We’ve featured a few Irish bands recently, but none of them are quite as heavy or rocky as Sonera. The alternative rockers from the south-east of Ireland have crafted an infectious brand of hooky, gritty riffs and catchy vocals.
The quartet of Oisín Wolfe (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), James Brown (lead guitar and backing vocals), Rory Cooper (bass and backing vocals) and Simon Cooke (drums) have just released debut single Claustro, which offers an excellent introduction to the band.
We spoke to lead singer Oisín this week to find out more, and asked him to explain the Sonera backstory. He said: “We’ve played together through the years in different bands and at different open mic nights but eventually we felt ready to launch ourselves as a ‘proper’ band, which is what we’re doing now with the release of our début single Claustro. Being in a band always felt like the natural step forward for us, but seeing other bands we really love live and seeing the interaction between bands and crowds really inspired us to just get on with it and have a proper go at it.”
The Sonera sound has been influenced by bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys, while they also mention The Amazons – who we saw support Jimmy Eat World last year – as an influence, which comes across in their catchy choruses.
Claustro kicks off with a lone drumbeat that’s soon joined by a little guitar riff that evolves into a windy riff that leads into the opening verse. Oisín’s vocals are immediately engaging, drawing the listener in with varying levels of guitar support that fluctuate between light chords and heavy, fast-paced riffs. These build into big, singalong choruses with funky riffs following the big cries of “Claustro.” The second chorus gives way to a grand finale of a winding guitar solo that brings the track to an excellent end, and you can listen to it for yourself below:
We asked Oisín what people should expect from Claustro, and he told us: “A hard hitting debut single that shows the world who we are as a band and shows off our individual and collective talents.
“Our songs usually come about from a jam at a rehearsal. One of us will have this idea and before we know it we’re 30 minutes deep into a jam that we will then condense into a track. With lyrics it tends to just be about everyday things that affect us. One theme we haven’t really touched on yet is politics but we aren’t ruling that out just yet.”
As mentioned, we’ve found several exciting Irish bands lately so we asked Oisín for his take on the music scene in the country. He said: “We’ve noticed that the Irish scene is starting to becoming more prominent outside of Dublin. For a while most original bands always played in Dublin but bands are now branching out to some of the smaller towns around the country.
“There has definitely been an increase in people going to gigs as well and supporting their live scenes. I think this is mainly down to new quirky venues opening up and helping to really promote bands. People also having a bit more money than when we started getting into the live music scene in the recession seems like its helping get more people out to gigs.”
When asked if there was anything else he’d like to talk about, Oisín’s slightly surprising response was: “We really like Bunsen burgers, so if you’re reading this Mr. Bunsen; we’d love to talk about some form of endorsement. Or if you’re reading this as a fan and want to feed us, payment in Bunsen burgers works too.” Must be an Irish thing, but it sounds like they’re pretty good!
When they’re not eating Bunsen burgers, Sonera plan on spending the summer gigging around Ireland with the possibility of a UK Date in the near future. They also have an EP in the works which will hopefully be released by the end of the year.