Supersonic Festival has sold out – there will be NO tickets available on the door.
Supersonic Festival has sold out – there will be NO tickets available on the door.
In a recent series on BBC Radio 4, music journalist John Doran travelled across the county in search of the underground movement of musicians blossoming in the margins. There’s a new wave of underground musicians, sound artists, bands & producers creating immersive worlds for their audiences to participate in and approach that we at SUpersonic have championed from our inception. This year we have to perform; Lone Taxidermist, UKAEA, Farmer Glitch, AJA, The Seer. Doran will lead a Panel on Sunday to discuss the topic of New Weird Britain with Aja Ireland & Stephen Ives aka. Farmer Glitch. They will delve deep into the artistic practice and hopefully answer the thorny question: why is culture getting weirder?
“The pleasure of following Higgs… lies more in where he takes you than how gets you there.” – Pitchfork
Higg’s artistry has wedded music and visual art into a singular being, untended to be encountered as a conjuring force. In this relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs births a new transubstantiation experience of sound and image We are delighted to have the opportunity to get an insight into Higg’s fascinating journey through his artistic practice.
Join Joe Thompson (Hey Colossus) in conversation with JR Moores, as he discusses his new book ‘Sleevenotes’. Much more than just a wise-cracking, experimentally punctuated, string of anecdotes about squat gigs in Belgium with improbably named noise rock bands – this book should be regarded as core curriculum reading for those just embarking on the path of rock music today. Once acclimatised to Joe Thompson’s easy-going, autodidact style you will find yourself punching the air (when you aren’t nodding furiously in agreement).
With just ONE WEEK TO GO, take a goosey gander through this and start mapping out your Supersonic weekend…
Weekend wristbands/Neurosis tickets collected from
Town Hall Birmingham Victoria Square, Birmingham B3 3DQ
Doors from 18:45
Box office: The Crossing Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SR
Doors from 22:00 – midnight
Box office: The Crossing Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SR
Doors from 16:00 – 22:00
Box office: The Crossing Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SR
Doors from 15:00 – 21:00
Przemek Branas: ‘I Is Somebody Else’
We are lucky to be just a short walk from this unique, multi-functional gallery where you can engage with the arts, culture, history & social politics of Central & Eastern Europe.
Over the Supersonic weekend, there will be a whole host of killer stuff to get involved with…
Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva Works
158 Fazeley Street, B5 5RT
Supersonic Opening times
Friday 11.00 – 18.00
Saturday 11.00 – 17.00
Sunday 14.00 – 17.00
Over at Eastside Projects, performing within the jaws of Monster Chetwynd’s Hell Mouth 3 are…
On our main festival site we have…
Already announced are headliners Neurosis supported by Godflesh who are opening the festivities with a very special concert at Town Hall Birmingham. Elsewhere across the weekend, and over at the main festival site in the cultural hub of Digbeth are; The Bug Feat. Moor Mother, The Body, Anna Von Hausswolff and Jerusalem In My Heart.
Formed in Manchester, Water are a heady mix of artists, poets and musicians who’ve come together to create encounters which engulf the senses. Water have left audiences with a feeling of being part of something magical, intense and sometimes bewildering, but always powerful.
What is V Ä L V Ē? Folk lullabies re-imagined by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Found-sound collages interrupted by Welsh language orations and sudden outbursts of fuzz bass. Gleaming synthpop workouts that collapse into swirling dreamscapes of sax and harp. Tiny sounds opening out onto the epic. Hi-tech and no-tech, deployed with equal measures of discipline and abandon. Carefully sculpted disorder. Uncanny geometries of noise and melody. Dizzy and gleeful and drawn in notebooks.
That is V Ä L V Ē
Apostille is a man who’s torn through enough sound-systems to know the difference between gesture and meaning. Alongside running his own DIY record label, Glasgow native, Michael Kasparis has continued to evolve his manic expositions in electronic pop. At once minimal and courageous with intent to connect, Apostille songs race off with unchecked abandon, skittering drum machines, thick walls of sequenced synth and decidedly elastic basslines.
Victim are a heavy metal band. Victim founded in London one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight and live since two thousand and three. Victim are car crash (drums/vocals) pub fight (guitars/vocals) and iron fist (guitars/vocals).
Paddy is a Zelig-like character along the timeline of Manchester’s musical activity. His live performances err more daringly and admirably on the frontier of chaotic abstraction, expression and focussed blunder, dice rolling down the hill in case of duende, as from behind his stacked array of instruments, the anarchically intrepid punk gargles through a vocoder with his xylophone, all a-clatter under disco lights and doilies.
Drawing from an oblivion of influences from noise rock acts such as AIDS Wolf and Fat Worm of Error to the nihilistic openness of power-electronic pioneers including Philip Best, Guttersnipe’s songwriting is impossible to pin down. It skitters from one irrational idea to the next like some piece of absurdist theatre. And yet through all the hideous racket they create, their stage pseudonyms suggest a greater creative purpose than just making noise for noise sake.
Few constants remain in Sly’s history, but collaboration is still at its core. For this special Supersonic performance, we invite artist, performer, experimental vocalist and composer, Sharon Gal into the fray. Her work relates to sound, architecture, live performance and participatory art, exploring the psychology of sound and its relationship with space.
Sly present a new collaboration alongside Sharon (and others) with music for acoustic and electronically treated voice, drums and amplified electronics.
ICHI, from Nagoya in Japan, takes the notion of a one-man band to new limits, combining his quirky handmade instrument inventions. Somehow there’s an ancient, ritualistic feel to his performances – he’s like the misplaced leader of a tribe. To see ICHI live is to witness something so playful and unusual you know that you’re experiencing something entirely new. It`s fun, it`s danceable, it`s exciting.
The duo create rich tapestries of hypnotic rhythms, evolving the sound of drums and percussion into vivid textures: visceral timbres and telescoping rhythms that surround and beguile, and which hint at the meditative states of spiritual jazz as much as the cerebral counterpoint of Minimalist Composition.
Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Valentina Magaletti is possibly best known as both the drummer of psych band The Oscillation and for her work with Tom Relleen as experimental band Tomaga, whose music has been described as sounding like ‘radio messages from a distant constellation alerting us to the existence of art forms we had barely imagined’. Valentina was also the drummer on Blackest Ever Black releases; Raime and Moin, has recorded with Shit and Shine and is the drummer with London band Vanishing Twin.
João Pais Filipe is a drummer/percussionist and sound sculptor from Porto. His career as a musician is characterized by the approach to a wide range of styles and languages, in bands like Sektor 304, HHY & The Macumbas (who you can catch this year at Supersonic 2019), Talea Jacta, Paisiel, Rafael Toral Space Quartet. He is also a Gong maker and Cymbalsmith.
Together they have created ‘The Golden Path’. Beginning with a one-off recording session in Porto in Spring 2018, the duo has crafted a debut LP released as a collaboration between Porto’s Lovers & Lollipops collective and Tomaga’s Negative Days label.
Our audiences are at the heart of what we do. That’s why we strive to give them experiences which get them closest to the things they love.
So if you fancy taking a breather between our stonking live acts – we have some exceptional workshops planned for you to get involved with!
A one-off Karaoke Dungeon especially for Supersonic, celebrating 50 years of Black Sabbath and Capsules extraordinary Home of Metal exhibition.
Tonight, Fat Out I’m gonna be ….
Every Sabbath singer will get a Fat Out makeover so you can really live your heavy metal fantasy. We will have all the wigs, lashes, sunglasses and waistcoats you will ever need to look like the Sabbath star you really are.
And in-between War Pig & Paranoid we will allow other tunes to be sung cos as much as we love us some heavy riffs, trashy pop will always be in our hearts.
Saturday 21.40 – 23.00
Drop in. No sign-up required.
Returning to Supersonic again laden with all the (biodegradable) glitter & googley eyes they can carry is Fat Out’s One Stop Transformation Shop and with them their hoards of rowdy glitter witches.
Over the weekend come give yourself to Fat Out and let them transform you into your most fabulous self, ready to tear up the Supersonic pit and pull all the shapes on the dance floor.
Come as you are. Leave as your most party-ready self.
Drop in. No sign-up required.
Farmer Glitch (a.k.a. Stephen Ives), a member of electronic mavericks Hacker Farm and REEL is renowned for customising the discarded – transforming rusted buckets and old cameras into potent noise-machines. In addition, he specialises in his own line of compact and affordable noise-makers to suit a range of tastes.
This year he will deliver workshops to build ‘The Crackler’, an interpretation of the experimental circuit originally developed at the Steim Institute in the 1960s – The Crackle Box.
Sunday 16.00 – 17.50
Advance sign-up. Limited to 10 people.
Book your place by emailing email@example.com with ‘the_crackler’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
Before more complicated resonant-bodied instruments came the bladder fiddle, commonly known in England as a drone. The drone comprises an inflated animal bladder secured to a large stick by a taut gut string. Bowing the string produces a resonant drone amplified by the bladder.
Build your drone, rehearse, then perform at the festival in a 10-piece drone orchestra.
Part one (making) – Saturday 16.10 – 17.40
Part two (rehearsal) – Sunday 18.00 – 18.50
Part three (performance) – Sunday 19.00 – 19.30
Advance sign-up. Limited to 10 people.
Book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘drone_orchestra’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
Porcelain milagro necklace by CHW Ceramics
Save Me in Clay! will be a macabre ceramics workshop using stoneware clay, coloured slips and underglazes to make colourful body-part Milagros micro-sculptures as decorative hangings or to attach to jewellery.
Milagros are traditional symbolic charms (often body parts of animals) in Latin America culture that are historically worn or hung on walls and used to protect, cure or give thanks.
Part one (making) – Saturday 18.40 – 20.10
Part two (painting) – Sunday 18.50 – 20.00
Advance sign-up. Limited to 15 people.
Book your place by emailing email@example.com with ‘save_me_in_clay’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
Pit your drawing wits against another in a one-minute album cover draw off. DJ Hobbyhorse (1970’s fake mahogany veneered bingo machine and Clubland Royalty) randomly select albums from featured Supersonic artists to be drawn by willing festival audience members. Come render your one-minute homage.
Sunday 16.40 – 17.50
Drop in. No sign-up required.
Air Loom is the latest project from composer Sarah Angliss. With ancient instruments and bespoke electroacoustic techniques, Sarah has toured the UK performing Air Loom live with vocalist Sarah Gabriel and percussionist Stephen Hiscock.
Featuring voice, theremin, recorders, percussion, robotics, electronics and a rarity centre-stage – the Latvian clavisimbalum (a sonorous, fourteenth-century cousin of the harpsichord). Its plucked, soft iron strings ring with a rich, dark reverberance – a sound that hails from Eastern European folk and the Renaissance court. Angliss adds voices in close harmony, recorder, theremin, percussion and robotic carillon, an instrument she devised and built to play bells at inhuman speeds, creating a haze of delicate, metallic sound.
Angliss is joined by vocalist Sarah Gabriel and percussionist Stephen Hiscock. As they play, their sounds are deftly contorted, fragmented and recombined using Angliss’ digital inventions. Her own variant of the loop pedal stretches every strand of sound subtly as it plays. This transforms the most consonant music into something more angular as it makes beguiling musical collisions – the precarious harmonic terrain of Angliss’ signature soundworld.
Sarah Angliss is a composer making dreamlike performances where the total theatre of the sound’s creation is as striking as the music itself. Her music reflects her eclectic background as a classically trained composer, electronic artist and folk musician.
A prolific live musician, Sarah’s known for her skills and augmented techniques on theremin, an instrument she combines live with Max, vocals, recorder, saw, keyboard and her many found sounds and field recordings. On stage, she’s often accompanied by musical automata – machines she’s been devising and building since 2005 to give her performance an arresting and uncanny physical presence. Thematically, she often plays with the resonances between folklore and our perceptions of machines. Her music often plays with notions of electrical mysticism and the uncanny.
