Bring to Light is a weekend of adventurous and experimental music from the highly respected Birmingham outfit, Capsule. Quite what ties the festival’s many strands together is hard to pin down but expect eye-popping visuals and a heavy dose of noise. Highlights include Shangaan Electro, whose new wave dance music first blew up at street parties in Soweto and Evil Blizzard‘s theatrical live show that could have escaped from the set of a budget slasher flick. The most recognisable name is Dinos Chapman, who brings his debut album ‘Luftbobler’ to life with an audiovisual display that mesmerised audiences at Sonar earlier this year.
Capsule have built a strong reputation for creating innovate multi-disciplinary events at venues around Birmingham, including Home of Metal and the legendary Supersonic Festival. This year they were appointed to curate the Library of Birmingham’s opening season, filing the space with four months of spectacular events. Huck spoke to Lisa Meyer, co-founder of Capsule to talk about bringing the noise to Birmingham, counter culture and what’s in store for Bring to Light.
What motivated you to create Capsule?
“Jenny Moore and I started Capsule in 1999 to produce live events and exhibitions for adventurous audiences in Birmingham. Our starting point came from being fans of experimental music and counter culture. We programmed for like-minded people as we felt the work that interested us wasn’t coming to Birmingham. It grew from there and now our events attract audiences from all corners of the UK and beyond. We’ve been the catalyst for a whole host of cultural activity in the city, perhaps just giving people the confidence that they too can make stuff happen.”
How does Bring to Light fit into Capsule’s wider project?
“Bring To Light will be a weekend that celebrates the very best in new music and performance. It will include dance workshops by South Africa’s high-speed dance phenomenon, Shangaan Electro, as well as a free public performance in the Library of Birmingham’s amphitheatre. We have visual artist turned sonic performer Dinos Chapman, Sarah Angliss‘ uncanny ensemble of strange automata and the ‘brain pulse music’ of Japanese artist Masaki Batoh. We’ve built our reputation for being challenging and innovative, but our approach to our audience and artists has always been one of inclusiveness. One of our core aims is to bring the work of lesser-known practitioners to larger audiences whilst staying true to their artistic vision.”
Where do you fit into Birmingham’s musical community?
“I don’t know if we do, we’ve always seen our peers as other arts organisations like Eastside Projects and Flatpack Festival, not really part of a ‘music’ industry.”
What was the very first event you staged?
“At the turn of the millennium we staged our first event named ‘PMT, Pre Millennium Tension’, an exhibition and live event that explored the hype that was building around the turn of the century. We’ve stayed true to that approach of having a very strong visual or performative element in everything we programme.”
What have you learned since then?
“Well in the early days Jenny (co-founder) and I did everything, curated and produced the events, stage managed, cooked the veggie chili and had the artists stay at our house. It was the only way to make stuff happen in the beginning. Now with Supersonic we have a huge team of both freelance staff and volunteers which is pretty remarkable. The most important thing that we’ve learnt is to be vision led. You’ve got to be driven by your passion, otherwise your work will be soul destroying.”
Bring to Light kicks off at Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham on Friday 25 October. For more info on the whole weekend see the Capsule website.