London based Sofar Sounds are a company which brings live music straight to your living room, and quite literally at that; from London to Leeds, and Copenhagen to Chicago, through Sofar Sounds you can experience a whole new level of intimate gigging, a craze that is currently sweeping through the country.
‘Sofar’, or Songs From A Room, brings together musicians and music fans alike as someone’s living room is transformed into a miniature gig venue. The company pride themselves on placing a spotlight on emerging artists by introducing them to connectors and new fans through “a unique and magical concert experience”. This experience is then continued, as is the fashion in our modern world, through sharing and streaming online to music lovers the world over.
One of the key principles behind this new movement of bringing bands into the houses of everyday people is that it remains free, intimate, unplugged and focused solely on the music.
The most important factor, of keeping the gigs as intimate as possible, is achieved with keeping an element of secrecy as the venues for each of the acts being released just a couple of hours prior to the performance via a private mailing list, which must be signed up for.
This now world-wide company first sprang into existence back in 2009, as a result of co-founder, Rafe Offer, experiencing a less than enjoyable Arcade Fire gig. During the gig people appeared to be more interested in their phones and in chatting with each other than actually listening to, and enjoying, the music. From that moment, Rafe decided that there must be a better way for true music fans to enjoy that music on a more personal level.
A mere four years on, and it would seem that people all over the world agree with Rafe’s concept, as the company now operate out of dozens of countries across the world hosting around 60 gigs a month across 70 cities.
From Asia, to America, and back to Europe, it would appear that citizens from all different cultures and nationalities share a common interest in the need for accessing music on different levels.
For many, that sort of accessibility comes from the speed and ease of digital downloads. However, fans of Sofar Sounds are bucking that trend in having the actual bands performing in your own house turn into the next big musical movement.
Whilst emerging artists are the primary focus of the company’s ethos, some of those artists have since gone on to become more household names. One such example of success is the band Bastille, who played a couple of Sofar Sounds gigs in and around London just before they hit the peak of their career.
In London, the popularity of these pop up gigs is at an all time high; with over 2000 people applying for just one gig, the company have to cut down that number to around 50 or 60 lucky attendees by issuing a questionnaire.
This, to some, may sound a little too exclusive, yet Rafe assures that this is just down to the size of the venue and that if it were possible everyone they would allow everyone the chance to attend.
The first Sofar secret festival was rumoured to have been a sell out event last Saturday, and with a festival planned in both Los Angeles and New York in the near future, this craze shows every sign of growth.
Sofar Sounds offer anyone and everyone the chance to get involved with their cause; whether that be in attending gigs, reviewing new music, performing at gigs and, most importantly, hosting these pop up musical evenings.
This evening, Sofar has promised a gig in Manchester, though the band(s) and venue is still a secret. For more information on how to get involved, and to sign up to that vital newsletter, visit www.sofarsounds.com.
How will you be getting involved with the Sofar Sounds project?