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April 24, 2019

11 DAYS TIL SFTOC : Mariel Osborn Instagram Takeover


A few days ago we have Stina Poutinen take over our Instagram, and this time she’s passed over the keys to her fellow artistic director Mariel Osborn, who will be taking the SFTOC account for a spin. Part of the artistic director team when Volkov Commanders were at the helm for SFTOC 2014 (our first artistic directors, so it goes), Mariel is a Sounds legend – and we’re excited for you to be let into her world ahead of the big day. We’re only 11 days away….

We’re up to an AMBER ALERT on SFTOC tickets, with fewer than 22% left on Skiddle. We’ve got a super strict capacity this year, so once they’re gone, they’re gone: get yours here –

Mariel Osborn’s special gift to the universe is creating playful, captivating pieces that make you want to touch them… and maybe even rub your face in them. She also revels in excess – which makes her the perfect conduit to transport you into the glittery brain of Sounds from the Other City. Joining us for our quincentennial, on May 5th Mariel invites you to immerse yourself in the colourful moving layers and shimmery lights of her textural playhouse.

Mariel Osborn is a designer and creator who makes textural, immersive backdrops and props for photoshoots, window displays and events. Previously a member of the Volkov Commanders, Mariel is currently based at islington Mill – which makes us neighbours, but there’s no bias here! Inspired by intriguing textures and iridescence, she creates new and exciting surfaces, using a wide range of materials and processes. Also, she loves pink and uses a lot of it in her work. Really, quite a lot of pink.

Follow Mariel’s day over at our Instagram here:

April 23, 2019

12 DAYS TIL SFTOC: Babii interview

With only 12 days left until the SFTOC Quindecennial, we asked writer Emma Davidson to have a chat with one of the most anticipated acts of this year’s Sounds – Babii. Read the full piece below.

Tickets are now at amber alert on Skiddle – meaning we’re absolutely down to the final handful. Get yours here:

A small girl making big noises, Daisy Warne (aka Babii) is on the rise, warping the DIY sounds of an echoing mill with sweet pop paradigms. A self proclaimed one man band, artist, writer and performer, Babii will be joining us in Salford’s soaring bank holiday sun to channel her inner Grimes and embark on a neon ensued Kawaii adventure. Ahead of her debut album ‘Hiide’ and her show at SFTOC, I chatted to the electro pop pioneer about her inspirations and what we can expect from her at the festival.

So Daisy, who is Babii (Did I say that right)?!

I don’t really mind how you pronounce it. I say ‘baby’ but I don’t mind if you say ‘bab-ee’, personal preference I suppose but either way is cool! I grew up in a big old dusty mill with my Dad and I was always surrounded by instruments as he worked a lot with second hand stuff. I was naturally curious, so I used to pick up whatever was around and play with it. Whilst we were living there the first thing I picked up and learnt how to play was a bugle, so I used to run around playing this bugle all of the time. Possibly the loudest, most annoying thing I could have chosen. My Dad would listen to tonnes of records too, there’s not a moment that goes by without him playing music, so I think I was also absorbing all of that at the same time, I think a lot of my love for music came from my Dad.

I didn’t take the music thing seriously until I was in secondary school though. I did music lessons whilst I was at school in Canada because it was free and I’ve always been attracted to instruments, especially horrendously loud and annoying ones, so I started playing the trumpet when we moved over there. I was always trapped in a closet at home because my parents would not want to listen to me playing the trumpet really badly all of the time. Then I went on to playing nicer, friendlier instruments like guitar and piano and I started singing too but what I really badly wanted to play was drums. Another instrument to wind everyone in my household up, but I wasn’t allowed! I was banned from playing drums but I wish I wasn’t, it’s basically what I do now just in different ways.

Do you think you’ve taken inspiration from the mills you were living in in the music you are making now?

It’s only a recent thing that I’ve realised, people picking up this industrial sound to my music but it 100% makes sense. I’ve grown up these mills and warehouses and also when I was a kid my Dad would deliver furniture to places, so he’d be driving around in a huge lorry so yeah, I think I have been influenced by all of that.

