Invisible Light Agency (or simply ILA) are Jim Vernon (Casual Crypt) & Eldita Tarani, an intercontinental duo recording original music led by Tarani’s soothing vocals backed by Vernon’s magic musical backdrops. Needle to the Groove is proud to release their newest self-titled EP later this year on limited vinyl & cassette.
Tell us how you met.
ET: We met through music and the powerful connection of our musical influences, so somehow, the fact that we appreciated similar music and the same musical geniuses created an opportunity to be introduced to one another, even though we come from two totally different cultures. Initially, I had heard about Jim and his other projects, but early on, I missed the chance to meet him even though he played a show in my city of San Jose. Yet Millhows Villanueva, our mutual artist friend, insisted that we had to meet each other, for something awesome might happen in the world of music. And it did. Meeting Jim instantly felt that I had met a strong musical ally and to this day it’s such a treat to have someone who understands and appreciates my artistic world.
What’s your first memory of Jim?
ET: My first memory of Jim is of a mutual rendition of ‘Baby Lulu’, a Stereolab song from the album “Soundust” in Millhows’ studio, something that felt out of this world at the time.
Describe for us how you came up with the name, ILA?
JV: We had about 100 previous band name ideas. Some of the rejected ones that I remember were Bubu Lubu, and Total Swirl! I loved those as well. The band name is Invisible Light Agency, – ILA is short for that. Invisible Light Agency is based on some very weird stuff. It’s rather dark and doesn’t have anything to do with our decision for the name, other than we liked the sound of an “Invisible Light Agency.” You can google the name for more info if you want to go down a seriously strange rabbit hole. Now, we just refer to ourselves as ILA. I-L-A. It has its own meaning to us. It’s become who we are.
Which musicians influence ILA’s sound?
ET: We strive to keep ILA original. Each song is its own story but belonging to a uniform realm of our imagination. That being said, I feel that we can’t escape being influenced by bands and artists that shaped our musical preferences, some of them being bands like Stereolab, Broadcast, Dungen, Francis Bebey, Corridors, and many more artists from that world.
JV: If I were to name a few bands/musicians that influence my take on writing with ILA I’d have to go with Stereolab, Broadcast, The Raincoats, Jeanette, Wendy and Bonnie, Quarteto Em Cy, Arthur Russell, Can, among many others.
What are some of your most profound influences?
ET: Personally, I feel that my contribution to our sound is influenced by reminisces of music I first adored in my childhood and teen years. The kind my father introduced me too, you know, the usual stuff that gets one ready to embark on a journey of chasing complex and out of the ordinary sounds… think Syd Barrett (early Pink Floyd), David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Hendrix, the Velvet Underground or even the weird side of the Beatles. However, what the seasoned listener might feel has influenced our sound are bands that molded my later days music taste, bands I mentioned above (Stereolab, Broadcast, Dungen, Francis Bebey, Corridors, even Melody’s Echo Chamber) although discovered quite late.
What are some of your other musical influences besides what was mentioned?
JV: Lately I’ve been getting influenced by magazines. I’ve been buying old Omni science publications from the 1980s. They have really weird articles and artwork. I just open a page and look at it while I’m recording something. It sets a mood. You might even see some of the artwork in our album art collages.
So, you have a new EP coming out this spring/summer. What songs really stand out to you?
ET: Lonely Mountain Goat (LMG) and Logic Simple speak to me the most. In fact, LMG was the favorite song of my father who is not with us physically anymore, and it highly reminds me of him. I think we decided to dedicate that song to him, our greatest supporter.
JV: The Lonely Mountain Goat and Pink Lagoon are the most interesting to my ears.
Releasing music during covid has numerous challenges for indie bands. How do you want fans to be able to enjoy your music aside from streaming songs online?
ET: ILA is a story of intercontinental love for music, one that definitely should be shared together with our music. So as far as promotion goes, I could see a small booklet with photos and stories of our songs, stickers, T-shirts. And maybe since we are an intercontinental band, postcards with a cool design can be a reminder that music can work also through distance. Obviously, promotion through social media would be a great strategy to get the word for our record out there. Additionally, we were thinking to also have a modest band website presence (something simple and made by us) – this is TBD.
Do you feel like your music would be well received outside of the US? If so, where?
ET: The release could do well in Kosovo, my home country, however I should remind you that it is a highly unregulated market (meaning music is still highly obtained through piracy since there are no proper labels to sell international music) and the market is quite small. However, a lot of support and opportunity for shows can be found there. Additionally, I have a gut feeling that UK could be a good market for our music. And also recently, I found that we have a lot of listeners in Serbia due to a music blog/radio sharing our music and praising it (an older project with an initial ILA sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHjCdQ7T2ok). It was interesting to observe how music has broken some political barriers given that Kosovo and Serbia don’t share good political relations pertaining to a genocide that devastated Kosovo in 1999. The praise had to do with our sound, obviously, originality as well as the cultural elevation of Kosovar artists in the world (US in this case).
JV: Kosovo/Serbia, and markets where Albanian is spoken.
With inspiration from bands like Stereolab, Broadcast, & krautrockers, Can, the group have a strong footing in similar music which united their individual cultures and musical aesthetics. Their new self-titled EP – was recorded mostly in the summer of 2018 and is dedicated to the memory of Eldita’s father, Elmir Tarani, a beloved musician and staunch supporter of the band. Check for Invisible Light Agency’s debut vinyl EP coming this spring on Needle to the Groove.
Listen to their 2016 EP – Life Beyond Clocks