Wednesday, September 26The Voice of London

Sofar Sounds: When Music Becomes Magic Again

Discover new London locations, new bands as well as spend a night in someone’s living room, sitting on the floor and relaxing, sparking your love of live music again.

Reporter: Martina Di Gregorio | Sub-Editor: Chelsea Jobe

Credit: Sofar Sounds London
Credit: Sofar Sounds London

Are you a broke millennial? Tired of people talking and recording during a gig? Sofar Sounds is exactly what you need.

Sofar Sounds was founded in 2010 by Rafe Offer, Rocky Start and Dave Alexander when they became tired of people being disrespectful during concerts. What they did was bring a group of friends to a house and let them play music.

After six years, Sofar Sounds has reached 281 cities and millions of people’s homes, and discovered artists such as Bastille, Hozier and James Bay.

It’s fun, intimate, and slightly spontaneous. Sofia Loporcaro, an MC and Social Media volunteer for Sofar Sounds spoke to Voice of London about working for the company, and their ethics towards musicians.

“A friend of mine from university is in a band and I went to see him perform at a Sofar. I fell in love with it so quickly, I thought it was such a great concept. It’s so good for artists, you just get these really magic experiences with it.”

So how does it work? You go on their website and choose a date. Then you pay for the concert or apply for a spot. Once you are approved, you can pay as much as you want (minimum of £5) and a day before the event they email you the address. Show up with your own drinks and wait for the mystery artists to play.

As Sofia said, “tt’s quite affordable for students and young people. It really is about changing the way you experience music…It’s all about having this direct connection between the audience and the artist. The audience is engaged and eager to be part of it; the artist gets to have direct connection with a new audience.”

Not only it is about going to new places, it is also about discovering new genres. “We are really not picky when it comes to genre. Our only question is ‘are you good live?’  We also take spoken word poetry; they have had dance. We want to introduce people to new music, and new things that they would never normally experience.”

If you are too busy with university or life in general, don’t worry. I went to one of their secret location gigs for Voice of London.

I was sent to a remote location on a dark, foggy October night, walking aimlessly through the streets until a sign appeared that brightened up my world. But I survived, and I came out of this experience feeling more than alive.

Credit: Martina Di Gregorio (The Voice of London)


Thirty people sat with drinks in their hands, mesmerized by the vocals of Ginger Snaps, Linying and my personal favourite, Anteros.

Ginger Snaps performed four songs in a one of a kind way, playing acoustic indie music instead of his usual grunge, rock music that you can find on his Spotify and Soundcloud. His performance was the roughest, he had his eyes closed most of the time as he simply let his words and his guitar take over the room. His two backup singers and the keyboardist followed him faithfully, waiting for him to decide what song he would do next. It was fun, it was honest and it was unique. He will never play his songs that way ever again, and we were lucky enough to experience it.

Credit: Sofar Sounds London
Credit: Sofar Sounds London

Linying opened for the Singapore Music Festival this week, and it was her first time performing in London. Her vocals were angelic, her high notes hitting the audience right in the heart. Although she was magical, and her band mates were engrossed with the music, it was clear that she was nervous as her voice didn’t carry as much as it could have.

Listen to her EP Paris, that came out on October 2016 with songs such as Sticky Leaves and Grime.

But that’s what Sofar Sounds is about. It gives you raw music, with the artists feeling comfortable enough to tell you that they haven’t practiced their songs enough, or if they are freaking out (Ginger Snaps kept joking about it for the first half of his gig, and said he would run away for a cheeky cigarette as soon as he was done).

And the last act, my favorite, the one that made me want to stand up and start dancing on tables was Anteros, the indie band with 80s and 90s groove. This band opened at Glastonbury this summer, and they were nominated for Band of The Week by The Guardian.

They released their EP on September 19 and their energy was contagious. The lead singer would make everyone start clapping, she had the best onstage performance and kept making eye contact and smiling both to the audience and her band mates. She was having fun and so was the crowd.


And so the night ended. When I walked out, it didn’t matter that it was 10:30 pm and I was hopelessly trying to find the nearest tube station. I was in love. In love with Sofar Sounds for bringing quality live music to me.

If you are interested, Sofar Sounds has teamed up with the University of Westminster’s Smoke Media for an event on November 14. Follow Smoke Media for promo codes and listen to your peers live on air.

Be adventurous, go on and sign up for a secret gig. It will change your musical life.