What was it like living in Canada?

I lived there between the ages of 8 and 10. I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my life but that’s probably the most interesting. My Dad and Step Mum moved over there straight after they got married, that’s where all of my Dad’s family are from. It was an amazing experience. Before I moved to Canada I didn’t really have that many friends because we were moving around a lot of the time and I sort of became a weird feral child who grew up in the back of a Lorry. When we were in Canada it was the first time we’d really settled down and lived in a proper house and I had friends for the first time ever, it was so nice.

Canada is also really built upon achievement and competition and when I lived there I was more into sport than I was music but it taught me how to be competitive in a healthy way and also really push myself which I’ve carried over into my musical career.

What else has your music been influenced by?

It’s not usually music that I’m interested by, I don’t hear a piece of music and then get sparked to make music but what I listen to is really abrasive electronic stuff. I’m also really inspired by the Pocahontas soundtrack! It’s amazing! I also like a lot of gentle music and I’m really into pop. I think you can hear each of those elements in my own music.

Have you always been interested in music? Was it the path you expected to go down?

I definitely went through a few phases like all kids do but I don’t think the music thing was really there until I was teenager. I was immersed in it growing up for sure but it was more so that I just loved making things, I still do a lot of art stuff and make things apart from music that’s why my sound is so DIY because I just want to make everything myself.

What can people expect from your live performance?

It’s just recently changed. I used to have a synthesiser to play the bass with one of my hands and then I’d have my other hand playing electronic drum kit sounds and triggering loops. I’d also control a pedal with my feet to change my vocal effects and harmonies, so I was using all of my focus. It was so much fun and I love having to coordinate and challenge myself like that but at the same time I didn’t think it was an interesting performance for everyone. Some people would be nerding out and appreciating how much I was doing but I was steadily growing more confident so I decided to take some stuff away so I could move a little more, I was starting to feel trapped and I wanted to be able to do a proper perfomance.

I now don’t have the bass synth I just have the percussive electronic element to it instead which is really fun. I can dance around but I also have this crazy stand which is another element to my performance. However, I recently went to Germany and I wasn’t sure if I could take it on the plane with me so I left it behind and thought I’d just figure out what I was going to do when I got there. I ended up climbing onto a DJ table and doing the whole performance from this DJ table with everything laid out. That is definitely my new favourite thing to do, stood on a table and hitting things that are on top of it whilst dancing and sitting down. That reminds me actually, I need to buy some knee pads.

What’s been your favourite gig so far?

I really enjoyed going on tour with Igloohost, it was so much fun. The last show of the tour was amazing, it was kind of weird because everyone was sitting down but the process of the whole thing was great and it was the end of the tour too, a sold out show so everyone was in high spirits! I was also in costume that I had made for Igloohost’s show so it was the most intense thing I’ve ever done because I was supporting but then I’d have to quickly run backstage and throw the costumes together, get everyone in them and then go back out with Igloohost, it was crazy. Two hours straight of just cramming in so much stuff but I had the best time ever!

What’s the track that you’re most proud of so far?

I don’t know! I can’t hear my songs properly anymore. I’ve listened and worked on them so much and the songs on my upcoming album are quite old because I started writing them a while ago, casually with no real aim. I’m really pleased with the lyric video I made for PHANTOM. I made that in a day because I was aware that I really needed some content. I didn’t have any songs out at the time I was doing SXSW so I decided to do it as a proper release because it was the first bit of my music that was going to be out on the internet.

I threw it all together in the space of the week and I didn’t just want a picture on YouTube I wanted that video element. I made it after I’d been to Asia and in China there are loads of LED signs everywhere and I love the aesthetic of them so I wanted to make my own LED sign with the TV in the video. I made the animation for it which took the longest and then I set it all up in my family’s photography studio. I threw loads of props in that I’d gathered from around the room and then filmed it. All in one day. I’m pretty proud of that.

Have you played in the Salford/Manchester area before?

