Commons and Sofar Sounds – Two Peas in a Pod

Nathaniel Schimmel
February 26, 2018

One of the very first events we at Commons Unirii hosted - was a musical one. And we felt it was a fitting match. Sofar Sounds - an acronym for Songs from a Room – is a musical events start up and was founded in London in 2009. The company prides itself on its global community made up of guests and artists who come together to experience music in its rawest form in an intimate and warm setting at a secret and undisclosed location.

Sofar Sounds initially started in London in early 2009.  Three friends – Rafe Offer, Rocky Start and Dave J. Alexander – the company’s three founders – found that often was the case at gigs they would attend, fellow concert goers would experience the evening through their Smartphones whilst clanging beer bottles and chatting amongst each other – the music seemed almost secondary. As a direct consequence of this frustration, they decided to put on their own gig in Alexander's North London flat and invited eight friends over to listen to him play five songs in his living room. And in that moment, the founders reflect, a movement was born.

For their second gig in London, word had spread and so the crowd increased in both size and make up. Soon after, Sofar expanded, mostly through word of mouth, to Paris, New York, and many other major cities. By 2011 it had reached LA.

What started organically as a grassroots musical movement in London, had grown beyond the founders’ wildest imaginings and had transformed into a global community and through it, thousands of people were being brought together through their love of music in its purest form.

Astoundingly, by 2017, Sofar Sounds were putting on roughly 500 gigs per month in over 300 cities worldwide.

Typically, three artists perform at each gig with no opening act or headline performance. Performers apply to be considered via a form on the company’s website and musicians of every genre as well as spoken word poets, comedians and even dancers are invited to apply. Local Sofar Sounds lead ambassadors and their review committees curate the evenings.

In Bucharest, in Commons lounge, our wonderfully intimate atmosphere, proved to be the perfect setting for the Sofar Sounds performers of the evening. The crowd sat around the fireplace in something of a giddy trance whilst local musicians strummed their guitars and sang their hearts out as the audience delighted in real Romanian showmanship. With both Southernman Robbie and Soul Seranade standing out – find their performances of ‘Baby and I’ and ‘Saint Lewis’ respectively here:

So, two peas in a pod?

We think Sofar Sounds and Commons have much more in common than only their ability to ‘work wonders’.

It is said that it is oft out of exasperation with the broken status quo or system that genius and revolution are born. As with the three founders of Sofar Sounds – from their weariness of a standardised musical setting – grew a venue that transcended space, and an audience that became a global network of both performers and music lovers that today spans cities, continents and a multitude of cultures and sounds.

The same is true of what we represent and the co-working movement we helm. We recognised already long ago the deep sense of frustration and limitation the average office setting induced in us and you. We understand that such a setting, as opposed to promoting and nurturing your sense of creativity and performance, stunted and inhibited it. And hence – we were born – out of that. And today, the co-working ‘movement’ – in much the same way as Sofar Sounds but on a greater scale still – transcends limitations and brings together thousands of people in a global workspace that is also beyond space. We foster creativity and effectiveness and promote interaction across professions, networks and countries. We are a movement and much in the same way Sofar is.

We feel privileged to enable your ‘wonders’.

Long live the revolution!