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Indie four-piece Sundara Karma are preparing to tour their debut album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, with gigs lined up in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds in September. Frontman Oscar Lulu tells Big Issue North how bad music can be influential.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
It’s a strange one because we listen to everything. If something is good it doesn’t matter what genre it is or who it’s by – we’re going to listen to it and probably quite a lot. I guess the way something becomes influential on your own work is partly down to the amount you absorb it, so it’s always hard to tell who is actually influencing you as everything has its own role to play. Even bad music can be influential, in a way that encourages you not to make anything as soul destroying.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
I genuinely think we have become wiser, not in a day-to-day sense, but of the industry itself and what we want from it. When we started this band we were very young. We also got a lot of attention very early on so we have had to develop our skills in the public eye and I think it’s easy for people to see how far we have come just by listening to our music.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
Banjaxed Scallywags was our first blessed incarnation and it’s been an uphill battle on the name front since.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m writing as much as I feel I can and trying to get outside as much as possible – it all helps. I don’t know what the stuff I’m currently working on is going to amount to but it excites me.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
We get asked this a lot and to be honest I don’t think we do at this point, at least not in a remarkable way. We would probably get too lonely.

What’s on your rider?
Hummus is our centrepiece and everything else revolves around that. If it can’t be had with hummus it’s not worth ingesting!

Tell us about your worst live show.
The shows normally take a hit when we have had too much to drink before we go on, but of course in the moment we think we’re killing it. Something weird happens when you perform drunk. There’s this serene numbness which helps boost your confidence but at the same time it diminishes all signs of talent, and the more you get drawn into the hazy vortex the more your fidelity to party increases. Very vicious and very fun.

Saskia Murphy

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