“I wanted to be a DJ before I knew what a DJ was“, says Raphael Thomas Woods, known more commonly as DJ Illanoise. A veteran of the Los Angeles club scene, DJ Illanoise has become a keystone among LA nightlife circles since he emerged in the early 2000s, performing at LA’s most prestigious clubs and exclusive parties. 1 In Music meets him for an interview.
1 In Music: Thank you so much for taking this interview. First of all what is unique about what you do and how you do it?
DJ ILLANOISE: When it comes to my DJing, you never know what’s coming next. There are no breaks to head to the bar. We are going from zero to 100 for the entire night, until they turn the lights on and kick us out.
1 In Music: Who shaped your music and who supports you?
DJ ILLANOISE: My career has been shaped by open format legends such as DJ AM, DJ IRIE and Mark Ronson. As technology advances, so does our exposure to various genres of music. This has also allowed myself as an artist to connect with a new wave of fans that I wasn’t able to connect with before.
1 In Music: So is it those encountered that had you realise you were going to make music professionally?
DJ ILLANOISE: No. As a child I had visions of DJing, prior to ever really knowing what DJing really was. I would have visions of a hand manipulating a turntable and records without any previous exposure to DJing. My father was a DJ, but we never had an actual relationship. When I learned DJing was a “thing” I was automatically drawn to it and knew it would be something that I’d dedicate my life to.
1 In Music: What type of music do you listen to?
DJ ILLANOISE: The primary genres I enjoy are Classic Rock, Motown, Hip Hop and EDM based Trap. I enjoy anything with a hard hitting drum and deep low ends. I appreciate the wave of “trap” remixes of hip hop tracks from artist like Nghtmre, Slander and CRNKN.
1 In Music: Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
DJ ILLANOISE: Currently Vince Staples is undervalued. He has a loyal following that will only grow over time, but currently he is an artist that I wish had more exposure. He also gives amazing, insightful interviews full of wisdom.
1 In Music: How do you prepare for your performances?
DJ ILLANOISE: If time permits, I will try to get a workout in followed by meditation to get myself balanced. DJing nightclubs is the kind of thing that requires you to be in the moment, because if you’re doing it right, you don’t always know what song you’re going to play next. This requires being free from distractions. I also look through my library and pull a dozen or so songs that I haven’t played in some time that I think would be a pleasant surprise for the audience.
1 In Music: What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
DJ ILLANOISE: I am passionate about current events, and as a result we launched “The Illest Podcast Ever” where we take the pop culture and news events of the week and extract deeper meaning from them. Every week, we have a guest on the show which allows me to expand my network and build new relationships with thought provoking people.
1 In Music: Success to you is…?
DJ ILLANOISE: I define success in the music industry as maintaining your artistic integrity while also being able to carve out a living. This definition of success is what defines my next path in helping artists achieve financial independence. In 2018, my team will be launching Fame Junkie Media, which will serve as a platform for DJs and producers to get their content to the highest reaching audience and monetize their content.
1 In Music: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?
DJ ILLANOISE: If I had one piece of advice for my previous self and any artist on the come up, I would tell them to keep their day job and don’t give up on their music. It’s really simple as that.
1 In Music: Any upcoming projects?
DJ ILLANOISE: Currently we are also launching a daily music podcast called “Illest Music Podcast“. The focus on this podcast is new music delivered to your inbox daily in the form of a 30 minute mix-show. All artists are encouraged to contact me @djillanoise on Instagram and send me their music to be shared on the podcast.
1 In Music: Where do we find you music projects?
DJ ILLANOISE: All my content can be found online at djillanoise.com or on any podcasting platforms.