Debuting last August with the searching, minimalist single “Act Like I Don’t Know”, ILLIAL is the pseudonym for the solo artist Fredrik Folkestad.
Originally from Gothenburg but having lived in Sydney, New York, Montreal and Hong Kong Fredrik draws from a wide variety of contemporary inspirations and influences, yet despite his cutting edge mindset, he often retires from the din of the city to compose the fundaments of his music, it’s in solitude that Fredrik best delves into his innately sensitive nature.
The ragged low-lying bluffs and irregular peninsulas of the Swedish West coast, give way to a strew of rocky islands; so seemingly infinite in number they seem almost cosmic. The soundscape, however, often stands in complete contrast to the chaotic landscape; the archipelago tames the ocean swell, leaving the lowland breeze forgiving and steady, it can be incredibly serene here.
Its no wonder that Fredrik finds this place the perfect music retreat, and a few times a year, migrates back to his small-secluded recording studio on the little island of Musön, just off the Fjällbacka coast.
We joined Fredrik, for his last visit of the year, just before winter makes travel to the island too challenging.
We meet at a little marina in a picturesque, rocky inlet, Fredrik is already waiting with bags of weekend supplies stacked on the pontoon and his boats diesel engine prepped and spluttering away, the journey to the island takes about 20minutes and as we walk up to the cabin, we realize that aside from some cattle and horses on the island, we are completely alone. It’s a restful feeling that promotes a clarity of thought. After dinner we settle down by the fire with some beers and discuss the conception of ILLIAL and how Fredrik aims for it to progress.
L:AB: How did ILLIAL come to light?
ILLIAL: It came as one deep exhale after many shallow breaths. I was trying so hard artistically on so many different approaches that I felt a bit scattered and shallow. I still struggle with that, but starting this project, which is still so new, gave me a more profound feeling I suppose.
L:AB: You have lived and worked in so many different cities, do you characterize ILLIAL with a particular geographical identity?
ILLIAL: No I don’t think so.
L:AB: For a small City, Gothenburg has yielded some globally significant artists like Little Dragon, The Knife, Jose Gonzalez and GOAT, what is it about Gothenburg that makes it such a fertile ground for musical talent?
ILLIAL: I think Gothenburg and Sweden in general has built a solid infrastructure for producing and exporting culture. Infrastructure being previously laid out paths of success. Virginia Woolf expresses it so perfectly in ”A Room of Ones Own” and uses women’s lack of it as an example. Music is highly dependent on influential doorkeepers of hype and that’s when a credible name like Sweden opens up a few more doors I suppose.
L:AB: We came to hear about you through James Brooks (who worked with us in designing our flagship store in Stockholm), he produced the video for “Act Like I Don’t Know”, what’s the story behind that video?
ILLIAL: The video was shot a few kilometers from here, right outside Ingrid Bergman’s cabin. It beautifully reflects what the music aims to do: using only essential elements to portray and represent a notion of a constant dependency on others while openly exhibiting vulnerability.
L:AB: So do you see the synergy between audio/visual as a key element of ILLIAL?
ILLIAL: Absolutely. The audio/visual aspect penetrates this project on all levels: clothing, film, live performances, Instagram etc. Anything visual adds a backdrop to my sound. And James is such a sensitive visual artist that somehow perfectly grasps the sounds I produce.
L:AB: ILLIAL is not even a year old, how do you see ILLIAL evolving over 2017?
ILLIAL: Yeah it is so new, especially in relation to how long I aim to do this. I have no desire to stress any projects, and I still have a lot of figuring out to do. But I am currently putting together a full-length album that will have videos incorporated to it.
L:AB: What inspires you most to compose music?
ILLIAL: People, for sure. My time in the eldercare was a gold mine for that. I would visit all these seniors homes and prep their medicine and tuck them to bed. They shared stories I would cry in laughter and tears to. And that’s the key reason to why I like moving around – to meet different kinds of people.
L:AB: Are there any particular artist or writers that influence you?
ILLIAL: Yes I think L’Herbe de Nuit and Le Petit Bijou by Patrick Modiano prove the power of minimalism while keeping a sentimental film over his work without being sensational. Virginia Woolf for being able to articulate something complex and controversial with such intellect and confidence and simplicity that its impossible to argue against. Kafka for building something abstract using the strictness of dialogue. And Tove Jansson’s Summer Book, it plays on my childhood heartstrings. Regarding artistry in music I am currently into Mino and G-Dragon; I think it’s pushing the boundaries in pop culture of the style of men. Its especially interesting in contrast to the pop culture in West where I feel the macho man is still the archetype. Musically I like Alicia Keys album Spirit of Freedom.
L:AB: How do you hope people respond to your music?
ILLIAL: I want to find that sanctuary within pop culture where something is new yet somehow inherently relatable. So for people to go ”I like that, but what’s going on?”.
L:AB: Do you think music is crucial to wellbeing?
ILLIAL: Yes I think so. The power of music is that you can physically experience the narrative of a piece through it’s rhythm and resonating frequencies. Although it can be, it doesn’t need to be intellectually engaging in order to be profound. And profound experiences usually leaves you with a trace of well-being I think.
L:AB: If you could create your dream LA:Bruket product what would it be and how would it smell?
ILLIAL: Face lotion. For sure, I use it everyday. I’d have a subtle scent, raw mineral scents, granite or something…
“The video was shot a few kilometers from here, right outside Ingrid Bergman’s cabin. It beautifully reflects what the music aims to do: using only essential elements to portray and represent a notion of a constant dependency on others while openly exhibiting vulnerability.”