My Experience as a Supersonic Intern

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Being an intern with Capsule, and specifically Supersonic festival, for the past few months has been an utterly eye opening experience. Perhaps the most significant thing I have personally gained from my time with the fantastic team who curate and produce the festival, is a re-connection with the city I thought I was permanently detached from

I have to admit, and I am saying this as a Brummie (pretty much) born and bred, that I have often felt that the city has felt a bit stagnant in comparison to other British cultural heavyweights such as Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. I now realise this was a result of nothing else but my own ignorance. I was so busy loving life up North (having lived in Manchester for the best part of four years), that the cornucopia of music and art events that myMidlands home had to offer went completely unnoticed. Whilst I had heard of Supersonic, initially back in 2010, I had unfortunately never made it down as I was out of the country on both occasions. I admired the line-up for being so completely and unbelievably fresh- I had not heard of 80% of the bands, yet I was intrigued by the opportunity to have my ears filled with new sounds, my eyes opened with new sights and my head bombarded with new ideas.

As soon I found out I was going to be a part of the core team in the lead up to Supersonic 2012, I was given tasks that ranged between compiling blog posts to putting together articles and interviews for the 16 page zine that was to be published a couple of weeks before the festival. It was great learning more about the bands that would be playing, delving in to their back catalogues online and more importantly learning from the Capsule team who are so gleamingly passionate about what they do and the music that they bring to their captive audience.

Throughout the duration of the festival, Kez (the other marketing intern) and myself were put in charge of the Box Office, a responsibility which meant a lot- it isn’t often that you are given the opportunity to take charge on something as an intern and it was a refreshing feeling to be completely trusted. Perhaps my favourite thing about sitting at the front line, as such, was seeing such an incredible array of facial hair; moustaches carefully grown into styles that mimicked everyone from Poirot to Borat and Dali to Hulk Hogan. And the beards! Well, let us just say that some had taken on a life of their own. Amazing.

Luckily there were no real hiccups this year at Box Office HQ. Our handy PDA’s ensured that mistakes could be kept at a minimum, and our amazing team of volunteers did a sterling job in helping us keep things running smoothly. Perhaps my favourite moment of the weekend was when a couple of rogues from a Digbeth zombie run ended up mistakenly in the festival- they were both dressed in bloodied, ripped get-ups and we assumed they had been part of a workshop or performance that we weren’t aware of. It was only when they noticed that the people around them weren’t trying to kill them that they realised they were in the wrong place. We took a look at their zombie map and sent them on their way.

I think the most surreal experience of the festival was driving Justice Yeldham over to Margaret Street for the ‘Art of Listening’ talk. I mean, what radio station do you put on for a man who plays a piece of glass?

Musically, my highlight of the weekend had to be Goat. I don’t think anyone could have helped but have left Gibb Street Warehouse with a smile after their completely bonkers and captivating performance. I found my feet jigging, my arms waggling and my head bobbing to a beat that if you were to close your eyes, would make you think you were on the tropical shores of Haiti. As I looked around I saw everyone else smiling around me because they could not help it- watching six Swedes stamp their feet, swish their hair and play their instruments wearing what can only be described as hats fit for gnomes is an unforgettable experience.

I must also note Hype Williams as being an act that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry- their stranger than fiction origins are matched by a feeling that they are attempting to plunge their audience into such a state of annihilation, so that they may be reborn in a state in which they will have forgotten how to breathe. At points during their performance I felt that the intake of oxygen had taken a serious backseat as I was so pre-occupied with what this insane bass was doing to my eardrums.

In conclusion, it has honestly been a truly great experience. An experience that I would 100% recommend to anyone who wants to work within the creative industry. The role is certainly hands-on; I have got involved in everything, from moving office furniture to artist liason to just generally engaging with the audience. Throughout the festival weekend you have to be ready for any situation, should it arise which is really a task in itself- it is surprising the questions that people come up with. The festival itself passed in a bit of a blur, but what cannot come into question is the fact that the team behind Supersonic are hugely dedicated to bringing fans of all things experimental a stellar line-up year on year. It is a rare thing for an intern to be so involved and to be made so welcome so I would urge anyone who is even contemplating applying to give it a go- there is nothing left to lose!

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Supersonic 2012 – Here’s To Another 10 Years!

