Sophie Hawley-Weld of the New York-based dance/electronica duo Sofi Tukker came from a colorful background of culture, music, and dance. She attended International schools – surrounded by all forms of music.
Sofi Tukker is the collaboration of Sophie Hawley-Weld and DJ Tucker Halpern. The two met at Brown University where Sophie was playing an acoustic set and Tucker was DJ-ing. Tucker remixed the song she was playing on the spot and as they say — the rest is history.
When did you know that music was what you were meant to do?
I think I always knew to some extent. I’ve been playing, singing and creating things since….forever. It wasn’t until sophomore year of college that I openly said out loud that it was something I’d like to do. It seems like a real absurd thing to say but the more I said it the less absurd it became – and then it happened.
Being exposed to so many different cultures while going to school must have been a big part of your sound.
Absolutely, I grew up going to international schools. For instance, in high school I went to a school that had 200 students from 100 different countries. There was just so much music around, from everywhere. I was introduced to new ways of thinking about music, dancing to music, and making music. That’s where I really started getting into Brazilian music and folk music from all around the world.
Being a young woman in the music industry can be hard, how has your experience been?
I’m an idealist, I also tend to look at the past and paint it as nicely as I can. For the most part, I’ve had a really good time. I’ve felt respected and lucky to work with men who say they are feminists. They believe in my capability and expect me to be an equal partner in every way. Obviously, we live in a patriarchy, the music industry itself is male dominated and there are pressures whether I like it or not that seep into my psyche. Like, I’m a woman therefore I don’t produce, or I’m a woman so I don’t play electric guitar, or I’m a woman and my value is in my appearance. These are all things that were more difficult at the beginning but having a strong team of men and women that know that these things are important to me to fight against has been really important.
What made you start making dance music?
I really like dance music, because I like to dance. I didn’t start making dance music until I met Tucker. He was making dance music and I was writing slow, sad songs. The tools I had at the time were me and my acoustic guitar. I met Tucker just as I was starting to take electronic music classes at Brown and developed the tools to make dance music. Going out and dancing all the time also made me want to create music I could dance to.
“Drinkee” is a great song, what inspired it?
I’m really into yoga and was really into Kundalini for awhile. In it there is a lot of chanting and repeating sounds over and over. I love the state of mind it puts me in — I don’t have to understand the words, it’s the vibration of them repeating. It’s a powerful experience. So when we were making ‘Drinkee’, it conceptually made sense, even if it seemed like a weird thing to do.
What is songwriting process like for Sofi Tukker?
We are extremely collaborative. I think our best music as Sofi Tukker comes when we are both in the same room. We switch positions — sometimes I’m playing guitar and writing while he’s at the computer, then I’ll go to the computer. It’s almost a left brain-right brain switch. We are able to constantly give each other feed back – -when the lines are blurred that’s when we know we have something good.
Your album Soft Animals is due to come out soon, that’s exciting.
We finished almost a year ago, so it feels like I already have shared it with the world. But of course, the world hasn’t heard it yet. I’m excited for everyone to hear the whole album — it portrays all sides of our writing personalities.
What advice do you have for other young women?
There’s a difference in doing something because your gender role expects it, and doing something because it’s your true nature. There are ideas based on gender roles that women are just singers or valuable based on appearance – which is bullshit. Being a woman doesn’t mean you can’t do everything. In your heart of hearts, if you want to be a producer, play the sitar, be a rapper, or look how you want. By all means do it, the world will actually thank you for it.
Official Tour Dates
June 3- Columbus, OH. EXPRESS LIVE!
June 8- Los Angeles, CA. The Lyric Theatre
June 9- Santa Barbara, CA. Velvet Jones
June 11- Raleigh, NC. Red Hat Amphitheater
June 12- Richmond, VA. The National
June 14- Charlotte, NC. The Fillmore Charlotte
June 15- Norfolk, VA. The NorVa
July 2- Amsterdam, Netherlands. Westergasfabriek
July 17- İstanbul, Turkey. Parkorman
July 20- Portland, ME. Thompson’s Point
July 21- Boston, MA. Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
July 25- St. Louis, MO. The Pageant
July 27- Council Bluffs, IA. Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel & Casino
Learn more about Sofi Tukker on their Official website: http://www.sofitukker.com/.