If you were to ever meet Atlanta-based Alex Horton and judge him by his cover, you’d see a congenial, hipster-esque, self-proclaimed “science fiction nerd” who wants to go higher than the heights of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Guy Bluford. Yet on further examination, you would be thrilled to find out that Alex is also IlldotLogic, a independent tour-de-force to be reckoned with. Currently forging his one-of-a-kind sounds and imaginative visions in today’s popular hip-hop music, SoulTrain.Com caught up with IlldotLogic to discuss a multitude of topics including his supremely exciting latest album Dreams In Stereo and his breathtaking, eye-catching music videos.
SoulTrain.com: When you were young, did you ever want to be something else or did you know square away that you wanted to be a musician?
IlldotLogic: Well, I still want to be something else! [Laughs.] When I was a kid, I really wanted to be an astronaut. I’m still holding out hope, even though the space program is not currently of its former glory. With the way things are with commercial space flights, however, it looks like in the next twenty years or so I might possibly be able to actually go to outer space! That’s really cool to me and I really hope I can be able to do something like that.
In high school, I did acting a lot and took drama classes and actually went to Florida State University for a year to pursue acting, but I ended up discovering how much I liked music and from there it took off.
ST: So, this magical musical journey started in high school?
IdL: Yes. I started making music back in high school. Started rapping at 13 or 14, made mix-tapes and kept doing it all throughout.
ST: Did you start producing during this time?
IdL: That shift began in college. From there, after I graduated, I moved to Atlanta and started writing reference songs for other people. I ended up liking the songs I came up with and my voice! At that point, it again started shifting: This time, from rapping and producing to more so producing, singing and songwriting.
ST: All of your mix-tapes and albums are conceptualized from beginning to end. What’s the story behind your latest release, Dreams In Stereo?
IdL: When you go to bed at night and dream, while you can have a variety of dreams occur in the same night, in most cases you’re not going to have the same dream twice. Each has a different feel, different soundscape. I wanted to capture those feelings and visions sonically, so in Dreams In Stereo essentially each song is like a different kind of dream, but all has a cohesive quality where you can tell it comes from the same body of work. Even the vocal melodies are different as well as usage of several instruments.
ST: With the album and videos being as vivid as they are, dare I ask where you draw your inspiration?
IdL: You know, I’ve gotten this question before and it’s always an interesting one. A lot of people will say, “Oh, I’m inspired by other artists,” but with me, I’m often inspired by feelings and experiences. Nature. Like seeing the power of a hurricane or even a sunrise and thinking, ‘how would it sound if it had a soundtrack?’
ST: I guess one can assume that can also be your general approach to music?
IdL: Somewhat. When I make music, I try to capture that and really just get something to where you could understand what I was feeling as soon as the beat drops and starts flowing. My whole frame of mind is that I want to make music that I would enjoy listening to, where I would like it and other people would like it, too. I would also like to think that most people have their iPods laced with a variety of music and not as one-dimensional as they used to be. We still have those people that say “I only listen to heavy metal” or “I only listen to gangsta rap,” but that’s only a small few of us. The majority of the public will listen to almost everything if it’s good.
ST: Subjectively speaking, of course.
ST: With the accompanying videos from this album, which are quite amazing, are the visuals from the records you are hoping they portray, being thoroughly projected?
IdL: Yes, and thank you. I wanted to definitely have that visual element because the songs themselves are quite visual when you listen to them. It’s kind of like when I make music: Since I’m a producer as well, I’ll start out making a beat like “I wanna make this beat that sounds like this feeling.” So I’ll make that and once I have that feeling, I want to write something that takes that feeling to the next level, putting a face to it. With the visual next, you put that original emotion and feeling to yet another level.
ST: I noticed that Ryan Lightbourn directed all of your videos from the album. He’s becoming quite an exceptional force in some circles with terrific work, including the pieces he’s done with you. How did this collaboration come about?
IdL: I heard of him from my old manager insisting we get a video out for the project. I talked to [Ryan] back and forth for a few months for the first music video “Follow Me” and it all just came together. We shot it all on location right outside of Jacksonville in Orange Park, Florida on the Saint Johns River.
ST: Since you moved to Atlanta to expand your opportunities, was it your idea to come back to your hometown to record the video?
IdL: Yes. The thing is that you don’t really realize how many different beautiful looking places there are around you in your hometown when you live there. We managed to get a nice visual sense of just that and the video came with a really cool kind of feeling.
ST: Out of all of the experiences you had as a songwriter, singer/rapper and producer, what have been some of the most notable and why?
IdL: Ah! We’re going back about 10 years! [Laughs.] I remember some really great shows that I’ve had that were excellent and a whole lot of fun. I can also name especially shooting the music videos. Just getting all of that together and knowing that I created this from start to finish, you know? I had these ideas and now other people can see these ideas! Just putting out an album in itself. A lot of people don’t understand how hard that is.
IdL: Besides financing everything. Getting everything together: the pictures, the looks, and the graphics. Everything to have something tangible in your hands; it’s an amazing feeling. In fact, I think that the process of creating something that somebody else can experience is where I get the most enjoyment. And then you have to sell them. [Laughs.]
ST: With that, as an independent artist, are there any other disadvantages?
IdL: It’s incredibly stressful and very expensive. You may have the best music in the world and sometimes it seems nobody will ever know.
ST: Definitely know that feeling well.
IdL: At the same time, though, if you love it and can’t see yourself doing anything else – I understand it as it’s where I’m at now – go forth and make this an interesting experience.
ST: Thank you very much for joining us, Illdot! Any final words you’d like to share with the SoulTrain.com audience?
IdL: I think that it’s great to have such an appreciation of music in a community like Soul Train and SOULTRAINFANS that appreciate music so much that they have been collectively doing it for over 40 years. It’s quite magical to see that music is not dying and that it’s alive and well. It’s a very beautiful thing. I would like thank you all for keeping it alive and having me here. It’s a blessed experience.
“Dreams In Stereo” is now available on iTunes and the deluxe edition, bundled with the video DVD, will be available soon!
Nick “NickFRESH” Puzo is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest Soul Train fan community, SOULTRAINFANS.COM. He’s a DJ, producer, re-mixer, announcer, actor, and journalist based out of Florida. Feel free to check out Nick’s adventures on NickFRESH.com and follow @NickFRESH on Twitter.