Interview: Blue Mountains band, Sonori, chat about their debut EP

Guitar/keyboardist Andre from Sonori recently took some time out to sit down and answer a few questions for us as their self-titled debut EP enjoys its long awaited release!  

By way of introduction to our readers, can you tell me a little about how you came together as a band?

When I moved to Katoomba five years ago, I was keen to start a live project. I’ve known Jasper (electronics/beats) forever. I’d constantly annoy him about doing some music together. I’m a post rock guy, he’s a vintage drum machine guy, what could go wrong? He says he hates guitars, but I think he secretly loves them. I found Tim (Cello) on a Katoomba underground music Facebook group. I posted some music, asked if anyone was into it.  Most people said YUK. Little did I know it was a predominantly Breakcore group. Against all odds, Tim answered the call. Tim, what were you doing in a Breakcore group?  We were an instrumental three piece to begin, with but it was clear we were needing vocals. So when Lulu joined the band everything changed – we found the missing piece.

I grew up in Katoomba, so it’s lovely to see some artists from the same town – has the local area had any inspirational role in your music at all? 

No doubt! In so many ways. It’s hard to not be inspired by our breathtaking location, I only recently found one of the most spectacular look outs, and it two minutes from my house. But mostly, it’s the tight knit music scene and the amazing people I’ve met up here that inspire me the most. I often joke that I live in a cheesy Disney kids’ film, where I walk down the street waving to locals with a kookaburra on my shoulder.

Have you found there to be challenges being based in the Blue Mountains rather than Sydney – in terms of audience size and diversity of venues?

For us, I think the challenge is yet to come. We’re fortunate to be part of a rich and energetic local scene with loads of great venues and brilliant artists. That’s rare, given the state of the music scene in Sydney. So many venues have shut down since I moved here.  I’ve never felt community support like this before, especially from people like Charity Mirow from Fusion Boutique (Music Promoter). She’s given us the opportunity to share the  stage with some wonderful high profile touring bands. The Crooked Fiddle Band on December 16th at Hotel Gearin is next. Now that the EP is out, our challenge is to leave the nest and bring our music to a much bigger audience.

Your first gig was a roller derby – that’s quite a quirky starting point for a career in its own right – but is it true you hadn’t played together at that stage?

Yeah that was our first show. Jasper had produced a music video for my other Sydney post rock band Grün. It featured the awesome women from Blue Mountains Roller Derby team. They asked if Grün could do the halftime entertainment at the next bout, but they were unavailable. I took the gig anyway promising we’d be ready with something cool and Sonori was born. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

I was struck by the richness of your sound, and it’s a fairly unusual combination of vocals, cello, guitar, and beats.  Who are your inspirations? 

My influences are mainly in the post-rock, and post-punk wall of noise genres. Bands like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Mono, Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth. But also more shoegazey dream pop bands like Blonde Redhead and Besnard Lakes. I’m huge into film composers, obviously Hans Zimmer but also Danny Elfman and Philip Glass.

Do you find any challenges in bringing together the different dynamics of the classical and electronic?

We’ve learnt a lot making this EP.  Doing covers of Hans Zimmer’s “Time” from the movie Inception and Nathan Fakes “The Sky Was Pink” were hugely important in helping us figure out that dynamic. Tim approaches cello quite differently. Although it’s based in beautiful clean cello tone, he uses an unhealthy collection of effect pedals which can be used to bend spacetime. He can create some pretty psychedelic sounds, which work really well with Jaspers beats. It’s a massive defining foundation of our identity. The challenge is to allow each other some sonic space. With all the looping, it can be easy to go overboard. A wise man once said, “It’s what you don’t play that matters more”.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you’d love to play? 

I’d do all of them if I could! We’d love to play Psyfari again, that was a blast! Splendour, Laneway, Field Day, Dragon Dreaming, Subsonic. While we’re at it, Glastonbury, Reading, ATP, SXSW, Dunk Festival.

Are you a band with a wish-list trajectory, or are you happy to go where the wind takes you?

My wish list is pretty simple. Write and record interesting music with my friends, continue to grow and develop our sound. Tour, tour, tour and change the course of music history.  That’s not too much to ask is it? Honestly, I already have my wish. I get to connect deeply with my musical humans. It’s more important to me than the music itself. Musicians know exactly what I mean.

SONORI TOUR DATES

December 16th |  Hotel Gearin, Katoomba, NSW (w/Crooked Fiddle Band) – buy tickets here
December 21st | Moshpit, Erskineville, NSW (w/No Mandate)
December 22nd | Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle, NSW (w/No Mandate)