Our Friends at Sonic Cathedral having been going from strength to strength for 10 years now, so we asked them to tell about some moments that shaped the label. Here’s a run down of some of the top moments from the beginning to the present:
Putting on a gig for The Radio Dept
I’d never put on a gig before; I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Some would say I still don’t! But when I heard The Radio Dept’s debut album ‘Lesser Matters’ and Ulrich Schnauss’ ‘A Strangely Isolated Place’ at some point in 2004 I heard all the sounds of my teenage years coalescing and I just knew I had to put on a night to celebrate this new era of shoegaze. A few months later, on October 23, 2004, The Radio Dept played the first ever Sonic Cathedral night at The Legion in Shoreditch. It was supposed to be a one-off, but I’m still here 10 years on.
Releasing a record for Mark Gardener
I’d never released a record before; I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Some would say I still don’t! About 18 months after that first night at The Legion I had arranged a few shows around the country for former Ride man Mark Gardener. In the bar after the show in Nottingham I offered to release a 7” single for him and get Ulrich Schnauss to do a remix. I didn’t know how I would make this happen, but somehow I did and it came out on December 11, 2006, but was pipped to the post as the first ever release on Sonic Cathedral by The Tamborines.
Making ‘Psych For Sore Eyes’ with Heretic
I graduated from 7” singles to releasing full albums by 2009, but I’ve always loved the DIY ethic. This EP was conceived with London design trio Heretic – I sourced the music (including this excellent Hookworms song) and they came up with the mind-melting 3D sleeve design. It was really pleasing to work so closely on a project, and even more pleasing when it sold out. We’ve just released ‘Psych For Sore Eyes 2’ and when it went up for sale on my website it crashed Big Cartel; I don’t remember there being quite so much demand for my first releases.
Releasing Younghusband’s album and hooking up with !K7
After years of self-distributing my releases and getting a piggyback from Full Time Hobby, I signed a deal with !K7 last year which enabled an unprecedented period of release activity – six albums in 12 months, including Dean Wareham, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Gulp, Black Hearted Brother, The Vacant Lots and ‘Dromes’ by Younghusband. Euan from the band claims he sent me a demo when he was 17 and I ignored it, so at least I made up for that oversight by releasing his band’s brilliant Nicolas Vernhes-produced debut album.
Putting on Slowdive’s first gig for 20 years
I still can’t believe this happened. When I started Sonic Cathedral I never imagined that Slowdive would be playing at my 10th anniversary show in 2014. I’d already released two records for Neil Halstead (his solo album ‘Palindrome Hunches’ and Black Hearted Brother’s ‘Stars Are Our Home’), but this was something else. I’ve never felt such a positive energy in a room before. I always said I should’ve just retired the next day, but instead I’ve organised a second 10th anniversary show with The Early Years, Younghusband, Spectres and Andrew Weatherall!
Sonic Cathedral are celebrating their 10th anniversary with the following shows:
October 13: Gulp + The Death Of Pop – St Pancras Old Church
Also an exhibition called Altared States: The Art Of Sonic Cathedral 2004 – 2014 runs at The Social from October 15 to November 28 featuring some of the best sleeve, poster and T-shirt design from the label / clubnight’s first 10 years.