What inspired the band to get together?
We had been playing together for a few years prior to the start of Ilenkus and were all at a point in our musical development where we wanted to push and challenge ourselves. To explore heavier and different sounds, make darker, more emotive and raw music. We decided to create this band to try and do that. Over the time we have been playing together it has become increasingly obvious to us that it’s largely about performing live and having an outlet to really let go and and express ourselves. Playing this type of aggressive music is for us a very cathartic process and no more so than during a live show. We are most at home in that setting and the music we write now is geared towards that.
Do you think the Irish hardcore scene gets the respect that it deserves?
Probably not. The mainstream media largely regard the scene as a kind of joke and for the most part ignore it. That’s fine and there are folks within the scene that like it that way and probably want it to remain like that. I don’t prescribe to that point of view. The people playing in these bands put their hearts and souls into it. The people who come to the gig’s are passionate, intelligent and kind people. They enjoy loud chaotic music. It’s a unique environment where aggression, rage and pain can be used in positive way. Aside from media coverage and critical acclaim, I think the scene deserves respect just for that.
Is the scene acknowledged in other countries?
Again, I would have to say no. There is some acknowledgment that comes mostly from smaller and independent media and that’s a good thing but it’s not a huge amount. The heavy music scene in Ireland is very diverse and has some great bands, but not that many of them get out of Ireland and bring their music to a wider audience. We need more that are willing to take the financial hit of travelling abroad to push their music further afield. The more this happens the more notice will be taken. The most important thing though is that the bands are actually quality acts that can hold their own with bands of other countries. Quality is paramount. Not bands nailing a classic style but bands that are current and really doing something of substance. Without that, the view of Irish heavy music won’t change much.
What other bands should we look out for?
Unyielding Love from Belfast are great - they do a kind of bleak noise grind with a lot of raw energy.
Hornets are another excellent Belfast band. Punk fury with elements of D-beat and black metal.
Soothsayer, from Cork are awesome and on their way up. Atmospheric doom/sludge.
Hilary Woods is also doing really great stuff right now, ghostly, gothic and vulnerable pop/folk/electronica.
Another Cork band, Horse just released a cool split. These guys are doing some deadly metal/post hardcore.
Also check out Partholon, Zhora, Bailer, Mortichnia, Molossus.
What was your strangest experience in 2016?
2016 was definitely a strange year for us in many ways; with people’s lives and situations changing unpredictably. Ilenkus consciously made a decision to change our sound and have connected with lots of new people as a result. I guess it’s strange to us because after releasing 2 albums already and playing together for 6 years, you don’t expect that to happen. In 2016 we started working with a bunch of labels across Europe on the release of our EP Hunger, supported some of our international peers, were received excellently at Knockanstockan (while not being a hugely mainstream festival - we still didn’t expect our style of music to go down as well as it did) and even being included in a showcase like this. Most of these things came as a pleasant surprise and definitely made 2016 a strange year for us. We also played a metal festival in Lisdoonvarna. That was really cool and strange.