Denver-based melodic mastermind Nick Miller, aka Illenium, has been a powerhouse in the production community sweeping the nation and exponentially becoming a household name for any dance fan. With his emotional yet high energy productions, engaging live show and just an overall good attitude to boot, Illenium is dance music’s rising star that fans can’t get enough off. After just announcing his second phase of his Ashes tour, Illenium took on two nights at Denver’s Ogden Theater where we got to sit and talk with him about new music, his blooming success, his label Kasaya and more. Check it out!
So first off wanted to say thanks for sitting and talking!
Oh yeah, of course.
2016 has been a crazy year for you! You’ve been playing nationally with your debut headline tour selling out most major markets! How has the past year and rise in popularity been?
It’s been dope! I mean, it’s been crazy. I was so nervous to do a headlining tour at the beginning of the year and then to see that success has been like awesome, and to see how legitimate the fan base is with their love for the music has been the most inspiring thing. It’s crazy.
What was some crazy experiences you had this past summer on your tour?
I mean there was one day on tour Trevor (Said the Sky) played without pants. That’s a good one. I would say that the crazy thing is really just going with no sleep on end. I mean we had some times on tour, where like labor day weekend we had two or three flights one day and didn’t sleep and then had a red eye flight after LA, it was just so brutal. That kind of stuff is just testing.
You brought Said the Sky out for most of your dates and collabed with him multiple times in the past, including on your new single with Seven Lions “Rush Over Me.” How did you guys meet?
So I used to get production advice from this guy Omega, and Trevor used to as well. He mastered both of our tunes and he connected us, we started working on a song and then we moved in together like a month after that and that’s really where we just became super good friends and just taught each other a ton and he’s taught me a ton. It’s been awesome.
Speaking of which, how did you initially get involved working with Seven Lions?
I sent him the “Fortress” track to remix, and he really liked the vocal and ended up working on that. He knew Trevor from awhile ago when Trevor gave him a USB. He passed us the “Rush Over Me” vocal and then we did some work and then sent it back and he worked on it more and then we ended up finishing it. It was a pretty long process, we made a lot of it and then sat on it and then came back to it six months later.
What was it like working with someone who seems to be an inspiration for your early music?
It was dope. It’s like mind blowing seeing what he does sound design-wise and mixing-wise and it’s just insane seeing that after listening to so much sh*t. It’s pretty nuts.
You hinted at a second album and have a ton of new songs you just played out in NYC and in Denver. Can we expect another full length soon?
Yeah, full length hopefully in 2017!
Are there any other artists you’re looking to collaborate with in 2017? Any new musical elements you want to try?
Yeah! There’s my Marshmello one, another big one I can’t talk about, Slander… And I’m going to be doing a ton of guitar. My whole album is gonna be super heavy with guitar and just cool riffs that I really like that I can just listen to by themselves and I’m like “Sweet.” A lot of that, a lot of mixing like alternative pop with electronic but not making it sound too clashing. Like normally EDM and indie pop is not a thing, so I want to try and make it blend and be a good mixture of the two.
You formed your own label Kasaya alongside the release of your album! What inspired you to create Kasaya?
Well I really just wanted to build a platform to spread good music, and I’m really close with the Seeking Blue/MrSuicideSheep guys and I eventually want to make it a collaborative effort. Wanna just have another platform to share good music from. I kinda wanna stay away from the major label-ish type thing generally.
Do you have plans to work with any other artists on releases?
Not right now, right now we’re just sitting on it because we’ve been so busy but hopefully soon.
Outside of the electronic world, what artists have really impressed you or given you inspiration this last year?
EDEN is number one for sure. But outside the EDM world…. Hmmm I listen to a lot of oldies like Linkin Park and Blink-182 and that’s a huge inspiration for me. Same with old Glitch Mob and edit.
You just started playing in Vegas clubs the past few months. How is the atmosphere at club shows compared to your own headlining events?
I definitely prefer headlining stuff, hard ticket shows with just my fans and my style of music is just awesome. But to go to places like Vegas and bring a little bit of that to them while also maintaining a fun atmosphere is a fun challenge that I really want to do because it’s not very present now!
You make your debut in Hawaii in early 2017! Are there any other crazy spots you’ll be heading to that you can talk about?
Yeah, we’re doing a couple of shows in January in Europe too and then we’ve got just a ton of festivals lined up. We’ve got a ton of plans that we’re waiting to confirm and we’ve got really high hopes.
Your tour schedule has been insane! What do you do on the road with your free time?
Recently I’ve been on buses with video games. I work on some music, it’s really hard to. I don’t know, if I can’t work on music I try to stay involved in the business side of it. Think of different marketing stuff, different merchandising stuff. I feel like I need to stay busy if I want to be happy on the road. If I have time, I’ll go on hikes and go outdoors. I went to the aquarium the other day, it was dope.
How about when you’re home?
Make music, hangout with friends, my girlfriend and dog. Very lowkey, I do not go out when I’m home.
You’re a huge fan of games like Call of Duty, Rocket League and more. Any new games you’re really looking forward to in the next year?
I don’t know when the new Elder Scrolls comes out but when it does you will not be seeing me for awhile.
Whats one game no one could ever beat you at?
I don’t know, I’m pretty good at Rocket League but I get beat. I’m not a superstar at it. I watch a lot of pros and I’m like “Guys, goddammit…”
The internet has been alive lately with talk about Westworld, Black Mirror and other crazy shows. Have you been binge watching anything lately?
Westworld, I love Westworld. Game of Thrones has been a big one for forever too, so definitely those two!
Illenium will be hitting the road this winter for his phase two of his Ashes tour with support from the likes of William Black, ARMNHMR, Dabin and many more and you will not want to miss everything he’s got in store for next year!