I played at YES on the tour with Iglooghost and it’s so nice in there! It’s so pink! I really liked it, it was a cool vibe. It suited my aesthetic very well. I’ve only ever been to Salford once though so I’m not really sure what to expect. I’m super excited though it’s going to be so much fun. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the bands who I’m playing alongside too, Cocaine Piss look crazy so I’ll be around for their set.

How important are festivals like SFTOC for artists like yourself?

I think every show is important for artists like me. Festivals especially because there’s a bigger audience from the vast amount of bands playing, it really broadens the range of people who are coming to see me which is great. Festivals usually have a more eclectic variety of different things going on and sometimes I feel like I’m in my own little world with similar artists and likeminded people and you don’t really get that in many other places.

When can we be expecting some new music from you?

My album should be coming out in July! It’s not too far, I can’t bloody wait to put it out I have worked so hard on it. I finished it last March so I’ve been waiting a long time to put it out but I just wanted to have the infrastructure there to do it properly. It’s a break-hop album done in a funny, cool way, it’s a typical cliché object but I tried to do it as interestingly as possible. The tracks on it are old but they really capture a moment in time where I’d moved back to my hometown, I wasn’t that happy and I’d isolated myself quite a lot. It captures a difficult time in my life, I think that’s what it is. I don’t know, I find it quite hard to explain what it is. I’ll be playing some tracks off it at SFTOC as well as some new ones too so I’m really excited for it!

Babii plays Sounds from The Other City 2019 for  Tru Luv – you can follow her on Twitter here

April 22, 2019

13 DAYS TIL SFTOC: SoundsTown Instagram takeover

There are only 13 days to go until Sounds, so there’s no better time to get to know our Artistic Directors this year. In the first of 5 takeovers of our Instagram, we’ve handed the keys over top Stina Puotinen – half of the team that created SoundsTown at SFTOC 2018. You can get involved and follow the updates on both feed & story at⁣ – give us a follow, won’t you?

We’re up to an AMBER ALERT on SFTOC tickets, with fewer than 25% left on Skiddle. We’ve got a super strict capacity this year, so once they’re gone, they’re gone: get yours here –

🔊SOUNDSTOWN at The SFTOC Village Green ⁣
Roll up, roll up – SoundsTown is back… in town. That’s right, our Annual Village Fete returns – this time with 100% more AstroTurf. All your favourites will be there, bigger and better than ever with crazy competitions, games, prizes and surprises on the Village green all afternoon. Plus, we’re also bringing back the “Onion Ring of Fire Chili Dog” eating competition – with veggie and vegan options, and possibly pickles. HAWT DAWG.⁣

CREATED BY Stina Puotinen⁣
One half of the Sounds from the Other City art direction team that brought you SoundsTown in 2018, Stina Puotinen will be carrying the hot dog baton on into 2019, with a series of inspired roving performances and a “village green” full of fun and frolics. When she’s not wielding a hot dog, Stina is an artist, educator and occasional curator all the way from New York City whose work explores questions of communication and relationships, the (mis)interpretation of objects, actions of spontaneous collaboration and the creation of social space through sculpture, installation and sometimes performance… So that’s what you do with an MFA in Collaborative Practice!⁣ ⁣

April 21, 2019

14 DAYS TIL SFTOC: A look at the SFTOC picks

One of the things that has kept Sounds from the Other City fresh over the years has been the unique way that the festival has been programmed: by getting the best promoters from Manchester and beyond to select the acts, there has been a constant regeneration at SFTOC. This has meant that we’ve managed to nab many exciting bands at the start of their careers and created some truly memorable occasions – the time that future Mercury award winners Alt-J and Sampha both shared a stage at The Old Pint Pot being one particularly prime example.

Given this is our 15th anniversary and the unique format of this Quindecennial celebration, we’ve allowed ourselves the small extravagance of booking two acts ourselves to play SFTOC. We’ve picked bands that reflect two of the many sides of the festival – both anarchic and danceable, various shades of light and dark. With only two weeks left until the festival (yep – it is two weeks today: get your tickets here, quick:, we thought we’d take a look at them both.

