Andrew Chats with Sofi Tukker

Andrew Chats with Sofi Tukker

A few months ago, when he was still living in Minnesota, Andrew caught up with Sofi Tukker after one of their Minneapolis shows to talk music, life, and being in a band with your best friend. Here’s how it went down.

Andrew: What’s your musical origin story? Is there any artist you came across who made you think: “I’ve got to become a musician?”

Sophie: The first person that changed my life in that way was Feist. I remember first hearing her and I loved her voice and lyrics, identified a lot with her music…I sang a lot of her music. I started writing music copying her style,  and it was a segue into music writing. Same with Regina Spektor, she had these simple chords that I could learn easily, with beautiful lyrics and melody…it fit what was doing at the time–this was early high school. Then, seeing Feist live, I thought: “I want to do that.” That’s what the best art does, it makes you want to make your own work.

Tucker: Not sure there was one artist for me…it was really when I got into house music that I wanted to make music. But it was almost like I wanted to bring a different element into it…I wanted to make a raw, White Stripes-y kind of vibe. The rawness that Jack White has in his music…there’s nothing else like that. So it was more an idea that I fell in love with. It wasn’t there, so I wanted to make it.

A: When was it that you first got into house music?

T: Right when I went to college is when I got into house, around 2009 or 2010. Initially, when I first ever really went from being into rap to being into house, ”Levels” [by Avicii] was the first Eurodance track I heard. Well, Cascada and Basshunter I loved when I was 15, but Avicii was the first person that really changed it for me. It was like: “whoa, what is this?” He wasn’t a big influence on me musically, but he changed the way I experienced it.

A: You’ve said before that you don’t always agree about music. What do each of you like that the other doesn’t, and where’s your common ground? And on that note, was music what you became best friends over?

S: Music was definitely one the first things that we bonded over.

T: Honestly, the first thing that we bonded over was being physically fucked up. Not being able to do what you wanted to do…Sofi wanted to dance and float around, but she had to stay in a wheelchair. I wanted to play basketball and be healthy, and I could do that a couple years ago, but I couldn’t now. That was a big moment in our relationship.S: Yeah, that and music were totally the first things…music is dancing. There is music that’s too slow for Tucker that I love, and music that’s too fast for my taste that Tucker loves. I just really love slow Brazilian jazz bossa nova, just guitar and voice. Or samba, or slower folk music.

T: I do like folk music, though.

S: But you like “dancey” folk music.

T: This–there’s this song that Sophie showed me that I remixed that I absolutely love…”Brave” by Freedom Fry. I love my remix of that track, it’s up on Spotify.

A: Sophie, you mentioned Brazil and bossa nova…Brazilian poetry and basketball have been on record as some of your other passions outside music. What are some that we might not know about already?

T: Positivity.

S: Not very secret.

T: True. But we really go out of our way to make the environment around us to be healthy positive and real. Some people think we’re crazy party animals who drink and do drugs, et cetera…

S: But that’s the thing, we party so much that we can’t do that!

T: Exactly.

S: You get story after story after story of touring artists who self destruct, because it’s a hard lifestyle in many ways, but we love it so much, so we do everything in our power to keep our health and vitality and sanity on tour. We moved out of our apartments to be on the road full time, we love it so much.

T:  We eat well, Sophie’s a great influence on that. We stretch and warm up our bodies before the show, and work down our bodies after the show.

S: We talk to our families a lot–

T: I haven’t been so good about that lately.

S: Yeah, but you text them every couple days at the worst. We sleep when we can…

T: You haven’t been sleeping much–

S: I had a couple days where I wasn’t sleeping much cause I was really excited about something, but now I’m back on track. I listen to podcasts. “The Daily” every day, they’re doing this incredible thing on ISIS right now…”On Being”…“Ritual”…Dear Sugars…Invisibilia…there’s so many good ones.

T: I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life.

S: Except the other day–the one about Avicii.

A: Ooh, there was an Avicii podcast?

S: Yeah, on the New York Times.

A: So being best friends in a band together, you must know each other better than anyone else. Is that true?

S: Oh yeah.

A: Are there ever those moments that you just thank the universe for throwing the other person your way?

S: EVERY DAY!! *laughs* I’m always glad Tuck came myway. There are moments I really want to show him affection, but we don’t really hug, so how do I show affection? I’ll send him a long rambling text…and then he won’t reply!

T: *laughs* I never reply to people.

S: *laughs* But I think he reads them.

T: I do.

S: And that’s how you know.

A: You bring a lot of your best friends on tour. Who are some dream best friends that you haven’t met that you’d love to tour with?

S: I just wanna be cheesy and say the people we have on tour are the people I’d want, living or dead.

T: They’re the people who we really love. There are definitely artists we’d like to meet and tour with, sure, but actual friendship wise? We’ve got the share the exhaustion and joy with our best friends. It’s the best.

