ORE interview


ORE interview – Sam Underwood
by Ross Cotton

Sam Underwood is a familiar face to the Supersonic stage, after performing in various guises including the manic-acid-circuit-bending Glatze, and the more delicate, electro/acoustic Mr Underwood. This year sees Sam returning to Supersonic as one-third of drone doom tuba band Ore.  Along with Ben Waddington and Stuart Estell, the trio have developed a heavy metal sound, featuring tubas at its core.

Ore was an idea that me and Ben had in a pub, quite some time ago now”, says Sam. “It was one of those ideas that could have gone nowhere. We spotted the potential and we wanted to take the bass end, very heavy slow riffs. But when it involves two out of three of you learning to play tubas from scratch, that’s quite an epic task”, says Sam.

“Basically Stuart Estell is the only person who’s an accomplished tuba player at the moment.  He’s also heavily into doom metal, which was key. It really required someone open-minded enough to embrace the concept.  He’s writing the pieces as I’m learning how to play”.

Sam also played the tuba at last year’s Supersonic with Lash Frenzy.  “That was the first time I did the tuba stuff live. It serves as a proof of concept!”, he says. “It was an improvised noise gig, and I was playing it through some effects pedals and a massive bass amp. I couldn’t play, but I could make some interesting noises. My decision was to learn an instrument seriously during my year long sabbatical. And because I liked tuba, and because we had an idea for a band, I decided to do that”.

The whole idea of Ore seems to reflect the industrial past of Birmingham magnificently, something that the trio had in mind from the start. “It has it’s influences in all of that”, says Sam.  “Obviously (the tuba) is a massive great lump of metal for one thing, and that’s part of it, they’re a very physical thing to play”.

While this subverted-stereotype of brass instruments will certainly act as a surprise to many who clasp eyes, and ears, on Ore. “We aim to create epic experiences, where people come along and are wowed by the scale, the sound and the sense of witnessing something totally new”, he says. “It’s a luscious, heavy epic vibe, a different vibe to a lot of other stuff going on. But that’s what Supersonic is all about. It’s the blend of acts put on that’s pretty unique”.

Make sure you don’t miss Ore and their blend of heavy doom tubas as part of this year’s line-up.  Sam Underwood recommends you check out:  “Secret Chiefs 3 (I really like the mix of influences they bring to bear), ZU93, Fire! With Oren Ambarchi, Tony Conrad, Pekko Kappi and Alva Noto.


My Pecha Kucha 20×20 – Birmingham 01/02/11 from Sam Underwood on Vimeo.


White Hills Q&A


Supersonic Q&As : White Hills

Hopefully you’ve kept up-to-date with all our artist Q&As.  They’ve kept us pretty busy here at Capsule HQ, so we’re thankful to the lovely people at The 405 for doing this Q&A with kraut-glam-space-rockers White Hills.  You’ll want to clicky-click this link here for all the action.



Current 93 – recent live show available for free download


Current 93 – recent live show available for free download

David Tibet of Current 93 is performing at Supersonic 2011 as part of Zu93, a collaboration with the Italian death-jazz outfit Zu.  Current 93 performed early in August at OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland and the entire set has been made available for a Tibet-authorised free download by Hennessy Williams.  Just follow the link to the Current 93 site Coptic Cat below.




Simon Fowler interview – illustration and printmaking


Simon Fowler – interview with an illustrator/printmaker
by Ross Cotton

London based illustrationist and printmaker Simon Fowler has been commissioned to design a poster for this year’s festival. Previously creating pen and ink works for the likes of Earth and Sunn O))), Simon returns to Supersonic after debuting his art in 2010 for the From Light to Dark exhibition.

“(Last year) was the first time I attended Supersonic”, says Simon. “It’s the festival I’ve enjoyed the most, because it’s curated by people who really care about what they’re doing. I’ve met so many people; it’s just an incredibly well crafted event”.

