The Mother of all Swans interviews – Gira talks to Doran



In the Mother of all interviews Michael Gira (legendary frontman of Swans) talks to journalist and music-enthusiastic John Doran of The Quietus (a legend in his own right). This is an extensive and fascinating interview which covers everything from Howlin’ Wolf to Haiti to Francis Bacon and well beyond…

Get a glimpse into Michael Gira head by reading the interview in full over at The Quietus. For fun, we’ve picked out a couple of quotes for you below. Swans bring their monolithic live show to Supersonic’s main stage in just a few weeks. Having just released their thirteenth album in just over three decades, To Be Kind, (which has been received rave reviews: 10/10 – LouderThanWar ; 4/5 – TimeOut etc.) our audience can expect a bold and uncompromising show from one of the world’s most powerful live bands. Don’t miss your chance to see these musical titans, the last few Supersonic tickets are available from HERE.


JD: Having attended Swans gigs between albums and the Kickstarter-style demo albums, you can hear this natural kind of evolutionary process taking place. What’s interesting to me is that although it’s undeniably an organic growth, there are things that do stand out to me on the new album. Yeah, sure, it’s still monolithic, but I think the grooves are maybe funkier, maybe even sexier… is that kind of a fair comment?

MG: Yeah, that was the intent, we did sit down and say ‘lets make a sexy groove’ because we’re so sexy…[laughs]

JD: Like Alexander O’Neal or something…

MG: What I discovered on the last record was that I wanted to push forward on this one. It was about this groove and how I could really focus on that, not necessarily these big sheets of sound, but more about the possibility to find something that could just keep going forever, without feeling mechanical. So we pushed that aspect. We often focused in on the rhythms, but the idea of us actually getting funky is pretty preposterous. It’s some kind of idiosyncratic version of that I guess, but it’s a fine line for us to tread, because I don’t want to be a white boy trying desperately to grow a big butt.


JD: Something that I think is really interesting about Swans, is that you clearly came out of New York City, but if you asked most music fans, 99 out of 100 to talk about the continuum of New York groups, people would say Velvet Underground, Television, Modern Lovers, Suicide, Sonic Youth, maybe Glenn Branca, maybe Philip Glass, people usually wouldn’t say Swans. You were obviously from New York but you weren’t really a New York group, if you see the distinction?

MG: Well, I made a point of that. Whether it was career suicide or not, I don’t know, but I made a point of separating ourselves from other people in the scene, very quickly. At first we played with Sonic Youth quite a bit, we were friends, but that didn’t work out after a while and I just wanted to separate ourselves from that because I felt that was just another straitjacket, another cliché, and I wanted to make something that was ‘us’ or ‘me’ and not be attached to that.


Read in full here. The last few Supersonic tickets can be bought HERE.


The Quietus Grill Jarboe On Supersonic, Swans & Solo Performances


It sounds like Jarboe’s upcoming tour is going to be a truly special experience, as the singer recently revealed some further details about her Supersonic performance to the Quietus

The interesting thing about the whole European tour, which includes Supersonic, is that it’s an example of my own stretch or eccentricity as a performer, in that I’m doing it with a classically trained pianist and vocalist, Renee Nelson. We’re going to be reinterpreting Swans and World of Skin classics in a very beautiful way. When that’s done, we’re coming home and then immediately going on tour with Nachtmystium, a black metal band. I don’t know how many people there are that do that kind of stretch, but I’m in my element. I’m 100% punk rock and experimental and will remain true to my roots. That’s what you get with me – you’ve got to be an adventurous audience!

You can read the full interview here, in which Jarboe also talks in depth about her contribution to the new Swans record, life on the road with Micheal Gira, and writing her memoirs…

Jarboe will perform at Supersonic on Saturday 20th October, as well as taking part in our ‘You Can Be You’ panel discussion alongside Oxbow’s Eugene S. Robinson, Crass’s Penny Rimbaud and the Quietus editor John Doran.