A: Totally. And it’s so clear the love you have for each other, from an audience standpoint. Speaking of the audience, I was speaking to some people in the crowd after your gig [in Minneapolis] and they said it might just be the best show they’ve ever seen. So I want to pose the question to you, who were the best shows you’ve ever seen?

T: I think Stromae was one of the best. We saw Stromae at Madison Square Garden a couple years ago, right after we released our first song. We went with my dad, it was amazing. I really also just love Die Antwoord’s show. I just love listening to them.

A: I will always regret being in New York six years ago, and Die Antwoord were opening for Jane’s Addiction, and I didn’t go. I’m still so mad about it.

T: That’s a funny bill.

A: I know right? What about you, Sophie?

S: Probably I’m gonna say stromae as well. And I wasn’t there but I have to say that Beyoncé. That live stream at Coachella was unreal.

A: You guys are going to be touring for a while. Any dream places you’d like to visit while you’re on tour?

S: Yeah actually, we’re going to Portugal for the first time, that’s one of the ones I’m most excited about. I’ve heard so much about it, I speak Portuguese, and we’re gonna be there in summertime, so that’s really exciting.

A: No kidding! I’m actually going to be doing the Camino Portugues in a couple months.

S: Amazing! That’s so fun!

A: I know, I’m really excited about it.

T: I really love going everywhere. Going all places, whether I like it or not, I think it makes me understand the world better. I’d also have to say Santa Barbara.

A: I’ve never been to Santa Barbara, but I used to love the show Psych, which was set there. Ever watch it?

T: No I haven’t, what is it?

A: It was a USA show about a fake psychic detective that was really into ‘80s music. Definitely recommend. So Tucker, growing up and being really into basketball, were there any players you’d model your game after? Did you have any iconic childhood sports moments that stick with you?

T: Larry Bird. He’s my dad’s hero, I was too young to watch him play live I, but watched lots of videos. I wore number 33 when I was younger in his honor, and when I sign my signature at concerts I’ll still write 33…that’s how you know it’s authentic.

A: *laughs*

T: Yeah, he was a big influence because he wasn’t so big, or freakishly athletic…he wasn’t god gifted, but ran harder and worked harder than anyone, to the point of being a little bit psycho, and I kind of wanted to identify with his work ethic.

A: Were you ever a fan of sports, Sophie?

S: I was never really into watching many sports, played soccer growing up, until tore my ACL at 14 and everything changed.

A: What position did you play?

S: Center mid. I loved it so much. I’m glad I got an injury in many ways ‘cause I had to shift my life, cause it was one of my biggest passions…my mom is really into watching soccer, too. We always randomly watch the Tour de France, that was a big thing in my family. We would always just watch it during the summer, sometimes we’d go to France.

A: No kidding! Are there any soccer teams that your mom or your family would root for?S: Yeah. My family is British, so my mom is really into the English Premier League.

A: What team does she support?

S: She supports Hull City.

A: *gasps* Are you kidding? Hull City’s my team too?

S: Are you kidding?

A: No, I picked them when I was thirteen cause I really liked their uniforms. I love Hull City!

S: That’s amazing. My family’s from Hull, and it’s great cause they used to suck but now they’re a legitimate contender.

A: That’s amazing. That actually makes me really happy to know!

S: *laughs* Totally. My mom will wake up at 3 AM to watch Hull City.

A: I love that. I’m Italian, so I get the soccer passion. One last question: what would you say to someone who’s afraid to start writing their own music?

T: I would say: just do it. Any moments where you have time, it’s SUCH  fun thing to do. I remember when I was first starting and making terrible songs, but it was so exciting. I’d show it to my friends and they’d probably lie to me and say it was good, but any time you’re making anything out of thin air, it’s an incredible thing. Anyone can break through and do it. We are examples…we didn’t have any real “in” into the music industry or anything.

S: Or a ton of musical training.

T: We just went for it. Just make stuff that you love. Don’t try making things that you think other people are going to love. That’s the trap a lot of people fall into. If you are making something that gets you so excited, trust that there are other people who will be as excited about.

A: If you didn’t have any “ins” so to speak, how’d you break into the industry?

T: Well, I met The Knocks in college, when I opened for them at a club, and we just became friends. 6 months later, I showed them music that Sophie and I had made…Ben from the Knocks said: “hey, you’re graduating in a couple weeks, come to our studio in NYC and work in the night when we’re not in, try and make a career out of it.” That was the encouragement that we needed. We went there, made “Drinkee,” and got lucky that Apple put in the watch commercial…things just took off from there.

S: Yeah, we graduated in 2014, and I had the injury with my feet, so I was in the wheelchair…we didn’t release the song until a year later

T: The Soft Animals EP in 2016.

A: Yeah, I remember hearing it on Triple J in 2016 and falling in love. Seeing your rise since then has been incredible, and I wish you all the luck in the world! Thanks for stopping by, guys!

S + T: Thanks!



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