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When they first played Supersonic in 2005 people were excited; mainly because of one EP and the pedigree of earlier bands these chaps had been in. That afternoon they blew people away with a crushing set that stayed just the right side of improv and became the talk of the festival. One critically acclaimed album later they are now the toast of the town. Live is where these guys excel, Stanier’s drums alone can stove your head in, combine that with the finest musicianship and a desire to make you think, as well as dance, and Battles could well be the most perfect band to headline Supersonic.


Beestung Lips

These Brummie wonders impressed the Capsule grannies enough to make them cough up the moolah to release their first EP. Anyone that has seen them live knows they are as unpredictable and in your face as any band could be. They offer nods to Jesus Lizard with hints of San Diego art punks Heroin and Antioch Arrow. It’s old school, honest, in-your-face punk rock with enough balls and attitude to satisfy even the most jaded.


Black Sun

Formed in Glasgow by Russell McEwan as a solo, sample-based project inspired by Scorn, later recruiting guitarist Kevin Hare and the addition of bass guitarist Graeme Leggate, they became the bastard offspring of early Swans meets Khanate. Utterly brutal doom with dual vocals and heavily repetitive riffs that just shatter your skull. 


Cath & Phil Tyler

The beauty of Supersonic is that for every riff monger lurking on stage, there are always a number of hidden gems to discover that you would normally just pass on. Cath & Phil are just one of these fantastic finds. Avant folk with a nod to the more traditional folk scene, this is the kind of music that you would find at old American carnie performances while a parade of freaks dance in front of you. Sweet music with lyrics so disturbing even Slayer can’t touch em and in short an absolute treat.



A ten-piece band that uses a myriad of instruments to create a wholly original sound you can listen to on record all day long but never get a sense of how magical they are live. It’s chamber music but not as you know it. It’s upbeat and full of life with a sense of hope and optimism.


Fuck Buttons

This band have single handedly ushered in a new era of noise that is harsh but melodic with a danceable edge that still manages to be as disturbing as it is beautiful.



This is the soundtrack to some bizarre, Italian Giallo as played by intense young men with a history of playing in metal bands. They are really in a league of their own, this is very dark, brooding, avant metal that is hypnotic and intense yet full of melody, beautifully played and utterly mesmerising.



Harvey Milk

Original to the point of being unclassifiable Harvey Milk are straight-up, riff-rock tour-de-force replete with huge hooks, whiskey-and-cigarette vocals, whacked out guitar solos, and all the swagger and conviction a true rock record should have. Supersonic are very proud to have finally managed to bring these guys over to Europe, a nod of gratitude goes to Henry of Chunklet fame for making it all possible.



Wild, intense without pretense and fun without dumbing down. The freedom
and adventure of infinite possibilities and playing loud not just as a powertrip.
Members of a million bands including Trencher, Esquilax, Leopard Leg,
Drumize/Baka/Scotch Egg band, Doom Patrol, Polly Shang Kuan Band,
Gravepaintings, Queen Of Swords, Dream Dreams The Dreamer, Vard Ov Adv,
Universal Orders, Bloodlust and more.


Justice Yeldham

What do shards of glass sound like if they are amplified using a piano transducer signal processors and the human voice? Well it is actually pretty hard to explain, but this is tonal noise that manages to be strangely melodic in between bursts of ear shredding terror. Sure to be a highlight, it has to be seen to be believed and once you believe, you’ll be amazed.



Flirt with standard song structures whilst keeping a heavy psychedelic rhythm and melancholy noise that transform them into spinning webs of texture.  Vigorous beats, wayward sounds and vocals are heavy with reverb while space echo treated flourishes combine to make them an enlightened, beautiful and captivating live experience.



Norwegian dirge with nods to Ruins, Swans, and the odd touch of black metal. Although heavy they have a deftness of touch most bands playing this style of music lack. There is subtleness at work during their long song workouts and an almost jazz perspective to some of their low-end rumblings which means they are never less than exciting to hear.


Oren Ambarchi

A composer and multi-instrumentalist with longstanding interests in transcending conventional instrumental approaches. His work focuses mainly on the exploration of the guitar, which he manages to transform (with the help of a few Fx pedals and samplers) into a virtually unrecognizable instrument. Layers of spatial sound combine to create a beautiful haunting soundtrack that manages to be hypnotic, experimental and yet strangely melodic.



Intensive, confrontational, raw and uncompromising: four words I think of when someone mentions Eugene and the boys to me. Amazing jazz infused, Birthday Party style noise, they produce a live show where you never know what might happen, an element which is as exciting as it is scary. Eugene is unpredictable and unsettling as he prowls the stage looking for unsuspecting victims to terrify and pours his soul into the microphone creating something that is undeniably powerful.


