Reading’s golden boys Sundara Karma have only just unveiled their new single ‘A Young Understanding’. The indie-pop quartet has seen undeniable success over the past year with only just two EPs under their belt and things seem to be getting bigger and better for the boys. They haven’t even released an album yet and they’re already set to globetrot around Europe’s festivals on the same bill as Years and Years, The 1975 and many other household names. It’s difficult not to label them as the next big thing. We caught up with Oscar Lulu, Sundara’s lead singer, and we’re tempted to say that England’s new wave is in safe hands.
You’ve just finished recording your first album. What can you give away?
I can give away that it’s done and that we’re proud of it. It’s a really weird and difficult thing to say. To be honest, I don’t really want to say it. I find it difficult letting things go.
Have you done anything different with the album or is it going to be a continuity of what you’ve released so far?
We’ve released two EPs and I think the album is just going to be an evolution from those two EPs. Our second EP was a progression from our first EP and I think the album will just be a natural progression from the two combined. If you’re fans of the EPs, you’ll be fans of the album. There isn’t a direct distinction.
What’s your production process?
Well, I’m the main writer so it just comes from me singing in my room and messing around, thinking of ideas. Sometimes literature can be a source of inspiration or a certain philosophy that struck a chord.
You’ve also got a tour lined up in March. This is going to be your second headline tour after supporting acts like The Wombats, Wolf Alice and Circa Waves. What do you have in store?
This is going to be our second headline tour, so it should be fun. I couldn’t say what to expect from our shows except for a really good night out. Let’s just say that they’re going to be like an extreme house party.
Let’s talk a bit about what you’ve released so far. Vivienne and Flame are some of your most popular tracks. What can you tell me about those two?
The early versions of both of those tracks were so different to how they sound now, after we’ve recorded. I think there’s something in the four of us. When we come together, we have this unidentifiable quality that suddenly comes to life. So I suppose those two tracks came to life the same as the others. Flame is more of a wake up call. If someone says something, it shouldn’t be taken at face value. There are different possibilities and there is more to life than meets the eye. That’s what Flame is about. As for Vivienne, we like to think of it as a classic love song.
What about the visuals for the tracks? How much input do you get on them?
For Vivienne, I put that together along with the director. We’re hands on with everything we do, creatively speaking. I feel really strongly that as an artist, you can’t be complacent or lazy about it. You need to be on top of all of it. Especially now, with social media and everything, because people never look at an album cover and see just that. It’s got a lot more to do with the music videos or the pictures that you upload on Instagram. It’s a bigger beef rather than just your music.
What was your concept behind the Vivienne video then?
Tragedy and escapism I suppose.
Do you always have a certain thing that you try to convey through your tracks? As you said, they all come across as a form of escapism, from the outside looking in at least.
I think that the broader message within the tracks is hard to define. You know, I’m 20 years old and I’m still young. I don’t feel like an adult. At all actually. Everything is coming from a very young point of view and it’s just my way of seeing the world at this very moment. I’m trying to stay away from mundane, cliché things. What interests me is obsession and ritualism. Love, hate, sex and drugs.
It’s not your job to tell people what to take away from your music, but if it was, what would you want people to take away from it?
Joy or happiness, if you can.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Let It Happen by Tame Impala and 15 Step by Radiohead.
What’s your FAULT?
You can check out Sundara Karma’s new single below.
Words: Adina Ilie