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Supersonic 2012: Hey Colossus Q & A
Toby Cook , October 5th, 2012 09:01

In little under three weeks The Quietus will once again be making our yearly pilgrimage to the second city for one of the UK’s most consistently excellent and righteous festivals, Supersonic.

Amongst the known’s, the unknowns, the special collaborations and the heavily bearded gentleman lodged in an art space somehow fashioning a tune from a toaster and a jar of Bovril are Quietus favourites and “the closest thing the UK has to the inheritors of the crown of the Butthole Surfers” Hey Colossus, so we thought it was as good an excuse as any to harass guitarist Joe Thompson to find out what the group has been up to and what the so far uninitiated can expect from them in Birmingham.

Hello Hey Colossus, how are things with the band at the moment? Have you got a record or something you’re working on to tell us about/plug at the moment? What’s the story?

Joe Thompson [guitar]: The recent story is: Tim [Cedar, ex Part Chimp] joined on the tubs at the start of the year and as we tumble into our 10th year things are good. The new LP is recorded, our 8th, and the mix is in progress – It’s coming out on MIE in March. In the meantime the Witchfinder General Hospital 12" is out in October on Onec Records (based in Plymouth, check ‘em!), we’ll have a few at the fest. There’s only 100 as certain mail-order shops are only too excited to say: “it’s sold out at source”. Ha ha – Fucking hippies.

For a relatively unknown, underground band the regularity and the quality of your recorded output is bloody impressive what keeps you going? Have there been periods where you’ve wanted to jack it in?

JT: Well, err, Thanks! And: No. Some characters have left, some remain, but all are still doing music in one form or another. It’s better than fishing... And here’s a thing: “The guitarist has left, we must split up, he/she was SOOO important”... Ha ha! Fuck that! We’re not a DC hardcore band, the band you are now is both half as good and twice as good as the one you were and the one you will be. Roll with it. Like anyone truly gives a fuck. Let it develop in front of people’s eyes.

Doesn’t it seem fucking stupid that for a lot of bands, once they become big (or massive in some cases) they only shit out the odd record or two every five years or so?

JT: Well to us it’s clearly ridiculous but they’re the ones caught in the cogs of the music industry so tough shit on them.

Hey Colossus seem to be a good fit for the upcoming Supersonic festival – looking forward to it?

JT: Yeah, of course, it’s going to be fucking killer.

What can people expect from your set?

JT: Crunkkkkkk...screeeeeeee, grrrrrrrrrr, eeeeeeeeeeek, thunkkkk, clunk clunk clunk.....muted clapping.....unplugging guitar leads, packing guitars away, carrying of amps.

What state of mind should one be in to best enjoy Hey Colossus?

JT: Happy and 100% sober, like us.

One of the great things about Supersonic, for me, is that every year I haven’t heard of half of the people on the bill, but always manage to catch someone amazing by accident – that’s great, isn’t it? And it’s so important that such a festival exists, isn’t it?

JT: Yes, of course. I was on holiday recently in North Cornwall, queuing for some clotted cream, and I was standing behind a character in a Baroness T Shirt; naturally we chatted about them taking a dive from a Somerset bridge. Turned out the chap was from Birmingham so I asked if he was going to Supersonic, he said it was too experimental for his tastes. I said no more, I did think he had the right beard for Supersonic though. The clotted cream was spot on.

Any band or artist that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing at Supersonic this year?

JT: Grey Hairs, Drunk in Hell, Warm Digits, Hookworms and The Bug.

Supersonic takes place at the Custard Factory in Birmingham between the 19 th and the 21st of October