Farah x SoccerBible talks to iLL BLU


There’s undoubtedly a collective appreciation when football meets fashion and music, which is why we’re proud to present the artists featured in the Farah X SoccerBible ‘Unity’ collection shoot. Introducing, iLL BLU …

iLL BLU released their debut mixtape ‘THE BLUPRiNT’ in April, showcasing the producing duos sonic diversity in featuring artists such as Krept & Konan, Loski & ZieZie, Unknown T, Wretch 32, Donae’o, MoStack, ZieZie, Sneakbo and more.

With over 50 million streams on Spotify alone, they’ve shone far beyond their UK Funky spotlight, branching out to become a staple name in UK rap and drill.

Music is beautiful in the way it brings people together - how would you describe how important unity is for you?

For us, it’s everything. Without that, we wouldn’t be making music together, in the way we have.

Without it, nothing would be happening. On top of that, as iLL Blu, we collaborate with a lot of different artists so it’s important for us to create that environment where music can be made in a healthy environment in that sense. Unity is a constant narrative for us. Music is incredible in that it crosses barriers in such a strong way. It crosses cultural barriers, racial barriers and it unites us all.

A track is like putting a puzzle together, how satisfying or how harmonious does it feel once a track is made, produced and out there?

It’s very satisfying. We draw from all kinds of worlds. Whether that’s music we’ve listened to when growing up or stuff that we’ve DJ’d we draw inspiration from all over and have worked on house tracks through to everything else. Marrying our sound with the right artist, that’s about fusing something that works. Once all the pieces come together, it’s hugely satisfying as there’s so many moving parts. Just like football players on a team or a brand releasing a collection like Farah and SoccerBible have, there’s a lot of work that goes into an iLL Blu production. Right from the creation of the music through to the music video for release - it’s hugely rewarding when something is released and received well.


Do you like to convey any messages with the music you put out there? Obviously you have a house style and sound but it must be a genuine way to express yourself too isn’t it?

We’re always expressing ourselves through what we do - more often it’s about the artists we bring in and how they can make sure they can get the right message across that they want to – we help make that happen. It’s not always just about creating a banger for the clubs or a track that makes you feel good - of course we always want that but we all take inspiration from things happening around us and when the time is right, it’s important to use your voice and your platform. Going forward, the messaging we put out is focused on what we’re about and what we stand for but when it comes to collaborations we want to help the artist we work with convey what they wanted to get across. We allow the artist the freedom to express themselves.

What is it like to work with such a variation of artists?

It’s incredible and we’ve done a lot. Along the way we’ve worked with artists like James Morrison, JP Cooper and Jake Isaac which are more on the indie side through to Mo Stack who is very spontaneous, Headie One who is very quiet but very thoughtful in the process. We’ve worked with artists at each end of the spectrum. Every artist has a different approach. Some are more measured and very thorough in the way they record and approach things in the studio.

Others are sporadic in the moment and that’s equally as beautiful.

BackroadGee for example – he comes in with nothing written down - it’s pure high energy and fun. Sometimes you don’t know where the songs are going until they get on the mic. You have to quickly adapt to different artists - it’s a unique skill set.

What’s your relationship with football? In a similar way to music, do you like seeing how that can bring people together?

Definitely. With what we’ve seen with all that Marcus Rashford has done over the last year, it’s not just football that footballers do. They can have huge influence over so many things, so many aspects of life. Football is such an enormous thing in this country and across the world. From the age of 2-3 you’ve got kids playing football and already have such a massive love for it. From school to academies, it’s so embedded in our culture. The unity of the fans, footballers becoming closer to fans by speaking up on social issues that need addressing, shows how football can be central to culture. From music, to fashion, it all gets wrapped up in what’s going on in the football world. What we’re seeing in football now with players using their voices is great.


Music and football go hand in hand, fashion makes it the holy trinity - do you like seeing these industries cross over in that way?

Massively. Just like music, it’s interesting to see how different people interpret different styles. Take Ronaldo for example - you could say he is fashionable for some and his influence is huge but does he influence fashion trends? In terms of players that have got to his status level and cultural impact, you’d have to go back to David Beckham. He genuinely shaped trends. He broke expression into the mainstream, even from hair styles. Raheem Sterling is someone from more recent years who has done well to break through and change perceptions. I don’t know how influential they are on the industry of fashion itself but they have so many eyes on them he for example fronted a Clark’s campaign so it shows that link up and how it can work so well.

Fans idolise footballers so if they’re really into something and they shout about it, that will move the needle in fashion, especially with young fans. It definitely is a holy trinity. The Farah Unity collection is fresh.

How much do you look forward to those summer tournaments when England are playing and the weather is good?

The international tournaments are huge. Unity really is the biggest and best thing about these moments. Given the last year, we’ve not had unity because of this pandemic. The feeling that we could have football on the TV, people are out celebrating whether your team has won or lost - it’s the energy that sport brings to a moment. We’ll feel good if the sun is out but we’ll feel better for being together. Like you said, the holy trinity - a different one is sun, football and friends - we’re going to be let out in June and it’s going to be an exciting time for us all.

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