Zach Armstrong, of Aiken, proves that working in the music industry can mean more than just playing and recording your own music.
Armstrong, or “Dr. iLL,” opened his business iLL-Legit Records in Aiken in 2007.
He had just graduated from South Aiken High School.
“I started it up during the summer that I graduated,” he said. His business leased “studio time and offered my services as an audio engineer/producer,” he said.
His father helped him build the studio.
Armstrong’s business eventually expanded to function as a record label, as well.
“I wanted to release other talent around me,” he said.
Armstrong’s primary business goal is to “develop the best-quality hip-hop music in our region and provide it to the world,” he said.
Signed to his label are artists Mark Deez and Avarice, as well as Armstrong himself.
iLL-Legit Records has also produced music from artists E-Rilla and J-Lyric.
Right now, the primary band signed on to the label is one that includes Deez and Armstrong – Grindhouse Gang.
Also part of this hip-hop group is member Powder from Lexington.
The group’s CD “3 Assassins” will be released online at websites like Amazon and iTunes on Tuesday.
It features guest artists such as Young Buck, Canibus, Block McCloud and King Magnetic of the band Army of the Pharoahs.
Band member Powder designed the CD’s cover.
“This the biggest project of ours up to date,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong enrolled in USC Aiken after graduating high school.
There, he “reunited with my old childhood friend Israel Butler,” Armstrong said.
The two produced an “iLL-Legit Records street mixtape.”
The recording sold around 500 copies within two months.
Along the way of recording music and playing gigs, Armstrong met Deez and Powder.
Together, the three have performed around the Southeast.
Armstrong graduated from USCA in 2011.
At his studio, he oversees the overall operation from the company’s finances to its marketing.
Butler assists him.
Deez assists with the marketing.
Armstrong is originally from Pennsylvania.
He grew up in Aiken, as did most of his label’s clients.
“Music does not run in my family,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong taught himself how to engineer music.
He also plays the guitar and has deejayed at various events.
While attending USCA, he also assisted with the sound for several Etherredge Center events.
Right now, iLL-Legit is looking at signing more artists and releasing more music.
“There will be an official compilation project to showcase these artists’ talents, and I will choose artists for solo albums based on their performance on this project,” Armstrong said.
Grindhouse Gang has an upcoming gig in Georgia in May.
“One piece of advice I will advise anyone wanting to get into the music business is to work hard, stay on top of your finances, focus on the music ... remain humble, pay your dues and treat everyone with respect because you will never know who will help you out,” Armstrong said.
For more information, visit Doctor Ill’s page on Facebook or email Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.