IN terms of bands that really capture the eye and motivate the brain…
PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell
your options might be limited, at best. Among the knuckle-bleeding Rock gods and the generic, image-conscious Indie luvvies: where does one go for something both intense and intelligent? Well, one option would be to embrace Classic music but that can be a hard and unenviable chore – some grand moments but a lot of forgettable compositions. What one should do, instead, is to have a look at the boys of Sonitus. They are based in East London but are not, as they wittily and fearfully suspect, in an area that has been gentrified to the nth degree. The guys chat about their new single, Alleviate, and why London’s dwindling club scene will cause problems; how their future E.P. is shaping and the nicknames assigned to one another – the hardcore, tougher Spice Girls, if you will!
Hi guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Dein: Really great. Loving the positive reviews we’ve had on the tracks so far. Aside from that, I started a new job with a tech. firm – learned lots of great things.
Nate: Iit was half-term so had some welcomed time off to see Doctor Strange.
Dein: Went to a couple gigs; wrote some music. You know: regular shit.
For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
Nate: If R. Kelly and Alice in Chains had a baby and the crew from A Perfect Circle (were) its godparents.
Dein: …with a little-black-mirror-attitude to keep the themes modern.
Can you tell us about how you chaps came together? Was it an instant connection or did it take a while for things to fuse?
Dein: Through previous girlfriends…
Nate: …and at a speed dating event for killer clowns: it was love and first fright.
Dein: Dad jokes aside: my ex introduced me to Russell who was working with Nate and brought him in; who then brought in our drummer Romulo; who then brought in our current bass player, Scott – who is overdue on introducing us to someone new. This is a pretty good way of letting him know that, passively-aggressive…
PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell
You are from a part of East London that has not succumb to posh coffee shops and designer outlets. Do you think that helps your creative process and do you fear too much of the capital is becoming gentrified?
Nate: Really great. We’re dreading the day that Cereal Killer Cafe pops up next to a Punjabi bridal store…
Dein: …or another vape shop. Actually, how do you know where we live? (*Grabs tinfoil hat*). Yeah, we’ve been lucky, especially with our neighbours too, who happen to be producers when we moved in; love at first sight I suppose. Actually, we’ll be moving next week. I miss my fancy coffee shops.
How important is London with regards music in general? Do you think there is anywhere on Earth like it and what does it mean to you?
Dein: London, to me, is a very important part of my current life as a musician. My family has a history with music. My sister, most notably, has been doing quite well in music and quite a lot of my current friends ended up being associated with music – as I grew more confident this could work for me as a lifestyle.
I know it seems like the city is fighting music – especially live – but the hunger for music is there. If you keep your ear to the ground you’ll sense the movement.
Nate: Pretty important. I’m no demographicalologist (sic.) but being in London is really great. The people here are really great.
I know you have brought a lot of influences and artists into your music. Which bands and acts were important to you guys growing up?
Alleviate is your current single. It is quite an angry song. Who brought the idea to the table or does it represent a shared feeling within the band?
Nate/Dein: When Jeff Fatt (the purple Wiggle) left the band, I got angry. We all got angry…
The track urges the listener to break out of an everyday funk and societal ruts. Do you feel we are too comfortable in our daily lives and not motivated to better ourselves? What do you think the reason behind this is?
It’s more that it’s become too easy to settle in or trapped in your daily life.
Dein: Yeah I did; brought the concept to the table. My role (at least for this E.P.) has been to write the songs.
I wouldn’t say Alleviate is angry: it is, however, very passionate about driving a very specific message – of looking at reality and realising that it’s ‘just a ride’.
Your music has political messages and carries a lot of rage. Are there any particular issues and problems that are compelling your new music or just a general anger?
Dein: Yes and no. I think we have a decent mix of political entropy and empathy – especially for the leaders of the world. In my mind, their role is too complex to comprehend but there certainly is a fire within us to show the madness and mess they have created – simply by putting a signature to yet another deal or partnership. We’ve, however, also touched on many subjects in the songwriting itself too with a very broad range stretching from racism, sexism; challenging power and, of course, sex. We are a product of our time though and it’s hard not to be politically challenging in a world of ‘Trumps’. The last thing I wanted was for us to be was another sedated music act speaking about nothing. The Internet is already full of that (but we’re also aware enough not to stray too far into pretentious waters). All the lyrics (I feel anyway) are written to be challenging and challenged.
PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell
Kleptocracy is your seven-track, forthcoming E.P. What can you say about what we can expect from the E.P. – in terms of themes, ideas and genres?
Dein: I wouldn’t know what to tell someone to expect. It would be too easy to say the unexpected but it certainly is a testament to what we stand for – and a seven-track E.P. is the first step, and somewhat ballsy, if I do say so myself.
How do songs form for the band? Do you set time aside to write specifically?
Nate: Sometimes, but not really.
Sometimes the best stuff comes when you’re not sitting down with a guitar, pen and notebook.
Quite often we’ll just be noodling along on the guitar the ideas introduce themselves to you.
Are there any new acts or bands you have been impressed by and suggest we check out?
Looking at the band, it seems like there are a lot of different characters and personalities – like a male, hardcore version of Spice Girls. What nicknames would you give to each member?
We already have. Russell took the privilege of naming us: Skittles; Mulan; Coco; Bam-Bam; Bacon. Guess who’s who?!
On a more serious note – and a question I ask London-based musicians – is how do you feel about the recent club closures and shrinking venue scene? Is it a concern for bands like yourself and do you think the government should be more proactive?
Dein: It’s heartbreaking, for sure. If new and better venues are to be built in place then great, but that doesn’t seem to be the case – and a part of me is devastated by the notion that music will be quarantined to certain zones. If you’re big enough to fill them great and to the rest of you good luck or better yet, don’t play at all. There is still hope in like-minded people though and it will always find a way but not just the Government. All people who have interest in music should be proactive. Every voice fuels the fire. We don’t all like silent discos: some of us like to be social in music. It’s already hard to ‘make’ it in music for a new act/brand with no budget and no funds. Don’t make it impossible.
What does your gig schedule look like? Have you got any dates coming up people can come see you play?
We’re really focused on getting this heard so everything right now is focused on the 18th November.
We will have more dates announced soon as we have a lot of excitement bubbling around us – that we can’t really speak of yet. It’s there and it’s coming, but for now, the focus is on launch.
There will be those inspired to follow you into music. What advice would you provide them?
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song (not your single as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.
Dein: For me: Leyendekker- Salt is what I’d suggest. Brilliant tune. I’ve recommended my sister enough so this will do