Sahera Walker interview
Known as the Queen of Underground Scene in London, Sahera Walker is one of the most respected independent promoters working on the DIY scene. Her passion, music knowledge and intuition have been praised on numerous occasions and were recognized by industry professionals. Indieterria is following young, successful females who are taking the music business by storm and continue to change the industry rules. We have sat down with Sahera to discuss her zine, modern alternative music and her ambitious plans to turn Cafe 1001 into a hub of music, fashion and counter-culture.
Bio: Sahera is 20 year old music journalist based in East London, and she is the creative-owner of Indie Underground Blog
She started blogging in 2016, which is when she first set up her blogging site. She has since gone on to work in PR & live music, and now owns Some Might Say Magazine, and is the lead booker for live music events at Café 1001 on Brick Lane. She runs gigs for her magazine at Nambucca in Islington & The Five Bells in New Cross.
Indie Underground & Some Might Say have received support from BBC Radio 6, Flying Vinyl, Clue Records, This Feeling, The Truman Brewery, The Zine UK, Clash Magazine, 1234 Records, Roadkill Records, ArtBeats Promo, Coda Agency, Devil PR, and more. The digital and physical platforms Sahera runs all have one aim; to promote underground DIY music, and support creatives within the industry by printing, reviewing, and featuring their work. Always keen to work with new artists, Indie Underground is a growing platform which has gained an impeccable reputation for scouting new acts who go on to be huge within the indie industry
Sahera also works as a freelance photographer & journalist, focusing solely on DIY indie rock, psych rock, grunge, and post punk music
Promoter, PR professional, zine editor, writer, journalist – it’s hard to believe that one person can do it all. Who is Sahera Walker? Please introduce yourself to the readers of our blog.
Sahera Walker: Very kind of you! So my name is Sahera, I’m 20 years old, and I’m a music journalist and promoter based in East London. I’m the creative owner and editor of Some Might Say Zine and Indie Underground Blog, running launch parties for each zine that comes out. I have recently taken over the Live Bookings and PR for a new DIY space on Brick Lane too!
You created “Some Might Say” zine at the age of 18. Was there any specific reason why you decided to start a musical magazine?
Sahera Walker: I really love the DIY authenticity of rock music, and to me there’s something really special about flicking through a physical print publication, and just seeing all the beautiful photos and art pieces in print, and soaking up new musical knowledge. I really love that vibe, and I wanted to bring that authenticity back into an industry where mainstream magazines are either dying out, or turning to conventional pop music instead. I used to love NME but they sold themselves out years ago, so I suppose I wanted to create my own print publication with no sponsors or external funding, its sole aim to promote fresh upcoming new music.
So far “Some Might Say” published five issues and the sixth one will be released shortly. What can we find in the newest edition?
Sahera Walker: It will be available to purchase by the end of May/ very start of June, via somemightsay.org. This Issue has taken months to work on, as it’s taking Some Might Say down a slightly more creative and unconventional route, so I hope the wait will be worth it!
Alongside with the zine, you run a popular music blog Indie Underground focusing on rock, post punk and DIY scene. In your opinion, how important is support from blogs and magazines for up and coming artists?
Sahera Walker: To me, it’s absolutely vital. The music industry is made into the thriving and vibrant scene that it is through DIY support, from people who love music and want to work, often for free, to promote and support new music. That’s where fans of bands end up becoming journalists, photographers, promoters, and bloggers, inspiring a real love and passion into their work. This supportive DIY scene is probably the most important thing for new bands, as without them who is going to fuel the underground music scene?
You have put bands such as Yonaka, Calva Louise, False Heads or most recently Black Midi on many people’s radars. What captures your attention when it comes to indie bands? How do you recognize the “next big thing”?
