You know those moments when you get sucked in by a TV and end up watching the rest of whatever is on? That occasionally happens to me with music, and that was how I fell headfirst into Illestry’s “Howard Ave” EP. Seeing it in my Soundcloud feed, I decided to check it out and was so entranced by the cinematic intro track that I stopped what I was doing and just continued listening intently.

Howard Ave is an ode to the street I grew up on. It’s where I started this crazy musical journey. Each song is titled after a place or memory of my childhood. Hopefully these songs give you that same nostalgic feeling I got while creating them :).

– Darren Westby, Description of “Howard Ave.” EP on Soundcloud

Hailing from Long Beach, Darren Westby’s introduction to electronic production is similar enough to that of many other producers these days. He started out playing saxophone and after hearing Skrillex decided to try his hand at making beats on a laptop before going all in and attending production school at Icon Collective.

My friend wanted to start a DJ duo but since we had no idea how to DJ or produce we decide he will learn DJ’ing and I will learn to write songs. So for the next two years we put out horrible electro house tracks under the alias of Party Bergade (spelled wrong) which later switched to Colosal (also spelled wrong). I actually think the Colosal Soundcloud is still active.

– Darren Westby, aka Illestry

What is not similar about Westby’s story is the music that he creates under the name Illestry. His sound, particularly on “Howard Ave.,” is a musical paradox. It is huge and encompassing, yet timid at times. It is modern, yet it makes the listener feel nostalgic. It helps clear the mind, yet it makes you think. It sounds familiar, yet it is unlike anything you’ve heard before. Above all though, the Illestry sound is brimming with real emotion that is shared between the artist and the listener, and really, isn’t that why we listen to music?

The point of the project for me was to steer away from house music and into a hybrid of everything I knew and loved about music but shared on an electronic platform. As far as a goal for the project I have this crazy Idea for a live show that involves virtual reality visuals and a surround sound system, but clearly I am still far from this goal.

– Darren Westby, aka Illestry

Keep an eye on Illestry by following him on FacebookSoundcloud and his official website. You can download “Howard Ave.” for free, but as always we HIGHLY suggest that you support great music by paying and spreading the word.