Skullflower + Scorn + Atomized added to Supersonic 09


We’re pleased to announce some additions to the line up for Supersonic Festival 09,  24th – 26th of July, taking place in and around the Custard Factory in Birmingham. First up to be added are the beautiful dissonant occult noise act SKULLFLOWER, also joining the line up is SCORN aka Mick Harris (king of the blast beat)  and the new project combining Russell McEwan of Black Sun &  the electronic-vocal attack of Lea Cummings (Kylie Minoise) in the form of ATOMIZED .

To the uninitiated, Skullflower is one of the better-known bands that originated in the early 1980s power-electronics / noise scene, and one of the few to achieve any real recognition outside their homeland, especially in the United States . Unlike most of their contemporaries (such as Whitehouse, Con-Dom, Grey Wolves, etc.), they are an actual band (as opposed to one or two musicians employing a mix of instruments, synths, and tapes), and retained just enough of rock’s basic structure to attract the attention of people beyond the power-electronics genre.

Skullflower’s roots are in the European power-electronics / noise scene taking place in the early 1980s. A number of experimental musicians and bands who had grown bored with punk began experimenting with a more confrontational brand of volume-dependent artistic expression. Bands like Whitehouse, Final, Napalm Death, Con-Dom, Throbbing Gristle, The Grey Wolves, and the like were pushing the boundaries of sonic assault, employing damaged synths, guitar noise, unsettling tapes, and extreme volume to confront audiences. Swiping a page from punk’s DIY manual, most of them were also releasing their own material (and in some cases, the material of a great many others) on cassette and (when they could afford it) vinyl, to be sold at shows or by mail order.


Scorn is the project of former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris. The project was formed in the early ’90s by Harris along with Nic Bullen (one of the founder members of Napalm Death in 1981). Bullen left the group in April 1995 and the projects continues on to this day as an essentially one man show.

Scorn is/was often associated with industrial and experimental music, particularly in their earlier years as a duo with much of their Earache Records era output. Scorn considered a rare example of a successful industrial/downtempo crossover artist. Since the departure of Bullen, much of the output has been minimalist beats with an emphasis on very deep bass lines, often resembling dub and trip-hop in structure.
Atomized is the what occurs when you combine the tribal percussion and bellows of Lovely Feyde Rautha (Russell McEwan of Black Sun) and the electronic-vocal attack of Lea Cummings (Kylie Minoise) as they reinterpret some well known pop songs from the 80s, or as they describe – “Raped versions of pop classics by Madonna, Visage, Howard Jones, Haircut 100, & Culture Club.” As you can imagine, the songs sound nothing like the original chart toppers, dwelling in a nocturnal grey area between Mummy and Daddy era-Whitehouse (especially on their Madonna and Visage cover) and Swans at their minimal best.

Equal parts industrial, noise and no-wave – it’s a heavy and merciless release from these two, the audio equivalent to Boy George’s night terrors in the clink. This will be released from Lea’s Kovorox Sound label in the not so distant future, be sure to catch their debut performance of this material at Glasgow Implodes this March.

Initial Supersonic 09 line up – Head Of David/ 65 Days of Static /  Atomized/ Berg Sans Nipple / Caribou / Cave/ Chris Herbert / Diagonal / Earthless /Flower & Corsano Duo / Genghis Tron / Growing / Jarboe / Khyam Allami / Master Musicians Of Bukake/ Nancy Wallace / Pontiak / PRE /  Scorn / Skullflower/  Theo / Venetian Snares /Zu / ZzZ’s

Tickets go on sale the first week of March exclusively to those on our mailing list, followed by additional tickets in April
You can join the mailing list here to guarantee first round of tickets. join now


Next Home Of Metal event as part of Flatpack Festival

As part of Flat Pack Festival in collaboration with Home Of Metal
Screening of: The Song Remains the Same & talk by Chris Phipps

@ South Birmingham College
Saturday 14th 16:00pm

Dir. Peter Clifton & Joe Massot
UK/USA 1976, 137 mins
Feat. Robert Plant; Jimmy Page; John Bonham; John Paul Jones

Back in the day when psychedelic concept movies were compulsory for any self-respecting rock band, Led Zeppelin took the plunge with this patchy but often entertaining document of their 1973 Houses of the Holy tour. The meat of the film is a performance at Madison Square Gardens shot over three nights in which the group steam through ‘Stairway’, ‘Black Dog’, ‘Heartbreaker’ and the rest to thunderous effect. Also scattered through the movie are fantasy sequences which Spinal Tap might have cringed at, including Plant rescuing a fair maiden and Page meeting a hermit up a mountain. The simplest and most touching is John Bonham’s, shot on his farm near Droitwich.

