Checking In: Blackillac Begins Recording Its Debut
ATX MCs keeps their eyes on the prize
By Raoul Hernandez,
10:10AM, Tue. Apr. 21, 2020
Guns N’ Roses, Lizzo, Rosalía, Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish, the Cure: How to top ACL Fest 2019? Austin’s Blackillac, of course. Phranchyze and Zeale spit roast their second-weekend-only 11:45am Saturday slot as if Zilker Park closed at noon – dynamic, urgent, valedictorian. No wonder Gary Clark Jr. shares his beats with the ATX rappers.
Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?
Phranchyze: At home. Kids’ daycare is closed, so we’re all just hanging together. We play a lot of Madden and watch a lot of Disney +.
AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
Zeale: COVID-19 really hit us a few days before SXSW. We had some big shows scheduled and were coming off the momentum of winning Best Hip Hop/Rap at the Austin Music Awards 2020. We missed out on some good opportunities, but we’ve been using this time to work on our debut album and new content.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person – at a show, at Central Market, at SXSW?
P: Consumption model has changed, but people will always consume music. For any sea change, the consumption models adjust. Doesn’t means it’s over.
AC: Everyone is having to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
Z: I got stuck here in Austin. I was supposed to return to L.A. shortly after SXSW. However, it seems to have worked out for the best. I can kick it with my family and work on the album with Phran. Shows have changed to livestream formats, so we’re just exploring that space.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
P: My soundtrack is Jack Harlow’s “Sweet Action.” Music plays the role of keeping me focused on our goals for Blackillac.
Z: My soundtrack has been Spotify Playlist. I bump a meditation and focus-themed playlist in the morning, and at night I found a bedtime stories for adults playlist. Puts me right to sleep instead of reflecting on all the crazy stuff happening right now.