Stephen Hiscock is a composer, drummer and percussionist. His composing work has covered film, advertisements, theatre and the concert hall, having had works performed internationally, notably a national tour of Ghana. Stephen has spent several very happy study periods in Ghana learning traditional styles of music with master musicians from the National Dance Company of Ghana and The Pan African Orchestra.
Described by Le Monde as ‘As fine an actor as she is a singer,’ soprano Sarah Gabriel made her USA debut as Lucy Lockit (Britten The Beggar’s Opera) conducted by Lorin Maazel and her European debut as Eliza Doolittle in Robert Carsen’s triumphant production of My Fair Lady at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, opposite Alex Jennings as Higgins. Sarah has given recitals of music spanning 300 years and as a soloist with orchestra, she has performed the major oratorio repertoire, world premieres, operetta, musical theatre, and concert arias with ensembles including London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, English Chamber Orchestra.
Coming out of London and the South West of England, Hey Colossus are one of Europe’s great live bands. Since 2003 the six-piece has been driving around the continent with their “pirate ship” backline of broken amps and triple-guitar drang, elevating audiences in every type of venue imaginable; a doctor’s waiting room in Salford, an industrial unit in Liege and a vast field next to a river in Portugal. Wherever they may roam.
Hey Colossus have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis in the last three years, since the 2015 Rocket Recordings double-drop of ‘In Black And Gold’ and ‘Radio Static High’. These releases displayed not only a band with a work rate to put most their contemporaries to shame, but one arriving at an atmospheric and rewarding sound with as much flair for the beguiling as the barbaric.
The latest release, ‘Four Bibles’ is their twelfth studio album and the first to be released by London label ALTER. Recorded by Ben Turner at Space Wolf Studios in Somerset, it’s their most direct album yet and follows a well-documented trajectory of evolution that began (in the truest sense) with 2011’s RRR for Riot Season and continued across three albums for Rocket Recordings.
Lead vocalist Paul Sykes sounds more in focus than before, dialling down the effects and using reverb/delay to carry his lyrics rather than smother. The band has also fine-tuned to leave some room for extra depth. Piano, electronics and violin (by Daniel O’Sullivan of This is not This Heat / Grumbling Fur) all find a way in amongst a familiar mesh of interlacing guitars, wrapped around a taut rhythm section. Like every other Hey Colossus record before, the line-up has altered and the sounds reflect this.
As guitarist Jonathan Richards puts it: “After 12 years functioning in a noiserock/doom/kraut/whatever scene of sorts and being aware of unwanted repetition, we feel it is more subversive for us to compose songs with rigid song structures than it is to absentmindedly clang off another riff-athon.”
The band talk to CLASH mag about the new single ‘It’s a Low” from the album…
After giving us those shimmy-shakes at Centrala back in December for our end of year show, we’re pretty damn chuffed to welcome back pals Hey Colossus to this year’s 15th edition of Supersonic Festival.
It was one heck of a party! Join us for the next one?
Hey Colossus will be performing alongside Yob, Big Lad and Savage Realm at our Friday aftershow party – limited tickets left!
Get your Supersonic afterparty tickets here.
Faten is a NY based artist. Her performances slowly build songs by live-looping them, without the use of sequencers or arpeggiators. Cyclical patterns are central to her compositions, with the exploration of harmony and counterpoint as narrative tools. Sound & silence are used as intuitive gestures to tell a wordless story.
Inspired by cinematic forms: from sweeping landscapes and quiet character studies, to the patterned tension of horror film soundtracks; she focuses on bringing a visceral touch to electronic music. In symbiosis with technology is an appreciation for the vulnerability of human limitations and subtle nuances.
I see myself as a storyteller.
Each performance I give is a journey through a narrative arc, without the use of vocals.
All the music is played live, with one synth and a loop pedal. I also use a minimal choreography of gestures as an extension of the sound. In the course of this journey, my intention is to set a mood, present certain archetypes/scenarios,
create an experience both private & shared and conjure a ritual to suspend time.
PRISON RELIGION is the collaborative project of Richmond-based audio/visual artists Poozy and False Prpht. They draw on slivered, staticky forms of electronic music – industrial, noise, techno, and the sort of glass-shattering bass-heavy stuff.
Poozy and False Prpht, aka Parker Jones and Warren Black, first met in an airport in South Carolina, releasing their first mix in 2016. From the early release, Cage With Mirrored Bars (a collaboration with Crimewave, on Blackhouse Records) to 2018’s O Fucc Im On The Wrong Planet, the duo has dived deep into the space between blown-out trap and contemporary destructive club music.
They also draw on legacies of metal and hardcore, throwing their bodies around at shows, punching low ceiling and screaming over PAs pushed to their upper limits, whilst treading the line on the more outré realms of contemporary rap.
O Fucc Im On The Wrong Planet displays the duo’s confrontational yet hysterical and escapist approach; P_R explains in an interview, “the title’s this realisation that our whole situation is so fucking bizarre… We’re living in Idiocracy. What the fuck is going on?”
The production destroys any notion of comfort afforded in dance music, with cold industrial and glitchy hip hop textures serving as the stylistic anchor. According to Noisey, “[e]ven though it’s only six tracks, only one of which breaches three minutes, the duo manages to compress a whole lot of dread into the record’s short runtime – a reminder that space is a fruitful setting for any sort of horror-invoking media.”
Soon after the release, Prison Religion teamed up with Halcyon Veil to release a collection of remixes based on the record. Titled RESONANCE IN EXOPLANETARY HYBRIDIZATION, the EP features edits by Swan Meat, Lee Gamble, Rabit, Bonaventure, Geng, and Endgame, among others. With close ties to NON Worldwide, P_R are also ushering in a new wave of vocal-based club performance.
