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Anything but ill

Juno-nominated rock-reggae group, illScarlett, to get World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s outdoor concert series started out right

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After Banff, the boys are heading to Whistler to perform during the TWSSF. They’re opening the outdoor concert series on Friday, April 11, and are also set to take the stage for an evening performance as part of the Kokanee Freeride club series at the Garibaldi Lift Company, with their special blend of pop-infused rock reggae to get the crowd fired up for the action-packed days to follow.

“It’s a real tough week, as you can imagine, for us,” Norman said wryly. “We’re totally stoked, we have a few friends in Whistler and it’s always a good town for us, so we’re totally stoked.”

IllScarlett draws on everything from pop music to “screaming tech metal” to create their unique sound.

“There’s so much that influences us. New bands that we hear, they influence us too, and maybe bands influence us and we don’t even know it,” he said with a laugh.

But they draw their main influences from groups like Sublime, the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Green Day, and the Offspring.

The boys met through high school, and with a few changes to the lineup, illScarlett has been together now for almost seven years. Over that time, they’ve played with some big names — touring with groups like Billy Talent, All American Rejects, and Cypress Hill, to name a few.

“Billy Talent was really cool because those guys are also from Mississauga, so there’s a cool connection we have there, and they’re such down to earth cool dudes that put on amazing rock concerts,” Norman said.

IllScarlett had a few self-released full-length CDs before they signed with Sony and released an EP.

While there are some major differences between indie labels and big names like Sony, at the end of the day, the band wanted to be working with individuals that really cared about their music.

“Major label or independent label, it’s the people who are working there, who are working on your project and who are fighting for you that really matter,” said Norman.

The deal with Sony enabled them to focus on their music, and leave managers and agents to worry about the details.

“They didn’t try and change anything,” said Norman. “I expected they would put us in tighter pants and give us cooler haircuts, but they were just like, ‘nah, do whatever you want, and keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s obviously working.’”

After their TWSSF performances, they plan to fly home to perform with Billy Talent again, in Buffalo. Then, they’ll spend a few months unwinding and working on some new material before they embark on a cross-country tour in June.