After releasing ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ just 5 days ago, Sundara Karma’s electrifying debut album has already reached into the Top 20 of the charts and stunned various critics such as the Daily Star who claimed it was ‘2017’s First Great Album’ as well as Clash Magazine who described it as ‘A rip roaring voyage of exploration’.
(Read my review of ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ here: https://livemusicwhatthekidswant.blog/2017/01/08/youth-is-only-ever-fun-in-retrospect-sundara-karmas-debut-review/)
In celebration of the release of the Berkshire-born band’s journey through the highs and lows of adolescence, Sundara are currently touring parts of the UK with instore performances and signings. Now these instore signings clearly state ‘acoustic performances’ at the bottom of the page but last night in Leeds at Headrow House, it turned out to be a very special and very intimate 30 minute proper gig. Having seen Sundara Karma 5 times prior to this, I am pretty familiar with the intense love and admiration the fans have for this nifty quartet. This also meant that I really wasn’t surprised that, from the moment that frontman Oscar Pollock walked on stage, absolute chaos began and a large mosh pit formed.
I guess it’s fair to say that the fans are just as impassioned by the album as the critics are.
The way they shared laughter with and genuine interest in their fans, as well as taking the time to take photos and sign every single copy, is something I’m sure the fanbase can never appreciate enough.
After everyone had left, Oscar was extremely kind enough to let me ask him a few questions so read below to find out more about Simon Cowell, School of Rock and The Beach Boys!
What was the inspiration behind the name Sundara Karma?
OSCAR: It just felt right, we’re all very into the idea of Karma so we knew that we wanted ‘karma’ to be in the band name. However, we did go through a period of god awful names and I guess Sundara Karma seemed to be the best of a bad bunch.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written?
OSCAR: I’m going to be really honest and say that I don’t really like any of them but if I had to choose one, it would be a song that hasn’t been released yet.
I know it’s quite soon to be already talking about another album but I’m guessing we can expect it to be on there right?
OSCAR: Well possibly yeah, we’ll have to see if we get even get round to making a second one haha.
Who are your biggest influences?
OSCAR: I would have to say Leonard Cohen, Jodi Mitchell, Jim Morrison and David Bowie
Ah so I’m guessing 2016 wasn’t a great year for you then?
OSCAR: Last year was a shocker with both the music industry and obviously political-wise but let’s just hope that this year is better. Who knows, hopefully maybe our album could add to the benevolence.
What made you want to be in a band?
OSCAR: School of Rock
Really? That was a very punctual answer
OSCAR: Haha yes of course, I remember watching it and thinking that it was so cool. I wanted to be just like Jack Black.
So is the character that Jack Black plays the person you can most relate to in the film?
OSCAR: Yeah but thinking about it now there’s also Lawrence the pianist. (Oscar then does his best “I’m not cool enough” impression)
Who or what changed the music industry for you?
OSCAR: Fuck I don’t know…I think Simon Cowell might have. Not in a good way but he has definitely changed it and I’ve seen some of the effects of that and the ripples that come from various talent shows now. I guess it means it’s getting more difficult for more obscure artists and bands to get recognition.
What is your favourite venue to play?
OSCAR: I really enjoy playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire
What was your most emotionally-challenging song to write?
OSCAR: To be honest, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a particularly emotionally-challenging song that I’ve written yet. All of them have been written in a blessing and have felt pretty sweet. I’d be lying to you if I said that one stood out as emotionally-challenging.
Not even Diamond Cutter?
OSCAR: Nah, I wouldn’t say that was emotionally-challenging but it was the most rewarding song to just put out there. I wasn’t hurting when I wrote it but when I write more emotional songs, it tends to be quite a while after the period of pain when I’ve had time to absorb what has happened and had time to reflect. Rather than experiencing the pain whilst writing, I draw upon it and use it as an influence.
If you were stuck on a desert Island and could only take one album with you, what would it be?
OSCAR: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys