Illusionary Field Unit a band on the verge
In the Oak Hill/Beckley area of West Virginia, there exists a group of friends known collectively as Illusionary Field Unit. Together, they’ve been writing and recording music for the better part of five years now. After writing and performing around the area for some time, the band finally decided to commit their original music to a recording. There was, however, an unfortunate tragedy that struck when the group lost an integral member, drummer, Jon Dutton. He was, according to the band, “the driving force and sound and vision” of the band initially.
Larry Tucker has subsequently filled in for Dutton, becoming their current drummer. It is not lost on Tucker how special Jon was to the band, and he approaches the substitution with grace and complete honor. With that said, it did seem like a logical step to tap Tucker for his talents, as both he and bassist John Ashley have been friends for most of their lives, finding themselves playing in a few bands together over the years.
In 2013, Illusionary Field Unit, now comprised of Kyra Claussen, Andy Duncan, Josh Bibb, Ashley and Tucker, finally released their debut full-length CD, “On the Verge of the Brink”. Since then, IFU has found themselves quite busy and in demand performing in and around their local region with ardent frequency. According to guitarist/vocalist Duncan, they’ve managed to keep busy over the last year by playing at least 20 festivals and shows. That’s the atmosphere in which they seem to feel most comfortable. Bassist John Ashley explains, “Festivals are where our audiences seem to be, so that’s where I think we need to be focusing on.” Tucker adds, ‘Yeah, festivals and colleges are probably where we’re going to find the people who are going to get the most out of the music.”
Over the past year, while playing the festival circuit in the region, IFU also found time to focus on their writing in order to keep the set fresh and record the follow-up CD to “On the Verge” Duncan credits much of the musical creation to lead guitarist Bibb. “Josh can seem to come up with anything,” Duncan explains, “He’ll come to us and say ‘Hey, I’ve got these riffs I’ve been working on. What do you think?’ … and of course it’s good, so we usually build a lot of the songs around what Josh writes and shows us.”
Another effective tool in Illusionary Field Unit’s arsenal is the exceptional voice of Kyra Claussen. Duncan mentions that even though much of the lyrical writing was done from a man’s perspective, it’s not really hard at all to write for Kyra’s and her voice. “I’m pretty easy to get along with,” jokes Claussen, with regard to the lyric writing, “I think it’s kind of funny when I think about Andy and everybody else writing words for a girl to sing.”
All joking aside, IFU is clearly a focused band and serious about what it is that they’re doing, but also what they want to do. After the first of the year, they have tentative plans to try to expand their sonic reach, venturing out to areas where they have yet to perform. As a band, they have a fairly solid idea of what they not only want to do, but what they feel needs to be done in order to proliferate their music and have it heard by as many concertgoers as possible.
Guitarist and vocalist Duncan, mentions that they are quite a prolific group of musicians and have a whole slew of songs that are close to being, if not already, completed and ready for the recording studio. Duncan adds, “While we do have a lot of songs that are ready, we’re thinking that we’re just recording two of them at first and work with the music in a smaller way at first.” This leaves much to the imagination as to what IFU might have up their collective sleeves for the near future, in addition to what their plans are for later on in the year and down the line.
Any way it goes, Illusionary Field Unit are a group of five friends that clearly love making music together and always enjoy what they do. Ashley contends that they’re going to continue to pursue the festivals, so be sure to stay on the lookout for the gang this coming spring and summer. They’ve got a really good, solid CD for sale at the moment, plus it’s most likely that they’ll be putting several of those newer tracks in their live repertoire as well. And if there’s any hesitation or apprehension about what to expect at an Illusionary Field Unit performance, remember the words Andy Duncan leaves us with in closing: “Give us 15 minutes and I promise that you’ll stay until it’s over.”