The Evolution of ‘Illicit Symphony’


The music industry is a fickle beast and those who live within it are at its mercy when things go awry! Some use strategies to maintain their presence and others fail and fold. The definition of a band itself should be used with caution as the fluidity of the environment can cause breakup of dynamics more than once in a career.

One such case in example is that of Queensland based band Illicit Symphony whom have in their time together experienced the hardships of that fluidity I mentioned and are now coming out the other side. I’m not one for airing dirty laundry – so I won’t.

I’ve listened to their singles – there’s only three that have been released to Spotify and YouTube and already I’m a fan! They have a great traditional rock sound and if nothing else certainly contributes to my ‘Tom Cruise’ impersonation of his broom dance (Risky Business) whilst I’m doing my own boring housework.

Andrew the lead singer draws me in with his smooth vocals and every now and then a vocal rasp that I love to hear…sort of an ‘Oh Yeah – I feel ya!’ moment and the backing vocals and instrumental accompaniments are just as edgy…edgy enough to turn my broom from a microphone into an air guitar – sad I know…but painfully true. This is a true traditional rock band!!!

Intrigued to see what lay in the future I contacted Wayne Hall who is the bass player and spokesperson for Illicit Symphony to gain some more perspective….

Jenny: Hi Wayne – thanks for taking time out to chat with me and for giving the readers an inside view of regrouping after rough times.

Wayne: Hi Jenny, it’s a pleasure to chat with you.  It’s been a bit of a tough slog and for a while seemed like we were taking two steps back for every step we went forward.

Jenny: I understand that your original lead guitarist relocated interstate leaving a hole in the group which you filled with not one but two new guitarists (Mark and Ian) …can you tell us why you chose two and a little bit about Mark and Ian?

Wayne:  Yes, our lead guitarist informed us he was moving to Canberra only a couple of weeks after we recorded and paid for a music video – that he’s in!  As you can imagine, we weren’t very happy.  However, he wasn’t our first guitarist, who played on the album.  That guy had been with us for two years and towards the end, you could see the interest draining out of him.  When he left, he was replaced with “Canberra Man” and after he left, we found an awesome guitarist who loved our music and was keen to join the band but within a couple of weeks, he was dictating what he would and wouldn’t play.  We have an album to perform so we didn’t want him playing vastly different to the songs on the album but he wouldn’t budge, so another fell by the wayside.  Then we found Ian and the night we’d arranged to have an audition with him, an old friend of Dan’s came into Dan’s shop.  The friend was Mark, who is also a very good guitarist.  So we ended up auditioning them both.  They both played well and played well together and both really like our music and where we’re trying to take it.  Andrew, Dan and I discussed it and decided the “fatness” that had been added to our music with a second guitarist far outweighed any argument for only one guitarist.

Jenny: Moving forward, you are now a 5 piece outfit with the makings of being able to punch out some real powerhouse sounds…how’s the planning process for new music going?

Wayne: Yes, we are a 5 piece now and the way some of the songs have changed with that second guitar and 3rd backing vocal have really taken us a step up.  So much more backing harmonies and and harmony guitar leads etc.  Our live show has a lot more impact now.

Regarding new music, we have another 15 or 16 songs we’re working on, on top of our 13 track album.  Some of those news songs we’ve played at gigs and others are still in the “fine tuning” stage.  We’re looking forward to revisiting all those songs now with a fresh run at them with two guitars. 

Jenny: Will you be introducing new genres to include something other than rock…perhaps alternative country?

Wayne: We haven’t discussed changing genres or styles but that’s not to say we wouldn’t.  I couldn’t say that we’d sit down and say “let’s write a country song” but once a song idea is kicked into the ring and we jam around it and work on our individual parts, the song grows arms and legs and what eventually spits out at the end as the final song, may sound nothing like the idea that went in   Even without changing styles, our style has actually evolved and we’ve become a bit rockier and heavier.

Jenny: A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

Wayne: The penguin says “if you like up tempo, guitar driven rock n roll, get to an Illicit Symphony show” and he’s here to Turn The Music Up…

 Jenny: Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?

Wayne: Yes, we’d like more support gigs for established bands and bigger crowds – the bigger the crowd, the bigger the buzz.

Jenny: Any last words?

Wayne: Watch out for us in 2019.  Follow us online and get to a show – you won’t be disappointed.

Despite the hardships I mentioned in the opening paragraphs of the article these guys are rebuilding and drawing on strengths and cohesivity of their combined interests and the best is yet to come!!

There are no photo’s in this article because when you go through change it means ‘EVERYTHING’ – but not the logo! There’ll be new pics, new music and these guys are working hard to achieve new goals. This is one group who will not fold under pressure and I look forward to being a fan for a long time to come.

Fan – to – Be’s can follow Illicit Symphony on their Facebook page here:

Illicit Symphony Logo white on black big

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