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It’s hard to believe that almost two weeks have passed since we were all frantically rushing around the Custard Factory, putting the final touches to the various wild man posters around the site and screwing in the last few records to the Vinyl Rally’s MDF floor before hordes of music fans rushed in to bask in the eclectic and adventurous sounds that Capsule had loving curated this year – and what a lineup it was! There was truly something for everyone, as Friday ran the gamut between JK Flesh’s absolutely punishing industrial dub, the surreal electronica of the Small But Hard showcase, the free-wheeling cosmic riffery of Hey Colossus, the toy tinkering soundscapes of Modified Toy Orchestra, and of course, the triumphant return of drum’n’bass dark lords PCM to the Supersonic stage.

Saturday brought even more surprises, from the gentle folk strains of Dylan Carlson’s new material to the unholy combination of Merzbow and Oxbow’s Eugene and Niko, a full-on audio explosion that wiped clean the mental state of everyone in attendance. I also have to give praise to the incredible drummer that accompanied Masami Akita’s astonishing feedback theatrics, augmenting the sonic devastation with some jazzy splashes, tribal belligerence and even some well timed blastbeats without ever failing by the wayside of Akita’s incendiary slabs of twsited sonic debri, which is no mean feat! A rare UK showing from Bohren & der Club of Gore was utterly captivating, enveloping the Boxxed venue in a dense, melancholy atmosphere and transporting the audience into the starkest of film noir settings for the entire duration of their set.

Meanwhile, Drunk In Hell’s molasses thick sludge onslaught and Zeni Geva’s vitally intricate sonic attack provided a satisfying ammount of musical filth to wallow in, forcing heads to bang and mosh pits to errupt. Zeni Geva may only exist as a two-piece now, but that hasn’t hindered KK Null and Yoshida’s fury at all, with Null especially firing off an arsenal of bewildering noise outbursts alongside his standard riff warfare via a series of baffling pedals. The icing on the cake was undoubtedly the astonishing avant-electronica of Hype Williams; bathing the entire Warehouse in a thick, eerie fog, the enigmatic duo proceeded to fuse together dub, noise, jazz, musique concrete, electro and garage influences into an uncategorizable and unforgettable performance. As Copeland’s beautiful tones danced across the bizarre volley of sounds emanating from Blunt’s corner of the stage, in which gullet-rattling dub basslines collided with squealing trumpets and reverb drenched car alarms, it was hard to shake the feeling that we were witnessing something of a musical revolution!

In keeping with Supersonic’s inclusive ethos, even youngsters were catered for with this year’s kid’s gigs, in which we bore witness to the heartwarming sight of a room full of children grooving along to the expansive psych voyages of Flower/Corsano Duo – and who knows? In 10 years time, some of these children may be taking to our stages themselves to blow your mind with their sonic wares…

Sunday boasted perhaps one of the most spectacular running orders in Supersonic’s illustrious history, with all manner of heavy weights awaiting today’s eager audience. Gnod’s triumphant set in Boxxed was astonishing, the over-powering throb of their sublimely heavy krautrock-isms gradually reconfiguring the pulse of each listener, unwittingly tuning into their psyche and forcing them headfirst into a cosmic thrill ride the likes of which would make even Timothy Leary baulk at the sheer intensity of it all. Elsewhere, Justice Yeldham revealed to us all the mind mangling sounds that lay dormant in a single piece of glass, Lash Frenzy created an imposing and lucid arena in which achieve total sensory overload, and the mighty Ufomammut invited us to accompany them on a voyage deep into the heart of their latest two-record opus, ‘ORO’. Once these guys peak there’s no force in the universe that can restrain them, and the riffs are flowing thick and fast (or should that be slow?) tonight. Whilst both the ‘ORO’ records are impressive in their own right, combined they are a true force to behold, and to witness this incredible odyssey in the flesh is an awesome experience!

A tough act to follow indeed, but mysterious Swedish voodoo merchants Goat were more than up to the challenge. Taking to the stage in colourful robes, ritualistic gaments and erm, a golden robot mask, the band’s vibrant psych-rock/afro-beat concoction instantly whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Racing through all of their ‘World Music’ debut (including instant classics like ‘Goatman’, ‘Let It Bleed’ and ‘Run To Your Mama’) but allowing their songs a bit more room to breathe, the Swedes kicked out the jams with an infectious energy and by the time the extended version of ‘Det som aldrig förändras / Diarabi’ brought their revelatory set to a close, you’d be hard pushed to find a single member of the audience who wasn’t sporting an enormous ear-to-ear grin. Incredible!

