Growing up the son of a wedding singer in Philadelphia on a steady diet of R & B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul music, Gilfillian gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. For him, listening to the towering icons of his musician father's era - Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The Temptations - was just as formative and exciting as discovering the new sounds of his own generation, and the beats and rhymes made by rising rap stars like Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z inspired him in new ways. He began to recognize a connective thread in the sounds he loved best: from the golden throwbacks sampled by the hip-hop beat makers to the raw, emotional vocal deliveries of the Motown greats, for Gilfillian the key ingredient seemed to be the "soul" - not simply the genre, but the feeling.
Having moved to Nashville in order to make his music dreams a reality, Gilfillian signed to Capitol Records, tapping studio wizard Shawn Everett to produce his full-length premiere. Admiring the engineer's ability to take organic tones into another dimension and to build a sense of futurism into a vintage rock and roll sound, as on his mixing of Alabama Shakes's Sound & Color, Gilfillian's goal was to add a similar sensibility into his own soulful songs and to take his psychedelic rock and soul chops plus his love of retro-sampling, modern beat composition into a new context. And so, the duo - along with Gilfillian's backing band - recorded Gilfillian's songs on tape in LA's Electro-Vox Studios, using a wide variety of vintage gear, analog boards, and everything-including-the-kitchen-sink methods to capture specific sounds, and then printed the tracks on vinyl. Everett uploaded those recordings into ProTools as samples he could manipulate in a modern environment, and the resulting album, Black Hole Rainbow, is a truly innovative and exciting collision of eras, styles, genres, and souls.