Osaka Invasion

feat. DJ Scotch Egg /Bogulta /Ove Naxx/ Maruosa/ Dokkebi Q/ Drumize

An extraordinary group of artists from Osaka, Japan, are about to invade Birmingham!

The notorious DJ Scotch Egg, who’s about to release an album on Load Records will spearhead the invasion with his unique gameboy madness. Joining him will be Ove-Naxx, also playing live. His fucked up breakcore jungle set is unforgetable to those who have seen him before. Headbanging never looked so good! Marousa will be thrashing his long black hair at you as well as his demented grindcore metal breakcore sounds. And last but definetly not least, and playing outside Japan for the first time, Bogulta, insane Osaka new wave party punk.


Home of Metal

5.15pm Saturday 12th July
Theatre Space

For too long Birmingham and the West Midlands have failed to celebrate what is rightfully theirs, to claim the city and the region as home of “Heavy Metal”. 2008 is the 40th anniversary of when the phrase “Heavy Metal” was first coined by journalist Lester Bangs. To follow on from last year’s series of talks and round table discussion we continue the exploration with a pair of presentations from experts in the field:

Mark Pilkington 

‘From Heretics To Headbangers: Occultism, Rock and Pop Music in the UK’

Exploring the roots of contemporary British occultism and considering its baleful influence on 20th century popular music.

Mark Pilkington publishes and edits Strange Attractor Journal, an irregular anthology of cultural marginalia and ethnographic esoterica, and curates events under the Strange Attractor banner. His writing has appeared in The Guardian/ Fortean Times/ Arthur/ The Wire and Plan B amongst others.

Nicholas Bullen

‘The Aesthetics of Grindcore’
Nicholas (b/1968) is a musician and sound artist whose work explores approaches at the extremes of sound. In his twenty-five year history as a musician (as a founder member of Napalm Death – creators of the ‘Grindcore’ genre – and Scorn), he has appeared on numerous recordings and performed extensively across the globe. He maintains a number of ongoing musical projects including the electronic group Black Galaxy and the Monium label.

Home Of Metal
Home Of Metal began in 2007 with a Metal Symposium held at New Art Gallery Walsall and continues with the development of an online archive mapping the regions heritage, Metal memorabilia, collections and oral histories will be collated through a series of 3 public open days held at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and New Art Gallery Walsall.


Creatures of The Night

Capsule invited the following six artists to create illustrations in response to this years festival theme ‘Creatures Of The Night’ the title of the 1982 album from U.S. band Kiss and continuing our exploration of Birmingham and the Black Country as ‘Home of Metal’. These works will be exhibited within the Custard Factory.

Justin Bartlett
Black ink warlock from the grim and frostbitten raven realm of Southern California. He enjoys thee grimm riffs, vberkvlt metals, and other dark musick, times of solitude, skulls, and scotch. Inspired by religious and theological conflicts, environmental decay, and man’s inhumanity, the pen-wielder spends hours and hours obsessing on every last detail. He has worked with many including SUNN O))), Gravetemple and Norway’s Gorgoroth, Apoptygma Berzerk, tons of underground bands.

Karen Constance
Born in Scotland’s hellhole central belt & escaped down south to Brighton in 1997, she is influenced by encyclopedias, diagrams and schoolgirls.

Steve Ingram
Aka Forhumourandhope is just 24 years old and hails from Birmingham, UK. He designed the artwork and packaging for the Capsule Beestung Lips release amongst other things.

Conny Prantera
A painter and illustrator and one of the artists promoted by street-ware label Silas and Maria. Conny’s work reaches back from her training as a portrait artist in the torn political background of the Italian “anni di piombo” to today’s London underground culture, mixing the mirage of aesthetic beauty with a morbid obsession with decay.

James Quigley
Gunsho is an art moniker for James Quigley. Somewhere between nursing on goat’s milk as a baby and his teenage summers spent sifting through flea market arcana, James began to find fascination in the strange and magical vastness of the marginal fringe. A regard for the toxic forces that transform humans into monsters shaped his early drawings and set him on a path into a surreal artistic thicket of beasts, demons, and mutants. He sees the scores of odd creatures he creates today not as being pulled from thin air or simple imagination, but from a continuum of mythology, or of ancient currents that have persisted into modernity.

Francesca “Bunny” Williams
Also known as Bunny Bissoux, is an artist, illustrator, collector, fanatic, musician and aspiring wrestling valet. Bunny makes fanzines, costumes, plush toys and cupcakes and runs an online store and weekly market stall. She has previously produced CONQUISTADOR fanzine and a poster size “Map of Hair Metal” painstakingly charting the movement of band members between groups across the genre. Bunny enjoys drawing naked ladies, rock stars, wrestlers and her never-ending supply of imaginary friends.