Finally, the Oxbow Orchestra provided an enthralling end to this year’s celebrations, reinterpreting some of their classic songs and even treating us to some choice cuts from their upcoming full-length ‘The Thin Black Duke’. Their performance was at once intimate and gripping, but without losing any of the potent intensity that has made the band such a force to be reckoned with over the years. This was due to be Supersonic 2012’s final performance, but it seems you, the audience, had other ideas, as an impromptu and sublimely hypnotic drum circle erupted in the beer tent just outside. As the ringing in our ears began to subside, the communal and strangely rhythmic clinking of pint glasses against benches and a sea of warm smiles was a perfect finish to this year’s festival.

Of course, I’m only scratching the surface of Supersonic 2012 here; beyond the numerous delights of this year’s musical lineup, there was a whole plethora of extra-curricular activities. The sight of a fresh-faced individual feverishly clutching at a copy of their own recently pressed Kim Gordon collab on their way back from the Reverse Karaoke installation become a pleasingly common sight over the weekend, and the procession of startingly costumed members of the Outcrowd throughout the festival site on Sunday was a source of much ceremonial excitement. The ear mutilating sounds of Lucas Abela’s Vinyl Rally were a definite highlight, featuring one of Lucas’ most ambitious track layouts to date. Volunteers hastily scrambled alongside the track as Lucas himself sat within the makeshift nerve centre of the rally, tinkering away whilst the assembled throng routinely found themselves astonished by the sheer spectacle of it all.

And of course, there’s the massive contribution that you yourselves paid to the festival, by arriving in your dozens and flooding the Custard Factory with enthusiasm, joy and good vibes. This year’s edition of the festival was one of the finest of the past 10 years, a truly excellent way to celebrate a decade of passionate experimental arts programming – here’s to another ten years!

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Doomsday Student – An Introduction…

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Doomsday Student are another exciting addition to this years lineup, and are sure to find favour with fans of other acts on the bill this year like Zeni Geva, Dope Body and Drunk In Hell.

Doomsday Student are in many ways a logical continuation of the seminal Providence noise rock band Arab on Radar. For the uninitiated, Arab on Radar’s sound was a thrilling whirlwind of abrasive, trebly guitars, harrowingly repetitive distorted bass lines, brutally primitive rhythms and nasal shrieks, a winning combination that influenced pretty much every noise rock band to follow in their wake. Doomsday Student comprises the bulk of Arab on Radar’s personnel (plus members of another post-Arab on Radar project, Chinese Stars) and as such share some similar qualities, but these musicians are keen to distinguish Doomsday Student as a distinct entity in its own right, stating that –

“You know who these men are. They have been other men. Who they were before does not matter. What matters most is who they are now. These men, with two menacing guitars, violent drums, and wild words will fill that void in you. They will build bunkers out of your bones. They will make weapons out of your teeth. They will drink your tears and feed on your meat.”

Evidently, Doomsday Student mean business, and will stop at nothing to eviscerate your eardrums with their pummelling noise rock. We contacted the band to find out more about what they have in store for us at this year’s festival, and which other bands they’re looking forward to seeing…


Supersonic: Why should Supersonic attendees check out your set?
Doomsday Student: Doomsday Student features 3/4  of Arab On Radar, 3/4 of Chinese Stars, and half of Athletic Automaton. All founders of and contributors to the now Near-Mythic Providence R.I. No-Wave/Noise scene. Our reputation precedes us.

Could you tell us briefly about how Doomsday Student came into being?
The band was born out of confusion and obsession. It’s a delicate topic. I would suggest rereading answer #1.

If time, money and space were no object, what would you do with your performance?
We wouldn’t do anything different.

Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the festival this year?
We’ve heard a lot about Goat and Lichens. We are looking forward to seeing them for the first time.  We are also looking forward to playing with Dope Body and Zeni Geva again. Arab On Radar played with Zeni Geva in Grand Rapids, MI in the late 90’s and it was unreal! We haven’t seen them since.

Who would be the ideal artist for you to collaborate with at Supersonic 2012?
No offense to any of the other artists but I think we would be a nightmare to collaborate with. We wouldn’t want to put anyone in that position.

