Sonic Boom Six released their fourth full length album last month to widespread critical acclaim.
Adam Keys caught up with frontwoman Laila Khan to discuss the album and all things SB6 – including the decision to sign for hip rock label Xtra Mile.
The band is touring across the UK in November.
rushonrock: This is biggest label you’ve released anything with, how does that feel? Is there more pressure to deliver now than before?
Laila Khan: Umm, I don’t really know how to answer that, but yes, I’d say probably a little more pressure than usual with it not being on our own label. There is always pressure when you put out any album but this one’s the first one that’s not on our own label so we wanted it to be good. Xtra Mile put trust in us and we’ve made a good album so now it’s their turn to hold up to their side and get the record out there to as many people as possible. They want to get good music out there to people rather than the usual boring chart stuff that everyone is hearing these days.
rushonrock: Fighting With Wire released their first album with Xtra Mile last week and spoke of the label’s passion to get music out. Do you feel this too?
LK: We were approached by a few labels but what drew us to Xtra Mile was the impressive roster they already have in place, which includes some of our favorite acts. They are a great independent label that want to make small bands bigger and we knew that they would give us the opportunities to get a lot more exposure. We want to get the chance to play at the biggest stages like the Olympics (Frank Turner). We just hope that they can get us exposed to more and more people and it gives underground bands the hope that we can make it big.
rushonrock: Virus has a great energy to it, something you could hear being played in clubs and is likely to appeal to a wide audience, how would you sum up the rest of the album for the readers?
LK: Virus became the blueprint for the album. It was the first song that we wrote for the album and we said ‘let’s write another nine songs like Virus and we’ve got an album’. That’s basically what we did and I’d say the rest of the album has a very Virus style about it. Not only is Sonic Boom Six like the start of a new day for SB6, but I truly believe it’s the best record we’ve ever made. The whole purpose of the album was to get our ethos and message out in a way that is inclusive and inviting to everyday people. We don’t want to be preaching to the converted any more, we actually want to change minds and viewpoints, not confirm what people already know. I think that’s exactly why we’re so excited about working with Xtra Mile. Not only are some of our favorite artists on there but they’ve actually proven with Frank Turner that they can make an artist accessible and popular within the public eye while retaining the core message and philosophy that the artist came into the industry with. That’s something that is vital to us, so it’s a perfect fit!
rushonrock: It’s very difficult to pinpoint any sort of genre for Sonic Boom Six, with bits of electro, ska, hip hop and punk all thrown in, what were the influences behind the album?
LK: It wasn’t really the music that we were listening to at the time but more the people we were hanging out with and the nights we were going to. We were going to a lot of free nights with loads of different types of music, like they would play a drum and bass tune then drop a Destiny’s Child track straight after. We’ve always listened to bands that like to mix it up and try something new like the Beastie Boys. I’d say we just mixed it up a lot, we never really stuck to one sort of genre or one type of band. We weren’t a band that just listened to someone like the Prodigy, we listened to everything. We never wanted to be a punk band or a hip-hop band, we wanted to mix it all up and throw it all together.
rushonrock: You’ve said you’re done preaching to the converted and want to go out and grab some new fans. Can the move to Xtra Mile help you do this?
LK: We now have a team in place to look after our image, which we’ve never had before because we just couldn’t afford it with the budget we had available. Now we’ve got people passionately working for the band to get us out there. Like now we’ve got guys in Germany, in America and in other places just handling our stuff which is great for us. I handled all the band’s press before and it was just impossible trying to get everything set up so that’s were Xtra Mile come in and take the pressure off us. Before I found people weren’t replying to emails and didn’t get back to me and now little things, like even this interview probably wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the label.
rushonrock: The new album was produced and mixed by Peter Miles (Futures, We Are The Ocean, The King Blues) – how was he to work with?
LK: We’ve actually worked with Peter on most things we’ve done and he’s absolutely brilliant – I really can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been able to produce albums on our very tight budget and make them sound really professional. He has done them so well that you can play them beside albums that have cost around £100k to produce and they don’t stand out. For this album again we have paid for it and then Xtra Mile have come in after and covered all our costs. We were happy to pay for the record just to keep getting our music out there, it was all the other stuff we needed help with.
rushonrock: How exciting is this month’s tour on the back of the new album?
LK: It’s been a while since we’ve toured. We’ve not done anything this year other than a few shows at the start of the year so we had a sort of two weeks dress rehearsal of playing some shows and getting everything in place. Touring is amazing, you’re just in your own little bubble the whole time and nothing else seems to matter.
*Sonic Boom Six’s album is out now and the band’s 19-date UK tour kicked off in Nottingham earlier this month.