turntable prowess of Mt. Doyle, and face melting guitar riffs courtesy of Phil Lyons, to create a live show that showcases the classic sounds of golden age hip-hop with a twist. Recently winning two awards at the Vancouver Island Music Awards, the boys of Illvis Freshly are making more than just noise, and DMNW was recently able to catch up with them to see what’s going on!

Obviously, Illvis Freshly were pretty stoked on their recent success, winning two of their four nominations at the VIMA’s for group of the year and hip-hop recording of the year for their track “On The Breaks.” As we sat and talked about what it meant to take home their first pieces of hardware as a group, you could feel the excitement still radiating from the recent award winners.

“The word is valid,” stated Danimal House, representing one half of the members who rock the mic “It’s been good for us. Everyone likes validation, we feel re-energized.”

“It’s pretty awesome to be honored like that, and get acknowledged for all the work we put in. I think so many musicians put so much work into their shows and never get any formal acknowledgment, so it’s super cool to get recognized.” – Doc Zoo

The success of their first album, What Chu Know About Illvis?, garnered international attention as it spread its way into funk, hip-hop, and electronic circles around the world. Spawning multiple remix albums, including “Across The Pond”, “Brothers In Funk”, and “Chill” editions, their debut album helped lay the ground work for what they want their music to achieve.

Illvis Freshly, Illvis, Shambhala

Photo: Xavier Photography

We spoke about their thought provoking style of rap, and what brought them to the point they are today. As it turns out, what began as a feel good jam session between acquaintances quickly gelled into a group of BFF’s talking about plans for an album. Doc Zoo & Danimal House had been searching for that certain something to help make their sound pop, and at the suggestion of Illvis’ former DJ, The Funkee Wadd, an axeman was brought into fold.

“A lot of the time electronic productions are quantized, and incorporating the guitar means not every note hits that same beat. That’s the beauty of human performance, it’s never robotic.” – Phil Lyons

Phil’s skills on the guitar, combined with his theatrical stage presence, was a perfect fit for what the group was seeking in their early days, and continues to be a driving force behind their high octane performances. Obviously, their music is the major reason why they continue to build a loyal following, but you can only get so much of a feel for the group until you witness their antics live.

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