Rock-a-Rolla Q&A

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Rock-a-Rolla: Q&A with editor-in-chief Vuk Valcic
For our 12th Q&A we’re going off-piste and instead of talking to the artists performing at Supersonic 2011, we’re checking in with Vuk Valcic, editor of Rock-a-Rolla magazine. Capsule has a long standing relationship with the magazine and we salute their coverage of independent, progressive music.  Read on to find out Vuk’s fondest Supersonic memories and why he thinks the festival is essential.

How would you describe your relationship with Supersonic Festival?
Rock-A-Rolla has been Supersonic’s media partner since the very early days of the mag – in fact going all the way back to our first year of existence. Capsule have always had a knack for selecting interesting and vital artists, and the line-up has always been spot-on in terms of what we cover in the magazine. We’re also friends and fans.

Which acts are you looking forward to most in this year’s line-up, and why?
As always, pretty much all of them, but for my part Secret Chiefs 3, Zombi, Zu93, WITTR, White Hills, Circle, Fire!, Barn Owl and The Skull Defekts are all particularly unmissable. Secret Chiefs 3 should be every festivalgoer’s top priority.

What has been your ultimate favourite performance at a previous Supersonic and why?
Tough question. There’s no way I can choose just one, but let’s go with Oxbow Duo and Wolf Eyes in 2007, Asva and Dälek in 2008, and SunnO))) and Thorr’s Hammer in 2009, all of which were memorable for various reasons. And of course Zu a couple of years back – one of the best live bands out there.

How would you describe Supersonic to a potential, fresh audience?
In one word: essential. It’s the only festival that keeps getting it right year in, year out. For crucial, cutting-edge underground rock, metal and experimental music, there’s simply no other festival quite like it in the UK. On a more personal note, it’s like getting all the bands you read about in Rock-A-Rolla together in one place for an awesome weekend.

What does Supersonic offer differently compared to any other festival?
The line-up is just plain different to any other UK festival you can think of, and it’s always outstanding. It speaks for itself, really. Other than the band selection, the Custard Factory setting makes this a completely different beast to the outdoor festivals doing the rounds – no mud and Portaloos here, just great music and a great atmosphere.

What impact does Supersonic have on Birmingham’s music scene?
I think it goes beyond Birmingham – and the UK for that matter. It undoubtedly plays a major part in putting Birmingham on the map and of course brings festivalgoers to the city, which can only be a good thing, but more importantly Supersonic has far-reaching impact on underground music worldwide.

Interview by Ross Cotton

www.rock-a-rolla.com

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Simon Fowler interview – illustration and printmaking

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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

 

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