Enjoying The Process with Ila Brugal

I feel really lucky having always been surrounded by driven and inspiring individuals, who expanded my mind and made music a fundamental part of my life. From a really young age, one of my first memories growing up is my dad playing his guitar in the living room really late at night. My family turned to music to celebrate both good and bad times in life and I’ve been really interested in how music affects people. I also used to write short stories, journals and poems when I was younger, however with time I felt that just by writing I couldn’t document and express my life to the fullest, until one day I figured that I could still do it using a different medium. With photography, I learned a different language and started using the lens instead of a pen to document what was going on in my life.

My upbringing in Italy has given me a great musical education. My mates Numa Crew, are a sick collective of producers and DJ’s who always pushed the UK sound in Florence, my hometown. I remember going to so many dances and raves, I would immerge in such an amazing sound and was always curious to learn more about it. I started doing my own research and loved getting lost in the vibes of so many great artists out there. Buying music every week and discovering new genres, new labels, is so inspiring to me. In the meantime I started shooting a monthly dubstep gig organised by some friends in Parma, Italy, that had a huge sound system. It was literally a wall of speakers that was mapped with sick visuals and light works, it was massive. I remember getting goosebumps in front of a big sound system like that and to this day the feeling hasn’t changed. The energy of the artists, the people, the sound, I felt like I had to document such a mad vibe. After a few months I also started shooting in Florence for my friends Numa Crew, who have always organised sick events with international guests. The music was always on point and between Florence and Parma, I got to shoot lots of big names in the scene like Mala, Swindle, Sukh Knight, Icicle, and Dub Phyzix.

That same year I went to Outlook Festival and I was completely blown away. It was such an amazingly intense experience that made me realise I wanted to pursue photography and music seriously. After that, I was so inspired that I started thinking about leaving Florence and follow the music where it took me. I could barely speak english back then, but somehow I felt confident enough to jump into this crazy adventure. I thought that although I might not speak english, we all feel the bass when it drops, no matter where you come from or what language you speak, that intensity is the same for all of us. It is a universal language and we all understand it. Most importantly, I could talk through my pictures and that’s all that I needed to express myself. A few months later I was on a plane to London, camera in hand, digging in record shops and collecting a few vinyls too. Moving to London definitely changed my approach to photography and to music. It took me a while to get things moving and find my place in the industry. When I first moved here I was mainly working a lot to support myself, learning the language, going to gigs and taking a few snaps for fun. Life, as we know, isn’t always smooth sailings unfortunately and I ended up going through some really rough times in my personal life. It was hard to stay motivated and it took me a while to get back on my feet (literally), but little by little I started seeing things more clearly and I remembered why I chose to live in London in the first place. I love living in a place that is an amazing source of talent and energy where inspiration is everywhere. Luckily I had the chance to upgrade my gear, I got myself a new camera and started shooting again. Of course, gigs and music were my favourite subject as always.

Most of us involved in the music and photography industries are driven because it’s our true passion. I personally feel like a great live music photo should reflect the atmosphere of the concert and should give the observer the experience of being there. I like to shoot in the dark, it’s a little more challenging when you need to struggle a bit to get a good shot, but it ends up being very rewarding. I enjoy playing with the lighting and try to work with it instead of using a flash, by placing myself at the right spot at the right second. I feel that my approach to shooting is what gives my images my signature. I want my pictures to tell you who took them without the need to put my name on them. I like getting creative while I shoot, I don’t mind having to climb or lie on the floor to get the shot I want and as soon as I get it I can’t wait to get in front of my computer to start doing post production. That’s when an idea develops into reality. I take both crazy colourful pics and cold black and white ones and usually base the editing on what kind of vibes I want to share. The postproduction process in my shots is quite strong, I feel like it plays an important role in digital photography and sometimes can make some already cool shots, epic.

I am learning a lot about myself and how I see and interpret things through my lens. I’ve noticed that my persistence and willingness to take risks is stronger than I thought. It doesn’t always work out but this is what makes me learn and eventually grow. I really love what I’m doing right now. I feel challenged daily, I get to travel to different places, explore new venues and meet new people all the time. As I mentioned, I collect records and I also have decks in my house. Playing music is what helps me shake off stress the most and feel as a whole. It’s my little spot of peace in everyday madness. I see my room more like a studio where I feel comfortable to create, where friends come around to chill, have a little jam and work on their own projects. That’s how it was back in Italy and I’m glad we keep it going here with my London mates as well. I have also recently started producing the grime slot on NTS Radio on Thursday night (Grandmixxer, Ygg, A.G.) and really enjoy it. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and get the best out of this experience. I love being surrounded by so many cool and talented people! Looking to the future, I’ve got a couple of photography projects in mind, some of them are related to music, some aren’t. I’ve got a few interesting ideas and I’m just waiting for the right moment to make them happen. For some of them I will need to travel or move for a while but I’ll take it one step at a time. I’m not rushing it, I’m enjoying the process.

Hope you guys enjoy the photos! Big up TRUSIK for such a nice opportunity and shout out to my friends who always help and support me! x

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