INTERVIEW WITH… LLUSION THE BUZZY TIK TOK LOFI REMIXER TURNED RISING MUSIC PRODUCER
Rising music producer LLusion has worked with some big names already like Charlie XCX and Rina Sawayama. The OC-based artist has been playing shows since he was seventeen cutting his chops early on. He later earned the nickname “The Remix Guy” on TikTok for all of his vibes Lo-Fi remixes of artists like the Jonas Brothers and Doja Cat. He also began to amass over 3.8 million followers. Now on his latest release, he teams up with Max Frost and UPSAHL for this instant pop hit, “After The Tone”.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you talk a bit about your backstory and how you got your start in music?
LLUSION: My dad grew me up on 90s hip-hop, the big names from the east coast like Tribe Called Quest to Wu-Tang and everything. When I realized that a producer named J Dilla was working on a lot of Tribe Called Quest stuff, that made me get into J Dilla and DJ Premier. I was listening to all of these great hip-hop songs and then there came a time where I was like “Man, I just want to listen to these beats” and I didn’t know if that was possible and I didn’t know listening to instrumental music was a thing.
(cont.) Then, when I was in 8th grade, I was 14 (this is 2012) and I found Nujabes and I was like “Woah, he incorporated jazz and hip-hop music but just for listening purposes,” with or without vocals — it wasn’t a mandatory thing. That completely opened up my whole insight on music. Within a year, for all of my freshman year of high school, I was intaking so much information on instrumental music and then, by my sophomore year, I was like “I can’t just listen to this anymore, I really want to, and really feel like I can bring something to the table.” I was digging in record stores where I was going to the dollar bin. My only record store was primarily just a record shop and this is where kids who were in 5th and 6th grades went to rent instruments but there was this little section of records in the corner and they were so cheap, and I was the only person in there. So, I just started sampling records and making beats out of them. That’s where the production started to blossom. I never got super into instruments, samples are what really gravitated towards me, and the fact that I was able to make them into my own, that’s how it started.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did the collaboration with Upsahl come together? And what was it like co-producing the track with Max Frost?
LLUSION: I love talking about this because this was half a year before the vaccine ever came out and we didn’t even have conversations about a vaccine. My team really wanted me to get into sessions and this was before I even worked with any artists in person. My publicist was like “Hey, Zoom sessions are a big thing right now in the industry.” And I’m like, “I don’t see how that’s even possible of working and the audio is gonna sound terrible.” I didn’t know if it was going to work out. And he’s like, “Just give it a shot.” This was a few days after Christmas of 2020 and my publicist’s like, “Okay, you got it with UPSAHL and I knew UPSAHL from “Drugs” and “People I Don’t Like” — one of my favorite songs from her. I knew that she worked with Max [Frost] prior so that made me relieve the stress. So anytime I was struggling during the session, I knew Max would fill in all those spots that I possibly couldn’t, at that time.
(cont.) Anyways, we got on Zoom, met them for the first time, and within those four hours we came out with “After The Tone.” It’s crazy to think that that was my first session working with an artist in general, let alone it being zoom. It’s a song that’s now finally out for people to hear. And it’s funny, I didn’t even know how I felt about the song until I again, I’ve mentioned my wife sticks a lot because she’s, I consider fit 5050 With illusion. Just because she’s like my naked ear since she doesn’t create, she plays guitar and everything but since she doesn’t like to create music, I always love letting her listen to stuff and she’s kind of like my barometer. and when I showed it to her, she’s like, this is actually really good and I was oh, it made me really excited to see the potential of it. So to think of where to think that it was made in that session and I think we really created something special there. That’s how that whole thing came about, and then I’m so excited. Yeah, Taylor’s awesome Max is great, and now Max is like a great friend of mine and we work together all the time.
- THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you got the chance to write a song based off your favorite piece of pop culture? What would you choose and why?
LLUSION: Well, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that question. The first thing I thought of was School of Rock because that’s my favorite. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and a huge inspiration to me. I have stuck it to the man tattooed on my neck so that’s a huge thing. So yeah, I don’t know writing a song about Jack Black or just something fun about that because I think what Jack Black in School of Rock did for pop culture was huge. I don’t know if that was the first thing that came to my mind, but yeah it’s really important.
- THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: And, lastly what’s up next on the horizon for you?
LLUSION: My debut project, Buffet, came out back on November 8 and has incredible songs. I highly suggest people go check that out, it contains over 15 vocalists, some new, some underground. That’s such an incredible project to me that I hope to represent for many years to come just because I really do think it has a very good sound. With that being said, I’m kind of taking it back a little bit to how everything started and the roots of everything and I am currently working on my first actual album. I mean, Buffet was really an EP, but this album is going to contain 99% instrumental music again with some features from producers. As like I said, it’s incredible to make these great songs with vocalists like “After the Tone” with UPSAHL you know, it feels really good to get to focus hardcore on the instrumental music itself. I know that’s what a lot of people [want] at the end of the day like, “I’m being honest with myself, it’s my decision in my choice to bring a vocalist that I think is really good to feature on a song of mine”, but whether it’s not 100% my demographic or this or that, I know instrumental music will always be there. So that’s why I’m really focusing on that. We’re hoping by summertime-ish to get some more music out there. It’s going to range anywhere from Lo-Fi to Funk instrumentals. It’s going to be good, it’s gonna real good.
(cont.) And, aside from music, something that I’m absolutely extremely excited to announce and finally release is my podcast with my wife called “Six Illusion.” We’re interviewing everyone from incredible artists from Freddie Dread to TikTok creators like TootieMcNootie. All these different people that we’ve become friends with, whether musicians or content creators in general. We’ll be dropping that extremely soon. We’re trying to get tons and tons of episodes set. But yeah, dropping extremely soon.
Well, that’s it! Thanks so much to LLUSION for taking time out to answer some questions for TRB and thanks to Republic Records for setting this all up. You can stream “After The Tone” his collaboration with UPSAHL and Max Frost below. Then be sure to check him out on TikTok by clicking ➡️ here.