In the Middle with Sounds Like A Storm

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Leeds-based Sounds Like A Storm are, to pardon the pun, taking West Yorkshire by storm.

Last Wednesday, they played their headline show at Oporto on Call Lane to an excitable audience of friends, family, and fans. Lead singer Sennen certainly knows how to work a crowd: on a Wednesday night, he managed to manoeuvre a fairly quiet, sleepy group of people into a wild mosh-pit in a matter of minutes. Beginning the show by climbing onto the speaker at the side of the stage wearing a jacket and Kurt Cobain-style white sunglasses, he ended it with a huge “thank you”. I caught up with Sennen ahead of the show and spoke to him about touring; politics; West Yorkshire identity, and the Arctic Monkeys.

So, you’ve been on tour for the past few days, and you’ve already been to Sheffield, Newcastle, and London. How’s that going?

Yeah, we’ve been to Sheffield, London, and Newcastle, Leeds today, St Albans tomorrow, and then Southampton. Nice long journey. The gigs have been worthwhile. It’s the first time we’ve done it day after day, as well.

Do you find there’s a difference between Northern and Southern crowds?

To be fair, when we did London…we attracted an older fan base, like your older mod-y guys. I just love meeting people…if someone comes up to me after I’ve played for a chat, I’ll have a chat. It’s nice…you’re in London, and someone’s just watched your set. In Leeds, our last headline was Key Club and we sold that out, and the one before that was Wardrobe and we sold that out…I’m excited.

It’s nice that you’ve kept it close to home and played in Leeds. Do you think this will be your favourite gig of the tour?

We sold out the last two Leeds gigs, which were a lot bigger, but we sold them out on the night. We’re gonna get in the mindset to destroy it. This venue is very close too, it’s very intimate. You can walk on and off the stage…I want the artists to be close to the audience. I don’t want anyone to walk in and think they can’t talk to the band…I’ll come and have a drink with anyone who comes to our shows. I wanna inspire people…kids picking up a guitar because they heard one of our tracks is better than any award you could ever get. I’ve always said that I just wanna be like Van McCann, Kurt Cobain, Alex Turner…all the posters on my wall…like “I wanna be som-it, I wanna be like that”. It’s inspiring, because it brought me out of somewhere that I didn’t wanna be.

Do you have any favourite venues in Leeds that you’ve played or been to gigs at?

Love Wardrobe because that was the first venue we sold out. We like Wardrobe. The crew and security down there are funny.

You played some festivals in the summer: Reading and Leeds, Live at Leeds, Tramlines…how was that?

It was weird. Live at Leeds we got announced and we were on the  Doc Martens stage, so we all got free docs and it was like “what’s happening here?”. And then we got Tramlines, and then in the summer we got Reading and Leeds…it was emotional. Six months ago we were doing nothing in comparison. Leeds and Reading were just…if I could do that every day, I would.

Where did the name Sounds Like A Storm come from?

It was just one of those things…I think I was in the shower or something stupid. I just thought “I’m just going to pick something that I’ve never heard of before”. I wanted something like sounded a bit ballsy, a bit attitude-y.  It’s us, and I don’t think we’d change it. It sticks in people’s heads.

Does being young influence your music? Do you write about things which affect your generation?

Yeah, massively. That’s our main ethos. No one is writing about the world we live in and how messed up it is. We’re angry…we want change, and we want people to open their eyes. We’re all in the same boat. I think we’re targeted too, as young people. We care about the people, young people especially. We’re all from working-class backgrounds…I’ve lived that sort of life. I just want young people to start giving a shit about the world.

And when you’re listening to different bands as you’re writing, can you hear the influence of those bands on the songs you write?

I’ll go through a phase and I’ll naturally start writing. You know, music’s just all the same really isn’t it…Cigarettes and Alcohol is just T-Rex really, isn’t it? If Oasis can get away with it, anyone can. It’s not new. Fashion’s not new, everything comes back round, but I think that’s what I love about it. I love that you can re-develop everything.

You’ve got a new single out – Law and Order – can you tell me about that?

We recorded it this year, and we went to Liverpool to record it with the guy who recorded Miles Kane and Circa Waves. This was the tour single. It’s just another powerful song…we wanted it to be raw and energetic. Open your eyes – we’re saying stuff you need to be aware of. It’s a scary world. We’ve got good songs coming out, and I’ve been writing songs that I’m really proud of. At some point I want a record deal…the goal is just to keep going. We wanna make a classic album with some cool artwork.

Eleanor Noyce

Header Image From Halfway 2 Nowhere