The making-of story is an epic in its own right, and today’s special screening will include a talk by Birmingham-born documentary maker and music historian Chris Phipps. Combining personal anecdotes with music fact and urban fiction, Phipps will provide a unique decoding of a band and film which often defy description. As he says, “you may leave with more questions than answers, but that’s Zeppelin.”

For further info about Flatpack Festival:

Don’t forget you can upload your photos, ticket stubs, programs etc to the Home Of Metal Archive


Javens does it again

Two more stunning gig posters have been created by artist Ben Javens for our future Capsule gigs, firstly for a show with Savannah, Georgia’s BARONESS (Relapse Records) with support from Alabaster Suns (ex Capricorns) and Birminghams very own thunderous foursome Mothertrucker which takes place on Friday 10th of April.

Followed a week later by the godfather of Drone, Dylan Carsons EARTH with support from Ko-Guma-za, which sees the guitar section of Nottingham band Wolves Of Greece reunited for the first time since their involvement with NYC composer Glenn Branca’s orchestra in 2007.

Both these gigs will take place at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, advanced tickets are available from or Polar Bear on York Road in Kings Heath, also at Swordfish on Temple Street in Birmingham city centre.


Highlights from previous Supersonic festivals

“It was an incredible experience that was quality throughout – every detail accounted for, every nerve stimulated! Fantastic to spend an entire weekend talking about and listening to music with people who really love it too. And getting to tell the musicians how much you appreciated them was a real bonus. A life changing experience – never been more in love with music- THANK YOU! XXX” Audience feedback

We hope each year people go away from Supersonic having discovered a few gems, often the line up is made up of names that you might not recognise just yet! – but its worth being adventurous as the rewards are well worth it.
Here are  some of the highlights from previous Supersonic Festivals including 2008’s immense performance by the  incredible Harvey Milk featuring the mighty Joe Preston – these guys blew audiences away on the Saturday night – fists in the air, tears in the eyes!!! Supersonic were proud to bring these guys over to Europe for the first time after a few years of gentle persuasion. Other great performances were by Merzbow in collaboration with Keiji Haino as Kikuri, the Danish ensemble Efterklang, comic antics by Fucked Up and the blissful end performance by Krautrock legends Harmonia.

Harvey Milk 2008

2007 saw a unique collaboration by the Oxbow Duo with Stephen O’Malley,  Justin Broadrick, Dave Cochrane & Chipper, the first European show for David Yows Qui, a near riot during Wolf Eyes and a co headline performance by Sunn0))) and Mogwai.

2007 report for Supersonic by BBC

2006 saw the thunderous High on Fire headline the outside stage whilst in the Factory club audiences went berserk for Zombi & Circle.

High On Fire 2006

Zombi 2006

Circle 2006

2005 was the infamous year of the bomb – when the whole of Birmingham city centre was evacuated due to  a bomb scare including our festival – we all had to vacate the Digbeth area but not before having witnessed amazing sets by Battles, Dalek and Tunng amongst a host of others. The much anticipated collaboration by Stephen O’Malley and Merzbow had to be postponed as did a perfromance by PTV.

2005 Supersonic short film
In 2003, our very first Supersonic Festival took place over the water at the Custard Factory, with live performances by Coil and a very early live show by LCD Sound System. Happy days!

Coil Supersonic 2003

Let us know what your highlights have been…


Follow Supersonic on Twitter

We are trying to keep up with technology by signing up to Twitter, feel free to follow us with all the latest news to do with Supersonic Festival and of course if Frank ( the puppy dog) does anything amazing like looking cuter than normal.
Twitter illustration by Ben Javens, part of his bird and pattern series. Cute dog courtesy of Frank (Capsule head of security)


Limited edition 2003 Supersonic poster

First ever Supersonic Festival design by CHU

First ever Supersonic Festival design by CHU

Walsall born artist, CHU ( famous for his ‘Your Mum Rang’ sticker campaign) has produced a three colour signed screen print, limited to an edition of 50, 500mm x 700mm on archival acid-free, bright white Bread & Butter 270gsm.

