Pretty simple really. It started back in December 2009 in Minehead, at the My Bloody Valentine-curated ATP festival A Nightmare Before Christmas. My mate Paul and I were up at 4 in the morning and he was making one of his (in)famous curries (they are actually really good) drinking beer and listening to music. I think I had put on Turnpike, this band from Australia that next to no one knows about but are brilliant, and we said we needed to do something about music, seeing as we spoke about it all the time, and spent so much money and effort in buying records and watching gigs. Sonic Masala the blog was born. Sonic Masala the gig night came out of a reaction against the myriad venues and gignights that wouldn’t pay the artists (even a lousy rider); and Sonic Masala the label (along with another guy, Nathan Pickels) from trying to give bands that were struggling to get heard a platform to create a tactile release.
What song of yours is the one you like the most?
Well this is fairly contentious, seeing as I haven’t written any of the songs and
want to remain fairly impartial. So Ill just list my favourite song from each release:
What influences do you have?
It’s hard to pin down my musical influences, as the eclectic nature of the Sonic Masala roster clearly shows. I have a strong passion for the Australian music scene, and especially the fermenting sonic wasteland that is Brisbane
, my hometown. But I love anything that gives me a strong emotional kick to the guts – whether it be something eloquent and devastating like Dirty Three, or something visceral and heart-thumping like Pale Heads (the new project featuring Tom from The Nation Blue) or Danyl Jesu. And it’s global – I will always support Aussie music first and foremost, I nevertheless am always looking far and wide – one of my favourite albums of last year was by a Serbian band called Vvhile. I don’t have time to hate music – if I hate it, I don’t listen to it.
What´s the best experience you have had with your project?
Being quoted in the Independent; putting on my first show in Brisbane; putting out my first record, Roku Music’s Collider; putting on my first Sonic Masala festival in June 2014. We had our second festival in March this year, and plans are afoot for the third edition in 2016. Basically every new endeavour is the “best experience”.
What plans do you have this year?
Hoping to make the blog a little more fiscal, to help take the pressure off the label and my pocket. We have a couple album releases planned, most notably Day Ravies’s second album Liminal Zones (they released the first single ‘Fake Beach’ last week). A few gigs in London; a stall at the UK Independent Labels Market; maybe get a few crazy kids to help out and “expand” AKA so I don’t have to do as much.
Mention something you don´t like about your project.
It’s so much emailing! Often with no result. Which can be gutting, but I at least had four years’ experience of the other side of the fence – the blog gets flooded with approx 60-100 emails a day from people wanting me to write about their music. I can’t reply to them all, only the ones that I really like. So you just have to persevere. And it’s all unpaid, and having other jobs and commitments – being a tiny DIY project makes those sorts of things hard. But its only a minor grievance – I love this stuff so much. Im trying to build up an easier routine so that it isn’t so painful – watching TV and drinking beer while doing it seems to help.
Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.
Time? Money? Working on my own stuff? It’s all relative. It’s been hard to do things I want to because of those things – this is a hobby, not a full time job – and I have had to let some great opportunities slip through my fingers. But Im willing to keep hacking away, making those little sacrifices – every write up or gig or release that helps out a band, it’s more than worth it.
What band, music project or solist from your city do you like?
Way too difficult! And I am literally in London but still see myself entrenched in Brisbane for Sonic Masala. So…Ill say Yaws here in London, as his minimal techno trance shtick is going to blow minds (and he is Australian so Im kinda cheating); and Turnpike in Brisbane, because I have loved them for such a long time, they have never made it big (although they should have!) and are the best dudes, and they have never compromised on what they have done – be it jobs, family, travel, you name it. They do what they want to, and I love them for it.
If your project was a word, what would it be?
– Brendan – I am at my ‘day job’ doing this instead of marking papers.