Simon has also developed a keen creative relationship with previous festival performers, dub-psych duo Devilman. “Within a year, I’m 80% of the way through the artwork for their album”, says Simon. “I think this Devilman piece has been one of the most enjoyable. “It’s an idea that I had quite a long time ago and it fits perfectly with their music. I’ve been able to put more time into it rather than a typical commission. It’s nice to be crossing genres and not just being pigeonholed in metal or doom”, he says.

“Music plays the biggest influence in my creative process”. Fowler’s analogue artwork seems to have flourished extensively over the last few years. A journey that is well and truly rooted with contemporary musicians. “I’ve been working with Stephen O’Malley since about 2009, he’s one of my main collaborators,” explains Simon. “That’s knocked on into doing stuff for Earth. I did the artwork for the reissue of their first album last year, and I’m working on a poster for Wolves in the Throne Room at the moment. I was given a brief a couple of weeks ago from them, giving me the visual ideas they had to tie in with their album. I haven’t actually heard the album, so it’ll be interesting to see their performance (at the festival) against what I’ve created”.

Though Simon often feels that viewers sometimes misinterpret the ideologies of his art. “A lot of people try to describe my work as being dark, but I don’t necessarily see it like that”, says Simon. “I think it’s more expansive, and maybe its just the music it’s associated with; connotations of darkness. I thought it was quite natural, reflecting natural environments and the detail that’s in those environments, taking something that could be industrial on the surface, quite ugly, but if you really analyse all of the individual elements, you kind of see the beauty and geometry within that”.

And what are Simon’s plans for the future? “For the rest of the year, I’m going to be talking to Dylan Carlson and working on a project of his, not necessarily Earth but something he’s thinking of doing”.

Simon Fowler recommends you check out: “Fire! with Oren Ambarchi (it looks pretty eclectic!), Tony Conrad, Cloaks and Scorn”. Check out Simon Fowler’s poster design at the festival, and be sure to bring an extra bit of cash for a print!

Simon Fowler’s Cataract Operation site



New sounds from Secret Chiefs 3


New sounds from Secret Chiefs 3 (possibly)

Now this is a tricky one.  Secret Chiefs 3 have posted a sampler of their new 7″, a record they hope to have for sale at their Supersonic show.  Except it’s not by Secret Chiefs 3.  Though it might be.  Kind of.  What are we talking about?

It seems to go like this:  Secret Chiefs 3 was started by former Mr Bungle man Trey Spruance (him above) in the mid 90s.  They seemingly play everything from surf rock to death metal to Persian funk.  But again, they sort of don’t.  What is clear is that Spruance creates a new branch from the Secret Chiefs t(h)ree every time he gets an urge to go in a particular direction.  Which brings us back to this new 7″  – it’s actually a split 7″ between Ishraqiyun and FORMS and you can listen right here.  ‘Split’ seems to a good word for this whole project.  And what does it sound like?  There’s no way we can do a better description job that the band themselves:

“An unassuming but brilliant piece by Bernard Hermann was hidden in the background during the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Originally just piano, vibes and timpani, “Radar” now gets exploded into an uncalled-for over-exposure, via the world’s only fully organic, wood & spirit mechanized orchestra, FORMS.”

What they said.



Meet FIRE!


Meet FIRE! (+ Oren Ambarchi)

This is a real coup for Supersonic 2011 and we’re immensely proud to bring these artists together.  Operating in a free zone that’s not afraid to groove, to open up space or to pummel the senses with frantic assault, FIRE! are a living, breathing organism.  An organism that at Supersonic will be joined by the minimal guitar composer Oren Ambarchi.  Who, then, are FIRE!?

1. Mats Gustafsson – sax/electronics
Gustafsson is a sax player, improviser, live electonics manipulator and composer who sounds as if he’s melded with his instrument.  Born in 1964 in Umeå, Northern Sweden, he’s been seen in the UK most recently as part of the Brass Unbound collective playing with legendary Dutch DIY team The Ex.  But he’s also worked in projects with the likes of Peter Brötzmann, Sonic Youth, Merzbow and Otomo Yoshihide, and is seems to be never afraid of what each situation will bring.  If that wasn’t enough, he’s also a producer of international festivals and concert tours as well as running his own record labels Slottet, OlofBright Editions and Blue Tower Records.