First up, we’re pleased to welcome See Thru Hands to Sounds. Formed from the ashes of  Silverclub, Sirconical and The Pipettes, See Thru Hands channel the angularity of Prince, the left leaning spirit of Talking Heads, the pop suss of Hot Chip and the funk elements of A Certain Ratio to create utter dance floor delirium. They’ve drawn praise from Bootsy Collins (“Radiophonic border line Funk that makes a mutha smile”), been picked out by Everything Everything as a tip for future, and had Manchester Evening News write: “we guarantee you, will surely have the whole city raving in unison come the end of the year.”

You can see them playing live for our friends at Band on the Wall below, while we’ve also got a little bonus interview where they talk about the origins of their band name at the bottom of this piece. We can wait to have them at Sounds, and we’re sure you’re going to love them just as much as we do.

Our second pick are returning heroes, having played the festival first back in 2013. We’re proud to ILL back at Sounds, where they’re sure to add to their SFTOC legacy in emphatic style. Celebrated by Loud & Quiet for creating liberation through disobedient noise, ILL is a genre-evading band which believes in the power of delinquency. Boasting a repertoire of precarious pop songs and frequent improvised departures, ILL revel in the right to be weird whilst exploring the borders between the funny and the sinister, and the mundane and the surreal. The Quietus’ review of their spectacular album We Are Ill sums them up particularly well: We Are ILL takes their SCUM-punk manifesto and pushes it to the next level as their songs blast out of the speakers in a ruckus of boots, glitter, maladjusted face-paint and vicious pop noise… ILL are a band of happy nihilists and pisstakers, but still the anger on We Are ILL is personal, political and heartfelt.”

A quintessential SFTOC band for our Quindecennial, we couldn’t think of anyone more apt as a house pick for this special edition of the festival.

Aside from our picks, the SFTOC line-up this year is magnificent – you can see it in full here, listen and subscribe to our Spotify playlist here, or watch our exclusive clip with See Thru Hands below

April 20, 2019

15 DAYS TIL SFTOC: A Sounds retrospective

The best day of the year is just around the corner – yes, we’re only 15 days away from Sounds from the Other City 2019! For our 15th year, we’re having a Quindecennial party at Regent’s Trading Estate which will take in the best of every Sounds to date and condense it into a super concentrated one-off festival: we can’t wait to welcome you. Before we start looking forward over the course of our 15 day countdown though, we thought it best to take a look back as to how we got to where we are today with a quick recap of every SFTOC to date. Whether you’ve been to every one, or have only popped along only once or twice, every has their own favourite Sounds memories – something we’re sure our Quindecennial will make many, many more of.

Tickets are almost completely gone for Sounds from the Other City 2019 – the last few are available through Skiddle. Once they’re gone, they’re gone – we’ve a strict, super limited capacity this year: don’t miss out


You know how it is when you have what you think is a really great idea and then as it gets closer to the realisation of that idea you begin to doubt the wisdom of the idea until it gets to the point that you wish that you never had the idea in the first place. Well that is indeed how Sounds from the Other City was born.

2005 is also a tale of getting very lucky as well, with about 4 tickets sold in advance of the day, the sun decided to shine on Bank Holiday Sunday May 1st,  like it never had before and a load of people, (who may have been at a loss as to what to do that day) crossed over the River Irwell to check out what became a truly wonderful day out.

Notable acts: Former Bullies, The KBC, Gideon Conn, Jack Cooper


This year saw Blowout on fine form with The Whip providing one of the genuine highlights of the day and a surprise late night set from the long and sadly missed Stazi. Cherry Ghost provided a more mellow surge of interest at the Kings Arms. The infamous Club Brenda party from Islington Mill made its way to the Rovers Return with the predictable carnage ensuing, while next door at the Black Lion the hype pipe blazed all day with appearances from the hotly tipped KBC, Dead Disco and the early Delphic incarnation, Snowfight in the City Centre.


