KnoxZine
KnoxZine

October 28th, 2013
IS THIS THE END OF LiL iFFy?

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Alpha and omega. The beginning and the end. What began as a Harry Potter inspired novelty band has evolved into sophisticated and tight rap music. But, Lil iFFy’s prophecy is nearly fulfilled with the November 2nd release of the band’s third installment: WAND OUT. The Potter references are still there – but this time it’s personal.

LiL iFFY shops the Halloween aisle at Fellini Kroger in North Knoxville.

LiL iFFY ponders life on the Halloween aisle at Fellini Kroger in North Knoxville. Photo: Tovah Love Photography.

LiL iFFy’s front man Wil Wright says, “I never had a blueprint for this project; I never had a plan for the next step. But, toward the end of making the second album, the idea of a trilogy came. I had more or less made up my mind to not beat this to death and to end it while it was going well. If you’re going to release a trilogy, you have to crush the 3rd part. I think we did that. This time next year, we will still be touring the new album.”

The WAND OUT CD and video release concert kicks off at the Pilot Light on Saturday, November 2, at 10:00 PM. An all ages show with an 8-piece orchestra follows the next evening at the Pilot Light beginning at 8:00 PM. The songs will still contain profanity as Wright says, “It’s like muscle memory; it’s hard to remove the profanity from these songs. The audience will be warned in advance of the intense language in the music. We had to do this at Dogwood Arts Rhythm & Blooms, too. One kid’s dad told me, “They have to learn it somewhere. I would rather it be from you.”

LiL iFFY likes his music and his Witch Hazel to be pure.

LiL iFFY likes his music and his Witch Hazel to be pure. Photo: Tovah Love Photography.

Wright says, “The darker, most realistic parts of the [Harry] Potter books mimics real life. Our first album, Wandcore, was about exercising rap cliches. The second album, Wand Ambition, was more real, more serious. It was about 50-50 reality and fantasy. The third album is about my life. It is the best album I’ve written. It was born from people disliking the band, and I deal with that head on. It’s still fun and exciting, but the silliness from the previous albums is gone.”

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Getting ready for another tour. Photo: Tovah Love Photography.

 “Fluffy” is WAND OUT’s harshest response to critics. LiL iFFy is still full of bravado but this time he’s not playing. “Start Believing” and “Fantastic Beast Made” respond to critics by toting the band’s success and continued momentum (there’s even a funny reference to Mr. Winkle.) On the opposite end of the spectrum is 2 DOE (You Can Tell ‘Em), a pretty ballad about a musician’s life on the road. The Harry Potter references are charming, and the catchy chorus makes for a fun sing-a-long. Every female Potter fan will swoon over this song with lyrics like:

And in my dreams I’m always James, but in the end I know I’m Severus

And no one will ever know how close we got to being forever us

And now the road is my girl, and me and her are good and all most days

but when your name comes up they ask me, “Still?” and I say, “Always.”

Wright, also the front man of the rock band Senryu, says, “I had to re-build my musical landscape with LiL iFFy. New rules and new skills to learn. I obsessively prepare. I still practice everyday. The technical part of rapping has been the hardest thing. No one can touch Eminem when it comes to technical skills, but I prefer Kanye West and Danny Brown’s personal style of relating to an audience.”

LiL iFFy’s DJ, Tom Ato (Thomas Thibus), has also shown tremendous growth during the 3 years the band has been together. WAND OUT sports more diverse and complex productions. The group is also rounded out with Playboy Man Baby (Zac Fallon), Baylatrix (Alex Bayless) and special guests Daniel Hart, Yasameen Hoffman-Shahin (The Follies Girls) and Gabrielle Mirville.

This is not photoshopped.

This is not photoshopped.

And all this talk about naysayers? Wright says it’s about 1 out of 10 listeners who don’t like the band. In just three short years, LiL iFFy has released 3 CDs, performed at Bonnaroo, received positive press, surpassed its Kickstarter goal, is on the eve of another tour, and shot to #1 on WUTK’s hip hop music charts this week.

Wright says, “This has been the ride of a life time. I’m just going to keep enjoying it. I’m going to do this until the momentum goes away.”

Lil iFFY cuddles a sickly mandrake outside of Fellini Kroger. Photo: Tovah Love Photography.

Lil iFFY cuddles a sickly mandrake outside of Fellini Kroger. Photo: Tovah Love Photography.

Cover photo by Debra Dylan

Embellishment by Tyler Earles.

© Debra Dylan, 2013.

 

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