Travelling Ills
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Travelling Ills

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Los Angeles, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Rock

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"A Case of the Travelling Ills"

A Case of the Travelling Ills
Local band blends punk, jazz and blues

by Robert Figone March 11, 2015

Cassandra Cronin, Connor Cronin, Jared Frazier and Dan Cato (left to right) of the Travelling Ills will perform at The Crepe Place on March 12 at 9 p.m.

What started as a New Year’s resolution in 2014 quickly became a lifestyle for singer Cassandra Cronin, guitarist Connor Cronin, drummer Jared Frazier and bassist Dan Cato. The Travelling Ills, or The Ills for short, has brought its unique blend of sounds to the Central Coast, fusing punk, jazz and alternative sounds to create a blues-drenched aesthetic.

“The band plays swampy, heavy, thick music laden with a brash rock and roll attitude,” said Nano Guijosa, guitarist of local band The Redlight District. “It’s very impassioned music, which is a trait all good music shares.”

Siblings Cassandra and Connor played music together for a long time before Cassandra met Jared at UC Santa Cruz. Cassandra recalled meeting Jared while working at KZSC and bonding over their similar taste in music. After going on a trip to a University of California Radio Network conference, the two began playing music together.

The band played as a three-piece for several months, influenced by the makeup of The White Stripes. It wasn’t until the following summer when the band found Dan on Craigslist while in search of a bassist. The group was impressed with Dan’s audition, and within that same week Dan had memorized all of the band’s songs and began performing with The Ills.

“It’s crazy because we had about 10 songs already written and it’s impossible to learn that amount in as many days as we gave him but he’s a trooper and he did it,” Cassandra said. “He had this whole binder with each of our songs and all of these notes and code words that weren’t even musical terms.”

The four band members spent the week building up to their first performance practicing on a houseboat provided for them by the Lake Shasta Bridge Bay Resort.

“It was an excellent way to join a band, playing rock and roll on a boat going top speed and generally being a maniac,” Dan said. “Ever since then we’ve been the best of friends.”

The band embodies a do-it-yourself mentality, using any available space it can to record. From Connor’s old high school music room to Dan’s bedroom, the music stands on its own legs regardless of the setting. Limited resources pushed The Ills to follow a recording method similar to some of the 1960s groups that the band idolizes.

“We do all of our recordings live,” Jared said. “We treat the recording session as a performance with everyone in the studio, because there’s a certain energy there that you can’t necessarily get when you’re doing things separately and to the book.”

The band is excited for the future, as growing resources only increase the amount of possibility to be found in recording.

“Someone in the community by the name of Ian Thornburgh who records other artists offered to do some recordings for us. That’s where we got our latest song ‘Volver.’ We’re pretty happy with it,” Jared said.

“Volver” showcases the band’s varied writing process, where songs include everything from jamming to personal dreams of the band members.

“I don’t know if it’s a good way to live, but I actually take serious ideas from my dreams and bring them into life,” Cassandra said. “With ‘Volver’ I was having some moral dilemma in a dream that I was dealing with for the rest of the day. A lot of people have this experience where they’ve done something and they’re not sure if it was right or wrong because they haven’t seen the consequences yet.”

Many of the band’s songs stemmed out of Connor and Cassandra’s “sibling telepathy.”

“A lot of times we’ll both be writing something independently and we’ll discover that they go weirdly well together,” Cassandra said. “Usually we come to [the band] with a melody, a hook and how we want the song to sound. From there, it’s like a pile of bones that the band puts together.”

The band aims to entertain its audiences by being as energetic as possible. Dan said he hopes the band can create a space for band members and audience members alike to be open without fear of judgment.

“When you let it all out, when you really inhabit the spirit of rock and roll, people will absorb that and they will give you energy back,” Dan said. “I’ve never played a show, not even to the most sleepwalking, freakin’ shoegazing crowd, where we still didn’t elicit some sort of response from them by just laying it out there.”

With its music, the band wishes to impart meaning that couldn’t be expressed through any other medium. Connor explained how music can resonate with someone if the creator’s ideas are conveyed effectively.

“The music extends outside of ourselves,” Connor said. “When you enjoy your favorite band, the music becomes yours. As soon as our music isn’t just ours and it becomes someone else’s, that’s when we’ve accomplished something.”

The band’s next release is tentatively titled “Out of Luck EP.” For more information about the band, visit it on Facebook or Bandcamp. - City on a Hill Press


"The Traveling ILLS release new music video “Rain On My Parade”"

Billy Bragg once lamented the near impossibility of mixing "pop with politics" over twenty years ago, but Santa Cruz-based rockers The Traveling Ills seemingly have no problem tackling the very serious issue of the California drought in their latest music video "Rain On My Parade." It's an acerbic depiction of society's wasteful ways, comparing an inebriated night out on the town with our often careless consumption of the resources around us. After all, the patrons of this bar aren't getting plastered off booze: they're downing water like there's no tomorrow.