If you were curating Supersonic, which three artists would you most want to have on board?
We would want Sightings, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, and Lightning Bolt. But we would also take the opportunity to beg Lake Of Dracula, US Maple, and Harry Pussy to get back together and play.

Which items would you say are essential for festival survival?
A great location and great bands.

Finally, what does the future have in store for Doomsday Student?
We’ve already begun writing our second record. So, we will probably finish writing it and record it in early spring.

 

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Goat: First Live Footage Revealed!

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Whilst anticipation for Goat‘s first foray into the live arena reaches fever pitch, the band have just released this teaser video of themselves unleashing a haunting rendition of ‘Goatlord’ from deep within their Korpilombolo based temple, complete with ritualistic costumes and strobe light!

This bodes well for the band’s debut visit to these shores, and Supersonic is extremely proud to be hosting one of Goat’s first ever shows outside their native commune, on Sunday 21st October. This promises to be one wild trip indeed, so make sure you’re present for this slice of voodoo magic!

And if you haven’t yet become completely obsessed with Goat’s first record ‘World Music’, then where the hell have you been? The album is available now from Rocket Recordings.

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The Mysterious Goat

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The word about Goat’s startling debut album ‘World Music’ has been spreading through the music press like wildfire recently, and rightly so; the record is a vibrant concoction of psych-rock histrionics, defiant afro-beat swagger, tribal Voodoo magic and crunchy garage punk stomp. Imagine if Fela Kuti had accompanied Can circa 1972 on an intrepid, hallucinogen fuelled expedition into the heart of the Amazon jungle and you’ll be somewhere near the right ballpark, but ‘World Music’ truly is a trip that must be experienced for one’s self – it’s kind of like the musical equivalent of a Shamanic, ayahuasca based rite of passage.

But just who are these mysterious folk responsible for this gloriously eclectic aural odyssey? According to their press release, the band hails from the tiny, remote village of Korpilombolo in Sweden. Apparently Korpilombolo has had a long history of Voodoo worship, which informs Goat’s music and hangs over the village to this day. Living out in a nearby commune, Goat consists of 3 core members but is an ever-evolving and adaptable entity, existing in some form or another for centuries as a traditional communal practice and only now venturing out into the wide world of popular music.

Whether you believe their tales or not, I’d wager your interest is certainly piqued right now. Shenanigans and questionable backstory aside, there’s no denying the righteous funky fury of their music -‘World Music’ is one of the freshest and most absorbing listens of the year so far. Their first ventures into the live arena (well, outside their commune, of course) are bound to be revelatory rituals; the band has claimed in recent interviews that the live experience will be much more expansive and free-form than their recorded debut, leading us to believe that there truly will be some kind of Voodoo magic summoned during their set at Supersonic…!

You can visit Goat’s website to find out more.

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Goat – World Music – Norman Records review

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Just one of the bands we’re stupidly excited about playing the festival is year is  Goat. Afro heavy psych punk from a remote  Swedish village? Gotta be good! You can read a review of their album ‘World Music’ on Norman Records

Everything is perfectly in place here from well-segued samples and the odd field recording to the breathless running order. It’s hit after flipping hit with this band, they’ve concocted an alarmingly poppy creation filled with nine all-too brief excursions into a voodoo world where Swedish psychedelia meets belting Afro-rock and parties like there’s no tomorrow. Please, like with all your favourite albums, play it ridiculously loud, then, undoubtedly, re-rewind and crank it up again till dawn and beyond. Goat are worth falling out with your neighbours for. Read the full review via http://www.normanrecords.com/records/135427-goat—world-music

And if you’re into your psych rock, you’ll have a fab time at Supersonic, with the likes of Carlton Melton, Six Organs of Admittance and Hookworms all planning to turn us all inside out.

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New Goat video

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Check out the new video from Sweden’s Goat for the song ‘Let it Bleed’ from their debut album ‘World Music’. We can’t quite get enough of them here at Supersonic HQ and can’t wait for their festival appearance.

“Goatman made me pull my shirt off and start quoting Predator 2: “Voodoo magic. Fucking voodoo magic, man!” John Doran, The Quietus. Well said, as ever.

 

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Goat

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A collective who hail from a small and very remote village in deepest, darkest Sweden, Goat produce heavy, afro psych punk, with absorbing percussion. Old tales of voodoo and curses from their village Korpolombolo inspires their music. One to watch!

http://goatsweden.blogspot.co.uk/

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