Interview with Matt of Illustrations 2014

By Bradley Smith

Since there is not a lot of info online, can you give me some insight into the formation of the band?  What were some of your prominent goals with Illustrations and what inspired you to get together and create your style?  Speaking of that, I would say it is powerful mixture of metal and hardcore,  But I wanted to hear your thoughts as an insider.


We started in 2010, originally with Raymond, myself and a couple of our old friends. Since then weíve gone through numerous line-up changes, until around 2012 when we started jamming with Nico. Victor came into the picture soon after. Cesar just started playing with us on the first tour we did with The Greenery this past year and heís been with us ever since. When we write, we donít go in with a set idea. It all just vibes out. We write music based purely on our own emotion and intuition.


Your debut album, In Vain is hitting the street for the second time, but I am finally getting a chance to hear it.  Can you tell me why it was released twice?  And how would you describe it musically?


We had worked on that record for over two years. Itíd been written for a long time. We werenít exactly sure what we were going to do with it, but weíd had it in our hands for quite a while before deciding to sporadically release it for free online. It just seemed like the best way to go about it at the time. The feedback we received from that was great, so we agreed a vinyl release was a proper next step. I canít personally describe our music. We channeled out any preconceived notions of what kind of band we are or what we should sound like. That may be better suited for the listener.


Illustrations was nominated for The Deli's best emerging artists of 2013.  What does that mean to you?  Plus you made several "best of" lists for 2013.  How does that sort of praise affect and further motivate you as band?  I am sure it doesn't make you complacent at all, but rather invigorates you.


That was pretty sweet to see, though we knew our chances of winning were slim to none, as the other bands nominated had massive local fan-bases. Seeing people even mention our record anywhere is humbling and we appreciate every single thing anyone has to say, whether it be good or bad. I wouldnít say things like that are what motivate us as a band, but they definitely push us to continue working as hard as we possibly can.


What is the cover art to In Vain and why did you choose it?  And since we are on the topic of art, why did you choose the moniker, Illustrations?  How does your band's name affect how you approach the aesthetics of your releases?  And how important do you think aesthetics are in regards to the presentation of Illustrations?


We got in touch with a street artist under the name of Give Up, based out of Houston, TX. Iíd seen his artwork a ton of times in the past and have been a fan for quite a while. The artwork is a photo from an unknown location in Austin. I couldnít even tell you where, but it brought ĎIn Vainí to life the way weíd pictured it. Starting a band is one thing, choosing a name is another, sometimes more difficult process. A good friend of mine helped come up with it years ago when we started. Aesthetically, this band is emotionally driven, and thatís something that continues to show in our art.


Texas recently passed a set of restrictions on medical clinics that perform Abortions that pretty much made the state the most difficult to get an abortion.  One of the state's democratic senators was made famous for her filibuster against this legislation.  I was wondering your thoughts on these restrictions and abortion in general?


Iím not personally well educated on the topic, but as far as Iím concerned Iím part of the pro-choice movement. Women should be able to speak for themselves, just as any other human should. Thatís really all I can say as far as my opinion goes.


Of course the biggest attraction in San Antonio is the Alamo.  Being from San Antonio, what are some of your thoughts on this place and the way it inspires Texans and their attitude on what it means to be from Texas?  And what do you think of Ozzy's permanent ban from San Antonio for pissing on the Alamo?


I think Iíve been inside the Alamo once, but I honestly canít remember. Iíve drank around the outside of it, though. That about sums up my Alamo experiences. I donít really see people talk about the Alamo too much, either. This is all personally speaking, but Ozzy can do whatever he wants, so thereís that. I think he was pardoned ten years after that, anyway.

One of my favorite places to eat in San Antonio is Rudy's BBQ.  And since I am in Kansas City which is home to some of the best BBQ in the nation (allegedly), I was wondering which state made the best BBQ?  What is your opinion and what makes Texas BBQ so good?


Well, as a matter of fact we love Kansas City (shouts out to all of our KC homies). The first time we played there, we were referenced to Oklahoma Joes, in which we ate the most ridiculous pile of BBQ weíd ever seen. We destroyed the whole thing off of the hood of our van within about ten minutes. The second time we came around, we went to Gates. As far as the BBQ game goes in Kansas City, weíre into Oklahoma Joes. Iíve personally only been to a few BBQ spots here in Texas. I guess Iíd have to go with Rudyís on that one as well. Bill Millerís for a close second.


Whenever I visit San Antonio I always stock up on the elixir of the Aztec gods, Tequila.  What are your thoughts on this liquor?  Do you drink it at all or does it hold nightmarish visions of vomiting and such for you?


Fuck, man. Tequila is on my shit list when it comes to liquor, personally. Iíll drink it from time to time, but thatís close to never. Iím pretty sure every time tequila is involved, my night ends rough. Whiskey is my drink of choice. Preferably Jameson.


Aside from the vinyl release of In Vain I was wondering what your near term plans for Illustrations are?  Did you just sign to a new booking agency?  Any upcoming shows that you are looking forward to?  More recordings on the way?


Things are starting to pick up. We just began working with a new agency out of MN, called Siege Booking, so another tour may be a possibility sooner rather than later. As far as other shows, weíre looking at our album release party at the end of this month and a few shows during SXSW. Weíll record again soon.


I'll leave these last few lines to you.  Say what you will and thanks for the interview!  Tell us what are some of the promises of forever that you made?


I appreciate you getting in contact with us for this interview and acknowledging our record the way you have. Thanks to anyone thatís been showing us support and thank you for this opportunity.