Not one for the faint-hearted, we can’t wait for the acid-drenched sounds of Prison Religion to blow our minds (and possibly our eardrums) at Supersonic 2019…
Saturday 22nd June
@The Crossing, Digbeth
Join us on June 22nd for an evening of experimental noise and immersive visuals. The Crossing, Digbeth is the usual home to our beloved Stage 1 of Supersonic Festival, come and experience the space like never before for this Superspecial first time collaboration between Eartheater & Semiconductor plus local support in the shape of a rare appearance from Wolverhampton’s finest pre-grunge/post-punkers VICTOR!
Fracture Patterns is a live collaboration between UK artist duo Semiconductor and New York musician and producer Eartheater. This original commission by the Outlands Network combines large-scale multi-channel video works by Semiconductor with a new live soundtrack and performance by Eartheater, fusing both into a compelling theatrical production.
Eartheater explores experimental pop and fantasy combining her genre-breaking musical production with a singular visual aesthetic. Semiconductor’s visually and intellectually engaging artworks explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology.
Together, they invite audiences into the noise field, as they explore the collision and collusion of their respective practices.
OR TAKE PART IN THE EVENT YOURSELF! HERE’S HOW…
FREE Vocal choir workshop with EARTHEATER
Workshop 6pm (45mins) | Evening performance 7pm doors |
An exciting opportunity to participate in a free vocal workshop with musician and artist Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater) and to take part in a performance of new Outlands commission Fracture Patterns.
Drawing upon her unique vocal style, Eartheater will guide participants through contrasting vocal spaces, experimenting with scale, range and tone to explore the higher and lower ends of your vocal spectrum individually and as a group.
The workshop will be an exploratory, playful and liberating experience dispelling traditional ideas of what a choir is and what a voice ‘should’ sound like.
The outcome of the workshop will be fused into the evening Fracture Patterns performance of Semiconductor’s film Black Rainwith music by Eartheater and vocals by you.
No experience is necessary (this is not a traditional singing workshop) just come with an open mind and an adventurous spirit! Participants gain free entry to the evening Fracture Patterns event.
TO TAKE PART, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title ‘EARTHEATER WORKSHOP’
Places available on a first come first serve basis. GO GO GO!
This collaboration is brought to you by the Outlands Network. OUTLANDS brings together a diverse mix of visual arts and music organisations, independent venues, creative producers, and promoters, all from outside London, with the aim of strengthening organisational reach and developing regional audiences. OUTLANDS was developed out of a motivation to pool expertise and resources, to encourage diversity and accessibility, build local audiences, and to support engaging and ambitious interdisciplinary music productions across the country, and the organisations that strive to promote them.
CHECK OUT OUR SUPERSONIC PODCAST – OUTLANDS SPECIAL – TO FIND OUT MORE:
It’s been 20 years since the pioneers of alt hip-hop, Dälek formed in Newark, New Jersey; having since crafted an idiosyncratic blend of ambient metallic noise and pungent, declamatory raps. Led by rapper, producer and engineer Will “Dälek” Brooks, this act seemed too quirky for the rap kids, and too left-field for the metal dudes. But thanks to excellent, ground-breaking work such as 2002’s From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots and 2005’s Absence, they carved a singular path, anticipating the crop of contemporary noise-rap experimenters like Clipping and Death Grips in the process.
Pioneers of alt hip-hop, Dälek features Rapper/Producer MC Dälek, Producer/Live Electronics Mike Manteca, with roots in the mid-90’s DIY scene. They have encapsulated fans and critics across all genres, garnering fans and accolades from the Hip-Hop, Electronic, Indie, Metal, Shoegaze, Jazz and experimental communities.
After releasing 7 studio albums, numerous collaborations, EP’s, and remixes, they are known for their large body of work and pushing boundaries with every release. Debut album Negro Necro Nekros was released in 1998 on Gern Blandsten, 2002 saw Ipecac Recordings release the game-changing From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots which was followed with 3 more releases on Ipecac Recordings – Absence in 2005, Abandoned Language in 2007 and Gutter Tactics in 2009.
In 2010, Dälek went on a five-year hiatus to recoup from a decade of relentless touring and to focus on new musical projects. In January of 2015 MC Dälek said he “missed the noise,” and a tour and new single quickly followed. 2016 saw the release of the critically acclaimed Asphalt for Eden on Profound Lore Records, once again showing the music world their constant evolution sonically and lyrically.
Their flow has often been usurped by scorched textures, the product of synthetic decay, themes flitting from pungent political rage through to outright Dionysian frenzy. The latest release, Endangered Philosophies, has focused lyrics more at the forefront than ever before, and MC Dälek’s new experiments with rhyme styles and flows. There’s no doubt about it, Endangered Philosophies is a work of guttural catharsis, it is a call to arms…
Within the context of the current political landscape, the title Endangered Philosophies certainly brings to mind pertinent issues of the moment, notably the rampant rise of anti-intellectualism, as well as the all too rapid erosion of genuinely progressive values in the face of fearful reactionary forces. In MC Dälek’s own words…
Dälek have been prone to outbursts of pummeling extremity, yet their sound is anything but one dimensional; with viscous dark-ambient soundscapes congealing atop their incessant beats, a dual focus on brute force and disembodied unease. They make use of material sent to them by people they have friendships and relationships with including Toronto based Metz, manipulating and sampling in the same way they would use record samples.
Although the group have evolved their sound over the years, they continue to collaborate with the same behind the scenes crew who’ve been with them from the beginning, from the production team to the artist behind their cover art. At this stage in their career they have elevated to a frankly peerless stature; 20 years since the release of their pivotal debut album Negro Necro Nekros, and having previously collaborated with a host of like-minded visionaries; ranging from Krautrock legends Faust, through to the 90s electronic act Techno Animal – a similarly restless project comprised of Kevin Martin (The Bug, King Midas Sound) and Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu).
Fans of Dälek will be thrilled to discover that the group once again appear at Supersonic Festival 2019, charging forward and continuing to resist stagnation in all its forms.
On Saturday join Kamellia at Eastside Projects for a special live collaboration with HENGE under the Monster’s head.
