ARTIST TO WATCH + Q&A: Sofi Tukker
If you want
to impress your friends by showing them you’ve cultivated a taste
for music beyond the mainstream and that you’re plugged into the
scene, then you’ll want to tell them about the alternative
electronic dance duo, SOFI
Trying to categorize them into any genre seems wrong, and after you listen to them you'll understand why, but all you really need to know is that the music they make is funky, cool, and unlike 99% of music out right now.
Prior to being rescheduled, we caught up with the Grammy-nominated duo -- real names Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern -- to learn more about their anticipated debut at Ultra Music Festival in Miami and why they are stoked to perform the legendary dance festival when it makes it return!
YH: So we just got word Ultra Music Festival is being rescheduled.
Sophie: Awww, yeah, we're so sad.
Tucker: I was so excited for it.
YH: With that being said, Ultra Music Festival is such an iconic dance music festival; in your opinion, what makes Ultra Miami unique and different from other festivals for you?
Tucker: It would be our first time performing, we’ve never been before we were in a group to watch, or played there, so I am still really excited to see why and how it’s different. In general, we haven’t done that many just dance festivals – we did a DJ set at Tomorrowland last year, which is one of the few just dance festivals we’ve done; we straddle the line of alternative/dance/DJ. So I think for us we are hyped to be part of something like this, get our bearings in this kind of world, and becoming acquainted with this side of things, because we’ve done a lot of alternative festivals.
YH: Playing for a
dance music festival, what are you planning that’s different for
this type of scene?
Tucker: Been planning a set specific to Ultra – trying to bring a ridiculously high energy level, want to push it because people are ready for it. People are ready for the bangers.
Sophie: It’s going to be a live show at the live stage – adding remixes at the end, going crazier, have a DJ set but have a version for the live show that’s more dance-heavy.
Tucker: Plan was to make some special appearances, spin on some other artist’s sets too
YH: If you could describe a Sofi Tukker show, what does it look like?
Sophie: Extremely sweaty, cannot control smile, smile the whole time, cheeks hurt...
Literal answer – for people who have no idea what we do – Sofi
plays guitar & sings, we have a giant sculpture instrument on stage
called the “book tree” – it’s a bunch of screens in a tree
formation, we hit them with drumsticks and trigger different sounds
– I sing, run around, trigger sounds...
Sophie: We choreograph dances.
Tucker: We have so much fun, we really try to connect with the audience, let them know that we’re all in this together. You’re not just watching a performance, you’re a part of this.
YH: Moving on to your music, what's your favorite sound you’ve ever included in a song? It can be a sample you liked, a melody, something synthetic or real.
Sophie: I would say the sound that I’m most proud of is the “Drinkee” riff – the guitar line in “Drinkee” – it was the first time I ever played guitar and I don’t know how it came out but I’m happy that it did.
Tucker: I think the question is literally a sound, and I was thinking “ohhh” cuz in “Batshit” I go “ohhh you’re bad enough to me”...
Sophie: Now it’s become a thing!
now I do it all the time, like I tag random songs with like
Sophie: Or in life. [laughs]
YH: Sophie you answered this in your last answer, so Tucker, we want to know what you are most proud of in your body of work?
Tucker: “Drinkee” – extremely proud of this song – love all songs in general, but “Purple Hat” is a fave too, a bookend. “Drinkee” was first, “Purple Hat” was last (most recent). Listened to it this morning on the radio, was like, “This song is dope.”
YH: We lost a legend in Kobe Bryant, and I know you were a former college basketball player. So we want to know who has inspired both of you, either in music or in life?
Tucker: Yes, Kobe hit me really hard. Harder than I even thought it would have. I’m from Boston and grew up hating the Lakers. So he was a big part of my life, not so much as my hero but kinda like the enemy but also a really hard guy not to like and not respect. And even his work ethic rubbed off on people who were not supposed to like him. But I would say Larry Bird is my hero – being from Boston; I wore #33 my whole life. He’s also my dad’s hero. He was just the hardest working guy out there – stories I heard, and tapes I watched of him, made me want to be as hungry and as driven.
gonna be cheesy – I’m gonna say Tucker on the daily.
Tucker: Oh my gosh, whattt?
Sophie: It’s true, he just inspires me.
Tucker: Yeah right, you were yelling at me this morning.
Sophie: I was yelling at him this morning, but Tucker works harder than anyone I know. My work ethic has improved a thousand fold from being around him. Also the extent to which I take life seriously has declined in a very positive way being around him [laughs]
Tucker: That’s kinda my motto is to work hard, but don’t take life too seriously.
YH: You've worked with so many amazing people and meet new ones all the time. If you could DM any celebrity, guaranteed they would see it and respond, who would it be and what would you say?
Sophie: Oh wow, that's such a good question. Oh wow.
Tucker: I would DM...
Sophie: I feel like it would be Stromae, although he doesn’t even use Insta.
that’s a good one! Yeah I like that, Stromae. I would say, “You’re
a huge inspo to us.”
Sophie: "Let’s make something!”
YH: You produce and write music about love; we would love your advice on dating questions. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sophie: I don’t believe in love at first sight. I do believe in attraction at first sight – love you have to work on. It’s a process, and you have to be dedicated to that process, but you can be attracted to someone immediately
Tucker: There can be a super intense chemical lust, it’s undeniable and somehow scientific for sure, but real love takes more time because you really need to know each other and see if it can last.
YH: What do you do when you're ghosted by someone you really like?
Tucker: Show up on their doorstep.
YH: Like with a boombox playing a love song?
Tucker: [laughs] Ohh like a romantic thing, no. I wouldn’t show up on their doorstep. That's creepy.
Honestly I would hit them with the extremely honest text or phone
call, or if I ever saw them in person, I would tell them exactly
how I felt – “Hey that’s really not cool, that made me feel shitty,
we’re probably not gonna talk again.”
Tucker: I like your suggestion, to stand outside their house with a boombox, like in what’s-it-called...
Sophie: If they ghost you? I would be like "Go away." [laughs]
Tucker: I dig it, I like the drama.
YH: What do you do when you screenshot a conversation and send it back to the same person?
Sophie: I don’t think I have ever done that.
Tucker: Sophie is too nice, she would never send a convo back to someone to make fun of them.
YH: Last question. What’s the best piece of advice for an artist trying to find their way?
Tucker: I really believe in this – don’t make music for what you think people will like, don’t make it to fit into a genre, or what you think you should sound like. Make shit you love, make shit you want to hear, There will be some group of people that will want to hear it, look at it, etc.
Sophie: Tucker nailed it.