When you’re dealing with subtleties of sound as delicate and powerful as electro Melbourne band I’lls do, you’d imagine it would be difficult to ever put the paintbrush down. Dan Rutman, guitarist for the atmospheric trio, says it’s something of a Goldilocks story as to when the boys know they’ve completed a track. “It’s finished when everything works, it fits,” he says. “It’s not too much but it’s not too little, either. It’s just right.”
The first single from upcoming EP A Warm Reception is Plans Only Drawn, a beautiful psalm with a skeleton of odd stick-clicks and pops. The percussion is soon joined by long hums of warped keys and a spectral wash of voices, dipping under and over the chief melody like flying fish. The track is accompanied by a clip from video artist Thomas Russell of Astral Projection, which features a background of strange, pulsing grids and unsettling pre-recorded projections of vocalist Simon Lam’s face shining back onto his face.
The way in which Plans Only Drawn and the other tracks on the second EP were created differs from I’lls 2011 debut EP, Thread, although thanks to the audio engineering skills of Rutman’s band mates Simon Lam (vocals, drums) and Hamish Mitchell (keys), both releases were self-produced.
Having had already their mitts around some enviable support slots in just a couple of short years (including Big Scary, PVT and Chet Faker), Rutman explains that the title of the release refers to the boys’ gratitude. “[The title] is more to do with the first EP and just the last few years – being received quite well and making a lot of friends, having a good time,” he says simply. “We’re happy with how things are going at the moment. It is wicked, you know, it’s nice. Two years and we’re still selling first EPs and people are still complimenting us on the first EP, which is really lovely. You don’t have to have an unbelievable marketing team to do somewhat well off a homemade album.”
Rutman says the number of tracks on the new EP will be similar to the last. Sound-wise, however, the band has progressed closer towards their goal of a unified rapport. “Our first EP was really general – we found the sounds, the style, was very general. This EP is definitely much more specific in the sound that it has. We still need to refine…we’ve started writing for the album,” he says. “The thing is, we write so far apart. Someone will pass an idea around for a couple of weeks, then pass another one, then come back to it, try and finish it.” They start with their raw instruments and then flip and curve things later, as they go along. “Ideally we like to write the song with just the chords and the melody,” Rutman says.
I’lls signed with Sydney management and touring company Astral People in March (who boast Wintercoats, Collarbones and Jonti on their roster), which will ensure the boys’ material will be spread across the nation and beyond. Meanwhile, Melbourne fans will be pleased to find out that our we;re hosting the next I’lls show: the launch for first single from A Warm Reception, Plans Only Drawn, is this coming Saturday at The Toff in Town.
“For the show we’ll have a five-piece,” Rutman reveals. “Liam Parsons from Towers on bass and Chris Port from Mixer on drums.” With such individually accomplished guests sharing the stage, the show promises to deliver all the fractured, rich beauty this determined, young trio are becoming lauded for.
I’lls launch their new single Plans Only Drawn at The Toff in Town on Saturday May 18. Their sophomore EP A Warm Reception is due for release in June.