For most young bands, the prospect of playing two of the UK’s biggest festivals in Reading and Leeds or joining a group as brilliant and beloved as Swim Deep on a tour culminating at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire would be the pinnacles of their short existence so far. But, despite both events becoming a reality for Sundara Karma in 2013, the Reading-based quartet’s highlight of band life thus far takes a rather more unexpected form.
“The Swim Deep tour was amazing! I dunno if we were ready for it though,” muses frontman Oscar Lulu. “It was just such a juxtaposition to what we had previously been doing. Before, we were just playing in little pubs in front of people who didn't really care much for what we had to say. Then suddenly we were playing in front of proper crowds. The experience was huge. Zach and Cav gave us some solid touring tips too! When the tour ended we were all pretty shattered and down. I think it’s cos we partied after the shows. If we were professionals I think we would have been alright.”
“My mum’s a Buddhist and her philosophy and way of life has rubbed off a bit on me and, through that, us as a band,” Oscar says.
“When we were first getting together, we had some pretty shit names. We decided we wanted something a bit more unique. I remember talking to my mum and we were brainstorming names for quite a while. She said the meaning of beautiful in Pali, which is the language spoken in Buddhism, is sundara. So I thought Sundara Karma – beautiful karma – sounded quite nice.”
With their line-up completed by drummer Haydn Evans and bassist Dom Cordell and taking inspiration from The Beach Boys, The Doors and Pink Floyd, the 18-year-old school friends have gone from figuring out cover versions to writing their own sunkissed, uplifting indie-pop. The tropical-tinged, blissed-out summer anthem ‘Freshbloom’ earned them comparisons to tour buddies Swim Deep whilst their vibrant, hook-heavy debut single ‘Cold Heaven’ should incite some deeper, more thought-provoking reactions when it’s released on Chess Club Records in March.