INTERVIEW: Sundara Karma

Sundara Karma


We woke an eminently patient and slightly groggy Oscar Pollock for a quick 7am Q&A where we talked about their recent album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect and their musical inspirations.

Where abouts in the world are you just now?

Finland, not really sure if it’s a festival or a club night, something we’re playing but it’s definitely our first show in Finland. We were out exploring a little last night with the crew, so…

Do you go into a lot of your gigs not really knowing what situation you’re going to be playing in?

Yeah, exactly. That can be fun but also it’s nice to have some sort of idea of what you’re going into.

You’ve played Scotland a few times in the last couple of years.

That’s right, two really really different venues in The Garage and Oran Mor but the exact same vibe from the crowd at both. Both doing the classic chant and a few mosh pits going, the Glasgow crowd is always up for a good time.

What was your thinking behind, releasing the updated version of Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect rather than perhaps releasing the additional songs as an EP?

We did that as the version that’s out now, that was the album that we pushed for originally but we couldn’t convince enough people on our team unfortunately. So we came to a half way house where we would put out those tracks later on… and we had to settle on that and I know it’s a bit of a bummer for people that had bought the album already but it was the only way to get the album out that we wanted to make. It’s kind of cool that it gave the album more legs, a spike or a little injection of life further on down the line. Ultimately we just wanted people to hear the album we had in our heads originally.


So what changed that you were able to get that version out eventually?

It was just a compromise, we had quite a few meetings with various people and they were pretty adamant about not putting out a 15 track album as that was too long apparently… apparently. So we just had to settle.

Are you writing new material for the next album just now or is that still to come?

Yeah, kind of. I mean I try not to stop writing for too long cause I feel it’s like a muscle. Bob Dylan had a really good analogy of songwriting, he compared it to going to a gym and keeping the muscles fresh, ticking over. I try to approach it like that. Then again sometimes if you don’t write for ages it all kind of comes out in one burst. So there’s no real blue print.

You mentioned Dylan, is he a particular influence? Who is your go to in a headphones moment?

Everything Everything to be honest, their new record is fucking unbelievable. The lyrics are phenomenal. To be honest I’ve listened to that record to death and the one before it as well and even though I’d listened to it so much I still didn’t want to listen to anything else. I like the way it’s 100% pop music, to me there’s really accessible melodies set out in a really quirky original way. That and the production is mental. I think it’s the way to do pop.

It’s great that bands like yourselves and Everything Everything are getting Radio 1 play because for so long Radio 1 has been pretty staid.

Yeah for sure. Definitely for Everything Everything. I’d say that we were slightly more transparent and upfront with the music and maybe a bit more immediate whereas I think with Everything Everything it rewards you the more you listen. Very inspired by them.


What’s your favourite place that you’ve played?

There’s so many. You know what, we did a show last week in Reading and that was pretty special. We’re from Reading and we played the NME tent. That’s the one we’ve always wanted to play out of any festival in the world really so maybe that. But that’s pathetic really that we’re from there and that’s the place I’m saying…. we’ve played Japan so that was pretty special.

Sundara Karma
Sundara Karma are hometown heroes at Reading 2017
When you were writing the album it was a long time coming together. Was there still a cohesive idea behind it all or was it an amalgam of lots of different things?

It was more an amalgam of lots of different things, it wasn’t particularly thought through. When we were starting we knew there was something we wanted to do, it was the only thing we were really confident in. I think the first record it’s like a kind of drunken outcry at a party or something like that, more an emotional thing but not the most thought about thing. But I think that’s why it can connect with a lot of younger people. Loneliness is a key theme to that record and what I guess we love about it is that it documents those years from 14 to 20 for us. It’s like a photo album for our children I guess, if we end up having kids.

Sundara Karma bring their Explore tour to O2 ABC Glasgow on 1st October.

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