Artist Spotlight: The Illicits

Very few bands could achieve what Blackburn’s The Illicits have without even releasing a single. Forming in 2017, the four-piece have been pricking ears in all the right places as they’ve already ticked off a hefty amount from their bucket lists, including citing Liam Gallagher as a fan.

Already receiving widespread attention locally, George Richards (vocals), Brad Hayes (lead guitar), Joe Mitchell (bass) and Matt Cottam (drums) became the third band to be signed to Alan McGee’s (Oasis, Primal Scream) new label, Creation23, in January. Fellow taste-maker and fashion designer Gary Aspden was drawn to how they’d stormed their regional scene when he witnessed one of their many hometown shows at Sunbird Records, and immediately passed them onto McGee. Before long, Aspden became their manager and McGee had them signing a contract.

The video for their debut release ‘In What World’ premiered on Soccer AM in March, and a week later they performed and were interviewed on the show. This lead to the avid Blackburn Rovers fans having their support matched by the team as the music video was shown during half-time at every home game after its release last season.

Taking inspiration from working-class predecessors such as Joy Division, The Stone Roses and The Jam, their music reflects their post-industrial northern attitude; overdriven, heavy rhythms, blended with melodic guitars and the stark honesty of punk rock. The way they distribute their music also reflects these old school influences as nothing but ‘In What World’ can be found online. This element of mystery just emphasises why you should take any chance you get to see them live as you won’t be able to experience it anywhere else for a while.

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