2. Johan Berthling – bass
Johan Berthling was born in Stockholm 1973. Since studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Stockholm (1996-1998) he has worked as a freelance with jazz, improvised music and more. One of his main projects is the minimal, experimental pop outfit Tape, of whom The Wire recently said, “Tape organically blend balsa-light acoustic textures (guitars, percussion, winds and brass) with a range of organs and a gentle yet firm digital pressure.”

3. Andreas Werlin – drums/percussion
Born 1982 in the vast snow of northern Sweden and later on raised on the small west coast village Strömstad, Andreas Werlin is best known for the inventive electro-percussive band Wildbirds & Peacedrums that he shares with his wife Mariam Wallentin. Their 2007 debut album saw them awarded the Swedish Jazz Act of the Year award, which gives you some idea of just how varied and original Andreas’ work is.  With improvisational music at the heart of his playing, he is today a part of many acclaimed bands like Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Dan Berglund’s Tonbruket and Loney Dear. Werlin has also written music for theater and film.

4. Oren Ambarchi – guitar
In his own words when asked what people can expect of his collaboration with FIRE!, Ambarchi says:
“In all honesty I don’t know what to expect as the Supersonic show will be the first time we’ve worked together. Additionally I’ll be flying all the way from Australia for 30+ hrs, landing at Heathrow, driving straight to Birmingham and hitting it immediately so…it should be awesome, hahaha.”

There you go.  Don’t worry about FIRE! – it’ll just be awesome.

FIRE! site


Meet Pharaoh Overlord


Meet Pharaoh Overlord

In their own words, Pharaoh Overlord play “hypno-improv-stoner-rock”. Featuring three members of the Finnish group Circle (also playing Supersonic 2011), Jussi Lehtisalo, Janne Westerlund and Tomi Leppänen started up Pharaoh Overlord just over a decade ago to explore their love of stoner-rock. Since then, they’ve boiled it right down to its essence, each new record taking a different trip.  Then again, their ‘Out Of Darkness’ album from earlier this year took a sharp, unexpected turn into the heart of true heavy metal. Their ‘Live in Suomi’ album even features Joachim Irmler of Faust, both performing and remixing. All of which was enough to inspire Roadburn Festival to host them as artists-in-residence this year.

The band’s new record ‘Horn’ (Ektro Records) is a further departure for the band. This is nasty, noisy full-on art rock from the outer reaches of space, like early Sonic Youth tearing it up with Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers.  We reckon this is really satisfying head-music that’ll move your body too. The album features a cover of Spacemen 3’s ‘Revolution’, which may or may not be the tune they’re playing on the Roadburn 2011 clip below. You tell us. Either way, it’s a quarter of an hour of zoned-out, one-chord magic.

Pharaoh Overload at Ektro Records


Meet Astro


Meet Astro

Hiroshi Hasegawa was in the band C.C.C.C., one of the biggest Japanese noise groups, and Astro is his solo project.
Born in 1963, Hasegawa first worked on improvisation with just his voice and drums before forming C.C.C.C  in 1989.  Astro began in 1993 as a project using analog synthesizers.  He formed Cosmic Coincidence as a new configuration of C.C.C.C. in 2010 with the members Manuel Knapp and Rohco.  To date, he has released an enviable 50+ releases across all his projects.  Throughout, Hiroshi describes his playing style as “like drifting between the meditation and awakening state with electronics”.  Astro in the recent past plays with electronic-noise, frequently an assault on both his equipment and the audience.  It’s as close to a rock-band destroying its gear in last-rites death throes as we’ve seen in the recent electronics scenes.  Judge for yourself in the clips below.

Astro on Facebook


Supersonic theme of the day: bowed strings


Theme of the day: bowed strings

We’re always making links between the disparate worlds of artists here at Supersonic and today we bring together three unique artists who all share a simple common bond.  Pekko Kappi, Tony Conrad and Agathe Max all use bowed instruments in their music, all with very different techniques and to different ends, each highly skilled.

