Sonic Boom Six

By paul

Andy caught up with Laila and Barney from Sonic Boom Six after their set on the Main Stage at Reading Festival 2009.

PT: First of all, brilliant set, how was it for you guys?

Barney: Wet. Wet and wonderful! Wet and wild!

Laila: I can honestly say it was the best gig of my life.

PT: You’ve played Reading and Leeds a few times before. How does it feel to be up on the Main Stage finally?

Barney: This is the third time we’ve played. We’ve done twice on the Lock Up Stage…

Laila: The first time, Paramore pulled out and we found out three days before that we were replacing them. Hayley got sick or lost her voice or something…

Barney: She lost her virginity!

Laila: Stop it, you! We got a phone call like three days before saying ‘You’re opening the Lock Up Stage’. This year, we actually got quite a lot of notice! When the bands were getting announced, we were told we were opening the Main Stage. We thought it was April Fools or something!

PT: You said yourself onstage; it’s a great day for the UK punk scene to have you guys up there this year. Did you expect this was coming?

Barney: Not all man. Getting on the Main Stage was definitely a lot to do with the record we made. Obviously there’s this thing about ‘the glass ceiling’ and how we’ve been bubbling under for a long time. We got our new album out, ‘City Of Thieves’, and I think it’s a record that transcends just being a ‘punk’ record and just catering for the fans that we already had – we wanted to make something that you listen to no matter what music you’re into, something anyone can find interesting and that was a good thing because for lots of boring political reasons in terms of booking the festival, we didn’t get a shot on the Lock Up, but we got a shot on the Main Stage. It came at the point we were sending out promos for the album, so I think that had a lot to do with it.

Laila: We sent the promos for the albums out and we got told maybe two weeks later that we were playing.

Barney: It’s funny because you could see the reaction – a lot of people were like ‘yeah, this is awesome, Sonic Boom on the Main Stage’, but then a lot people were saying it was sink or swim for us, or that they don’t want to see us on a big stage and this and that. It’s like this, listen: we are so adept. We have been doing this for seven years and if there’s one thing we can do, it’s play live. For an organiser of a festival like this it’s a no-brainer – we’re cheap, we’re efficient and we’ll get the party started!

Laila: There have been so many kids coming up to me saying, ‘We’ve heard of Sonic Boom Six, but we’ve never actually seen you before’. That was the best thing to me!

Barney: We were born to play live, man. That’s what the band has always about. No matter what kind of music you listen to, I think we’re entertaining, and we’re loud, and you can dance to us, and at the end o the day everyone did – it was killer!

PT: Did you guys ever come to Reading and Leeds as punters in the days before Sonic Boom Six?

Barney: Shit, yeah! I went Reading ’94, that shows how old I am!

Laila: This is going back – I remember Skunk Anansie open that stage back in the day, we’ve been here loads. That’s why I’ve always said Reading is the best. Even though Leeds have always got our back, and my heart will always be with Leeds, when we were coming here there was only Reading, there was no Leeds!

Barney: Yeah, you know Glastonbury’s better in different ways and it’s lovely to play these festivals like Guilfest or Wickerman and Beautiful Days – they’re all awesome, but there’s something about Reading where it’s the bands’ festival – all the hot bands are on at once. It’s also the full stop at the end of the summer festival season as well – the big one!

Laila: They always get it right at Reading!

PT: Tell me about the new album, ‘City Of Thieves’.

Laila: With this album, we literally had about a month to write and then we recorded – it was really that simple. Normally we faff about, writing on the road and trying to get rehearsal time here there and everywhere. This time, we just went in and did it.

Barney: What made it different this time, was we had Nick (horne) on second guitar, and a lot of the time we’ve had one guitar and on the record we’ve played with a couple. This time the whole process was different – we could make it heavier and harder. Some bands you always hear with one guitar – I’ve always heard us with two guitars anyway.

Laila: It was all quite organic as well, it came quite easily. Instead of obsessing over every song and every little bit, we thought if it works, let’s just keep it. Or if it doesn’t work – let’s get rid of it and come up with something new. It was scarily quick how it all came together!

PT: Which songs are you happiest with?

Laila: For me, I think ‘Polish Chrome and Open Kitchens’. It’s a bit of an ‘album song’, but we wrote it all together, and we’ve haven’t really done anything like it before. You must have one too, Barney!’

Barney: Ahh, it’s all good, I like it all. There’s loads of shit by us that I hate, but I like all of ‘City of Thieves’! It’s just darker – and we went and in and we said let’s not try and be a big pop rock band because it’s boring.

Laila: We wanted to do what we wanted to do.

Barney: Totally. We’re always going to come across like a cartoon, and we’re always going to have people that hate us because we’re not conventional.

Laila: We’re always going to be Scallies or something else to some people!

PT: What does the rest of the day hold for you guys?

Barney: Gonna go watch some bands, innit!

Laila: Oooh, Faith No More, Leftover Crack. AFI! I really want to see AFI!

Barney: Over the weekend there’s some really great bands playing – the punk tent is so much better than it has been over the last couple years.

Laila: Naaaah mate!

Barney: You’re talking shit, Laila, you know it is!

Laila: Random Hand! Where are they this year? Although I guess there are no more Adequate Sevens, Lightyears and so on.

Barney: I just think there’s less of that From Autumn To Ashes, tight jeans kind of crap. Normally there’s shit like that but this year it’s just straight up punk bands. Big up to Billy Talent for headlining!

PT: Well have a good one, and best of luck with Leeds as well!

Laila: Thank you so much, I can’t wait for Leeds!

Barney: Yeah I think we’re gonna go home tonight and sleep in our own beds then have a shower and shit.

Laila: It’s so funny; we’re all so fresh none of us have drunk for like weeks. I’ve been going to the gym getting ready for this weekend – I don’t normally do that. Eating healthy, not drinking for three weeks just to prepare for this, and I don’t want it to all go to pot today before we play Leeds!

Barney: I’m just glad we all enjoy it and we all did. Before we went on I was shitting myself, then when Laila came and grabbed the mic and slipped, I think ‘well this is just gonna be fucking funny, let’s have a laugh!’

Laila: I had my rock star face on and I thought ‘you know what, why am I pretending?’ I’m just a girl from Manchester, I’m on the Main Stage at Reading, I’m just gonna be me and have fun! It was great.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]