Interview with Laila Kahn of SONIC BOOM SIX at Vans Warped Tour ’17

 

Rei: All right everybody, Rei Haycraft here with Fuel the Scene Magazine. I’m here with Laila from Sonic Boom Six at Vans Warped Tour in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here in the heat, the sweltering heat. How are you holding up so far?

Laila: This, you know, right. I’m from a town called Manchester where it gets to about 21 degrees. I don’t know what that is in Celsius, or Fahrenheit.

Rei: 60°?—I feel like that’s like 65°? [Editor’s note: 21°C = 69.8°F. You were close, Rei.]

Laila: Yeah, that’s as hot as it gets. And about 3:00PM, it rains, cools it down. So we started this tour in Seattle, where it was about that—

Rei: —which is a similar climate—

Laila: Yeah, it was nice. It was cool. It rained. Put my jacket on in the evening. And then little did we know, we go to Albuquerque, Phoenix, Florida. I’ve been dead. I’ve come back from death to be here in Charlotte today is all I can say.

Rei: She is sacrificing life, limb, and lungs for you fans.

Laila: Every single part of my body has been sacrificed to the heat, and the humidity, and the sweat.

Rei: And how does that affect your performance?

Laila: Do you know what, funnily enough, before I go on, and I’ve been like, it’s heat that I’ve known where you’re covered in a layer of sweat. It’s like you’ve just got out of the shower. Somebody says to me, “Oh, have you just got out the shower?” I was like, “Nope. This is just me sweating.”

Rei: You glisten.

Laila: You get on stage, you got 25 minutes to open and I’m like, “Oh, I’m dying. I can’t do this.” And then the minute you hear the first note on stage, you just give it your all.

Rei: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laila: You give it your all because you’re just, that is the only reason we’re here. Heat, humidity, come at me. It’s all good. Come at me.

 

Rei: What would you like to tell everyone about Sonic Boom Six? If you had to tell someone who had never heard you all, and they were wandering by, why should they stop and listen to your performance?

Laila: We’re not like any other band. I was going to say we’re not like any other band at the Warped Tour, we’re not actually like any other band, full stop. And we like to mix, we like positive, bouncy music, but with—

Rei: —and some ska in there—

Laila: Yeah, but with a message. Well not a message, I don’t like to call it a message. It’s more, all our lyrics are about what’s going on in the world today. They’re not necessarily positive lyrics, but at the same time, we have a positive sort of backing so that people can come to our shows, have a good time, and if they want to take anything away from the lyrics, then to me that’s a bonus. There’s enough crap in the world today, and I just want people to have a moment of escape and dance to Sonic Boom Six. But yeah, if I had to say what we sounded like, ska, punk, hip-hop, reggae. I rap, I sing, I squeak.

Rei: Multi-talented. All the mouth noises.

Laila: All the mouth noises, yeah.

Rei: Tell me a little bit about what it’s been like, being from Manchester? The unrest in the music community after the attacks? We’re you all over there? Did that affect you personally?

Laila: I live in London, so I’ve been living in London for two years. I went back to Manchester the week after. I go home every month to see family and friends. I was reading about it on the news as it was happening in the evening, it was about 10:00 p.m. And when it’s your hometown it really, not that it doesn’t effect you when you see it going on around the world, but when it’s your hometown, to me I feel like all the countries that have these atrocities every single day, how must they feel that they have to, you know. And that isn’t publicized, that isn’t on the news. That isn’t an Ariana Grande concert. Not that it makes it any worse, or better, it’s just, we’re living in a very horrible world at the moment.

I think what we need to address is why, rather than how we can stop it. How we can stop it is, opens up a whole can of worms. But to me we need to address, why is this going on? What is causing these young men who are from the UK, who are from the US, to be radicalized? To do such horrific things? And you know, I’m not a politician, I don’t know the, I’m just a human being. Yeah, I went to Manchester the week after, and it was awful. Everyone, the first two days, everyone came onto the streets, and everyone was defiant. And then slowly, less people were out, less people were in town. Like a place where we go for meal, you have to book weeks in advance, it was empty. I just think people are scared at the moment and rightly so, but the people that are doing this, that’s what they want.

Rei: Do you feel like it’s affected the UK music scene?

Laila: Oh, massively, massively. I think ticket sales are down for gigs. Yeah, people are defiant, but at the same time, there’s only so much of a brave face you can put on. I think the whole world has been affected.

Rei: Absolutely. And what’s it been like on a happier note being over here touring in the US?

Laila: It’s been amazing. This is our first Warped Tour. We had no idea what we were in for. Seriously.

Rei: Different animal completely.

Laila: Seriously, no idea. But we’re into a routine, by day three, we’re doing it completely DIY. We don’t have a driver. We don’t have a crew. We, you know, we were like, our first Warped Tour, we’re doing it DIY.

Rei: Love it.

Laila: Because it want to experience, I want to get on site at 8:00 a.m. when everybody else does. I don’t want to be laying in my bed, rolling out of bed when it’s time to play my set. I want to meet everyone. I might never get to do this again. You know what I mean?

Rei: Experiencing those moments as they happen.

Laila: Yeah, there’s six of us, and we all have our assigned roles. I probably got the easiest role, but you know.

Rei: I don’t know about that, I’m a vocalist too, so you know. We don’t get enough respect sometimes.

Laila: No, exactly, exactly.

Rei: “All you got to do is carry a mic.” No.

Laila: Actually, that is all I do carry. I do, I keep things ticking along in the background.

Rei: Solidarity, man.

Laila: Somebody has to tell everybody what to do.