Finland’s Pekko Kappi plays the Jouhikko, the ancient Finnish-Karelian bowed lyre.  He got involved with the Jouhikko in 1997 in the Ala-Könni–institute of Kaustinen and ever since has been studying the tradition with the master players of Finland, Estonia and Sweden.   This particular lyre was played with a bow as early as in the European Middle Ages although in the area around the Baltic Sea there is evidence of both bowed and plucked lyres. In Estonia and Eastern Finland the Jouhikko remained in use until the beginning of the 20th century.  Kappi is one of a number of players investigated this instrument and bringing it alive for new generations.

Tony Conrad is a legendary figure in both film and music for many people.  He was an early member of the New York-based ensemble The Dream Syndicate alongside La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and John Cale, using continuous tones to create what they called ‘dream music’.  Conrad’s first musical release was 1972’s ‘Outside the Dream Syndicate’ collaboration with Faust (check out our Spotify playlist for a track from that) but he released very little work until a series of box sets in the past decade.  His film work is justifiably lauded too and his early piece ‘The Flicker’ is considered a landmark of the late 1960s structural film movement.  One more fact?  His father was Arthur Conrad who worked with Everett Warner during World War II designing dazzle camouflage for the US Navy.

Agathe Max
is a violinist from Lyon, France.  With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max creates dynamic, fast-flowing loop pieces that encompass noise, post-classicism and krautrock with nods to the High Lonesome Raga as filtered through Henry Flynt.  Her current album ‘This Silver String’ has been really well received in many places.  “Agathe Max delivers a drone to keep the earth turning on its axis, with a keen and romantic sense of swing. Everything you need to have a good time” – Jonathan Kane.

Check these three unique artists below.

Agathe Max @ Grrrnd Zero (Lyon, France) from S etant chaussee on Vimeo.


Slabdragger Q&A



The eighth in our series of Supersonic Q&As, introducing you to the artists playing in 2011 and giving you an insight into their world.  Today, hailing from London, a little known treasure named Slabdragger.  A band who sing about epic quests to Nepal to find killer weed, rubbish Roman Centurions, battling huge Octopian creatures and drinking rum.  They also feature the one and only Sam Thredder (Dead Swans, More Than Life, Last Witness, Throats).  And, as their label Holy Roar says, they’re sludge as.  Answers courtesy of bass player Yusuf Tary.

1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?

2. What can people expect of Slabdragger at the festival?
A lot of massive, driving, noisy riffs that your mum would not like very much.

3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
It takes away the pressures of the ‘life competition’ that we all seem to be involved in. Music seems to be the one thing in our existence that is not (or shouldn’t) be competitive because everything else seems to be. People are generally so wrapped up in what their job title is, how much money they’re earning, what car they have blah blah blah. Our music, for us, transcends all that….. and we get to shout a lot.

4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?  (And why?)
I for one am looking forward to Electric Wizard as I’ve seen them before and they were amazing. I would also like to see Zombi as they have a real interesting sound.

5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
It’s probably going to be fucking freezing in Birmingham so warm clothes and lots and lots of BEER.

Slabdragger’s Holy Roar page



Meet Barn Owl


Meet Barn Owl

Supersonic 2010 attendees will perhaps need no introduction to the stunning dust-trails of sound that San Franciscan duo Barn Owl create.  The band were so well received that we just had to get them back for Supersonic 2011.  In the past year, the praise for their mesmerising drones and layered feedback has slowly built up into a huge wall of superlatives.  It’s taking all our strength here at Capsule to avoid waxing lyrical about “hauntingly beautiful sonic waterfalls” and the like!  Rock-A-Rolla even went so far as to say that their 2010 album ‘Ancestral Star’ on Thrill Jockey was “the most significant experimental drone album since [SunnO)))’s] ‘Monoliths & Dimensions’”.

