Written by: Alex Green
(Photo by Nicola Wilson)
After nearly a ten years away, it was nice to welcome back ILYA this past April. The San Diego outfit’s third long player In Blood is not only one of the year’s best albums, it marked a return to form for one of the most innovative bands around. Conjuring dark seascapes and big black coastlines of sorrow, In Blood is a monstrous and lovely record. There’s the haunting, dreamy shuffle of “Isabel,” the brooding “Sanctuary, ” which suggests a West Coast version of The Cocteau Twins and the orchestral post-rock of “Storm” which is full of fire and foreboding.
The band has announced the re-release of In Blood with two additional tracks (“Could It Be” and “Surround Me”) and you can order it here:
In the meantime, the band agreed to subject themselves to our pesky Scouting Report questionnaire.
“Your favorite muppet?” we asked.
“Isn’t there one that played drums?” they responded…
STEREO EMBERS SCOUTING REPORT: ILYA
Band Members: ILYA Blanca (lead vocalist) Carrie (keyboardist and vocalist)
Full name: Blanca Lucia Rojas Fowler, Carrie Marie Gillespie Feller
Hometown: Blanca/Carrie: San Diego
Record label: Blanca/Carrie: Currently self-releasing under Ana/Kata Music
Describe your sound in one sentence:
Blanca: Melancholy, sometimes heavy… always elegant
Carrie: Subtle, engaging, and moody.
Proudest professional moment:
Blanca: The day I received a special message from a fan
Carrie: Any time I share a stage with musicians I respect and admire.
The song you wish you’d written:
Blanca: “That’s How You Sing Amazing Grace” by Low
Carrie: “Cheerleader” by Annie Clark (St.Vincent)
Five musicians you admire:
Blanca: Matt Fowler (skill), Santigold (confidence), Pall Jenkins (creativity), Jason Isbell (charisma), PJ Harvey (poise)
Carrie: Michael Gira of Swans, John Congleton of The Paper Chase, Faith Coloccia of Mammifer, Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade, and Will Oldham.
Album you can’t stop listening to:
Blanca: Spiderland by Slint
Carrie: July by Marissa Nadler.
Describe yourself as a kid:
Blanca: Timid, polite, afraid
Carrie: Afraid of everyone and everything.
Three things that keep you up at night:
Blanca: Business ideas, commitments, failures
Carrie: Work, doubt, books.
Last book you read:
Blanca: Business Ethics as Rational Choice
Carrie: Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. Amazing book. It will crush you, in a good way.
Carrie: Isn’t there one that plays drums? That one.
Cats or dogs:
Things we’d find in the trunk of your car:
Blanca: Organizer, book
Carrie: My Roland Juno keyboard.
Hardest part about your job:
Blanca: Persuading five people
Carrie: That I can’t play music all day every day.
First thing you do when you get to a new city:
Blanca: Visit a museum
Carrie: Find the good coffee
What word do you overuse in conversation:
What will the title of your autobiography be:
Blanca: This is Not What I Expected
Carrie: I don’t know. I’m sure it would have to do with cats.
Drink of choice:
Blanca: Fresh orange juice
Carrie: Bulleit Bourbon.
Best album after a break-up: Blanca: Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol
Carrie: Tallahasee by The Mountain Goats. The song “No Children” on repeat.
Indulgence you refuse to give up:
Carrie: I don’t like to give up. I keep them all.
Someone says, “Don’t tell anyone I told you this…” Do you?:
Words to live by:
Blanca: “A life not lived for others is not a life.” — M.T.
Carrie: “Never work.” – Guy Debord.