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Starter Pack: Sonic Cathedral

Starter Pack: Sonic Cathedral

by Eden Keane, 12 November 2012

The 405 caught up with Nathaniel Cramp from Sonic Cathedral to discuss 'nu-gaze', where he finds his inspiration and 'The Night That Celebrates Itself'.

Who we are:

Sonic Cathedral started life as a clubnight in 2004 with the tagline The Night That Celebrates Itself. It was all about fond memories of the short-lived and much-maligned shoegaze scene from the early 90s, but also making connections from that to new artists who were directly influenced by it. Some people called this nu-gaze, but that sounded silly to me. The label was the logical next step and continues with the same basic idea; very few of the records we release sound like something from the Thames Valley in 1991, but that’s the true source of all my musical inspiration.

Why I got into shoegaze and music in general:

I had just started reading the music press in 1990 and was really into all things indie. Bands like Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive were around at that time and I bought their records – along with records by many other bands featured in the inkies. Fast forward fifteen years to when I started Sonic Cathedral and it was those records from that era that still sounded new and exciting, that I still held close to my heart after all that time. Unlike anything by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine or Mega City Four, to name but two.

What impresses me about shoegaze:

Due to the influence of shoegaze spreading far and wide for the past 20 years, it can be found in all sorts of places – from electronica to psychedelic drone-rock. The recent releases on Sonic Cathedral are a good example of this: Yeti Lane's The Echo Show combined shoegaze with krautrock and more electronic sounds; Dead Mellotron’s Glitter was classic shoegaze but just as influenced by Deerhunter; Neil Halstead was in Slowdive, but his new album Palindrome Hunches is dark folk music; Cheval Sombre's Mad Love mixes dreampop and psychedelia.

Where I find my inspiration:

I have some good friends whose tastes I can trust. I read numerous websites and magazines. Freesheets like Loud And Quiet and Bido Lito are really good too. I love Amazing Radio (Shell Zenner and Simon Raymonde in particular) and on 6 Music Lauren Laverne, Gideon Coe and Marc Riley's are all etial.

What I'm currently listening to:

Lotus Plaza Spooky Action At A Distance. I love Deerhunter, I think they're one of the most important bands around, and this is a brilliantly accessible second album from guitarist Lockett Pundt. Much better than the last Atlas Sound record. DIIV Oshin is my favourite album this year. Even though all the influences are familiar, it still sounds totally fresh and effortless. Beachwood Sparks' The Tarnished Gold. So glad they got back together. Neil Halstead Palindrome Hunches. Still can't believe I actually released this record. Stunning. Cheval Sombre Mad Love. Unbelievably beautiful space-folk-blues-psych loveliness.

Ones to watch:

Hookworms' debut album is out early next year on Gringo Records and it's incredible, drone-rock, psychedelia, krautrock rhythms, even a touch of Hawkwind. Great live band too. Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are an amazing drone-rock duo from Guadalajara, Mexico, and I'm really looking forward to their second album. On Sonic Cathedral I’m releasing an EP for Black Hearted Brother, a new band formed by Neil Halstead with Mark Van Hoen and Nick Holton; it's much more shoegaze sounding than Neil's solo album. I'm also still hopeful that the long-awaited new album by The Early Years might finally see the light of day.

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