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Illum Sphere: Long live the plan

Illum Sphere is Ryan Hunn, a Manchester resident in his early 20s with a somewhat original take on bass music. Stating his intentions with the Incoming EP in 2009, he has since released two fantastic mini albums on Manchester's Fat City imprint, Long Live The Plan and The Plan is Dead. He has also put material out on Martyn's 3024 label, as well as remixing his track 'Brilliant Orange'. Just back from the Red Bull Music Academy and another successful Hoya:Hoya event - hosted by himself and Jonny Dub - Ryan spoke to us about his art and an upcoming full-length album... You've actually been in our mag before. We did an issue featuring Shaun Bloodworth's photography and you are in one of the photos. How did you get hooked up with Shaun? Shaun hit us up around August last year, asking to come and photograph us all at Hoya. It was when Lorn and Kutmah were playing. He wanted some shots of those guys too, for his exhibition, so it worked out well. I'm a big fan of Shaun's work and it's been great getting to know him. Do you consider Long Live The Plan & The Plan Is Dead two parts of the same release? When are you going to do a 'proper' full-length album? That was the initial idea, but I got sidetracked with some other music and some personal stuff, so they came out much further apart than we initially had in mind. I'm working on a full length at the moment and I will fucking finish it. What about your production set up - do you use much hardware? I use a mixture of hardware and software. I'm shopping around for some more hardware at the moment. What is your writing process like? It really does vary. Sometimes drums first, sometimes melodies first. I often come up with little ideas in my head, walking places, so have just started humming stuff and recording it before I forget, then going back to it. Does sampling play a large part in your tracks or do you record most elements yourself? For example, I can't work out if 'One For Dimlite' is built with home recordings or a weird bossa nova sample... I don't sample too much. Only two tracks I've released have been built around samples. 'One For Dimlite' is one that everyone thinks is a sample, but it's all me: vocals, keys, guitar, bass, percussion. No samples at all. Tell us a bit about how Hoya:Hoya got started. Me and Jonny Dub just wanted to throw a party in a club, because we rarely played in clubs. I think when Hoya started I'd played in a club four times - the rest was just bars. We wanted to book people we wanted to see and that was about it. It was a pretty selfish thing really. We took over the Saturday slot which was left by the Electric Chair (a legendary Manchester night) at the Music Box. We did four there, but nearly stopped after the third because we were losing so much money. Then we moved it to The Roadhouse, started building it again and we're still there now. What do you have planned and what are the criteria for taking on new artists? Are you only releasing local acts at the moment? Events wise, more Hoyas. Label wise, we have HOYA003 out soon with Ikonika, Om Unit and Monky. We're working on 004 and 005 at the moment. The idea is basically that we only release new music from people who have played at Hoya, and it's all exclusive. So if there's stuff we hear from a new artist that we wanna sign, we'll get them to come and play Hoya first. What have been the best Hoya:Hoya events so far in your eyes? The Secret Series ones were pretty amazing. We didn't release the line ups or have names on any posters. We told a few people and just let the word spread. Those five secret ones were, to me, exactly what I wanted Hoya to be - not about any one individual but purely about the night as a whole. We run a party, but we're not promoters and we're not a promotions company. We wanted people to come just based on knowing what kind of thing goes down here. The special guests were a bonus, not the main draw, but everyone really stuck with us on it and they were all amazing. Are you happy with the following you have built up in Manchester? Is it a good city to be based in? Yeah, we're lucky. Manchester has got a rich history of all kinds of music and it's really starting to come good again - loadsa nights, loadsa parties, loadsa producers coming through. To be honest, I don't think people outside of the city quite realise the wealth of talent there is here. If you list it, it's pretty insane. Do you have any remixes or collaborations coming up? I remixed Kuedo's 'Starfox', which is due out soon, and another one I'm not sure if I can talk about. Me and Blue Daisy are gonna do one or two bits and I'm meant to be doing something with Ikonika for the All City collab series too. You played at the Manchester Apollo last month with Battles, Ramadanman, Caribou, Actress...what was it like? Was this your biggest gig yet? Audience wise not really, but it was definitely a milestone. I've seen some of my absolute heroes perform on that stage, so it was a real honour. How have your shows in Europe and further afield gone down? I love playing overseas. The gigs have been fun everywhere I've been, pretty much. Any advice for aspiring producers? I could do with some advice myself to be honest. )

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