They’ll be available from the Dreweatts collections during February, further details here.
Designed for Supersonic Festival 2003 which saw live performances from Coil, V/VM, LCD Sound System and The Bug amongst a host of other fine acts. Brings back happy naive memories of building a stage over the ‘lake’ at the Custard Factory, until we realised we could have electrocuted the entire audience, happy days.

Supersonic Festival 2003 over water

Supersonic Festival 2003 over water


Supersonic Festival dates announced

SUPERSONIC 2009 24TH – 26TH July Birmingham UK
Crafting extraordinary events for adventurous audiences combining music, art, film & cake.

“Of this welter of well organised, wisely curated festivals (ATP, Faster Than Sound, Sonar, Greenman) perhaps the best organised and most wisely curated was Supersonic. Plotted by Birmingham promoters Capsule, 2007’s Supersonic inhabited the nexus where metal, folk and noise met.”
Plan B Magazine

“Supersonic, in our opinion the best festival in the world right now”

Rock-A-Rolla Magazine

”AS British music festivals go, Birmingham’s annual Supersonic event is the best kind of mixed musical bag, a dizzying assortment of avant rock textures and Heavy Metal thunder on a bill which swings from the sublime to the ridiculous without once seeming ostentatiously eclectic.” The Wire

We are pleased to announce the first confirmations – including HEAD OF DAVID who bring their driving bombast to proceedings for the first time in 23 years – for this year’s festival, which will take place in Birmingham on 24TH – 26TH of July 2009.

Now in it’s 7th year, the event will once again take place at the Custard Factory utilising the many rooms for music, art, film & of course cake.

Additional confirmations will follow in the upcoming weeks, but the line-up is shaping up to be another extravaganza – the rather incredible former Swan, JARBOE; the expansive drone-noise of GROWING; Brighton’s prog adventure, DIAGONAL; the wild avant futuristic jazz of ZU; the stoned pysch of EARTHLESS, the Virginian sludge rock of PONTIAK, the industrial experiments of 65 DAYS OF STATIC, the immense duo that is FLOWER/CORSANO DUO, KHYAM ALLAMI and one of the finest folk vocalists NANCY WALLACE will be featured in the line-up, once again highlighting the highly eclectic booking policy of the festival.

Initial line up :
Head Of David/ 65 Days of Static / Berg Sans Nipple / Caribou / Cave/ Chris Herbert / Diagonal / Earthless /Flower & Corsano Duo / Genghis Tron / Growing / Jarboe / Khyam Allami / Master Musicians Of Bukake/ Nancy Wallace / Pontiak / PRE / Theo / Venetian Snares /Zu / ZzZ’s
Many more to be announced over the coming months

Tickets go on sale early April

For hotel deals and to volunteer check


Home Of Metal on the Guardian website

A piece written by Plan B Magazines editor Louis Patterson on the Guardian Blog about the Home Of Metal project. It seems has stirred quite a debate, though some people have clearly missed the point of the article  which is not saying that Birmingham isn’t a musical city but rather we haven’t marketed ourselves as such despite our rich musical heritage.

“Some cities are music cities: they have music in their DNA. Think of Manchester as you stroll along and see if you don’t get a hint of swagger in your step, your legs encased in a pair of voluminous corduroys as She Bangs the Drums filters down from some passing cloud.
Birmingham, however, is not a music city. That’s not to say it has no history of music. Indeed, from 1970s rock giants Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, through to later, less well-known but hugely influential outfits such as Napalm Death and Godflesh, the city has a history of music to all but rival Manchester. Yet, though Sabbath and Priest were certainly big bands, they were never Brummie bands, at least not in the way the Smiths or Oasis became synonymous with Manchester. Why?”

Read more here

This is one of the comments from the article:

“This may come as something of a shock, but Black Sabbath are a 100 times more influential than The Smiths or Joy Division ever will be. I live in the US and they are feted as gods by folks here…It’s a bloody inspired place.”