Driving up Mulholland Drive to a beautiful home perched up in the hills between Sherman Oaks and Bel Air we could sense we were in for an interesting night. After all, we were about to attend to a secret show in the Hollywood hills. How hip is that? My sister and I climbed up a steep driveway and walked into the living room, set up with a grand piano in front of floor-to-ceiling windows leading to a breathtaking view of the city below. We enjoyed stripped-down, close-up performances by Robbie Boyd (http://www.robbie-boyd.com/), Only You (http://www.myonlyyou.com/), and The Dead Ships (http://www.thedeadships.com/). It was an amazing evening with an amazing session - Sofar definitely holds themselves to a higher standard.
So how did this amazing global secret show circuit come to be? We caught up with Monina Castillo, who manages L.A. PR for the organization. She gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the history behind Sofar (which stands for “Songs from a room”) and how the all volunteer staff make the magic happen.
Sofar Sounds was born in London in 2009 by Rafe Offer, David J. Alexander and Rocky Start. These gents were tired of talented artists being underappreciated in the typical loud, rowdy, drunken bar scene. “They wanted to create an alternative option - an atmosphere where people would truly listen and give respect to the music that was being played,” Monina told us. “What resulted was a unique experience and an intimate connection for both music lovers and artists alike.” Six years later, Sofar Sounds is in over 80+ cities across the world, and they’re still growing.
The Sofar Sounds crew sources their artists by keeping in tune with their local music scene, taking submissions from artists interested in playing, and getting referrals from other Sofar cities. If bands submit themselves, Sofar’s team of global reviewers takes a listen, and if the whole team loves them, they’re invited to perform at a Sofar show. How’s that for quality control?
This all-volunteer community relies on the generosity of hosts around the world to open their homes and businesses to Sofar Sound’s bands and guests. Each location is different for every session but typically, per the Sofar Sounds M.O., they are in living rooms to keep an intimate vibe. Though sometimes the sessions can take place in other unique settings; Sofar Sounds LA have also had their shows in a Pilates studio, furniture store, art gallery and work/space lofts.
Sofar Sounds is a collaborative community and happy to just share this amazing music with viewers like you, but they could always use some help! Head over to their site to volunteer your time and talent to their events worldwide, offer to host a show in your space, or ask them to check out your music for an opportunity to play one of their shows. If you’d rather just sit back and enjoy the tunes, please consider leaving a donation of good-ole-cash money.