On Sunday all you need to do is rest and relax as you bathe with sonic vibration in a Doombath.
Coming to Supersonic this year are psycho-sexual noise-spasms by transgressive, gender-activist performance-artist AJA Ireland. We expect sonic, visual and physical over-stimulation, that’s neon coloured & intense.
Using unsettling noise, distressed screams, hand made electronics and found objects pushed through pedals, AJA’s industrial beats and distorted drone, combined with a psycho-visceral, intense performance, challenges the audience by breaking down barriers and pushing limits sonically and visually.
Catharsis is a big part of her music. She channels a plethora of intense emotions into her work: “I scream and I’m confrontational, but at the same time I do it out of love – and I want everyone to feel that”. In spite of this, Aja’s performances haven’t always been met with respect. “I don’t like the old-school macho side of the scene, and at times crowds have responded with a lot of disrespect and misogyny. For instance, people come into my space even after I push them away, playing with my equipment and laughing in my face when I’m performing naked”.
Despite at first coming across as fierce, perhaps frightening, AJA’s work brings with it a sense of positivity. This positivity manifests itself is through a notable drag influence, the lead single from her debut album being entitled ‘Tuck It, Tape It’, an act which refers to hiding a penis and testicles with tape. She cites drag performance as a huge inspiration on the way she presents herself.
The vibrancy of drag also bleeds into AJA’s aesthetic, she co-designs her costumes with Berlin-based designer Lu La Loop. “I’ll send over sketches to her and she’ll design them. They are inspired by a whole range of things; usually stemming from conversations we’ve had about things as disparate as biology, punk, nature and witchcraft.” The costumes can at times come out as a hybrid of all those ideas, they’re colourful, but they’re also quite frightening. Her music has even been played at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week.
Aesthetically you could place AJA somewhere between Gazelle Twin, Fever Ray or even Arca, but sonically she’s something completely different. As well as being explicitly noisy, AJA’s live performances can also be beat-centric – she calls back to producer Andrew Course as a key perpetrator in AJA making the music she makes today. “He spent years and years teaching me everything I know about production, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now without him”.
AJA runs Ableton workshops for young girls who want to experiment with sound. She also uses this platform to promote discussions about taboo issues: “I try to open up conversations, about mental health and my experiences – and how music and performance has helped”.
Yep that’s right EVEN MORE announcements for Supersonic Festival 2019 to sift through!
We’ve just under 10 weeks to go until the 15th edition of the internationally renowned Supersonic Festival.
Weekend tickets have now sold out WHICH IS PRETTY AMAZING!
There are still a few day tickets so CLICK OVER HERE to fill your boots. Perhaps you’re already coming along for the weekend but there’s a pal you think should know about us and could visit for the day? Just a thought…
ANYHOW! In this edition of the podcast we cover the new 10 acts to be announced for the festival:
As well as talking about our upcoming year-round show FRACTURE PATTERNS – a new collaboration between New York musician & producer Eartheater and UK artist duo Semi-conductor. Set to be a stunning performance on June 22nd at The Crossing, Digbeth. Don’t miss it!
See you there!
Since their mid-eighties beginnings, and despite a catalogue that boasts some of the most moving sounds in visceral heavy music, NEUROSIS have always strived to incorporate light and balance as well as aggression and venom. Over the course of NEUROSIS’ audio and visual evolution, their unique sound has placed greater demands and offered increased rewards to all who’ve embraced it. They have developed a style blending industrial, heavy metal, and alternative rock with often spiritually focused lyrics.
Under the stewardship of Scott Kelly, Dave Edwardson, Jason Roeder and in 1989 spiritual heir Steve Von Till (and now Noah Landis and Josh Graham on visuals), NEUROSIS does only what the best art can: it crafts a sense world for those with sense and senses from the realm of eternal ideas and weaves it, whole cloth, into the audio, the visual, the powerful. A seamless melding and welding of elements that are not too wildly disparate: loss, gain, and eventually gaining through loss. With a recorded output of 27-odd releases and tours all over the lands known & unknown, it is almost impossible to try to capture them with a single descriptor, and many have tried – metal, doom, ambient hardcore – misguided at worst and a waste of time at best.
Over the collective’s past ten albums, Neurosis have invited listeners to join them on the path their music carved. The band has toured very little over the last decade and has generally avoided self-congratulation. Consistently affirming their self-reliance, singer Steve Von Till runs the record label that released the band’s last three albums (all of which were recorded with infamously no frills/no bullsh*t producer Steve Albini). All members of the band are candid about the day jobs they work in order to maintain the band’s independence. This suggests that Neurosis would continue to be Neurosis regardless of their audience.
Their influence can be spotted across a surprisingly wide variety of heavy music, from some of the most successful metal acts of the last 10 years to fringe Christian hardcore bands. NEUROSIS’ place in metal history has as much to do with the breadth of their influence as it does with the depth of their catalogue, and tracing that influence helps illustrate both the band’s impact and the singularity of their vision.
An English experimental metal band from Birmingham. Godflesh formed a few years after NEURSOSIS in 1988 by Justin Broadrick (guitar, vocals and programming) after he left the first recorded line up of Napalm Death. He teamed up with bassist Ben Green and an Alesis-16 drum machine to unleash a pair of releases that sounded unlike anything at the time: the 1988 EP Godflesh and 1990’s full-length Streetcleaner. As one of the first bands to merge metal with industrial, their innovative sound has been dubbed as a foundational influence on both the industrial metal and post-metal bands that followed.
