To celebrate the launch of our brand new website, we’re taking a moment to talk to Certified Jackin’s long time partner and friend Phil Dolman – also known as ILL PHIL.
Since we formed back in 2011, ILL PHIL has been integral to the growth and reputation of our online presence and within the club scene, bringing out regular mix tapes filled with unbelievable tracks that have been listed to millions of times across the world, something we never expected when starting the brand way back when.
His style of music is big, bouncy and full of energy and this is reflected massively in his DJ sets, as well as his productions and collaborations with the likes of Lorenzo, Chris Gresswell and many more.
Phil began to master his craft over ten years ago, and he has come a long way since then, playing all around the world for hundreds of thousands of highly appreciative ravers.
We managed to take some time out to talk with the man himself.
CJ: Hi Phil, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us today, it’s really appreciated.
Firstly, how did it all start in the world of music for you, and how easy was it to start making a name for yourself?
Phil: Hi guys, it started about 14 years ago for me, I had always been into music way before that but I never took it anywhere. I got my first pair or of Technics at 17 and paid for myself to go through a DJ academy in Birmingham. I didn’t really make a name for myself for the first few years, I just played in local bars and gave as many mix CD’s out as I could. We didn’t have SoundCloud or anything like that back then, and it wasn’t so easy to get heard. I only really started to get decent gigs when I was around 19 years old. I then moved to Ibiza for the season in 2007 and never looked back, that was certainly a turning point for me.
What styles of music have you played from when you started out, to the present day sound we can hear from you?
I started out with Funky House, that’s what I learnt to DJ with, but before that I used to love Trance, I was always in God’s Kitchen. From there it went to Electro, Fidget, Jackin’ House and more currently what I do today, which I guess is a mixture of all of that.
How did your relationship with Certified Jackin come to be?
Around 3 years ago, I used to talk to Alex quite a bit about the channel and the music he posted, it always amazed me how he had grown the brand so well. Anyway, we both needed a musical direction change at the end of 2012, and it only seemed right to offer him a mix – something a little different for his audience and mine. I never thought we would make it a big thing, or do as many as I have done today!
Who is the most technically gifted producer you have worked with over the years and the DJ who gets the crowd going the most? (Other than yourself, obviously!)
The most gifted producer I’ve ever worked with would be Lorenzo, without a doubt. I miss doing tunes with that guy; I’ve never known energy in a studio quite like it. As for DJ’s who get the crowd going, my good mate Low Steppa is a real talent when it comes to controlling a crowd, he really works the dance floor!
What are the biggest and best gigs you’ve ever played?
My biggest gig to date was with Will Bailey when we did a project called Bass Weazal a few years ago, we played at the Kosmic Festival in LA to 10,000 people. I’ve never experienced anything quite like that, truly a life changing moment for me!
“I’ve never experienced anything quite like that, truly a life changing moment for me!”
Where is the furthest away you have ever played a set?
The furthest away I’ve ever played was South Korea. I did a few tours out there in 2010/2011; it’s such an amazing place to DJ. I’ve never seen crowds so up for it!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given throughout your career in music?
I’ve had so much over the years so it’s hard to really pin point the best piece of advice but when I first started out, a lad from the North of England called Lee Crowther gave me a chance at my first out of town show. I used to spend a lot of time up there with him, and ended up moving to Leeds because of it. So just being around him and watching how he did things was probably the best advice/learning I ever had!
What are your plans away from music in the immediate future, and going forward in years to come?
In this game, you never know how long it will last, so you just keep going 24/7. Every day in this job is a blessing; I always wanted to be a DJ and here I am, doing it full time. I’ll just keep knocking out tunes and mixes, doing my best to keep the clubbers happy, that’s always what I’ve been about!
How do you see the UK House/Bass scene heading over the next 12 months?
I think it will change a little, it’s nice to see the tempo of music creeping back up again, seems like the deep house trend may be coming to a close. For me I think people will always love energetic music with a bassline, and I never intend to change that aspect of my music and my DJ sets.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who aspires to make it as a DJ, what would it be?
Always support your own music, because if you don’t… nobody else will!
You can catch ILL PHIL playing across the UK and beyond this year, and his schedule is packed, so you will have ample opportunities to catch him tearing up the dance floor over the coming months.
He will of course be playing for us at our 2016 shows, and we can’t wait to see what tracks he cooks up in the meantime.