In Depth
Hoya:Hoya's Jon K & Illum Sphere Pick Apart Their Poster Artwork

Ever since early 2013, the concept for the poster art for the wondrously versatile Hoya Hoya collective's monthly Manchester party at the Roadhouse has been loosely based around song lyrics - or lines taken from tracks that could act as a bit of a knowing showcase for the wide array of different styles of music played at the club if you chose to collect them. Entirely designed by one of the gang's many exceptional selector's, Jon K, the posters are all pretty visually striking, but when you sit back in you chair for a minute and consider that each design is so intimately tied to a specific track, you figure that there must be some kind of backstory behind the use of each of the tracks. For example, using Sun Ra's 'Nuclear War' - the cult space-jazz composer's masterful chanted lament on the imminent fate of wider mankind during the Cold War era - as the concept for a poster image who's sole purpose is to invite people to come down to a club night, maybe have a drink and share an appreciation for alternative music seems like a pretty gallant and niche idea. But it absolutely smacks of the Hoya team's attitude and approach.

So, it was very much these sort of anecdotal nuggets that we intended to draw out of the designer, Jon K (pictured left) and Illum Sphere (on the right) when we caught up with both of them ahead of the next installment of their residency in Room Two on 3rd July which is set to feature their special guest, Legowelt.

Oh and, remember, you can listen to all the songs featured here as a YouTube playlist here.

Dirty Paraffin - Papap Papap

Jon K: This seems like a good one to kick off with as it's a proper staple at the club. This one totally sits between the seats: raw and underground it's a complete mix of styles, yet it's universally appreciated in the dance. I wasn't sure where the cars came from when I was designing the poster but after the fact I realised it was probably something to do with this gem taken from Okmalumkoolkat's YouTube channel.

Vivien Goldman - Launderette

Jon: Good story telling in songs is a wonderful thing but when it's backed with this level of wonkiness from the players, Vivien Goldman's unique vocal style and Adrian Sherwood on the mix down, it doesn't get any better. Vivien Goldman was (and still is) a massively respected music journalist and friend of Adrian Sherwood. Rumour has it she was sneaked into the studio when PIL were recording and 'Launderette' was one of the resulting tracks. This record is probably one of the first things I'd reach for if my flat was on fire, I love it.

Mighty 7 - Call Me

Illum Sphere: Mighty 7 was a side project of Gee Bello, from Light Of The World and ‘Call Me’ has been hammered at Hoya for a good few years now. It was coming up to the 7th birthday and we were thinking about poster ideas. I dropped this when Jon and I were playing Berlin in the run up to it and he leant over and said "I've just had an idea for the Birthday poster!"

I think it's the only one designed around the artist and not a title. Amazing record and another killer poster from Jon.

Too Short - In The Trunk

Jon: Even for Too Short, this track has a ridiculous amount of killer lines in it. Both "some rappers try to come off positive/where I'm from that just ain't how it is" and 'you got no choice so don't flip that coin/this ain't the military, so you punks can't join" were strong contenders for this poster but the way Short says "eeeeeject" swung it in favour of the line that ended up on there!

Mutant Beat Dance - Another World

Jon: Playing the lyric game obviously means a lot of more beat oriented material doesn't get a shout - it's also meant using a lot more older tracks so 'Another World' was a good one for re-dressing that. In general the MBD gear (which is a collaboration between Beau Wanzer & Traxx) gets hammered at the club - this one in particular. I also put their L.I.E.S. one on my FACT mix and Ryan used a Charles Manier cut from Traxx's label, Nation, for his FABRICLIVE mix so this one was crying out to get it's own poster.

Hudson People - Take A Trip Through Your Mind

Jon: If you heard The Temptations 'Take A Stroll Through Your Mind' but went in for a more energetic brand of introspection you might end up making records like Hudson People. The poster for this UK psych/disco winner cribs heavily from an African wax print fabric called 'Kofi Anan Brains'.

My favourite response to any of the Hoya posters was a piss-take text from Platt (from Swing Ting) asking me why I'd put a load of croissants on the poster!

Shackleton - Soundboy’s Nuts Get Ground Up Proper

Illum: After having regular unannounced guests, we'd been going through a stage of announcing a couple of guests, not announcing some and having no guests at all. This Hoya fell a few days after Christmas Day and Shackleton was in town, so he came and tried out a new live set at Hoya. It's a pretty unique poster as it's not based around a specific tune, but a release, as well as having who's playing on the poster whilst its technically still not being announced! The live set, to say the least, was very heavy.

Owen Knibbs - Juggler

Illum: I picked this up on a repress recently, the original regularly goes for three figures as we know because Jon was looking for one for a while. We hadn't chatted about this one until we had a bit of a surprise 'oh, snap' moment when we both drew for it at a show in Edinburgh last year. It also turns out it's one of the rare dancehall tunes that even Krystal Klear likes. Dangerous.

This is probably my favourite poster, if I had to pick one.

Sun Ra - Nuclear War

Jon: Before hearing the news that the Roadhouse (our home for nearly seven years) was closing down we might've been slightly less likely to choose a track about impending nuclear armageddon as source material for a poster… this was after though. And compared to some of the other ideas on the table this was pretty cheerful!

David Porter - Afraid The Masquerade Is Over

Jon: At the risk of being overly dramatic, this classic slice of soul about being forced to leave a situation (you otherwise loved) was a pretty good fit for the emotions in the Hoya camp when we had to say goodbye to the Roadhouse. That place will be missed by so many people [reaches for the tissues]. It's definitely the end of an era.

All posters © Jon K.
Header image © Danny Seaton 2015.

Friday 3rd July

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