ILLENIUM Talks Success, Sophomore Album “Awake” and The Creation of Music
ILLENIUM, real name Nick Miller, took the world by storm in 2016 with his debut album “Ashes”. Having graced the stages of Lollapalooza, Paradiso, Mysteryland, and an upcoming performance at this year’s Coachella, this is only the beginning for the 27-year-old Denver-native who’s captivating music has been praised by many. ILLENIUM is now on a world tour following his sophomore album “Awake” which debuted at #1 on the iTunes electronic dance chart. We had the pleasure of interviewing him before his upcoming dates in Asia. Find out what he had to say regarding his success, new album, and the creation of music.
You’ve recently wrapped up a sold-out leg of the North American “Awake Tour”, and will soon be heading to Asia for the second leg. Are you looking forward to your debut performance in Thailand? We’re very excited!
I'm stoked to be playing in Asia! It's something I've wanted to do for awhile now, and it's crazy to think how music made this possible. I never imagined I'd be on the other side of the world doing what I love. Super grateful for the opportunity!
Your success is undeniable, and within a quick period of time, you’ve managed to captivate fans across the globe with your signature style. To what would you credit it to?
It's probably a combination of things. I try to craft songs that are honest and authentic to the emotions I'm feeling. I think people relate to music that is genuine regardless of the genre. On top of that, I've had an incredible amount of support from my family, friends, and team that continuously push and encourage me. It takes a lot of work and I wouldn't be able to do it alone.
How would you describe the evolvement of your sound from your earlier releases, to your debut album “Ashes”, to your sophomore album “Awake”, to current day?
I'd say the most striking difference is in the overall sound quality from my earliest work to now. I've learned a lot since then and am always working to improve. Making music that evokes emotion has always been a goal of mine so that element still remains after all these years. It comes out in different ways but at the end of the day, I try to create music that makes me feel something and hopefully makes the listener feel a connection as well.
“Awake” as a whole sounds like a very personal piece of music and resonates with your fans on a whole new level. Do you keep in mind to have each of your tracks tell a small story?
I really like how 'Awake' is a cohesive journey with each song adding to the feel/theme of the album. I think it's natural for humans to incorporate stories into their art so it wasn't necessarily a conscious or intentional decision on my part. It's just how the music came out when I was creating it.
Your music has often been labeled as “enchanting”, “mesmerizing”, and is able to bring listeners on a journey of their own. What sort of inspirations goes into your thought process while producing music?
Music has always been a way for me to process emotions and feelings. The biggest inspiration for what I produce is usually whatever I'm going through or feeling at the time. Tapping into that not only helps me make a song that people connect with but it also helps me feel better after I do it.
You’ve been incorporating live instruments into your sets for some time now. Do you see it as a growing trend within the music industry today?
I believe we will start seeing more live instrumentation in electronic sets. It opens up so much possibility and engagement with the audience.
Check out the recap of Illenium’s Awake Tour from Reno, Santa Cruz and San Francisco!
ILLENIUM performances are one of a kind in such that the visuals, lighting and overall production are able to accompany the music in such a manner that allows it to be more than just a “DJ set”. Do you take part in the creative process as well?
I try to be involved as much as I can. The visual aspects of a show can have as much impact as the audio so it's important that they complement each other.
Just like how Bassnectar inspired you to complete a trackback in 2012, a lot of your fans see you perform and feel the same way right after. What advice would you share with them in terms of being able to put their minds to creating?
My advice would be to keep pushing even if you think what you're making isn't very good. It took me a couple years before I was happy with where my music was. No one is great right from the beginning. We all had to start somewhere.
ILLENIUM will be playing ONYX’s Odyssey on February 10th 2018. Early bird/first tier tickets are now sold out! Second tier tickets have now been released.