Godflesh is known for their unique mixture of industrial drum machine beats with droning, discordant guitar and powerful, intermittent bass. On their earlier albums, the rhythms, synths, and samples are credited to “Machine” or “Machines” but later, Godflesh would make use of human drummers Bryan Mantia and Ted Parsons. Their eerie, slow, and repetitive style is regularly described as “apocalyptic“, with Broadrick’s often guttural vocals that make use of something akin to the death grunt technique. Yet they also at times show a softer, more melodic side, as in “I Wasn’t Born to Follow” from 1992’s Pure. They present lyrics that are terse, cryptic, and bleak, often emphasizing duality or opposition, as illustrated by the opening lines of “Defeated” (from 2001’s Hymns):
Everything I build I destroy
Everything I love always hurts
Everything I hate I’d rather love
Everything I am is everything I’m not
Watch our interview with JKB and Benny; discussing hometown Birmingham, reformation, Home of Metal & the early years following their 2010 performance…
We stand poised and ready for the mass of sound coming to us from these two phenomenal bands this July. Don’t miss out on this incredible line-up; get your tickets here.
Local Brummie band Matters won over the Supersonic crowd at 2018’s end of year party. Their storming set of pulsating synths, heavy beats and cinematic vision is something to behold, so much so – we’ve invited them to perform at Supersonic Saturday this year – and they’ll be cranking it up a notch or 2! A set not to be missed at Supersonic Festival 2019 from one of Birmingham’s most talked about new bands. DAY TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!
In light of their BRAND NEW VIDEO RELEASE this week for single ‘Mauveine C’, a track taken from forthcoming release ‘The Square’ out soon on Static Caravan Records, we decided to send the band some questions so you could all get to know them a little better.
What Matters to you?
Nature. Food. Endless Internet music radio. Wikipedia. People who make tutorial videos on YouTube.
What doesn’t Matter to you?
Why did you become Matters?
Stuart wanted to do something that had fewer boundaries than the music he’d been involved with before, Brid had always had an interest in synths and the technology around that. Tom joined us late last year, he’s great with electronic drums as well as being an actual real drummer. He also brings our combined height up to 551cm. We do almost everything ourselves and it’s a very open space to incorporate lots of creativity.
How does the name relate to the music?
In a way it sort of feels like a blank canvas, like there is lots of space around it.
You create beautiful films for your music, all in-house. You’ve just released ‘Mauveine C’ this week featuring members of other Birmingham bands both in the music & visuals. Can you tell us about this track, the video and collaboration?
Our label wanted to put out something small before we went into the next thing. We had a track left over from the debut record, so we thought it would be interesting to tackle some re-imagining/reworkings of the older stuff to put out with it. We had wanted to do something with Hoopla Blue for a while, and they didn’t feel like just an obvious choice. We share some common ground, but we are very different from each other musically. The result was Mauveine C, which is a reworking of our track Mauveine. It’s the only thing we have that uses a vocal. They did a wonderful job, and we felt like it deserved a video. The video features two members of Hoopla, alongside Beth from the excellent Dorcha. The video for Mauveine C is about perception and the difference between one person’s version of reality to the next. That, and how life is too finite to spend it arguing over who’s reality is the right reality.
You like cats. Which of your tracks do you think cats would most enjoy and why?
I think it really depends on the cat. One of our cats loves a good analogue oscillator, she probably prefers the Square for those. Our other cat won’t listen to anything slower than 236 bpm, so we’re a bit lost on him. There’s a dead sexy cat over the road I saw carrying a whole rat in her mouth once, she’s always out at night, I believe Mauviene is in her hunting playlist..
We cant wait for your Supersonic performance. What can our audience expect?
The music we’re writing now feels much darker than before so that’s where the performance is headed, we won’t be playing anything that we currently have out. Visually, we did a few shows last year with some large patterned light boxes we made, they were a bit Memphis inspired, but we’ll be tearing it all apart in the next few months and rebuilding it into something that suits the new stuff more. We know a bit more about how it all works now, so hopefully can push the technology a bit harder. It’s obviously not practical to do this at all our shows so it’s gonna be a treat for us (and hopefully the audience too).
Who are you looking forward to at Supersonic?
Moor Mother. The Bug. Jerusalem in my heart. Dalek. But mostly hearing something good we haven’t heard before.
Big Joanie are Stephanie Phillips (singer/guitarist), Estella Adeyeri (bass) and Chardine Taylor-Stone (drums). They formed the band in 2013 as part of London’s thriving DIY punk scene. Big Joanie have played with locals Shopping; toured with US punks Downtown Boys; and Dutch Punk band The Ex; and performed at the first UK Afropunk festival.
With their sound inspired by that of The Ronettes, Nirvana, Breeders and Jesus and Mary Chain, Big Joanie have described themselves as being “similar to The Ronettes filtered through ’80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis.”
This London-based group has self-released three rough-hewn EPs on their own imprint, Sistah Punk, each one featuring songs that blend tangling post-punk guitar lines, spit-shined hooks, and a “sprinkling,” Chardine says, of black liberation politics.
Big Joanie recorded their debut album ‘Sistahs’ over several sessions from November 2017 to January 2018 at Hermitage Works Studio with producer Margo Broom. One of the main reasons for coming together as a band was to create an atmosphere to be “completely ourselves as black women and discover what was possible to realise in those spaces.”
The album cover features Steph’s mum Joan, whom the band is named after, and her aunt on holiday in Wales. The album title derives from the band’s belief in sisterhood and female friendship.
Outside of the band, all three members are also involved in communitarian activities…
Steph is a journalist writing incisively about music and politics, but despite a serene focus and a deep, assured singing voice she admits to a natural reserve, explaining that she lived vicariously through the riot grrrl music she devoured as a teenager in the middle England town of Wolverhampton. “As a very shy person, I loved hearing someone else stand up for themselves,” she tells The Fader.
A couple of hours away across the Midlands, the outgoing, quick-to-laugh Chardine grew up nurturing a love for Nirvana in Kettering, the town “where all the fucking government parties do their research for middle England.” Chardine is a prominent activist and the founder of London’s Stop Rainbow Racism Campaign, which aims to get rid of racist performances from LGBTQ spaces.
In London, bassist Estella Adeyeri teaches guitar to young girls, explaining how she was listening to British alternative radio station XFM — “back when it wasn’t just blokey music,”.