A crazy year leading up to the festival with all hell breaking loose around the Ting Tings at Islington Mill, making it ever so strange to see them make their ‘public’ debut on the most miniscule of stages at the Rovers Return.

Notable acts: The Ting Tings, The Answering Machine, Maple State, Liz Green, The Beep Seals

The Ting Tings play the Rovers Return, in one of the more bizarre SFTOC moments back in 2007


Phew, as vintages go, this one couldn’t really have got off to a worse start with the Egerton Arms announcing that they would not be playing ball with us on the morning of the event. Bring on the Dancing Horses, in their debut year, proved themselves to be made of sterner stuff and pulled off a remarkable recovery by helping ship camp across the road to Central Salford Train Station and the rest is, as they say, history.. we may never get to see a voice as otherwordly as Seaming To‘s transcend a train station again.

Notable acts: Magic Arm, Vinny Peculiar, Beach Fuzz, Gentle Friendly, Trembling Bells, The Wave Machines, Lonelady


SFTOC’s last addition to the cultural canon of the noughties. At last there was some sunshine, some truly remarkable music and performance and a really wonderful atmosphere created by each and every single person there. We had an absolute blast in 09

Notable acts: Marina & The Diamonds, Peggy Sue, Sweet Baboo, James Ferraro (The Skaters), Mazes, Sophie’s Pigeon


We moved things westside, bringing Islington Mill into the mix as a daytime venue for the first year, along with the glorious St Philip’s Church. This year the obligatory rain was instead replaced by a brisk wind from Siberia but it didn’t dampen the spirits a tiny little jot. And lest we forget the appearance of the now legendary ‘Telephone Showbox’, where lucky punters won a ticket to a one off telephone performance from a host of characterful musicians from around the world, perhaps typified best by Andrew WK‘s words of wisdom washed down with a Guinness and Orange. A really special moment.

Notable acts: Dutch Uncles, Fujiya & Miyagi, Egyptian Hip Hop, Chrome Hoof, Bo Ningen, Divorce, Frank Sidebottom

Yarnbombing on Chapel Street for SFTOC 2010 – some of which can still be found even today


Now Wave joined the party for the first time and they seemed firmly intent on upstaging all others with a line-up that managed to combine two future Mercury Award winners – Sampha, and a band that was soon to be renamed Alt-J, Films. As the evening wore on into the night, perhaps the highlight of the day was the sight of Zsa Zsa Noir seemingly float raving on a table amidst the sweatiest of sets from D/R.U/G/S. Across the sights their many more weird and wonderful moments Swedish popstrelles, Those Dancing Days, squeezing onto the stage in the upstairs room of the Pint Pot, moments after hair and make-up call in the Landlady’s flat, a spoken word set  from Aidan Moffat at the Angel Centre and the enchanting addition of Sonny Smith’s ‘100 Records’ exhibition at the Islington Mill gallery.


This year saw us stretch from the top to bottom of Chapel St, with an almost east/west war going as Faktion put on a moody day of menace at Sacred Trinity Church with Ekoplekz and Vindicatrix, whilst Grey Lantern debuted with a packed room at the Black Lion that was rounded out by a blissful set from Walls. Meanwhile up the top end Now Wave’s and off with their heads made the room sweat with a wildly eclectic day at Islington Mill that kicked off Electrelane’s Verity Susman and ended of with Maria Minerva whilst over at the Old Pint Pot, Mind on Fire took it late into the night with beautiful sets from Shigeto and Lapalux – perphaps the only time those two artists will ever play together in the upstairs room of a pub.