Sahera Walker: I do try! I think I was very lucky, when I got into music aged about 17 it was when bands like Yonaka, The Blinders, Strange Bones, Calva Louise, and False Heads were all starting out (the last three I’ve had play Some Might Say gigs for me, which I’m very proud of!), so I just naturally saw them at small venues playing to tiny handfuls of people. For me, I like unconventional bands that are passionate and exciting, and it just has to click in a special way for me to go crazy about a band. This doesn’t happen too often, as it’s more of a feeling you get from certain bands – it’s very special though, and all the bands you mentioned are ones who really gripped and excited me when I discovered them.
Gig goers often ask what they can do to help bands, something beyond buying a tee from the merch store. Would you have any suggestions?
Sahera Walker: I think going to gigs is the most important thing, as it supports not only the bands, but also the small venues and promoters who are hosting the gigs, which is fundamental to the scene as a whole. Bands that have a strong live following as well are the ones who end up being hotly tipped by journalists, on the radio, and then eventually scouted by agents and managers, so going to gigs really helps. But even the small things like social media posts, buying merch, streaming and downloading music; it all helps, and I know they mean massive amounts to the bands.
In April 2019, you joined Cafe 1001 as their official promoter and PR. Tell us more about this place. What can it offer to the emerging bands?
Sahera Walker: So Café 1001 is a venue space in Shoreditch, just opposite Rough Trade East. We are currently undergoing a really exciting refurbishment and rebrand in the venue, which will change the name and appearance into something a lot more DIY. We’re taking the venue down a more creative, subculture-philosophy inspired route, and alongside the gigs (focusing on indie/punk/grime/grunge) we want to have a lot of new DJs playing with us too. What we’re offering bands is payed gigs, in a fantastic DIY 200 capacity space, with a state of the arts PA and backline system. I also run PR campaigns and social media campaigns for my live events, so bands would be fully supported by us.
You are known for coming up with groundbreaking ideas. Your newest one is to create a rotating exhibition aimed at avant-garde DIY artists, music zine makers, live music photographers and designers. Can you provide us with more information about it? How long will it last? will artists be able to sell their works?
Sahera Walker: Given the DIY subculture philosophy we are implementing, I came up with the idea of running a rotating exhibition in the venue’s front room. We will have art work, photos (art based, film, portrait, and live music), and film reels on display, as well as zines in the venue. The idea is to have a launch night (June 27th) with live music to accompany, and this will be a chance for the creatives involved to network and sell their work. We will then keep some of the work up in the venue, and keep the zines in the café space for people to browse through during the day. Then every three months, we will run another exhibition, where we can refresh the art and photos we have, and bring in some new zines to the space
Let’s play! You are given a whole page in The Guardian for a music column. What bands are you recommending to the public?
Sahera Walker: So many, I could write you pages on this! I’d have to narrow it down to Black Country New Road, The Murder Capital, Weird Milk, Kid Kapichi, Fontaines DC, Uncle Tesco, Legss, Happy Hour, Pip Blom, False Heads, Squid, Haze, LICE, Avalanche Party, Strange Bones, Calva Louise and JW Paris. Just a quick note, when I spoke earlier about those rare special bands who I just click with – Kid Kapichi are my current obsession, and I would recommend them highly.
The last question (but very important one). If any artist or musician wants to get in touch – how can they reach you?
Sahera Walker: I have contact forms on my websites which are usually the best shout to play a gig at my new venue:
Or any London based bands, you can usually find me at a scatty punk gig in Camden or Brixton, so feel free to come up and say hi!
You can follow Sahera on socials:
The new issue of “Some Might Say” will land in a couple of days so don’t forget to order your copy. Supporting local zines, magazines and independent artists is vital for the scene to survive. Indieterria will keep shining light at the people behind the music – promoters, event managers, club owners, streaming services companies, radio DJ’s and hosts, photographers, managers or music scouts – they all are working in the background helping artists move from one level of their careers to another. They are essential yet they are rarely getting any credits or thanks. Let’s bring them into limelight!
Please stay tuned as we have something special planned very soon!