Part of their motivation for being visible is to make sure that punks of colour don’t feel, as Steph puts it, like the “odd one out.” As an antidote to this, they all work together on London’s Decolonize Fest — a music festival by and for POC punks, held at the central axis for their home city’s punk community, DIY Space For London.
In this Tedx talk, Chardine discusses how coming from a working-class background, rather than through university, prompted her journey towards becoming a Black feminist. She discusses her obsession with alternative music and how the DIY mantra of punk subcultures can inform activism and help forge a radical identity for Black women today…
Bold, catchy and arresting, Big Joanie make powerful music whilst creating a continuum for Black punks by presenting strong, powerful visions of Black womanhood and talking about the Black punks who came before them. Catch them at Supersonic Festival 2019.
For those not familiar with the music of HHY & The Macumbas, they are a shifting musical entity. Built amid smoke and fiery red lights.
This band has been “a long investigation into percussion, circular rhythms, dub strategies, and horns coming from the alcohol-fuelled Portuguese marching bands” says constructor and conductor in the world of HHY & The Macumbas, Jonathan Uliel Saldanha.
The word Macumba comes from Brazil, where it refers to religious practices found across the country that originate in Africa, including the traditions of Candomblé and Umbanda. Both in Brazil and in Portugal, the term has taken on a pejorative meaning, connoting mischief, malice or witchcraft, forces associated with peripheral realms beyond the bounds of the city. In Portugal, the term also came to be infused with uneasy memories of its colonial role in both Brazil and Africa.
Saldanha’s work emerged out of SOOPA, an art and music production unit he founded in Porto, Portugal. As an international art and music platform, SOOPA is oriented around a collective of artists and thinkers; a sound, visual and performance laboratory with a longstanding activity based in the old harbour city since the dawn of the millennium. Saldanha has been a leading force in the Portuguese experimental music scene, through which he coined a signature “skull-cave echo.”
Saldhana describes Indian classical music, dub and free jazz as “the three main vectors informing my perception” in his formative years, citing John Coltrane’s later work and Indian sitar music by the likes of Nikhil Banerjee as strong influences.
Watch a whole live show from the Macumbas here…
Part of the reason the Macumbas’ sound is so tough to define is that their music emerges out of an attempt to create their very own form of “traditional music”. As Saldanha puts it: “I was always very interested in this idea that we could make our own traditional music, the traditional music of this group of friends. There’s a group of five rhythms that we use, with different tempos, different accentuations. Kind of a signature. These rhythms became part of our sonic world”.
Beheaded Totem, their latest release (which you can listen to here) is a challenging record. Full of menacing horn parts, layered over mutating percussion rhythms, it’s an album that pulls in multiple directions: low-end frequencies gravitate downwards towards the Earth, while cymbals and trumpets clatter overhead, luring the listener out of the hypnotic circularity of the percussion. Meanwhile, the brass disappears into coiling, dubbed-out echoes and reverbs. It’s an intoxicating but unstable listen, constantly threatening to veer off into demonic territories.
We cannot wait for the Macubas to bring their concoctions of sound to Supersonic 2019…
BodyVice is a new project by Natalie Sharp aka. Lone Taxidermist, an accomplished sound & stage designer, performance artist and make-up artist whose design practices converge around sound and the body.
First, a bit about Lone Taxidermist…
Lone Taxidermist is the utterly bizarre and otherworldly, ruptured activity generated by Cumbrian musician, costume maker, skin decorator, performer and natural provocateur Natalie Sharp.
Sharp tells The Culture Vulture; “LONE Taxidermist is actually a really old name. I’ve been making music under this name for nearly ten years now. I used to collect taxidermy and I was in a band with lots of other people, but we broke up. I went solo and LONE Taxidermist stemmed from that. The name isn’t really that relevant anymore, but it’s a pain to change it. It’s like when you get stuck with an old email address and everyone messages you on that, so you end up keeping it.”
In self-directed videos, Sharp manifests icons and deities drawn from the corners of the (Post-)Internet, embodying and channelling ‘cake-sitting’ and new dominatrix tactics – all wrapped in plastic and smeared in whipped cream.
If you don’t believe us, check this out…
Her performances have been known to turn audiences members into exhibitionists – tales transpiring of sensorial acts of gender-bending, food porn and squelchy mass ritual. Sharp effortlessly blends ‘instruments’ which come to hand – whether that be songwriting, multi-instrumentalism or mastery of non-standard instruments like musical saw and theremin, stagecraft, costumes, graphic art, video making, face paint, vocal technique, remixing and DJing.
Sharp has previously created glorious and gory stage, costume and body concepts for Jenny Hval’s European tour and worked live with Gazelle Twin as a performance artist and vocalist.
Future ambitions for Lone Taxidermist? Sharp tells Noisey “I want to go to Berlin, play all the clubs, I want to play in more weird places like underwater, the moon, going down a Helter Skelter. One day I’ll do something with David Lynch, throw Bjork in there too while we’re at it.”
Natalie Sharp’s new project BodyVice, identifies with establishing interfaces between the human body and technology to create new sensory zones between performer and audience – it promises to be a mind-boggling episode of industrial spandex and lactose noise.
Featuring wearable, playable body-sculptures and interactive video combined with performance, BodyVice takes a biological and calculated approach to sound art, investigating how chronic pain experienced by the artist, can be communicated through a variety of mediums.
Sharp’s stellar support team includes flautist Tida Bradshaw, filmmaker Matt Watkins and sound artist Tara Pattenden (Phantom Chips) who has helped her to create a battery of electronic micro-controller ‘skinstruments’.
View a teaser of BodyVice here…
The Market Place has been a vibrant part of Supersonic Festival for many years now. It’s a space for independent distributors, record labels, poster artists and peddlers of curiosities to sell their wares and network. This is also where the bands performing at the festival sell their merchandise.
This year, the Market Place will be situated in the light, glass-walled canteen of our Digbeth hub venue, equipped with a tea room serving a selection of epicurean delights.
