Capism Your investment is my playground

March 28, 2015

Transition this! interview/review in Myanmar Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — cap @ 12:36 pm

Interview/review for my second solo show “Transition this!” at Pansodan Gallery published in Myanmar Times 12th March 2015



Swedish artist Caspar Johansson arrived in Yangon in 2007 as the protests, which became known as the Saffron Revolution, began to gather momentum.

Of his knowledge of the country at the time, he says he had “no idea. None. Military, Aung San Suu Kyi. That was about it.”

Focusing full-time on his art, Caspar quickly fell in to step with the Yangon scene, making friends through the gallery circuit as well as at the street level. “It’s not like Sweden – everyone knows everyone here,” he said. “I saw tagging, some street art – I was impressed that it existed at all.”

In 2012 Caspar, who produces work under the moniker CAP, returned to his native Sweden. Two years on, he’s back with his second solo show at Pansodan Gallery.

The body of work encompasses his time in Myanmar, almost all of which is informed by photographs he took to document his years here.

“I don’t take photographs for any real reason. I like documenting things, and so I go back through my library and see how images can intersect with an idea I’ve had,” he said.

The show features his stamp-based work, as well as block prints, which look at the haphazard tangles of electrical wire that can be seen on any given Yangon street.

A poster image of a police officer, entitled “The Change”, is taken from a shot he took during US President Obama’s 2012 visit to the city. Upon reviewing his photos he noticed that there was something about the way the policeman was standing, so he removed the stamp-rendered policeman from his context and cast him onto a dance floor. His works are spiked with a dark humour and loaded with political commentary.

“It’s human rights abuses and injustices I try to look at,” he said.  One of his works renders in stamps a Baywatch poster for the “Bay of Bengal: Last resort hotel” – which packs a punch for anyone who understands the context.

Indeed, there is a subtlety to CAP’s art which he admits is intentional. “In terms of getting a message across, it’s not about being explicit. There are ways of saying things without saying them.

By Kayleigh Long 

June 1, 2012

Side Effect and Duelling Banjos in Myanmar Times

Filed under: duellingbanjos — Tags: , , , — cap @ 11:36 am

Finally the Side Effect album “Rainy Night Dreams” is in store.  Duelling Banjos made the album design and got a small piece of the pie in the media. I will soon publish all the design material for the album. Follow article was published in Myanmar Times:

At long last, Side Effect release their debut album

Volume 32, No. 628
May 28 – June 3, 2012

LOCAL alternative rockers Side Effect finally released their debut album on May 5, just months after the group’s efforts to raise funds on the internet fell prey to international sanctions.

At the beginning of the year the band raised nearly US$3000 from supporters through US website IndieGoGo, with plans to use the money to release their first album and buy new equipment.

However, IndieGoGo informed Side Effect on January 13 that it had cancelled the band’s campaign over fears that transferring donations to the designated offshore bank account might contravene US sanctions, which prohibit Myanmar citizens from accessing the US banking system.

Despite this setback, the band managed to scrounge up enough cash to release the 10-song album, titled Mo Nya Eain Met Mya (Rainy Night Dreams), in early May.

“This is our first album, so we would like to introduce our style to music fans and let them know that this is our music,” said Darko, the band’s vocalist and guitarist.

The other band members are bassist and guitarist Jozeff K and drummer Tser Htoo, with Hein Lwin playing bass for live performances.

Since its founding in 2004, the band has cultivated an alt-rock sound that combines punk, power pop and other genres in a manner similar to bands like The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand and The Pixies.

“We don’t focus on one music genre. Instead we focus on our own style,” Darko said, adding that primary influences include Nirvana, Placebo and The Strokes.

He admitted, however, that fans who prefer the sort of melodic, sing-along pop tunes that dominate Myanmar’s music scene might not enjoy listening to Side Effect’s songs.

“In our country most people enjoy listening to pop vocals and melodic music, so they might not like our songs. We’re not a melodic band, and we don’t write many ‘sweet’ songs aimed at attracting a lot of fans,” he said.

“I think it’s much better that we’re doing what we want to do with honesty. We’ve created the songs that we wanted to create, rather than catering to what fans might want. So fans are free to decide whether they like us or not,” he said.

Tser Htoo said the fact that the band has had the same members since the beginning has helped them develop their distinct sound.

“I knew Darko even before we were band mates. Our personalities and our ideas about music were the same so we became close friends, and after a while we often knew what each other was thinking without even talking,” Tser Htoo said.

He said the band members also agreed that they did not want to take the same path to fame followed by other musicians in Myanmar.

“Even underground bands strive to release albums and play a lot of live concerts. But we never really tried to do that because we all had the same idea that we didn’t want to be influenced by producers. That’s why we took so long to release an album, even though we’ve been playing together for a long time,” he said.

Side Effect marked the release of the album with a free concert in Kandawgyi Park on May 12, along with guest performers Big Bag, No U Turn and Nov 24.

Darko said he considered the show, which was attended by about 200 people, to be the band’s best-ever performance.

“We were happy because some of the fans were singing along with songs while we were playing. This had never happened at any of our previous concerts,” he said.

Darko said that the cover of Rainy Night Dreams, designed by Yangon-based Swedish artist Cap, was intended to convey the excitement of a live performance by Side Effect.

“This photo was taken when we performed in Bali, Indonesia, last November as part of ASEAN Fair 2011. It shows concert staff hanging a banner behind the stage before we started playing, so it gives the sense that Side Effect is coming to perform now. We are starting now,” he said.

The Bali concert, along with wide press coverage of the IndieGoGo debacle, has helped Side Effect gain international attention. The next logical step, once the album was completed, was to arrange for the songs to be available for download on sites such as iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

“There are many people from overseas who know about our band from the news about the freezing of our funds by IndieGoGo. So they are interested in our band even though they haven’t heard our music. That’s why we’ve put our songs on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, so they can be downloaded and heard,” Darko said.

The price on Amazon is US$0.89 per song, or $5.99 for the entire album.

By Nuam Bawi

Find the article here and buy the Side Effect’s debut album “Rainy Night Dreams” on Itunes among other places

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