Rei: Yeah, there you go.

 

Laila: It’s been mind blowing. Like already, I’m one of the people, I always look ahead and I’m like, “Oh no, like, when I go home, it’s going to be so depressing. And I’m actually going to miss queuing up in the catering line. I won’t miss this weather, but I will miss everything else.

Rei: But you’ll remember it. It will be ingrained.

Laila: Yeah, a friend, Beebs, who’s in a band called Beebs and the Moneymaker, I met her for the first time about four days ago. She said the best thing about Warped, is when you meet another band, you know on tour, or traveling around, and they’ve done Warped Tour, you’ll instantly be like, “Oh,” like you’ll become friends.

Rei: Warped friends.

Laila: But she’s like, “It’s like Warped veterans.” Like you have your stories and you go, “Do you remember this? And do you remember that?” And she was like, “It’s so special.” And yeah, it’s amazing.

Rei: Do you have any veteran stories yet?

Laila: No, we’re newbies. We’re two weeks in.

Rei: For all I know, some really cool shit could’ve happened this morning.

Laila: Last night was very cool. We got here early last night and Kevin was having a barbecue for the crew and production, and everyone who works here. He is one of the, like you know what, my band are like, “Stop bombing Kevin.” In Manchester, when you really like someone, or there’s a new person you like constantly going on about them, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to go and see Kevin.” You say, “Stop bombing them. Stop bumming them.” So say you love Anti-Flag, and you’re like, “No, no, no, I have to see Anti-Flag. No, I have to see them.” I’d be like, “Oh stop bombing Anti-Flag. Just stop bombing them.” Yeah, I’ve been bombing Kevin Lyman hard. Very hard. He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Rei: Oh, absolutely.

Laila: Like I’ve never met anyone like him. Super approachable. Super sage. Like last night, we got here, he’d been at the barbecue since 10:00 a.m. in the morning, all the production, all the crew, the people that worked it.

Rei: Oh, that’s fantastic.

Laila: And he was like, “Go and get some food. There’s beers in the cooler.” From 7:00PM til midnight, we all sat around there like just chatting. You know, sometimes like, when I meet important, not important, but when I meet people that are like, I think of as above me. I kind of like, try and be on my best behavior. And I’m like, “Okay, I’m not going to say fuck.” Oh sorry, yeah. I’m not going to like, ten minutes in I was telling them stories about tour. I was telling them what a chewy meant. It was yeah.

Rei: I love it.

Laila: You can google chewy, you won’t know what it means.

Rei: Homework everybody.

 

Rei: All right, what would you like our fans at home to know about your band? And something for them to look forward to, besides the rest of Warped Tour, which they should catch you if they can?

Laila: Sonic Boom Six is a fun band. We love what we do. We’ve been doing this for 15 years now. We’re a band, we want to make music. We’re not in a band to be in a band, if that makes sense.

Rei: Oh yeah.

Laila: We want to make music, we want people to have fun. We want people to escape from their lives. And always, even before Warped, from day one, as soon as we finish, I’m always on the merchandise. If people want a hug, if people want to talk to somebody, because it’s easier to talk to a stranger. If people want to just, whatever, that’s, we’re from Manchester, we’re very open people, and that’s what we’re all about. And I mean, what you’ve got to look forward to is, yeah, the rest of Warped Tour, and then, we’ve been having some conversations in like, in Manchester it’s very, we do music and we work. Just because the life of a musician now. If you can do full-time music, hats off. Not only are you incredibly lucky, it’s tough, it’s tough to be a full-time musician.

Rei: Gotta get that day job.

Laila: Yeah. For us, we were like, “Okay, we do this and we work.” And then this came along, and now it’s like, wow it’s zipping to the more band stuff, and we’re like, “Bring it on. We’ve worked our asses off for 15 years, and we’re not about to stop now.”

Rei: It’s your time.

Laila: I was going to say it’s my time, that shows how egomania, it’s our time.

Rei: Don’t let them dull your sparkle. It’s all right.

Laila: Exactly, exactly. Oh, I love that. Don’t let them dull your sparkle. I won’t do!

Rei: Or the glisten. Whatever you want to say. All right, any last words of wisdom for our fans back home?

Laila: Yeah actually. If you’re feeling down, or if you’re going through a tough time, however difficult it is, and I’m an absolute bugger for this, you reach out to someone. When I’m having a really bad time, my friends will text me, and I won’t text back. Or they’ll say, “Come, come out,” and I won’t go out, because I have to deal with it in my own way. That’s not the right way. That isn’t the right way. If you don’t have people that you can trust, just try and reach out to people, because you know what, there’s no shame in admitting the world is a very horrible, brutal, tough place. But there are people everywhere that want to help people.

Rei: And you’re not alone in any of it.

 

Laila: No, even if that’s through the musical community. Vans Warped Tour is a community. If anyone’s feeling down, you get picked back up again. Every single person on site, that you see is in exactly the same position. Okay, you get your bigger bands that get driven around, and they stay on their bus, but at some point they’ve done this. At some point they’ve been here at 8:00AM they busted their balls, fannies, asses, whatever to do this. Everyone’s in the same position. Never assume, just because you see someone and they look happy, and they’re not going through their own stuff. Everyone has stuff to deal with, so yeah, speak out, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Rei: I love it. That’s perfect. I love that, and it’s a good note to end on. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us.

Laila: Thank you very much.

Rei: And have a wonderful set.

Laila: Yes, 6:25 I think.

Check out Sonic Boom Six all summer long on Vans Warped Tour and check out more of their music at www.sonicboomsix.co.uk!