We’ve got a few spaces left available in our festival Market Place to fill…
Weekend stalls cost £120, we provide tables and chairs, promote your stall online and in our printed brochure and will give you 2 x weekend tickets to the festival.
Please send completed proposal forms to info[at]capsule.org.uk by 5pm, 17th May 2019.
Download the form here: 2019 Supersonic Market Place Stall Holder Proposal Form
Signed to the Domino imprint Weird World, Hen Ogledd is a band project comprising Richard Dawson, Rhodri Davies, Dawn Bothwell and Sally Pilkington.
Hen Ogledd’s meaning comes from the Welsh name for The Old North, describing the region of Britain running from roughly present-day North Yorkshire up to the foothills of the Scottish Highlands and governed by Celtic Britons in the Early Middle Ages. With each band member hailing from historically different tribal regions of the Old North, they musically challenge the idea that the ancient world was rife with magic, while the new is infiltrated by cold logic.
The quartet combines ideas that draw upon the mystical and technological, creating a discombobulating pop prayer exploring artificial intelligence, witches, nanotechnology, pre-medieval history, robots, romance, computer games and waterfalls.
This dynamic act swirls ravishing melodies with hallucinatory textures and bonkers rhythms, underpinned by some deft performances: Pilkington’s picture-perfect pop and earthy singing, Davies’ blazing harp splutterations and guitar moans, Bothwell’s twisted telephone techno and bamboozling lyric-bombs and Dawson’s utter bass.
‘Mogic’, is the latest release from Hen Ogledd. A review from Loud & Quiet suggests“by the record’s end, the effect is not so much a musical experience as a multidisciplinary one, taking in storytelling, bricolage, poetry, linguistics, and even a dash of psychogeography.”
In an interview with Narc Magazine, Davies discusses how the band collaborate, explaining “I think we all really embraced vulnerability in writing and sharing heartfelt pop songs” and “we all shared an openness that allowed the music to go in different directions.”
Dawn Bothwell describes “I felt quite overwhelmed with love when I joined [the band] – it was very pleasant” adding “it’s like being in a soft play doing backflips.”
Watch a short film, that provides a loving insight into the making of Hen Ogledd’s new album, ‘Mogic’ …
The music of Hen Ogledd will surely warm the cockles of your heart with its playful experimentations in sound. Here at the Supersonic HQ, we can’t stop singing ‘I’ve been looking for you, I’ve been looking for you…”, excited for what this wild, inimitable pop unit will bring to the stage in July at Supersonic 2019…
“It’s an honour to be a part of the Home of Metal. I am just a guy from Birmingham who’s been blessed to have had such dedicated fans throughout my career. Like I’ve always said ‘I am nothing without them’.” Ozzy Osbourne
As part of this years Supersonic Festival we are also running in parallel a major season of exhibitions and events Home of Metal devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham. Music that turned up the volume, down-tuned the guitars, and introduced a whole new meaning to the word ‘heavy’. With a blockbuster exhibition Black Sabbath 50 Years at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
We have blocked off 3 exclusive time slots for people visiting Birmingham for the weekend of the festival to get tickets for this exhibition. You can access these using the code ‘Supersonic’ for Friday / Saturday / Sunday
The exhibition celebrates Black Sabbath from the perspective of their fans, to show the impact and cultural legacy of the band as pioneers of Heavy Metal, and to celebrate this unique, significant part of British music heritage.
From the humble beginnings of 1960s Aston, Birmingham, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward created Black Sabbath, in turn forging a new sound, a new aesthetic, and a new musical culture – Heavy Metal. They’ve sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, ranked by MTV as the ‘Greatest Metal Band’ of all time and listed by Rolling Stone Magazine in their ‘100 greatest artists of all time. This year Black Sabbath will receive a Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammys. 50 years later Home of Metal celebrates the band, their impact on music and their dedicated global following.
“Fans are our lifeblood, they’ve always been there to support us.” Tony Iommi
This immersive exhibition will feature historical photos, ephemera, and memorabilia sourced directly from all of the original Black Sabbath members. Including personal stories that will demonstrate the extraordinary scale and diversity of Black Sabbath’s international fan-base together with a vast photography collection of over 3,000 portraits of fans from all corners of the globe.
Read about the whole season via www.homeofmetal.com
Home of Metal Free exhibitions include:
All This Mayhem at MAC (Midlands Art Centre),presents US artist Ben Venom using traditional quilting and Heavy Metal aesthetics to create textile based pieces which contrasts the counterculture components of gangs, punk/metal music and the occult with the comforts of domesticity.
Alan Kane: 4 Bed Detached Home of Metal at The New Art Gallery Walsall, will see Alan Kane bringing together personal collections from metal fans, plus works from leading UK artists including Jeremy Deller, Una Hamilton Helle, Des Hughes, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Jessica Mallock, Mike Nelson, Simon Periton, Mark Titchner, Cathy Ward, Charlie Woolley and, of course, Alan Kane himself, in an ambitiously collaborative exhibition that will be set across the extensive Floor 3 Galleries.
Hand of Doom at MAC (Midlands Art Centre), the exhibition features a collection of portraits of Black Sabbath fans wearing the ubiquitous battle jacket. The jackets are embellished, handmade and embroidered by the fans themselves, and worn to tell the story of their fandom and gig-attending history.
Monster Chetwynd: Hell Mouth 3 at Eastside Projects, Chetwynd’s fascination with Penelope Spheeri’s three-part film series The Decline of Western Civilisation (1981 to 1998), featuring many of the ‘most influential and innovative musicians and groups of all time’, has informed many of Chetwynd’s works over the past decade and will take centre stage in this large- scale sculptural and performative spectacle set within this industrial space in the heart of Birmingham.
Przemek Branas at Centrala, Branas, an award-winning and acclaimed Polish artists, will present two exhibitions and a programme of talks and events in response to the theme: Home of Metal. An archival and research based exhibition will feature materials, such as letters, cassette tapes and zines, collected by Polish fans and received by them from the West, at a time the Polish music scene was under state control.