Sonic the Comic are Stef and Sarah, a chaotic-good videogame-indie-pop duo from Birmingham who mix energetic singing and fuzzy guitars with chiptune backing tracks. They released an album called Atoms last year,, which was a collection of songs about feeling tired all of the time and being nostalgic about playing old gameboy Zelda games growing up. Their new EP, Stabatha, is available now via Bandcamp on limited glitter cassette with a holographic cover!
Hiya, tell us a bit more about Sonic The Comic – where you’re from, how you met etc?
Sonic the Comic became a thing when Sarah and I started seeing each other just over five years ago! We started writing twee songs on ukulele and keyboard, and the name Sonic the Comic was chosen due to our shared interest of reading Sonic the Comic – the UK fortnightly comic all about Sega’s favourite prodigal hedgehog. I thought it would be a nightmare in terms of internet searching, but I don’t think it’s been that bad. I’m from Wolverhampton originally, and Sarah’s from Northampton. We met through the internet and through a bunch of cool coincidences that involve the band Johnny Foreigner, and now we share a house and four cats in Birmingham!
How would you describe your sound?
I think we’re indie-pop-punk with a tinge of videogamey-chiptune stuff. Fuzzy videogame pop.
You’ve a couple of albums and a few EPs under your belts already – what’s next for the band?
I wrote most of a new album back in February – shout out to any February Album Writing Month people out there! However, I think I left it too long and I think only 5 or 6 of the songs are any good now, so I think we’re going to launch a new Cassette EP at Indietracks this year, and then write a new album in the autumn.
You’re clearly into your videogames – are there any you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?
Sarah is forever playing Binding of Isaac which is this gruesome never-ending roguelike game that has hundreds of different power-ups and bad guys and a really grim story. The game is pretty much a unique experience each time though as there are so many possibilities!
I’ve been torn between two really different games recently – one is Bloodborne which is a really creepy action-rpg that is probably the most difficult game I’ve ever played, and the other is Pocket Card Jockey which – okay, hear me out, it’s a weird one to explain – is a game where your character wants to be the best horse jockey of all time, but is really bad at horse racing, but loves playing solitaire! So basically, an angel makes a deal with you that means every time you ride a horse, to be good at it you just have to solve solitaire puzzles really quickly.
It is such a weird game but it’s all sorts of incredible. I’m also really bad at that too.
Bonus answer – Stardew Valley is an incredible Harvest-Moon-style farming game on PC that was made by one person, and it’s really lovely and incredible. After three really difficult games I feel like this interview deserves a nice one.
Indietracks is set at a steam railway, which is pretty unique! Please tell us about any other unusual venues you’ve played in the past, if any?
We played a tiny comic shop in London recently called Vault Comics, that was really weird but very cool. Sarah’s day job is making comics so that was a nice combination of interests. One of our first ever gigs was in someone’s basement, but it wasn’t like a crazy large basement, it was really small but it was really fun because of that I think.
We played a show at GameCity in Nottingham in 2014 but it was near the end of the day and security had told everyone upstairs that the building was closing even though it was open for another hour. We were playing our videogame pop songs while people were leaving the place and it was a really strange day overall as loads of cool videogame people like C418 and Zoe Quinn were there just casually playing Nidhogg on a big TV earlier that day.
Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to at Indietracks?
Haiku Salut and Trust Fund are always incredible to see live so Sunday should be one amazing day! I’m gutted that we’re missing the Friday and Saturday due to flying back from America as Spook School, Flowers, Two White Cranes and Falling & Laughing are all absolutely wonderful too! We’re also sad that we aren’t getting to see Chrissy Barnacle as she is the best! She once played a show in our living room and we haven’t put on a house show since as she was that good. I’m looking forward to checking out a bunch of bands I haven’t heard of either – every Indietracks festival so far has had loads of great gems to discover and I’m sure this one will be the same as well!