For as new school as the sound may be, the love behind LLusion might be as old school as it gets…
The Orange County artist and producer (pronounced “loo-zhuhn”) architects dreamy soundscapes rooted in bold beat-craft, toasty warm samples, and delicate electronic alchemy—yet he creates from a place of pure passion for everything from timeless 64-bit video games to classic jazz. Tallying 50 million-plus streams, nearly 100 million TikTok views, and countless user-generated clips, he works side-by-side with his wife and creative confidant and builds an immersive and inviting world on his 2020 debut for Republic Records.
“The music is a Yin and Yang,” he says. “You could study all night to it, or you can freakin’ dance all night to it. I apply elements of pop, funk, soul, hip-hop, and electronic and make something of my own.”
A particularly inspired childhood pointed him towards this future. Dad worked as an editor on blockbusters such as Transformers and shared a reverence for film with LLusion. The two would spend hours on end discussing and dissecting favorite flicks. Listening to Duke Ellington and doo-wop, he went from playing saxophone in class to picking up drums at home. During freshman year, he discovered late Japanese DJ and producer Nujabes, citing his influence as downright seismic.
“I listened to Nujabes, and it changed my life forever,” he recalls. “It was the first time I had ever heard instrumental hip-hop fused with quality jazz. I’d listen to his beats over and over again. At that point, I couldn’t just keep listening to music anymore; I had to make my own.”
Armed with his brother’s old laptop, he quickly progressed as a producer by cooking up hundreds of beats and putting in thousands of hours. At just 16-years-old, he signed to independent label Roots of Society and started to drop music professionally. When he was 17-years-old and living in Las Vegas, he began performing live gigs at local bars and music venues like House of Blues, as a senior in high school. During 2018, he launched his YouTube channel. He slowly but surely built a devout following before uploading a lo-fi rap reimagining of “Sucker” by Jonas Brothers to TikTok in June 2019. Within two weeks, he attracted 100K followers, hovering around 3 million exactly a year later.
His newest track is called, “Sad4good” and we love the smooth vibes that it brings. It almost has a Go-Go feel to it, as the guitar and bass rhythm make you want to spring up and down. This track is one of our favorites we’ve heard lately, and the video fits it very well. It is an animated lyric video that if you are a fan of cartoons, you will seriously love. Check it out below.
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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