Things ran late, some things broke and didnt run at all, but all the while the sun shone, the faces smiled and everything went wonderfully wild. 2013 was our biggest turn out to date with the event selling its full capacity out by early evening. There were awesome performances all over the venues from the likes of Deptford Goth, Stealing Sheep, Daedelus, Gramme and Queer’d Science,  more and more impromtu appearances up and down the street from Marching Bands to Steel Drum ensembles, not to even mention the intergalactic interventions taking place in Volkov Commanders ‘Transformation Tent’ and the most unwholesome afterparty ever with Manchester Scenewipe’s Chat Roulette Disco

The legendary ChatRoulette Disco at SFTOC 2013


As we hit a decade of running SFTOC, we pulled together an event that pushed us to pastures new and managed to become the most fitting celebration of 10 years of party that we could have ever imagined. We set up an outdoor stage for the first time on Bexley Square and invited music/film Collective Video Jam along to set up shop, in hindsight a ridiculous move as translucent tents weren’t envisaged for cinematic experience, but we figured it out in the end.  We invited The Volkov Commanders to join us as art directors and and they set about staging ‘The Summoning’, a seance with a difference that unfurled the characters of SFTOC posters past and unleashed them onto the streets of Salford

Notable acts: Lee Gamble, Karen Gwyer, Golden Teacher, Pins, Shield Patterns, Sly and the Family Drone


This year laid witness to some of our most adventurous programming to date, Ex-Easter Island Head and an ensemble from BBC Philharmonic (as captured in our header image), together they created and performed a brand new composition in a shop shell at the soon to be completed Vimto Gardens, whilst Sara Lowes led 9 other musicians in  40 minute monster composition on the historic site of the Battle of Bexley Square. The whole thing was tied together and torn apart by the Costumologists and Faux Queens rabid, pinata fuelled “Micro Cosmic Delirium‘, perhaps nowhere better illustrated than their truly uplifting collaboration with Barberos at the Old Pint Pot.

Notable acts: Jane Weaver, LA Priest, Pinkshinyultrablast, Black Josh, Sauna Youth


As ever, venues such as churches, art galleries, breweries and old mills were as much a part of the experience as the music and art. Yet all was not quite as it seemed, as a strange and spectacular occult theme manifested itself in visual artist himHallows‘ stage and set designs across the festival site. Impromptu performances and costumes appeared throughout the day, culminating in a haunted ‘Sea Captain’s Ball’ at midnight. Elsewhere, festival goers witnessed the birth of SFTOC.TV across the globe and tuned into online radio giants NTS who joined us for a one-off Sunday broadcast. There was loads of sumptuous street food and an ale-extravaganza in a new space at Regent Trading Estate, by leading craft beer experts, Port Street and Cloudwater Brewing Co.

Notable acts: The Big Moon, Seize The Chair, Layfullstop, Hooton Tennis Club, The Parrots, Her’s, Martha, Queer’d Science

My Panda Shall Fly plays for VideoJam at SFTOC 2016


In the shadows of cranes on every corner, we witnessed a truly widescreen selection of performances from rising Manchester star IAMDDB‘s slick soul to HMLTD‘s glam stomp through to Flamingods cosmic clangs. Wildness erupted at the Kings Arms as The White Hotel wordsmith Austin Collings unfurled his demented and fragmented piece of musical theatre 2000AD, IMPA.TV marked out our venues with  beautifully crafted Totem Poles on the outside and drippingly delicious visuals on the inside and BBC Philharmonic and Ex-Easter Island Head invited along Laura Cannell to lead a breathtaking finale of their collaboration over the last 3 festivals. Meanwhile, IMPA TV turned artistic directors, turning festival goers into cult members with Sound of the New Dawn – culminating in a march down Chapel Street.


It was the biggest, hottest and – according to 81% of our audience (yes, we even did an evaluation!) – ‘best’ festival yet. On an unusually tropical Bank Holiday Sunday our Artistic Directors Stina Puotinen & David Bailey welcomed us into the weird and wonderful world of SoundsTown in a festival theme that encapsulated the true Sounds spirit: including a chaotic dog show, disco seances, a school of painting and decorating and a hot dog eating competition, not to mention 152 acts across 30 stages and afterparty venues.

Notable acts: Anna Burch, Chrystal, Goat Girl, Laura Misch, Lorenzo Senni, Pip Blom, Spectrum, Virginia Wing/Xam Duo

SoundsTown begins at SFTOC 2018

You can listen to 15 selected tracks from 15 artists who’ve played Sounds over the years on a specially created Spotify playlist here