Lisa Meyer (and Frank) of Capsule

Last weekend I was relaxing in my Moscow Police Cell when I spotted, across the balcony, Capsule co-founder and Supersonic Festival curator Lisa Meyer, and took the opportunity to ask a few questions about what’s been going on with the Birmingham Experimental scene, Capsule, and their Supersonic Festival.

“Hey! Lisa!” I hiss through the steel grated window of my cell.

“What are you doing here?” she says, “and how did you recognise me?”.

“Your dogs wearing a vampire costume.” I say, waving at Frank-furtter. “Anyway, I’m a big experimental music fan, but I’ve been stuck in here a year, so tell me what you got going on!”.

“Erm… Well, we have Modified Toy Orchestra playing Birmingham Town Hall – it’s a commission from Hong Kong. It’s brand new, never seen before, and it’s all new material, quite thematic, and quite theatrical in terms of Audio Visual elements.”

“I got shown a video on your website that scared me.” I confess “… a guy dressed as a monk, and a dreaded girl in a paper mask screeching… ”.

“Ahh… OvO.” she nods, knowingly “A lot of the acts chosen for Supersonic are picked because they have interesting live shows. We like people who are pushing boundaries.”

“I remember DJ Scotch-egg playing a gameboy a few years back, and a guy from Fast Lady crawling across the floor towards me – it was amazing!” I grin, chewing absent-mindedly on a chunk of porridge.

“Well we have a few more noisy bands in October at this years festival” she says stroking Frank. “On the first night we try to build a party atmosphere by linking the live Grindcore with the dancier stuff, and show how that’s influenced the electronic stuff. Saturday is more a mixed bag, and Sunday’s still intense, but we ease people in.”.

“The guy in the next cell said you’d been promoting the Midlands in Texas as the Home of Metal. Are you hoping people will come to the festival who’ve been involved with that?”.

“It’s an opportunity for our travelling International audience to find out more about the Midlands.” she smiles.

“Hoping to uncover some new metal acts?”.

“We’re interested in how music has been influenced by Metal; and how bands from the region have been inventive. Take Nic Bullen for example; he was in Napalm Death aged 14, using his voice as an instrument. He’s now making sound and performative work.”

“Well Supersonic is definitely full of surprises.” I say.

“Yeah, the aim is to be a kind of like a mixtape : you don’t necessarily need to know the stuff beforehand – just trust in us to go out, year round, and put something interesting together for that weekend. We hope you go away with at least a couple of bands that you absolutely love. Plus we have talks, films and a marketplace where indie record labels and artists, are able to sell. We’re kind of hosting a community like-minded people really.”

“Like a place where all those amazing, unheard-of bands you find on the Internet, actually get booked to play en masse!”.

“Right! Last year Nisenenmondai we’re a big treat for people – they we’re pretty much undiscovered, and people we’re very excited after seeing them. It’s not all noise though, James Blackshaw writes really beautiful 12 string guitar music and Voice Of The Seven Thunders are an Eastern-sounding psychedelic act. We also have some fun acts like Melt Banana and Tweak Bird. There’s more to electronic stuff to be announced next month. We would love to have a little doggy creche, but it might hurt their ears… But, there will be plenty of cake! A sugar rush always helps you watch most bands.”

And at that point, President Dmitry Medvedev’s lawyer arrived and bailed me out. I knew fixing that dog show back in 2009 would pay off.

For more info on Capsule’s events and the Supersonic Festival (22-24 October 2010 at the Custard Factory in Birmingham) visit www.capsule.org.uk