We get to know the new Indie standard bearers, Sundara Karma, a little better.
Sundara Karma are the indie four-piece from Reading who first came to our attention thanks to a BBC Introducing stage at Reading Festival back in 2013. Since then there’s been plenty of label back-and-forthing and a couple of excellent mixtapes, but now the boys are settled on Chess Club and have an album release set for the summer: you’re bound to be hearing it all over the place come July.
They’ve just dropped the first single from their debut,”A Young Understanding”, which perfectly encapsulates their youthful brand of panoramic but intelligent Indie – and has an excellent video by Oscar Hudson to boot. What better time could there be, then, to chat to the boys about their influences, crazy groupies and why the modern rock show is a sham?
What kind of atmosphere are you guys trying to get across with your music?
One of love and community but also the dreaded fear of not being able to feel your lungs. I mean, we don’t really go out and try to create any real certain type of atmosphere. The whole idea of the modern day ‘rock show’ is so fraudulent and unnatural that it’s best to be as aware of this as possible and keep things authentically fake. Sure, performing can have a ritualistic aspect to it… But I mean, it’s not like we’re the fucking Doors.
Do you think there is a big link between sound and visuals – you guys have a pretty strong style?
Someone told me that people tend to ‘listen with their eyes nowadays’ – I guess there is some truth in this… especially with the rise of social media, people seem to ingest images in the manner of how an addict would consume heroin. The link between sound and vision is undeniable I think.
What kind of music/art/culture did you consume whilst you were growing up/or even now, that you think had an influence on your sound and imagery today – and why?
I grew up in Asia and the first memory I have of music was hearing the dragon dance, it used to terrify me. They would play these loud tribal drums and whenever I heard them I would run to my mum crying. I have since then always been intrigued by the more ritualistic, spiritual, or at the very least meaningful significance of music.
What is the meaning of Sundara Karma?
The name derives from an ancient language called Pali and it means ‘beautiful karma’ or ‘beautiful action’. We’re really interested in Eastern philosophy and definitely believe in the whole idea that you are free to choose but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.
What was the best gig you ever played/best city you ever played in?
We played our very first sold out home town show in Reading at the end of last year and it was like we were dreaming. There was crowdsurfing, stage invasions and lots of kissing. We have been doing this for a while now and would fantasise about moments like that when we were younger.
What was the weirdest event/saga that ever happened in the history of you guys playing together?
When we played in Birmingham a few years back this girl managed to get on stage and offered us all blow jobs there and then on the spot. Security escorted her off stage before we got a chance to respond but we didn’t see Dom for quite some time after the show…
Who would your dream-team collaboration be?
Die Antwoord because I haven’t fallen more in love or obsessed with a group since I’ve come across them. Game changers.
What can we expect for the future from you guys? What kind of path do you see yourselves going down?
I think we have always just tried to be honest with our music and it has always reflected where we are at at that certain point in our lives. I couldn’t tell you exactly where we are heading though and I don’t think I’d like to know otherwise the magic would be lost.
Can you give us your top 5 tracks, however weird and wonderful they may be?
This kind of thing changes on a daily bases so maybe it would be easier to say the top 5 tracks of today are…
“Easier Said” – Sunflower Bean: it’s a beautiful track. I’ve got it on repeat at the moment and don’t think I’m gunna be getting sick of it anytime soon. Julia Cumming’s voice is like a slice of heaven.
“Girlfriend in a Coma” – The Smiths: possibly my favourite Smiths song. Morrissey was the first song writer I heard who juxtaposed dark and disturbing lyrics with an upbeat pop melody
“Baby Missiles” – The War On Drugs: Lost in the Dream is one of my favourite contemporary albums. I then checked out all his other albums and Slave Ambient is also fucking incredible! This is one of my favourite songs from that album.
“Realiti” – Grimes: Art Angels is probably the record we have played the most in the tour van so far. Seems to be an all round pleaser and to be honest, we will never stop loving Grimes. She’s never been afraid to be herself.
“Love Is” – Max Normal: Ninja pre Die Antwoord. The lyrics in this song perfectly sum up the struggle of someone who creates. It’s like a fucking mantra.