so far so good : a look at sofar sounds and how it works
Musicians have joined forces under the name of Sofar Sounds all around the world. And lucky for us, now we have Sofar Sounds Kathmandu as well. Sofar Sounds acts as a platform for independent and original artists to showcase their ability to a crowd that understands. You can expect compelling songwriting style that lends itself to an emotionally evocative experience for the listeners time and again with different intimate settings as the location of their concerts.
HOW DID YOU ALL COME TOGETHER AS A GROUP FOR SOFAR SOUNDS KATHMANDU?
MARTA DEL GRANDI: I officially moved to Nepal in September and I am an artist myself; I play, write, and sing. I am originally from Italy but I’ve lived in Belgium for a long time. So, when I stayed in Italy and Belgium, I found out about Sofar sounds. I also performed there twice. I thought it was a very interesting and a new idea that brought artists together in a very intimate setting. After I came here, I made friends with Aman and Irina, and I came to know about the Phosphenes which was their project. I found them quite talented, so told them about Sofar sounds. We talked about doing a concert together and that’s how it all panned out.
IRINA GIRI: We are a team of around 10 people, some work full time and some work part time as well. We all do a bit of everything as we are a small team. Sofar Sounds is not just about organizing concerts, it is also a production company as we work on videos as well.
AMAN KARNA: I came to know about Sofar Sounds two years back when my friends told me about it and how it works. I was interested in it but had no idea how to bring the brand name to Nepal. That changed when I met Marta. As she used to be a performer for Sofar Sounds in Italy and Belgium, she knew people who could connect us to them. And that’s how it all came to be.
WHAT ARE THE CONCERTS LIKE?
We always keep the locations for the concerts as hush-hush. We don’t publish the line up or the artists performing either. You just register through our website and we just give you the location. So, it is a kind of a surprise. Sometimes there are a lot of people in the audience, sometimes not much. But with every location, we focus on making it a comfortable and joyous occasion for the audience and the artists as well.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan with the settings but our audience understands the whole deal; it isn’t a bar where you just chill out and music is just in the background. Sofar sounds is all about authentic and original music experience. Our audience gets a pure listening experience and a connection with the artists. It may not always be the kind of songs they listen to, but that is the whole point of Sofar Sounds. You don’t have any judgements beforehand and who knows, you might like it after you give it a listen.
WE FOCUS ON
MAKING IT A
AND THE ARTISTS
HOW CAN WE BE A PART OF THE CONCERT AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER?
You register through our website, sofarsounds.com/kathmandu, and we randomly select people because we cannot have everyone at once as it is a very small gathering. There is no entry fee or registration fee, it is all free. If you get the conformation, you will get the location just a day before the gig. It depends on the venue because maybe the location is just a room. But if it is a larger setting we try to get as much as we can invite. People have been giving us nice feedback and offers. So, we can still support the concerts and get more resources. It would be nice to have enough funds to have better concerts and better facilities for the artists while they perform. So, you can always donate as much or as little as you want as well.
HOW HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN FROM THE AUDIENCE AND THE ARTISTS?
We were pleasantly surprised to witness the sheer attentiveness to the music by the audience. This showed that the people who were there really wanted to be there. They were there for the purpose to just listen to raw, authentic, and original songs, and we feel really proud that we are delivering just that. The reaction for the general goal of Sofar Sounds has been very positive. The press and the media have been very kind to us. We have lots of other collaborations with not just musicians but other artists as well. People come up to us asking to host our concerts at their place now while it used to be us who would be the approacher. So, we are slowly seeing the progress and the acceptance.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEPALI MUSIC INDUSTRY? HOW IS SOFAR SOUNDS PLAYING A ROLE?
We work to help the musicians. So, our main goal is not exactly to promote the music industry but the musicians themselves who have hid themselves in fears of people not getting them. We get them an audience they are comfortable with, and over time, if more people are appreciative, they can come together to support the industry and help it flourish. We are actually trying to provide an alternative industry and help the musicians.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE?
In our heads we have a lot of plans, but the resources are limited. We hope to organize a little festival for a day in the near future. In the meantime, collaboration with more artists are surely in the pipeline and we also hope to organize two concerts a month on good seasons.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY TO OUR READERS?
We would just like to say that, the challenge we are facing is to find a continuous source of artists. We would like to tell the readers that if you are interested and have any questions, and if you are an original artist yourself but are having difficulty coming out, then Sofar Sounds is a platform for you. We will work if there is work to do and have a great time doing so. So just come around; we hope to see you in our next one.
WORDS : SHREYA SANGROULA | PHOTOS: GAURAV XHOMPATE SUNUWAR