Illum Sphere is being hailed as one of the most exciting young talents to come out of the U.K with everyone from Ikonika to Mary Anne Hobbs praising the Manchester producer. Dropping two EP'S on Fat City records in 2009 , he has since followed that up this year with the much talked about Titan EP on Martyn's 3024 label.
With a Low End Theory set already achieved in 2009 and an acceptance into the Red Bull Music Academy this year , continued global acclaim is sure to come for one of the most talked about producers in recent time.
His arrival in Australia this week for the Red Bull Music Academy run of shows alongside Tokimonsta and Martyn will be worth checking out. So it is at this time that I bring you this interview.
It has been a steady rise these past five years since you first started DJ'ing and buying records, are you humbled with how everything has progressed for you?
Yeah definitely! I still find it weird when people listen/like this stuff I'm doing.
You run the regular Hoya Hoya nights with Jonny Dub which has now been in inception for over two years now. How does the night differentiate from other club nights in the U.K?
I think it's just got a different kind of balance. In our minds, the crowd are as important as whoever's playing, so are the visuals, the soundsystem, the smell etc. Everything has to be treated with equal importance. There's definitely a vibe there that I don't get at other nights, but that's because we're blessed with a really open minded crowd, it feels like a family. They want to hear shit they don't necessarily know, but they ain't afraid to get down too. I feel blessed cos it's my favourite place to play.
Who have been some of the guests you have had play and what would be some of the highlights?
Mark Pritchard played a surprise unannounced set once which blew people's minds a bit. Also, the 2nd birthday, with Floating Points and Brackles, as well as surprise sets from Blue Daisy and Ikonika. That night was incredible. Other than that we've had people like Daedelus, Dimlite, Falty DL, Gaslamp Killer, Ras G, Lorn, Rustie, HudMo, Kode 9, Martyn, Dam Funk, James T Cotton, Danny Breaks, Slugabed, Kutmah, Bullion, Paul White, Jenna G, TOKiMONSTA, Mosca, James Pants. Om Unit and a lot more play. The residents are heavyweight too: Jonny Dub, Eclair Fifi, Lone, Krystal Klear, Jon K, plus Chunky hosting and the amazing EMN on visuals.
You have remixed a track for Martyn and released your 'Titan' e.p on his 3024 label , how much of an honour was it teaming up with the Washington resident?
Oh a huge one. He's one of my favourite producers... and has been incredibly supportive. Being asked to remix one of your favourite producers and have a full release on his label was a real privilage.
Where do you think you would be if it hadn't been for Martyn's presence?
I dunno to be honest, I did have other shit out to before and have had since, but because it was predominantly his own stuff on 3024, people took a bit more notice once 'Titan' dropped. Although, I've heard from a few people that they thought it was Martyn under another alias... which did make me laugh.
How did you feel when you were only the second artist of the U.K to play at L.A's iconic forward thinking Low End Theory?
Yeah it was cool man, Jonny and Samiyam played that night too, so it was fun. A lot of that crew have played at Hoya, so was good to play on their turf.
Hyperdubs first lady Ikonika once described you as 'one of the most special and unique artists to come out of the U.K' , how do you feel when such praise is heaped upon you?
It meant a lot to me, because I genuinely believe the same thing about her. Sara's music is so unique, and people have tried to mimic it. But, she has this ingenious balance of intricate beauty and pure rawness in her music that no-one else does quite like her. Personally, it means more to me what someone like Sara thinks, as opposed to whatever the various hype machines think.
Is there anyone that you would like to produce for in the future?
I'd love to produce something for Bat For Lashes. I think Natasha's an incredibly important artist. She's brought an amazing mix of underground visual and music idiologies into the mainstream, without dumbing it down, which is a hard thing to do. I'd love to work with DOOM, and Colleen.....fuck, the list is long.
Are you working on any releases / remixes at present that you can tell us about?
The first release on the Hoya:Hoya label is off being mastered. It's a three track 12", one from me, Krystal Klear and Lone, and should be out in October. I'm also just finishing up a 12" for Tectonic and a final EP for Fat City. I've also remixed 'Further Away' by Zed Bias along with Falty DL, which should be out later in the year.
From what I have read , Dabrye has had a big influence on you , with his Two/Three record being a listening highlight. How much of a thrill was it for him to play at Hoya Hoya under the guise of JTC?
Oh amazing. It's kinda weird y'know, because we've grown to be great friends. They're like separate people for me... I still struggle to understand that this dude Tadd, who I've become friends with, had such a huge impact on my life. He's definitely one of the most gifted electronic artists alive, and if you take into account his insanely high quality control across such a wide range of styles, he might be the best.... I don't understand how he's not a superstar.
You have been onboard with the Red Bull Music Academy since it's second term of March this year , how has that been going for you?
As I'm sure every participant will say, it really is an experience like no other. It's like getting the golden ticket. I'm very grateful for my time at the academy, the people I met there and everything that's happened as a result since.
Speaking of the Red Bull Music Academy , you are due in Australia very shortly as part of the RBMA's run of club shows with fellow Red Bull entrant Tokimonsta and your good friend Martyn. You must be hyped about the up-coming tour and your first visit to the country?
I cannot wait!!! This month has been my heaviest for touring yet, with Croatia, then a tour of Canada, then one day at home then Australia. Canada was incredible, so I definitely can't wait to get over to Australia.
For all the Sydney heads out there , the Forum is the place to be to check Illum Sphere out alongside Tokimonsta , Martyn + local residents. For only $15!!!! All details can be found here --->> RBMA25TH