What you definitely get with Barn Owl is a hugely powerful immersive experience.  Frequently playing in front of modified super 8 footage, the twin guitars of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras intertwine instinctively, equal parts slow-burning twang and spaced-out feedback drone.  It’s hard to stop those superlatives flowing.  The band have just released a new EP ‘Shadowlands‘ that adds a devotional aspect reflective of artists like Popul Vuh (especially their soundtrack for the Werner Herzog film ‘Fitzcarraldo’) and Alice Coltrane, and their new full-length ‘Lost In The Glare will be out on 13th September.  (Free mp3 here.)  Both Caminiti and Porras are solo artists releasing on labels like Root Strata and Three Lobed Recordings and Caminiti is also an established visual artist.

More information on their Electric Totem site.

Barn Owl & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Live At The Cube (Bristol) from Fluid Radio on Vimeo.

Barn Owl – Light from the Mesa from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.


Capsule present The Melvins! (A post Supersonic party)



We’re going a bit mental here at Capsule HQ listening to The Melvins live album, which is pretty apt, since we’re like PUTTING ON THE MELVINS! Yep, that’s right, 1st November 2011 (a post Supersonic party?) at HMV Institute, we’ll be dancing raucously, and maybe having a cry.

JOIN US by buying tickets from here or here

Capsule; the gift that keeps on giving…;)


Alexander Tucker Q&A


Supersonic Q&A no.7 : Alexander Tucker

For our seventh Q&A the questions are being fired at British experimental musician Alexander Tucker.  Tucker has become a established presence in the freak-folk-improv scene since his debut album was released by Tom Greenwood (Jackie OMF)’s U-Sound Archives label in 2003.  He released his new album Dorwytch on Thrill Jockey Records in April 2011 and will be performing it in its entirety at Supersonic.  The record breaks new ground for Tucker by combining minimalist string arrangements with electronic manipulations and drones to produce doom chamber-pop songs and psychedelic music-concrete collages.  Tucker also has a duo with Stephen O’Malley and is an established visual artist.

1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Sonic, hairy, friendly, psych, people !

2. What can people expect of your set at the festival?
The set will include hairy yeti beings, fog, mind-bending electronics and astral projections.

3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
I make music to illuminate the inner being, escape the doom, conjure up the almighty spirit and to communicate with my fellow human beings.

4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?  (And why?)

I want to see both Circle and Pharaoh Overlord because they are both fuckin awesome, Bardo Pond because they are the best band in the world, Tony Conrad because he’s shit hot.

5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are.

Mary Jane, Stout, food and water, outrageously over sized metal t-shirts.



Turbonegro to play Supersonic 2011!



Big news came our way recently when the self-proclaimed “Third-biggest Formula Rock Band in the World” Turbonegro returned with news of a brand new front-man, Tony Sylvester. It has been a whirlwind few weeks ever since, having returned to the stage at the annual Turbojugend Fan Club Convention in Hamburg on Friday July 15, after a two year hiatus to the roaring approval of their denim-clad fans.

Now, Supersonic have ensnared the almighty Kings Of Deathpunk for a UK exclusive headline performance at the festival. Bringing all the glam, good tunes and great vibes (and hopefully hordes of denim-clad followers) we couldn’t be more excited!

The line up includes, Tony Sylvester (Vocals), Happy Tom (Bass), Euroboy (Guitar), Pål Pot Pamparius (Keys/Guitar), Tommy Manboy (Drums/Percussion) and Rune Rebellion (Guitar). Tony Sylvester comments on playing the festival:

“I was so chuffed that Lisa and Jenny asked Turbonegro to headline Supersonic and that the first show with the new line up in the UK will be there. Not only are they the best promoters in the UK, but I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved with the festival itself since its second year: announcing bomb threats, swimming in the fountains, playing Northern Soul, arguing on panels, you name it. This will be the first time I’ve actually played there however!”