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Supersonic just wouldn’t be the same without PCM  performing on Friday night, they are the dark lords of Drum n Bass. PCM were formed in 1990 by Neil Harvey and Nik Wells in Birmingham,UK Starting life as PCM Soundsystem, they began hosting parties in warehouses and empty buildings in the B’ham area and travelling to free festivals and outdoor parties with their sound. Playing an eclectic range of music from acid to hardcore to early jungle and often performing their own material live, they soon built up a large following in the emerging underground dance scene in the Midlands.


Saturday program

4pm Thrill Jockey Archive
A grab-bag of music videos plucked from the vaults of Chicago’s Thrill Jockey records, including work by Fiery Furnaces, Tortoise, Tunng, Mouse on Mars and OOIOO.

4.30 VBS Soft Focus
Edited highlights from Vice’s interview series, with Ian Svenonius talking to rock luminaries including Ian MacKaye, Penny Rimbaud, Henry Rollins, Mark E. Smith, Kevin Shields and Will Oldham.

5.15 Talk: ‘From Heretics To Headbangers: Occultism, Rock and Pop Music in the UK’
Mark Pilkington takes a look at the roots of contemporary British occultism and their baleful influence on 20th century music. Pilkington publishes and edits Strange Attractor, ‘an irregular anthology of cultural.

6.15 Talk: ‘The Aesthetics of Grindcore’ – Nicholas Bullen
The work of bands like Napalm Death and Carcass grew out of a stew of influences including horror culture and 70s agit prop as well as hardcore punk. Nicholas Bullen, a founder member of Napalm Death, will be exploring some of the tropes and themes that have informed the grindcore movement since its explosion in the mid-80s.

7.30 Heavy Metal in Baghdad (Dir: Suroosh Alvi/Eddy Morett US 2007)
First feature documentary to emerge from Vice Films. Beginning with the fall of Saddam Hussein, this is the tale of Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda and their heroic efforts to stay together and keep making music while their country disintegrated around them.

9.00 Artist picks
Two short films selected by acts playing at Supersonic today. First off, Efterklang present ‘The Symphony of Jessica Noise’ by regular collaborator Karim Ghahwagi, with music by Mads Brauer from the group.. Then Daniel O’Sullivan of Guapo will introduce Magic Sun, Phill Niblock’s abstract 1968 gem featuring the Sun Ra Arkestra.

9.35 Encyclopedia Pictura
Selection of work by a San Francisco production outfit who count Cryptozoology, Psychedelic Shamanism and Fruit Sandwiches among their interests. Includes a special 3D presentation of their recent video for Bjork, Wanderlust.

Plus a selection of other shorts and promos compiled by 7 Inch Cinema.

10.35 Supersonic Shreds
Or: Does Music Belong in Humour?
VJ Hooker (Filmficciones) has been voyaging across the outer reaches of the internet and various cinematic archives, and here presents the fruits of his quest. Includes shredded works by StSanders, aka Finnish video artist Santeri Ojala.

11.35 Kipple
After creating a laff riot in the theatre at last year’s Supersonic, cut-up duo Kipple return with more modified video from the wrong side of the tracks.

12.05 Lost and Found Video Night
Full to bursting with clips and oddities from junkshops and skips across the world, the nine DVDs in the Lost and Found series attained a new high in home entertainment. Here you find some of the best bits; expect Bollywood numbers, penis songs and Crispin Glover.
With thanks to Chunklet and 5 Minutes to Live.

12.30 Southern Records Archive
A screening of the rarely seen documentary on THE OBSESSED made by JOE LALLY (Fugazi) in 1994. Featuring interviews with Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins and others.

1.00 Soft Focus
Edited highlights from Vice’s interview series, with Ian Svenonius talking to rock luminaries including Ian MacKaye, Penny Rimbaud, Henry Rollins, Mark E. Smith, Kevin Shields and Will Oldham.

1.30 Southern Records Archive
Rare live footage and videos from Southern’s past and present, everything from Boris to Mothlite.


Boys and Their Toys

Yukio Fujimoto + Brian Duffy
Presented in collaboration with IKON
Introduction by Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director

4.00pm Sunday 13th July, Theatre Space

Japanese artist Yukio Fujimoto is renowned for his experimental use of sound. In a variety of ways, minimally, unpretentiously, his work demonstrates the nature of human perception, engaging his audience with a strange familiarity. He explains, “An aural experience consists not merely of listening to sounds, but also of perceiving momentarily a world hidden below the everyday, which cannot be captured by the eyes alone. When you make works using sound you are, as a matter of course, tempted into the realm of the philosophical.” For Supersonic, Fujimoto will give a talk about his artistic practice overall, and make a performance “on a table”.

Brian Duffy is a conceptual artist, whose work involves live performance/installations/original music composition/and the creation of new musical instruments. He is the brains behind the Modified Toy Orchestra and one half of the ZX Spectrum Orchestra which explores the hidden potential and surplus value latent inside redundant technology; a process creating sophisticated new electronic instruments from abandoned children’s toys.


