Interview with Cel-Man Iller: DeAngilo Chester Willis, born February 24th, 1989, is a fascinating talent emerging from the rich soil of Detroit, Michigan. His artistry ranges from film and illustration to being an admitted author, poet, and fashioniesta but, his main mastery is highlighted in his passion and unique touch for music.
As a producer and lyricist, Illa finds himself as an incomparable voice in touch with something greater than his music and himself. There’s a source of infectious energy feeding his creativity, drawing his talents into one gifted spirit and visionary, Cel-Man Iller.
Where are you from?
I was born of art and the cosmo’s. I was born in Detroit, Michigan. 8 Mile.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been experimenting with music since I was a baby but I didn’t get serious about it until I got my first bass guitar when I was 9 going on 10 and I am currently 28.
How many songs /albums have you released to date?
The first album or tape I released was called “MalFunk-Nation” and since then I have released over 25 more, not to sure on the exact number, I don’t do this for records. Honestly though, not all of my old albums are worth the time or effort to listen to. Yeah, I have put songs together and compiled them into projects before but I didn’t make an album I absolutely wanted to get out there and heard until I released the “Peanut Butter Gundam Demo” in 2009. That’s when my skills as an emcee began to bloom.
Can you tell us about your latest release and the background and inspirations behind it?
The projects I have been putting most of my time into as of lately have all consisted of launching DREADSPERADO to the public. Due to that, the last releases came in a trilogy. The “PBMHLP Vol. 1” teaser was a project that consisted of snippets that were released prior to the release of “Action Bastard” & “WCHBM.” Hosted by (at the time) Asian Barbie aka Tokyo Barbie aka Hiromi Kieri, the tape only consisted of 6 tracks that would be split up into the upcoming projects.
The inspiration behind ACTION BASTARD came to me one night, drinking Sangria and watching Crayon Shin-Chan on Adult Swim. In Detroit, if your an anime fan or an otaku, your most likely going to go to Youmacon, one of the biggest anime conventions to date. I’d been attending the convention since it’s debut and they would always have music performances at their raves and I always wanted to put together a kick-ass album to perform on that stage, cosplaying Action Bastard. What drove that to be the title of the album was my normal ,everyday attire consisting of gun holsters, clips, straps, knives and what have you, plus, being born without my biological father just screamed “ACTION BASTARD!” The album is available on iTunes and Bandcamp and can be streamed via Spotify & Pandora! 7-Tracks on Bandcamp, 9 on iTunes!
For those who don’t want to just jump on the band wagon, I have put together a mixtape that was released the same day. “White Chocobo’s Hate Black Materia” is a 27-Track mixtape, released for free via DatPiff, BandCamp, SoundCloud and more. This was released for people to gather a broader idea of what to expect from me and my endeavors in the near-future.
Both were fully reviewed and featured on Reddits; HipHopHeads.com ( http://hiphopheads.com/blog/listen-action-bastard-w-c-h-b-m-dreadsperado/ )
How have you ended up in the music industry?
Well, I got registered to MTV thanxXx to my manager, Terrell Groggins (My Art My Rules), I’ve gotten shoutouts personally from Danny Brown on twitter and Dope Head on facebook (Bruiser Brigade). My name is just now beginning to circulate around though. This was planned though. I didn’t want to get known until I had a for sure, fire product and that is now!
What do you think of the music industry in 2017?
I don’t know about the music industry cause I don’t fuck with most industrial ideas. The music industry is for factory made artists. I create my own nation and the brand I represent isn’t enslaved to the whim of some rich asshole who has ulterior motives for his company and roster.
Hell yeah, I would love a record deal by one of the companies I know of that is doing their own thing, but none of that is worth selling your humanity and humility for some shit that won’t last forever. I personally feel music is the leading science behind figuring many of the mysteries that plague humanities limitations. It’s the ingenuity and innovative thoughts that spur from the musical “kether” that allows us to think outside of the normal day to day cycle. The future is dependant on art.
Who do you think the most influential artist?
That’s a toughy…I would say the most influential artists to date, for everyone else, would be either Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Future or Quavo.
The most influential artist to me would be the Gorillaz (Del The Funky Homosapien aka Deltron 3030)
He was the initial reason behind the first part of my rap alias being “Cel.” I remember being super young in my room, bumping Heiroglyphics – Oakland Blackouts, No Nutts, all those joints and when Del would spit, I would imagine myself on stage rapping his cold ass bars but instead of saying Del I would replace it with Cel, plus I had this weird fascination with cel-shading…it was a weird phase that still haunts me.
Where did the name Cel-Man come from?
Like I explained earlier, it has some parts to do with Deltron 3030 and virtual reality but really it became concrete when my mother would constantly warn about how I would get salmonella from eating too much raw cookie dough and would die eventually, thus sprung the name Cel-Man Iller, Tha Immortal. Cel-Man Iller is pronounced like salmonella.
Who have you collaborated with so far in your career?
Dre Tha Gremlin, KBOnDaTrack (vibe sessions), Nolan The Ninja (instrumentals), I’m currently working on a Street Fighter beat for Noveliss of Clear Soul Forces, Tru3R3ligion, Miss Sarah Smilez, Christan Staxx, Gio Blauze, but I mainly stick to keeping a small circle.
How do you think you differ from other artists?
The overall ego, perspective, and perception I implement into my art is the leading force behind my infectious style. The thoughts and initial cause I have behind my art. I want to create a world where music and the science behind vibration will inevitably evolve humanity.
Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration?
Pharrell Williams, Del The Funky Homosapien, Eminem, OutKast, YelaWolf, Talib Kweli, Mos Def & Tinashe
What was the first album you bought?
There’s a tricky answer to that because the first CD I bought came with a choice of 2 extra albums so, N.E.R.D – Fly or Die, Snoop Dogg – Ryhthm & Gangsta, & Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Fever To Tell.
What’s your favorite song at the moment?
I mainly only bump local artists that I work with or my own music but I got a couple favorites right now:
Death Grips – Takyon
Pusha T – Alone In Vegas
Dre Tha Gremlin – Waffle House Ft, Okir
Migos – Bars
Peewee Longway – I Start My Day Off Selling Drugs
Okir – Gates
Poe Whosaine – Krayayola
Yakuza Moon – Haagen Daas
Tinashe – Dreams Are Real
If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your draw?
Cel-Man Iller – Vertical Smiles
The damn album has 249 songs, that’s enough to keep me straight without any other music.
What is your favorite saying?
Don’t be angry at God for making the Tiger, give praise for God not giving it wings. – Indian proverb I relate in all my “Tiger Shark” songs
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Building Gundam models, elevating my mind, women, history, culture, match making and altar building and design.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Yes, I am a body piercer on the side. I have 9 piercings and 11 tattoos.
Tell us more about your upcoming project or this new project?
2 words, King Yosef. That’s all you get.
What’s in the pipeline after this project?
I’m not sure, we go contacted by this company in the UK is supposed to be touring us around the world, but we are still waiting on the legal team to get documents together and it’s a lot of paper pushing but it all depends on the touring situation.
Thank you for your time and may you carry on making great, fresh music.
I would love to thank ArtistRack for offering this an option for artists as a platform to get the word out and assisting us in creating awareness of our brands. Stay fresh.