The Quietus Interview Dope Body


John Doran of The Quietus has recently interviewed Baltimore’s noise rock heroes Dope Body about their musical influences, their creative process and their upcoming set at Supersonic this year –


We all do our own thing and we’re all into different stuff. The songs come out of very long protracted jams, for maybe three hours while we change and change it. Each of us has different musical taste though. David is into hip hop, so you get different rhythms than you’d expect to get. The same with the guitar playing [Zachary Utz], it gets really classic rock at times but overall we try and keep things sludgy and heavy. And our band is also inspired by all Baltimore sounds, concentrated into one format: the rock band. Garage, hardcore, electronic music. It’s actually weirder for us not to use all these influences. It’s natural and organic and it just comes out this way.


You can read the whole interview over at The Quietus website, and catch Dope Body on Sunday 21st October at Supersonic.


Supersonic: A Decade Of Championing The Avant-Garde



For 10 years now, Supersonic has been tirelessly emphasising the importance and beauty of the independent spirit; one need only glance through the reams of musical mavericks that have graced the festival’s stages to see how successful their efforts have been. To celebrate, Capsule have planned a couple of events to highlight the free-thinkers that have helped turn the festival into the glorious tour-de-force it is today.

In keeping with Supersonic’s tradition of featuring enlightening panel discussions, ‘You Can Be You’ promises the audience one of the most intruiging and horizon broadening conversations to ever take place in the Custard Factory, as The Quietus Editor, Vice columnist and all-round music enthusiast John Doran takes the chair to quiz Jarboe, Oxbow’s Eugene S. Robinson and Crass co-founder Penny Rimbaud on how these extremely accomplished artists have maintained their integrity and independence whilst operating in the furthest regions of the avant-garde.

Anyone who’s ever been moved by Eugene’s feral howl and imposing stage presence, Jarboe’s dulcet tones and emotive range, or Rimbaud’s energetic drumming and sneering social commentary will not want to miss out on this. These are artists that divide opinion with their untameable drive to create, and are united in their refusal of musical standards and any perceived rules or guidelines that others may wish to impose upon them, but how is this passion sustained through times of difficulty? Will there ever come a time where this deep-seated desire to create is satiated? There’s only one way to find out… See you there!

Running with this theme of independent creators, Jason Forrest of the new online TV site Network Awesome has curated a film prgramme entitled ‘3 ______ And The Truth’, a loving tribute to the maverick minds that created things that only they ever could, ranging from the ingenious to the downright bizarre! The Network Awesome site features a number of specially made programmes, curated by visionaries like John Zorn and Barry Adamson, and is well worth checking out!


Recording: In conversation with Tony Conrad


Last year’s Supersonic Festival saw many great moments, but perhaps one of the biggest highlights was In Conversation with Tony Conrad.
John Doran (The Quietus) spoke to sonic and visual art legend, Tony Conrad, about his long line of collaborative work. Here’s your opportunity to listen again to the talk as Tony gives insight into his cross artform approach, moving between the world of visual art, film and sound. The pair also discuss Tony’s early days working with The Velvet Underground as well as other influential characters. A rare and humourous treat! Enjoy… and check back next week for another recording.

In conversation with Tony Conrad @ Supersonic Festival 2011 by Supersonic Festival


The Quietus Q&A


The Quietus: Q&A with editor John Doran
The Quietus is one of Capsule’s favourite sites.  Spending a few hours in their company is always a pleasure and mainman John Doran has been involved with Supersonic before, most recently hosting a Q&A with Neu!’s Michael Rother on 2010.  Here, we turn the tables and subject him to our own Q&A, courtesy of Ross Cotton.

How would you describe your relationship with Supersonic Festival?
Head over heels in love. Luckily my girlfriend feels the same way.

Which acts are you looking forward to most in this year’s line-up, and why?
Electric Wizard because they are pure, heavy evil, straight from some kind of black hole of doom. The Skull Defekts (will they find the Higgs Bosun?) will be amazing. Simeon of The Silver Apples is always amazing. WITTR, White Hills and Circle.

What has been your ultimate favourite performance at a previous Supersonic and why?
Probably either Beestung Lips in 2008 just because it was so fucked up, exciting and funny, Arbouretum in 2009 or King Midas Sound last year. Or SunnO))). It’s hard to pare it down to one set.

How would you describe Supersonic to a potential, fresh audience?
The right balance of pancreas bursting harsh noise, frollicking and cake.

What does Supersonic offer differently compared to any other festival?
The compactness of it is a real selling point. There’s always a good vibe there and you’re guaranteed to come away having seen something amazing you weren’t previously aware of.