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Cloaks Q&A #11 On the 3by3 label, Cloaks play speaker-shredding blasts of dubstep noise. Beats skip, jump and judder while all manner of found sounds build up into layers of ambient scree. Cloaks’ music is a harsh listen but all the more devastating and exciting for that. Here, mainman Steve Harris answers our Q&A.
1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic? Important, unique, raw, adult, anti-hype (substance)
2. What can people expect of Cloaks at the festival? You should expect to hear a more experimental, noise-driven approach to our music. We will also be predominantly playing unheard material from our album in progress.
3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does? That’s a great question, and one I couldn’t ever answer sufficiently.
4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see? (And why?) Part Chimp, Alva Noto, Scorn, White Hills, The Skull Defekts. Supersonic always has a culture of ‘new’ as well so the point of it for me in terms of seeing other acts is all the names I’ve never heard of. The chief reason the festival is so great is that you discover new things so I’m looking forward to being pleasantly surprised.
5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are… Earplugs, a large supply of disposable income for the marketplace, promo materials to hand out, spare bag to store all the new stuff you just bought, spare earplugs.
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.
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?
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.
Initially formed as a duo by brothers Milo and Leo Smee, the band has grown into a large-scale troupe of multi-instrumentalists, including a horn & string section, a choir and Lola Olafsoye, the singer out of Spektrum. Taking influence from the likes of Sun Ra, ESG, Goblin, Parliament-Funkadelic and Black Sabbath, it moves from soulful stadium rock, to drum machine electro minimalism which makes like James Brown at a Goblin gig, to the virtuoso disco funk of Grace Jones. They sound like nothing you’ve heard before; or rather, they sound like stuff you’ve heard before, just never played all at the same time. They’re a really awesome live band; they’re worth checking out for their Pavement meets Gnaw tinfoil space traveller outfits alone.
Friday nights at Supersonic wouldn’t be the same without PCM. Currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, this duo have been at the heart of the Birmingham electronic/dance music scene for many years but have managed to keep their music and ethos resolutely underground and “in yer face”.
Sharing bills with acts as diverse as Aphex Twin, Test Dept, Scorn, Luke Vibert and even Hawkwind (!), PCM draw from their wide-ranging influences from metal to Krautrock, 60’s psychedelia to old skool hardcore to create a whirlwind of sound that ignites any dancefloor turning it into a steaming mosh-pit.
Previous Supersonic appearances have seen exclusive collaborations with legendary metal vocalist Karl Willetts from Bolt Thrower and guitarist Steve Pike amongst others; all adding to their unique take on Drum & Bass/electronica for the 21st century.
By combining nitrous-fuelled beats and filthy subsonic basslines with alien soundscapes and horror movie unease, PCM continue Birmingham’s heritage of producing dark, heavy music but with their eyes firmly on the dancefloor.
Based in Hackney, London, Gum Takes Tooth is a single headed beast with two bodies: a duo of Thomas Fuglesang on live trap drums physically wired into and triggering home grown electronic instruments, bare circuit boards, electrified African thumb piano and assorted crude noise making devices tweaked, moulded and mangled in real-time by Jussi Brightmore. Recent double drum live action with second kit from Valentina Magaletti of $hit & $hine and Buttonhead. www.myspace.com/gumtakestooth
The roots of King Midas Sound were planted when Kevin Martin, industrial dance veteran and the brain behind experimental dancehall project The Bug, set about collecting together vocalists for his 2008 album, London Zoo. Where The Bug had a hard carapace, firmed up with industrial beats and dubstep bass, King Midas Sound more resembles a phantom presence: a ghostly fog of sound that seeps through air vents and creeps through cracks in window panes. Heavy with urban dread but awake to the promise of a better life.
[jwplayer config=”audio sidebar” playlistid=”1142″]Cloaks are considered to be one of the more abstract and uncompromising production teams to have emerged from the spannered and industrial-edged UK dubstep scene. Their distorted and often claustrophobic sound, created using found sound and circuit bent instruments was first debuted on the London based Werk Discs, with their output drawing comparison to not only modern bass music but to the darker sounds of noise and industrial.
This solo DJ set by SteveCloaks will see the 3by3 label boss in a Dub-selector style, playing strictly Cloaks material only, in an exclusive performance for Supersonic 2010. http://www.myspace.com/cloaks
Everyone is raving about this London based band, you’ll find their brutal live performance stretches from dark, post-punk electronics to astute, industrial-strength minimal techno. willfully despondent female vocal and a slavering, primitive arpeggiator, gelling the two together with an eruptive frenzy of drums. It’s an interesting take on disaffected, cold-wave minimalism – something that seems to be in the air at the moment. http://www.myspace.com/factoryfloor
[jwplayer config=”audio sidebar” playlistid=”1365″]Their performance at Supersonic 2009 was hugely popular, so we just had to get them back. Himeno Sayaka (drums), Zaikawa Yuri (bass) and Takada Masako (guitar) met, of all places, at the same music club at university in Tokyo. After quickly becoming friends the obvious next step was to form a band, and Nisennenmondai was born. Their driving rhythm section and metallic guitar sound something like an ungodly and hypnotic amalgamation of Boredoms, Neu!, Can, and Ruins circa 1986-7.
Aaron Spectre started off playing drums and going to all ages shows in the wasteland of suburban Massachusetts. In 2003 he dropped out of college and relocated to Berlin, Germany, to launch his music career. He released several vinyl 12”s, and soon found a following playing at squats and raves around Europe. Spectre founded Drumcorps to synthesize the unlikely mix of electronic music production values and the raw power of American hardcore. Drumcorps shows are notoriously high-energy, cathartic affairs. www.myspace.com/drumc0rps
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Supersonic just wouldn’t be the same without PCM performing on Friday night, they are the dark lords of Drum n Bass. PCM were formed in 1990 by Neil Harvey and Nik Wells in Birmingham,UK Starting life as PCM Soundsystem, they began hosting parties in warehouses and empty buildings in the B’ham area and travelling to free festivals and outdoor parties with their sound. Playing an eclectic range of music from acid to hardcore to early jungle and often performing their own material live, they soon built up a large following in the emerging underground dance scene in the Midlands. www.myspace.com/p_c_m