Ilan Bluestone is on his way to becoming one of the premier artists on the Anjunabeats label, and his name is spreading like wildfire into the entire electronic music scene. His last three releases, Snapdragon, Aurora, and Atlantis all broke into the top five trance tracks on Beatport. Recently, he became the first British DJ to perform on stage at Madison Square Garden during the Above & Beyond Group Therapy 100 show. Technically A&B were the first to perform in the building, but Ilan has the crown for first stage performance. We had a chance to talk with Ilan before the first night of Freaknight and got to know him a bit better.
He also used to go under another alias of just Bluestone instead of having his actual name. The reason he had to go with the long form is because there was already a Bluestone in the music industry. He didn’t want any confusion coming from that because the band Bluestone produces new age music which is far from what Ilan produces. So, if you’ve heard of Bluestone, now you know: There’s a difference between the two!
Performing at Madison Square Garden as the opening artist can be seen as amazing experience. Ilan was excited to ” just to see peoples faces, because everybody is ready to go. Everybody was ready to take off.” It’s hard to imagine what it is like being on a stage in that venue and with that many people looking at you. We can imagine that would get quite intense. Ilan agrees, that “when you’re up there all you can see are dots, it’s a bit overwhelming, but I tried to connect to everyone as much as I could through the music.” There is also the horrifying concept of being the one everyone is putting their eyes on. This is not easy for Ilan because he was always a bit shy. Being the center of attention was not something he wanted, until he realized that everyone wanted to connect to the music, and that’s something he can get behind.
In the over saturated market that is EDM, it’s increasingly hard to find music that is different. It becomes repetitive. EDM can quickly become boring or dull in some cases, because it’s increasingly easier to produce a track. All you need is a laptop these days to put out some basic music. Music should be like a “movie track. Something that will grip you and you’ll want to keep listening.” The challenge then, is to create music that has “a crazy groovy beat that is edgy and sharp,” and to find a way to make the listener “feel goosebumps.” We think Ilan does this wonderfully.
Ilan has some huge collaborations on the way, with Jerome Isma-ae, Maor Levi, and BT. He was thinking about giving the BT track a spin, but wasn’t sure if it was ready. A big part of developing these tracks is sampling them on the crowd, and in turn, sampling them on the club sound system.Then you just have to tweak it a bunch until you get it perfect. We think everybody is okay with Ilan using them as lab rats in the club. Before that can begin, however, he gets friends who don’t really know music production to listen to his new music. This can be very illuminating because if he “can catch their ear” with music, then he knows he’s “onto something.” In fact, the title of Snapdragon came from a friend coming into the studio and saying “Hey, whats up bruv! SNAPDRAGON” and snapped his fingers. Ilan turned to him and said “Jerome, you’re a genius. You just named one of my tracks.”
It turns out that the music Ilan plays isn’t the only thing he gets to create. Always keeping the cinematic perspective while creating music, Ilan is deeply involved in all of his visual production.
“I work with Visual Art Forms and sort of tell them what I want. Funnily enough I used to go to university with him (Simon Edwards) and he used to be the resident DJ there and now look at him, he’s doing all the major visual work.”
Simon Edwards also works with USC Events for their visual art and is based out of Vancouver, BC. It’s crazy to see him be such a big part of the scene because Ilan “used to actually used to look up to him when [he] was DJing.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get in contact with him or his management following the cancellation of Freaknight and his amazing performance at Foundation Nightclub. What did you think about his Foundation performance and his music? Tell us in the comments below.
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