Tickets for the festival are only £75 for three days of music, film, art and cake and are available HERE


Meet Wolves in the Throne Room – listen and see


Wolves in the Throne Room  announce new album ‘Celestial Lineage’ (artwork pictured)

We’re delighted to have finally booked Wolves in the Throne Room for Supersonic.  The band have wanted to play for some time now and 2011 is the year.  The band, from the Pacific NorthWest of the US, have been highly acclaimed since their debut album ‘Diadem of 12 Stars’ in 2006.  Core members Aaron and Nathan Weaver formed the band with an intention to blend 90s Norwegian black metal with something approaching “a sense of spirituality that is rooted in the landscape and natural cycles of the Northwest”.

And, just in time for Supersonic, the band will release their new album ‘Celestial Lineage’ on 13th September through Southern Lord.  Intended as the final part of a trilogy begun with their 2007 album ‘Two Hunters’ and continuing through ‘Black Cascade’ from 2009, the album is in their own words “about temple building and establishing traditions – we wanted it to have a more refined and imperial quality [than the two previous records].”  Judge for yourself, as an exclusive preview track has been shared via NPR.  Featuring vocalist Jessika Kenney, ‘Woodland Cathedral’ is a pagan hymn that partly explores the influence of folk rituals and traditions on the band.

Listen to the track here.
Wolves in the Throne Room website here.

Lastly, illustrator, and past Supersonic collaborator, Simon Fowler has also just unveiled his fantastic submission for the ‘Celestial Lineages’ tour print series.  Here it is:


Manchester tickets on sale now at Piccadilly Records


Supersonic 2011 tickets now on sale in Manchester at Piccadilly Records, Oldham Street, M1 1JR.

That’s right, any Greater Manchester dwellers can get their Supersonic 2011 tickets over the counter at Piccadilly Records.  Available from today for £75 + booking fee.  Save yourself the worry of the postal service and support your local record shop, especially after the devastating fire at the PIAS warehouse last week.  Even better: order a PIAS-distributed album by one of the artists playing at Supersonic and support the labels and distribution network in a time of much need.  Could we suggest maybe Alexander Tucker, Skull Defekts, White Hills, Barn Owl or Eternal Tapestry (all on Thrill Jockey)?



Lucky Dragons and The Berg Sans Nipple to play kids gigs at Supersonic 2011


Lucky Dragons and The Berg Sans Nipple to play Kids Gigs at Supersonic 2011

It’s hard to imagine to two more perfect bands to play our Supersonic Kids Gigs than Lucky Dragons and The Berg Sans Nipple.  These will rule!   If everyone isn’t running around clapping and smiling in five minutes, we’ll need to think about refunds.

Lucky Dragons are all about people coming together to make sound, to make an event, to make something new and joyous.  It’s not by accident that they refer to their live shows as ‘actions’.  They encourage participation and this Supersonic live show promises to be all about (re)discovery and (re)turning to play to learn about ourselves and make new connections.  There’s a live video link below and more Lucky Dragons live films are here.

The Berg Sans Nipple are a Frenchman and a Nebraskan.  With two drums, synths, samples, a ton of percussion and vocals, their sounds hop-skip past each other, caught in devastatingly beautiful melodies held tight by a mind bending rhythm section.  Their new video ‘Changing the Shape’ (link below) is a fantastic twist on the age-old game of exquisite corpse where an image or story is built up person-by-person using instinct and imagination.  Let’s play!



The Berg Sans Nipple – Change The Shape from Clapping Music on Vimeo.


Enter a world of hair beings and worldly creatures…


In case you missed it with all the other exciting Supersonic news, Alexander Tucker will be giving a very special performance at this year’s festival. Tucker will be presenting DORWYTCH CYLCLE, a performance of his new album Dorwytch which incorporates electronic manipulations and string arrangements with his trademark psychedelic doom and freak folk.

Films made specially for this event will be projected to match the haunting sounds. The performance is an extension of the Alexander Tucker visual world of hair beings and other worldly creatures.




Illustration call out


Previous Capsule zine cover by Matt Snowden


Capsule are currently putting together a zine about all things Supersonic and we’re looking for illustrators to contribute. If you’re interested, please contact [email protected]  by 16th August and we can send you more details.


