Interview with Sundara Karma
The band that met on Tinder, aspire to be a tribute band and hope to perform with Katy Perry. Zany, sharp witted and sarcastic… Here’s what happened when we caught up with Sundara Karma.
On the last day of their biggest tour to date, we met before their hometown show at Sub89 in Reading. Slouched in the cramped dressing room above the venue, drinking Heinekens, the laid back boys discussed the last few months. “We’ve had so much fun” they kept repeating, “we’ve just had so much fun”. It was clear to see that life on the road suited the band. As they prepared for their final show, it seemed a suitable time to reflect on the experience. The esteem they held for the sound technicians, tour manager and most importantly one another was evident. Oscar Lulu (vocals and guitar) simply described them as an “incredible group of guys”. Nothing more needed to be said.
They described how “it’s going to be weird adjusting back to normal life”. Right on cue, Dom Cordell (bass) appeared from the toilet. After joking about whether he’d washed his hands and how they’d never met him before, they went back to describing how they had actually met. Sadly despite their first answer, it wasn’t tinder. Sundara Karma date much further back. Having gone to primary school together, they were in numerous bands before Sundara Karma was born: Ricochet, The Banjac Scallywags, The Unknown Stories and The New Originals. It was a long list of names, many of which they themselves admitted were questionable.
With a debut album on the horizon, I asked if they could name a defining moment. “Tonight. It’s going to be insane”. Six hundred tickets sold, a hometown show and a venue that Snoop Dog has performed in. It’s easy to contemplate their excitement. “Maybe it doesn’t feel real because we’re really hungover, or maybe it just doesn’t feel real”. They had certainly enjoyed themselves while on tour.
Aside from being a lot of fun, the tour was far from conducive to song writing. “It’s just a different kind of head space” they exclaimed. However, they did admit that a bus tour in the future might make things easier. They described the familiar scenario of having plenty of free time in between sound checks and going on stage, but not being in the right frame of mind to be creative and focused.
Conversation then turned to how Reading has influenced their music. “Yeah, it has, but probably for the worse”. Despite having the yearly festival they discussed how the music scene had previously been very underdeveloped. However, as a band, they have implemented some initiatives to help the scene grow. “We set up the ‘Thirsty Network’, we want to encourage people to get involved”. The ‘Thirsty Network’ is a club night showcasing a range of local talent including young fresh talent such as The Amazons, Goldn and HAIZE. While they admit that their role in this has been limited while on tour, they are still often found to be at the front of these local gigs, forming a real sense of growing community. “There’s something in the water” Oscar interjected. With Sundara Karma’s increasing success, it could be one to watch.
So, other than helping aspiring talent to grow, what are the band’s personal goals? “We aspire to be a tribute band”. Katy Perry, Will Ferrell and Snoop Dog were among those listed that they would like to perform with. However, this was hurriedly followed by: “Sorry, we’re being really sarcastic. I would expand if I was less hungover and had more wit about me”. Once again, it was clear that they certainly had enjoyed the tour. Sundara Karma’s dry wit was hard to keep up with at times, but emphasised just how close the band are. They continuously bounced off one another, remark to remark.
They insisted that the article should end with a word of wisdom for all aspiring young musicians:
‘PHUK DA 5YST3M.’
Sundara Karma’s most recent single, ‘Loveblood’ is out now. Their debut album is set to be released in September.
Words by Rachel Moore