French at Ideal

Aldershot is a part of the UK known for it’s army base, French’s home town. A good place to start an interest in torn body parts I suppose. French loves depicting all things evil, grotesque and morbid. An obsession with death metal music informs French’s work that literally draws the line between the magnificent and the repulsive. French’s sensitive and detailed line work shows the beauty in the revolting.

French has interpreted the ‘Creatures Of The Night’ theme this year by painting the entrance to the newly built skate ramp as well an exhibition housed within Ideal Skate shop along with a selection of his T Shirts, zines and prints which are all for sale.

Ideal Skateboard Supply have been a big part of Birmingham Skateboarding for over 17 years and counting. This summer they have re-locating to a new store and building a gem of a ramp right next door.


All part of the plan to keep skateboarding moving forward and keep our city on the map.


Rolo Tomassi

Far more evolved than the constraints of ‘jazzy noise’ or ‘synth-screamo’, Rolo Tomassi leap confidently from genre to genre. Moments of oddly-timed chaos flow comfortably into sanguine prog-rock workouts, otherworldly, alien noises sit happily alongside bass-led doom riffs. It’s eclectic stuff – without ever sounding disjointed.
And yes the majority of the band may only just be adults in the eyes of the law, but any issues people might have with this have been abolished by the bands obvious talent, drive and work-ethic.


Outcrowd and Friends

The Outcrowd Collective have become a regular fixture at the Supersonic Festival, contributing some kind of strange scribbled visual backdrop to compliment the delightfull noises drifting through the air.

Their shambolic visual network continues to evolve and this year they spread their tentacles a little further by inviting some other arty friends via Studio4 Gallery to come and do a bit of colouring in.

So look out for our Studio4 stall, a skate ramp installation with Ideal as well as some live painting going on over the weekend all based around this years theme, ‘Creatures Of The Night!’. So do come and give us a painty fingered high five if you the taste of our eye candy.


Sunday program

2.15 Thrill Jockey Archive
A grab-bag of music videos plucked from the vaults of Chicago’s Thrill Jockey records, including work by Fiery Furnaces, Tortoise, Tunng, Mouse on Mars and OOIOO.

2.45 Existing Conditions, part one
A short series of films and talks presented by Eastside Projects, a new artist run space opening in Birmingham later this year.

Ivy Meet Mike (Mark Titchner, 2007)
Video work by the Turner-nominated artist, overlaying archive footage of Atomic bomb tests to create an orgasm-like release of energy.

File Under Sacred Music (Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, 2003)
London-based duo Forsyth and Pollard restaged the mythical 1978 gig played by the Cramps at Napa Mental Institute in California, and then created this blurred, grainy document of the event.

4.00 Talk/performance: Boys And Their Toys
Three presentations by sound artists with a common interest in modifying and repurposing musical instruments or music-making devices.

Yukio Fujimoto
This Osaka-based artist describes his interactive artworks as ‘philosophical toys’, using music-boxes, treated vinyl and electronic equipment to explore the way we receive music.

Brian Duffy
Through work with Modified Toy Orchestra and ZX Spectrum Orchestra, as well as his own circuit-bending practice, Duffy mines the hidden potential of redundant technology.

In collaboration with Ikon

6.00 Performance: Pierre Bastien
French composer who built his own instruments from an early age; his Mecanium Orchestra was entirely made up of Meccano machines which play a range of instruments from around the world. Today Bastien presents a performance and installation as part of Vivid’s Flux-Fest season.

In collaboration with Vivid

7.00 Nosferatu (dir: FW Murnau, Germany 1922)
A new live soundtrack to Murnau’s classic expressionist horror, written by Matthew Eaton (Pram, Micronormous) and Grandmaster Gareth (Misty’s Big Adventure) and performed alongside other members of Misty’s.

8.45 Existing Conditions, part two

The Limit (Laureana Toledo, 2005-8)
World premiere of a film about The Limit, a Mexican cover band formed by Laureana Toledo who only play songs from bands native to Sheffield; Def Leppard, The Human League, Joe Cocker, Pulp, ABC and The Arctic Monkeys. Based in Mexico City, Toledo is currently on a residency at Eastside Projects working on a project called Wanted: Bass Players Called John. (If you’re called John and play the bass, get in touch.)

9.45 Fantomas-Melvins Big Band
London, 2006. A unique coming-together of Mike Patton’s metal ‘supergroup’ Fantomas and big-haired sludge trio The Melvins, for one unique performance. Supersonic presents the first ever public screening of the live movie which emerged from the event, released on DVD this August with a commentary by none other than Danny DeVito.

10.30 Kipple
Extra slices of video offal

11.00 Soft Focus
More highlights from the Vice interview series with Ian Svenonius asking the questions.