Everyone’s Got One (Epic)
An interview with singer Sonya Aurora-Madan
by Jay Cox
photo by Dya Khalsa
The British are coming! The British are coming! The London Suede, Oasis, Pulp, and S*M*A*S*H are just a few of the groups involved in this latest invasion. One group sure to make its mark on the American music scene is Echobelly.
This London group’s sound leans toward The Smiths and Morrissey and, like James, was handpicked by Morrissey to open for his tour. Hopefully Echobelly will be more successful than some of their other British counterparts who search for the gold-paved roads of American success.
With one listen to Everyone’s Got One, Echobelly’s American debut, you quickly realize that this is not another British flavor of the month. Out of the eleven songs on the CD, not one of them is your typical cheesy British pop song. (See: Blur, Cause and Effect, Soup Dragons, Lightning Seeds)
During the sound check for their show at the Middle East with Scarce, I caught up with lead singer Sonya Aurora-Madan.
How are you dealing with all the attention the band has been receiving?
I suppose it’s always nice to get a bit of press, but I really don’t get involved in that sort of thing. At the end of the day, it can amount to hot air, if you can’t do justice to it. I’m happy, but I don’t get worked up about it.
How is the reception from the audience, as compared with your British fans?
The crowds here have been absolutely brilliant. It means more to me because the American audiences don’t believe the hype so easily. I’m happy about that. It’s very honest here, much more so than Europe. In Europe, you need the media. Over here, if you are a good band and don’t get any press, you’ll still have people coming to see you. People want to see the real thing here.
Reviews of the CD compare you with The Smiths, and Blondie. What are the influences of the band?
To be honest, I don’t actually have many influences, because I didn’t grow up with a pop culture. The way I write is very honest.
Many of the songs have a very autobiographical feel to them.
A song will have something about me in it, but it’s usually what people don’t realize right away. There are personal moments in each song, but sometimes in actual fact it’s me being a voyeur. There will be something of me in there, but usually a little more cryptic.
Has the band achieved what they wanted with the CD? Were there goals you set?
Recording our debut album was like an exorcism. I don’t think it will ever be the same again. The first album is basically giving birth to a certain set of emotions which are now going to be permanently analyzed whereas before they only existed within.
How do you feel about the other British bands like Oasis, Gene, S*M*A*S*H? Have you played with any of them?
Gene supported us twice, we did the infamous “Out Riot” gig with S*m*a*s*h, and played with Oasis a couple times as well. England is very small, and although it has an active media, there aren’t that many bands.
I must say that the word on Echobelly is spreading very quickly.
It seems to be almost fanatical in England for us right now. It’s almost like seeing The Smiths early on. It gets a little bit frightening because it makes you feel very different from the rest of the pack. It’s exciting, but it’s something strange, something else going on. We did Paris with Oasis, they were the headline act, and we were the middle act, and the reaction we got was just… I had people jumping over the guards and kissing my feet, and that was like… I stopped singing. I forgot the words. I was just looking down, and everyone’s looking down at this guy, and they had to pull him off of me. Oasis will have the guys rockin’, but they don’t have that fanaticism.
With ex-Curve guitarist Debbie Smith leading them, Echobelly ripped through the songs of Everybody’s Got One. Sonya managed to make eye contact with almost everyone on the floor. I know it sounds odd, but she made everyone feel she was singing just to them.
After they finish their US tour, they’re off to Japan where the shows are already sold out.