About



Holly Conner is a Sydney-based drummer, percussionist and electronic music producer - extremely versatile, she works across the pop and commercial, indie-rock, experimental, contemporary improvised and free jazz music scenes. She also produces her own percussion-meets-electronic music under the moniker ilex.

Coming from a diverse musical background, she first studied rock drumming and classical percussion, before completing a BA in Jazz Drum kit from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has also completed summer courses at the School of Improvised Music Brooklyn, and two Australian Art Orchestra Creative Music Intensives.

As a free-lance drummer, Holly has toured nationally and internationally with artists such as Holly Throsby, Microfiche, Lupa J, Marcus Whale and Human Noise. 

Festival appearances include performances at the Sydney Opera House for VIVID Sydney, Sydney Festival, The Sydney Biennale, STRATA Festival at Phoenix Central Park, Liveworks, Underbelly Arts, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival, Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival and Manly Jazz Festival.  She has also played at venues such as N1Reaktorhallen in Stockholm, Km28 in Berlin, The Sydney Opera House Forecourt, MONA in Tasmania and The Art Gallery of NSW.

Her drumming is featured on several indie film and television soundtracks including the BBC/HBO TV series Top of The Lake: China Girl, and the award-winning surf film Beyond the Noise. In 2022, she was the deputy drum chair for the award-winning musical SIX, performing several shows at the Opera House Studio during their Sydney season. 

Alongside free-lance work, Conner produces and performs her own hybrid electronic/percussion music under the moniker ilex.

Live sets combine industrial, experimental and texturally rich tracks with heavy drums & percussion - influenced by dark film soundtracks, techno, noise, strange creatures and the natural environment. She has performed live sets supporting DJs such as Tzusing,  for industrial hiphop/noise group Behind You, and an ambient set for the 2022 Sydney Biennale Art After Dark Series. 

2021 saw the release of ilex's debut EP, Visions of Elsewhere, a more ambient and introspective iteration of percussion-meets-electronic music. The EP explores the softer, less traditional, and textural sides of percussion; featuring samples of gongs, traditional drums, temple blocks, found objects; all warped with effects and heightened with sparkly, celestial synths.

Current groups include Minus Marcus (pop/electronic dance), Microfiche (free jazz and contemporary improvisation), Boysnlove (rock, drums and backing vocals), and Glenn Hopper (folk and pop). 

In 2019 Holly was a finalist for the Jaan Rutherford Memorial Award, recognizing excellence in Australian female jazz instrumentalists.