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Interview: Sundara Karma


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“If Tinder profiles were something that you could physically feel, then we would get you to touch them and ask you what they feel like...

“Then proceed to tell you ‘boyfriend material.’”

Oscar Lulu, the cheeky frontman of indie rockers, Sundara Karma, clearly utilises his wonderful way with words.

The mysterious four-piece bring a bit of shimmer and sparkle to their hometown of Reading, with anthemic chorus and soaring vocals.

Where ‘sundara’ is a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘beautiful’ and ‘noble’ which together with our old friend, 'karma', creates an image of something endearing. A gritty undertone to glorious sun-kissed tracks, every rose has its thorns.

Gloriously glossy guitars and jubilant vocals clash in vengeance with a combination of blunt and poetic lyrics of gritty coming-of-age themes with gloomy undertones. Sundara Karma, form a complex but rich relationship that tumbles without lenience on both parties.

With EPS | and || tucked tightly under their stylish shirtsleeves, “they act as documentation more than anything” Oscar explains.

Continuing, “They were the products of where we were at the time and everything we will ever do will reflect this same ideology. The album is what's next and I'm more comfortable saying that it should be thought of its own thing rather than a follow up to anything before it.”

A concept that the band are very eager to express.

2015’s debut EP was led by fan favourite ‘Loveblood’- a fizzy explosion of glittered bass and rushing melodies. Later ‘Vivienne’ riled the blogosphere, a rousing anthem with sleek vocals sharply edged with specks of rebellion.

Tropically jangly ‘Flame’ bounces with giant hooks and distinctive vocal that breathes air of cool into the sleek riffs.

Though the track that sits best with Oscar is one of the earliest, despite appearing on the second EP.

“I was 15 when I wrote ‘Diamond Cutter’, around the time my mum and dad got divorced. I had come out of a pretty dark period and was coasting through bleakness which was substantially worse. Was reading a lot of spiritual and self-help books, particularly Buddhist literature, and if you have ever come across spiritual text you will know that analogies and parables are at the fore front.

“I really liked the imagery of people being like diamonds, only being able to truly shine once under tremendous pressure.”

The track pleads ‘remind me of the sanctity of life’, that all life is precious. Brewing a storm with mounting riffs and gloomy vocals that perk with specks of electro beats, it intensifies with killer bass.

From taking to the Reading and Leeds stages to being celebrated by Radio 1, modesty washes over the band, unrevealing and shrugging “Our music is very consumable, I guess…

When things started to kick off mid A-Levels,their music captured the essence of teenage escapism and reflected the modern-day youths yearning for adventure.

Latest release, Annie Mac championed, ‘A Young Understanding’ pounces with a resonant bassline and horizon spreading strong vocals. Unleashing kicking drums and infectious riffs, it moves with an energetic fire that sparks bright rhythm that would electrocute.

“I guess it's a song that focuses more on the darker, terrifying side of growing up. Don't get me wrong, youth is pretty kick ass, but it also comes with its own cons and preconceptions. There aren't many songs willing to state this, instead far too many suggesting that everything is A-OK through lyrics revolving around doing shots, dancing on table tops and taking your top off or whatever... I guess I just felt I had to be honest.”

Turbulent lyricism about religious tattoos and closed eyes, bites dangerously into uplifting guitar, causing a serious case of confused whiplash. Their 90s grunge core slinks right back to the debut ‘Indigo Puff’, where grub glam litters euphoric breeze.

Fresh off the road with Wolf Alice, and straight into their own UK headline tour. There’s no rest for the wicked, as the guys have lived out of suitcases for the past year, surviving on a whole load of Berocca.

“Writing on the road is something that I definitely need to get used to though so perhaps for now all it is doing is getting in the way of the creative process. But writing in big bursts of creative outpour whenever you get the chance is actually quite fun.”

With a debut album set to land this coming summer, the sounds of Sundara Karma are set to colour the world with dark romanticism. Arresting lyrics and vibrant accompaniment mean that the band are ready to question and be questioned, leaving stitches to be unpicked and rearranged.

They’ve been hotly tipped for 2016, so admit defeat and fall victim to the subtle groove.


Live Dates:

23/02 - Thekla, Bristol

24/02 - The Bullingdon, Oxford

25/02 - Talking Heads, Southampton

26/02 - Moles Club, Bath

27/02 - Patterns (formerly Audio), Brighton

28/02 - The Portland Arms, Cambridge

29/02 - King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

01/03 - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh

02/03 - Think Tank, Newcastle Upon Tyne

03/03 - The Deaf Institute, Manchester

04/03 - Manchester Gorilla, Manchester

05/03 - The Leadmill, Sheffield

06/03 - The Wardrobe, Leeds

07/03 - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

08/03 - Rainbow Venues, Birmingham

09/03 - Waterfront, Norwich

10/03 - Dingwalls, London

11/03 - Sub89, Reading

01/07 - Blissfields, Hampshire

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