Sundara Karma are making their own luck at The Wedgewood Rooms

The last band of any renown to feature a Sanskrit-related name were the ill-starred Britpop act Kula Shaker.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 9:12 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2016, 10:16 am
Sundara Karma. Picture by Andrew Whitton

But don’t let that put you off Reading’s Sundara Karma.

The name means ‘beautiful karma’ and the four-piece with their own brand of anthemic rock look like they’ll soon be reaping some good fortune.

When WOW247 caught up with frontman Oscar Lulu the band were on tour, supporting recent success story Nothing But Thieves.

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‘It’s been really good, the shows have been productive. We’ve been able to share an audience with them, which is a good thing when you’re supporting a band.’

Other high-profile support slots have included Wolf Alice, The Wombats and Circa Waves.

‘I think we’re one of those bands that really come into our own when we’re on the road. Luckily we enjoy it and we don’t hate each other... just yet,’ he jokes.

Although they’re all only 20 the group has already been together for six years – and they’ve never been shy of having ambition.

‘I think we’d always taken it seriously. Before we formed Sundara Karma we were always in bands and maybe those weren’t as serious as we took Sundara Karma when that became a thing, but I think we’ve always had ambition and knew it was something we wanted to do.

‘We’re really lucky to be in a position where we’re now able to do this full time, but we have worked really hard.’

In the past year or so, though, the band’s profile has really taken off as they found themselves on numerous ‘ones to watch’ lists and several Radio1 DJs have thrown their weight behind them.

‘It’s weird because we’ve been in the band for so long, for us it’s felt very slow and organic.

‘The only moment where it seemed to be more than we expected was the last tour. We’ve got quite a young fanbase and they go crazy at our shows, I don’t know if it’s because it’s one of the first shows they’re going to, but I would say it was the first moment where it was like: “Wow, we’re making a bigger connection here than we thought”.’

While they have so far only released two EPs, Oscar says the debut album is nearing completion, and will be out later this year.

‘It’s kind of nearly done – we might have one or two more tracks to add.

‘We’ll definitely have it out later this year. It’s been a pretty pain-free process to be honest. We did a bit of it in Berlin, which was wicked. We’ve done this album everywhere.

‘It’s a collection of songs that we’ve building since we were 14, it’s a documentation of all of those years.’

They’ve also worked hard at creating a scene they can call their own in their hometown.

‘The dilemma with the Reading scene was that there was nothing when we started.

‘It’s a weird cultural void – a lot of people go there for the festival and think it looks all right, but it’s nothing like that.

‘The festival is the peak of cultural activity, so about a year ago now we started a monthly club night called Thirsty, putting on our favourite bands, and our mates from Reading bands, and another night called Two Step.

‘There was this little scene bubbling up from people reacting out of boredom and wanting something a little bit more.

‘The problem is it’s kind of close to London and people would rather go there than trying to make something happen in Reading.

‘Eventually people said screw it, let’s see what we can do here, and eventually a community of like-minded people came together and it’s quite cool.’

However, they know the importance of the capital.

‘A lot of our earlier stuff was recorded in Brixton because our producer Larry (Hibbitt, lead guitarist with post-hardcore band Hundred Reasons) has a studio there.

‘It’s hard to avoid London, there’s so much going on there in terms of art and the creative world. But it’s so expensive to move or live there. A lot of artists are being pushed out.

‘It might be a blessing for Reading,’ he laughs, ‘who knows?’

Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Wednesday, May 25