Oren Ambarchi Q&A


Supersonic Q&A no. 6: OREN AMBARCHI

Australian guitarist and sound designer Oren Ambarchi is performing at Supersonic 2011 in collaboration with the FIRE! trio of Mats Gustafsson from The Thing (saxophone/rhodes), Johan Berthling from Tape (bass) and Andreas Werliin from Wildbirds and Peacedrums (percussion).  Originally a drummer, he came to the guitar by accident, investigating its sound properties rather than learning traditional techniques.  A good entry point into his work is ‘Grapes From The Estate’ album (Touch, 2004), a masterful exploration of ambient guitar and electronics. More recently, he has collaborated with Stephen O’Malley and Attilar Csihar as Gravetemple.

1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Lovely people and killer shows

2. What can people expect of your collaboration with FIRE! at the festival?
In all honesty I don’t know what to expect as the Supersonic show will be the first time we’ve worked together(!).
Additionally I’ll be flying all the way from Australia for 30+ hrs, landing at Heathrow, driving straight to Birmingham and hitting it immediately so…it should be awesome, hahaha. I must say that I’m a fan of all the guys in the band so I’m really excited to work with them.

3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
I often think about what drives us to do this stuff, this stuff that continually tortures & haunts us..(or me anyway as it can be a struggle at times). Mostly for me I think it’s the search for beauty/ecstasy. When I’m going for something & it doesn’t work, I can get super depressed for days. But when it ‘works’ there’s no other feeling that comes close and I’m always striving to get to this state again & again. I’m really addicted to it.

4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?  (And why?)
Well, definitely Tony Conrad. I’ve seen him a number of times but I can’t get enough of his work, especially in a live context. He’s super important to me. Also totally psyched to see Cut Hands. I’m a huge Whitehouse/Bennett fan, I love the way he’s fused this ecstatic trance inducing voodou vibe with noise.  There’s plenty of other friends playing at the fest who I’m looking forward to hanging with & listening to, there’s definitely a great breadth to all the lineups at Supersonic.

5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
Melatonin, ear-plugs, finding a decent restaurant (ahem) and a good single-malt.



Meet and watch White Hills


Meet and watch White Hills

“Fuzzed-out motorik space-rock” is what the band call it.  There’s more than a little twisted psychedelic glam in there too, but White Hills are really one of those bands that creates their own worlds.  Check out bass player Ego Sensation’s video channel to get an insight into their visual style.  It reminds the Supersonic team of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films like El Topo and Sante Sangre – they’re filled with violently surreal imagery, all warped-out montages and jump-cut shocks.  It’s hard to work out whether this is serious, fun, deliberate or insane – or all of the above – but the sensory onslaught definitely starts to get a little more understandable when you hear from Ego Sensation:

We can barely pay our rent each month but we are willing to pull out our credit cards and go into debt each time a new iPhone promises a better connection. The joke is on us. Our greater connectivity has caused us to disconnect from our humanity. We have been sold the religion of consumerism to feed the corporate machine. We have been tricked into believing that wanting our tax dollars to pay for our own health care is treacherous to the ideals of a democratic society. H-p1 is symbolic of the simplification of complex ideas to keep the masses from questioning the system.




Teeth of the Sea Q&A


Supersonic Q&A no. 5: TEETH OF THE SEA

From London, Teeth of the Sea play a wild, mixed-up strain of what sounds like semi-improvised jams.  Structures are amorphous, reference points are redundant as they switch modes from song-to-song – noise-rock, electronics and dubbed-out trumpet all get a look-in.  As DROWNED IN SOUND said in their review of current album ‘Your Mercury’ (Rocket Recordings, 2010), the band create “a steamy, light-starved jungle of tangled electronics and feral distortion occasionally punctuated by startlingly lucid bottom end.  For the most part Teeth of the Sea’s second record defies any worries about genre categorisation, a hermetically sealed unit with such a strong sense of self that comparisons to other music seem perverse.”

1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Jimmy: An embarrassment of sonic riches.
Mat: Great method of karma scouring.
Mike: It goes up to 11.