The song itself is a straight-up hip-shaker filled with bluesy horns and a funky beat, luring the listener into the party and then hitting them with the deeper message. It was written as an attempt to make environmental issues more visible through the local arts scene, a term that's been dubbed "ecocore" within the community. For more information on the movement, as well as performance artists Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle who helped the group land a grant to film the video, check out the Ecosexual website.

In the meantime, enjoy the music! - The Bay Bridged


"Noise Pop 2015: Benders Happy Hour with Wild Eyes, War Cloud, The Traveling Ills"

Noise Pop Happy Hour 2: The Re-Drinkening.

With an aching liver and a head still thumping from the previous night's show, I braced myself for another evening of heavy rock n' roll courtesy of Bender's. Looking at the packed bar I could see this crowd was a much different breed: Studded jackets, neck tattoos, Death and Electric Wizard patches, caveman facial hair, pierced noses, lips and eyes. Things were gonna get loud. Earplugs are for the weak.

War Cloud kicked things off with colossal riffs that would make Jimmy Page smile and drum fills that would make Keith Moon proud. Raid my vinyl collection and you could come up with a hundred or so comparisons: Sabotage-era Sabbath, Deep Purple at their most menacing, even a little Ted Nugent swagger thrown in for good measure. They play the kind of music that makes me feel like a fifteen-year-old again, wishing I was around to experience the decadent, hard-rocking '70s in all its hedonistic grandeur. Scintillating solos, sexy bass lines, stoner-cool persona - this band had it all.

Next up was the Traveling Ills, traveling all the way from Santa Cruz to be part of the Noise Pop experience. Another killer act that wowed the audience even after a bass amp malfunction threatened to derail their danceable garage rock sound. They were able to fill the gap with an impromptu rendition of Zeppelin's "Over The Hills And Far Away," with singer Cassandra Cronin nailing the lead vocal line, then proceeded to energize the crowd with a set of catchy, dirty rock reminiscent of Shocking Blue and Jefferson Airplane.

Wild Eyes closed things out with a performance that will have my ears ringing for days (earplugs are for the weak, just keep telling yourself that). Incredible drumming, riveting stage presence from each member, and a sound so huge you wonder how the bar could possibly sustain a volume of such magnitude, this band ended the show with a bang to say the least. More like an atomic bomb explosion. It's nice to know rock n' roll never died. - The Bay Bridged


"TRAVELLING ILLS"

Few bands have a theme song. Local heavy alt-rockers Travelling Ills do, but they kind of did it backward, since the song came before the name.

“It wasn’t really intended it to be a theme song,” says singer Cassandra Cronin. “It’s actually how the band got its name. I wanted to write a pop song. I felt like we were getting too sludgy-blues-y. We had a really dumb name before that, Gato Vato. Travelling Ills was part of the song. We were like, ‘why don’t we just call our band Travelling Ills?’”

They made a video for the song, too, so it remains their most recognizable song on the Internet. The tune has elements of pop-punk and ’90s alt-rock in the vein of groups like L7 and the Breeders. But most of their music falls more in the spectrum of groups like Mudhoney and the White Stripes.

The group’s roots go back to a simple conversation between Cronin and her brother Conner, who plays the guitar. They started playing shows when they added drummer Jared Frazier to the band, even though they didn’t have a bass player.

“It felt weird playing without a bass player,” Cronin says. “We thought maybe we could persevere and not have a bass player, but it was just a weird thing and felt too derivative of the ’90s rock thing, and we just wanted a fuller sound.”

Their current bass player, Dan Cato Wilson, was the second person they auditioned. He clicked instantly. Wilson also came armed with recording expertise. While the Traveling Ills have plenty of lo-fi recordings with Wilson’s help they’ve been working on a batch of better-produced tunes for the soon to be released “Out of Luck” EP.

INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 4. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-4135. Photo: Alexander Posis - Good Times Weekly


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Los Angeles-based 'crossover' rock group the Travelling Ills has started passing around the new "Out of Luck" EP and since gaining their foothold as a band in Santa Cruz, many listeners have taken a hit and are feeling the spirit. The female-fronted group, founded by rock & hip-hop acolytes Cassandra [vocalist] and young Connor [guitar], recruited jazz-frenzied drummer Jared Frazier and killer bassist Philippe Mark to form a strange hybrid of rock, jazz, pop and hip-hop that will excite the mind and quicken one's pulse. The world has only known them since this summer and they have already hammered out two LP's worth of material, so even if you decidedly don't keep your eyes peeled for their name, it will find you and it very well might kill you.

Band Members