State Of Evolution: Sundara Karma Interviewed
Sundara Karma are one of the most exciting guitar groups in England right now.
Since forming in 2013, the Reading based four piece have managed two UK top 40 albums and tours with UK indie royalty Two Door Cinema Club, all while 2000's indie kids collectively made the band's first single 'Indigo Puff' the unofficial anthem of their coming of age house parties.
Now seven years on, Clash writer Mason Meyers speaks with lead singer/ songwriter Oscar Pollack about the progression of the band, his struggles with mental health and their cosmic new EP 'Kill Me'.
- - -
- - -
The EP is out this week, are you nervous for fans to hear it Oscar?
Oscar: I’m more excited than anything for people to hear the music. I’m already writing new stuff, so I’m kind of thinking about the next thing right now. I’m in the process of writing where I’m just throwing every idea at the wall and seeing what sticks; I really enjoy that part.
How far along are the new songs, are they just acoustic so far?
Well, I’ve never really written on an acoustic guitar, the way I write is intertwined with production; I write songs on Ableton. I can hear the songs coming together structurally.
What’s a year without live music been like for you?
It sucks not being able to play live, and not being in a room and being able to feed off people’s energy. But at the same time, it is really exciting to see how people are responding to the limitations we have and are creating content in other ways. I’m really into these live streams and zoom calls, you can create some wicked stuff.
Why is this an EP and not a third album?
We’re shifting sonically again and getting closer to a place we’re really excited by. And to do that effectively and not alienate fans and the people who have already invested time into us, it has to be incremental, and we would be doing ourselves a disservice to the people that listen to our music if we put out a record and not build into it and explain ourselves more.
There is quite a sonic change on this album…
There has been from the first and second album. These things haven’t been planned, but we’re just learning. But I’ve learned so much as a writer, as a musician and as a person you know? I don’t mind being boxed into one genre if it feels fulfilling for me in the long run. Nothing I have done yet feels like the right move for me or has gone down smoothly.
- - -
- - -
'Artifice' and 'O' strange are far more electronic than any of your previous work, do you think you’re going to take off the guitars and change up your live shows when they’re back on again?
I think it will reflect where we are musically at the time, and yes it might seem like a drastic shift for some people, but for me, and I can’t stress this enough, were figuring out who we want to be, and the space we want to take up.
There is so much out there and there is only going to be more and more as time advances, you’ve got to be able to justify the space you take up. We are not afraid to try something out that we are excited about, and then assess how we think it went. Whether it was a success or not doesn’t matter, just the ability to try these things.
You planned a trip alone to India to find yourself but never went, how come?
I didn’t go because it was when I was really, really, not in a good way, and I couldn’t see much hope; I needed a shift from my day to day. I was going to go to India, Paris and Japan, and I didn’t go because the people I trusted around me said: “we don’t think this is a good idea for you right now”. They eventually got through to me, and I realised “Fuck, this isn’t what I should be doing”.
In the single 'Kill Me' you say, “fled to India, give you bulimia”. Is this autobiographical, how are you doing now?
Yeah, I’m okay... I’m good. The bulimia part isn’t [autobiographical], I don’t think I have ever fully suffered from bulimia. That is more of comment on the grass being greener, that part of the verse, which unfortunately is always the case; [is about how] you’ve got to be grateful for what you’ve got… right?
Is this your rawest album yet?
I think It is definitely way more introspective than our other albums. But, whether I’m aware of it or not at the time, it’s always a subconscious explanation of where I’m at. Listening to the lyrics on the second album, Jesus, that is all about where I was at that moment in time.
Do you ever miss the early days of the band and have you changed much since then?
Not really, I’m quite happy with where I’m at now, but I have changed so much. I think you do a lot of changing, I’m 24 now and we had finished recording our first album when we were 19.
From 19 to 24 there is a whole lot that happens in the development of a person, you go from a teenager to a young adult. Doing all of that whilst at the same time trying to figure out what you want to say creatively is very difficult, those years are very important for that development.
You’re a man that has never been shy being feminine in the way you dress. Harry Styles was just the first solo male on the front cover of Vogue, he did it in a dress which caused an uproar from people like Candice Owens. Should it matter?
Do I think it matters? Are we not past that already, I mean Jesus Christ, it’s nothing new? It was happening in the ’70s and it’s been happening since. I’m surprised that has even started a conversation if I’m being honest, but good for Harry, he’s doing what he wants to do hopefully.
I haven’t seen the photo. The only reason I can see people reacting to that negatively is if it’s not genuine, if he is trend hopping or something. But I think he has been doing it a while with the whole Gucci stuff, so I’m not really too concerned with any of it.
- - -
- - -
'Kill Me' EP is out now.
Words: Mason Meyers
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.