2. What can people expect of Teeth of the Sea at the festival?
Mat: Manifold contact highs. Seeing us should lead to elevation. Being down wind of us should lead to inebriation.
Mike: Hair raising, teeth grinding, ear bleeding, knob twiddling, move busting, figure hugging, fist pumping, face melting, load blowing, psyche fucking rock.
Jimmy: It’ll be a bit like that climactic scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, only with four skinny blokes instead of the seraphim, a total absence of the Third Reich, and the added bonus of just about being able to survive to tell the tale afterwards.

3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
Mike: We’d have to hand over to philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist Friedrich Nietzsche here, with his celebrated quote “Without music, life would be a mistake. Besides which, whenever I hear the sound of a needle hitting wax I get as hard as a diamond in an ice storm.” I think he speaks for us all.
Mat: Seriously, it’s the art form that allows for the greatest breadth of thinking and technique. Approach it from any angle and you can still make it dance. Which is what Supersonic is all about, right?
Jimmy: Music. Makes The People. Come Together.

4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?  (And why?)
Mike: The fact we’re on the same bill as Zombi is making us collectively weep tears of joy and blood. Also looking forward to Alva Noto + Byetone quite possibly ripping a hole in the fabric of space and time above the Custard Factory.
Jimmy: I’m pretty excited about withstanding Astro’s cosmic assault, but there’s literally nobody on the bill I wouldn’t pay to go and see at their own show. Plus Electric Wizard as headliners are going to be one unholy rite.
Mat: I’m already upset that I won’t be able to see everything, but I’m really excited about seeing Circle again. Mainly because the rest of TOTS have never seen them and I want to be there when THE GREATEST LIVE BAND IN THE WORLD tear them all fresh ones.

5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
Mike: all essential. Trust me.
Jimmy: We’re still trying to secure lucrative sponsorship deals with Ginster’s Pasties and Anadin Extra, so I should probably say those. The only problem with Supersonic in my experience is that I end up so thrilled by the whole shebang that I’m a mess by about 10PM, but far be it from me to suggest something as vulgar as pacing yourself.
Mat: The Bat Belt will be equipped with nerve agents, tranquilizers, military issue med kit, Tescos coupons, guitar picks and holy water. As standard.



Zombi Q&A


Supersonic Q&A no. 4: ZOMBI

Using all-analogue vintage synths and sequencers, coupled with live drums and bass, Zombi’s sound is far more expansive than you’d imagine a duo could ever be.  Taking inspiration from progressive rock and soundtracks, their music appeals to both fans of Genesis and Pink Floyd as well as touring partners like Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Sparowes.  Steve Moore, bass & synths, is the man answering our questions.

1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Eclectic, hospitable, punctual, loud, fun.

2. What can people expect of Zombi at the festival?
Golden oldies.

3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
I ask myself the same thing every day, I have no idea why I still do this.

4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?  (And why?)
Tony Conrad!  I’ve never seen him perform live.  Also Secret Chiefs 3 and maybe Wolves in the Throne Room, haven’t seen either of them in a while.

5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
Korg Polysix, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, Dave Smith Tetra, Fender Jazz Bass.



Meet and watch Monarch


Described in one review as a “deep black minimalistic, slow, humongous doom monster”, Monarch are not a band for the faint-hearted.  Since their 2002 founding in the Basque region of southern France, the band’s concept hasn’t change drastically – in some ways, it’s the slow, persistent hunting-down of a single thread.  Guitarist Kaïdine says simply: “The main idea was to play slow and loud as fuck. We were all playing in fast bands so we wanted to play something very different, something new and challenging for us.”  The band toured the US last year with fellow Supersonic 2011 artists Wolves in the Throne Room and Village Voice concluded a review of their New York show by saying “a focused, intense performance, utterly lacking the catharsis that’s metal’s usual stock-in-trade”.


You can see that focus in this nicely shot full-length set from Valle de Trápaga-Trapagaran in the Basque region of Spain.  Slow, yes, but also strangely uplifting.

Monarch from Charly Never Scene on Vimeo.

Monarch Part2 from Charly Never Scene on Vimeo.