New Music
24.04.2009, Words by Charlie Jones

Sonic Cathedral label profile.

A label dedicated to shoegaze? Sort of, the genre that celebrates itself has itself been the subject of celebration by London-based label (and night) Sonic Cathedral for over 2 years now, and founder Nat Cramp has finally decided to release a compilation of the singles, appropriately called Cathedral Classic Volume One.

Sounds like the type of thing for bearded Wire readers… Well, Nat does have a mighty fine chin covering. Former Ride frontman Mark Gardener was so impressed by the beard that he described it as a “sonic force”.

OK… So it’s a sort of nostalgia label then? While Nat’s released a few famed shoegazers in Sonic Boom (of Spacemen 3) and the aforementioned Mr Gardener, he’s also in cahoots with the likes of Maps, M83 and Kyte.

Did you get Nat’s word on the whole process? Funnily enough, we overheard him mumbling something like this: “Despite supposedly being a shoegaze label, I don’t think I’ve released anything that could be dismissed as merely shoegaze – it’s a bit more wide-ranging than that. There was a piece in Music Week recently that said Sonic Cathedral “used shoegaze as a jumping off point into a world of psychedelic pop oddity”. I thought that summed it up quite well.”

He sounds like a pretty safe guy. Don’t just take our word for it, here are some nice things Sonic Cathedral released artists told us about him… Ulrich Schnauss: “I have nothing but good things to say”; Nick from Kyte: “he bribed us into putting out a single with a bottle of red wine”.

Tell me more. How about the defining tracks; a sort of Desert Island Discs of Sonic Cathedral?

Please! Highlights include Sarabeth Tucek ’s Something For You, (“The first time one of my singles got played on the radio. People seemed to genuinely connect with it”), School Of Seven BellsMy Cabal (“It was literally just a demo that Benjamin Curtis gave me and that I loved – next thing, he’s left the Secret Machines, and SVIIB are being managed by Nirvana and The Strokes’ managers”).

What are Nat’s personal favourite? Here’s what he said: “Much as I love all of the records I’ve put out equally, I also have a real soft spot for the Japancakes’ single [ download it above ]; I commissioned two remixes of tracks from their song-for-song cover of Loveless to coincide with the My Bloody Valentine shows last summer and I got two tracks which were as weird and wonderful as MBV had been in the first place, without sounding anything like them.”

Anything else I should know? Nat doesn’t have an office and he hates cats.

Buy Cathedral Classics Volume 1 now.

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