You may have heard Sofi Tukker for the first time back in 2017 when their single “Best Friend” was the soundtrack to the iPhone X unveiling. They have only been growing since then and continue to impress with extremely recognizable and catchy electronic tracks. MUSE got the chance to sit down with them at Osheaga to discuss the evolution of their performances, tips for student artists, and what’s coming up for them soon.
You guys played at Osheaga in 2017 as well, what’s changed since then if you could summarize?
Tucker: A lot, a lot has changed since then. It’s been pretty busy. We’ve been pretty much on the road the whole time, probably around the world a bunch of times since then, it’s been great. We’ve put out new music, we’ve made new music, we’ve grown as people, we’ve made new friends. A lot has changed!
How do you feel you’ve changed as artists since then?
Sophie: Hopefully we’ve just grown. I think we’re probably better songwriters, better performances, and hopefully better people.
Performance-wise, how do you feel you’ve evolved your performances and how to do you make sure to keep it interesting for yourselves and long-time fans?
Tucker: I think every performance, even if it’s a similar setlist or the same setlist, it feels so different because for us, we’re watching the crowd, so it’s a different show for us every night. It’s always a different experience. Sometimes you feel really connected to the people, sometimes you feel really connected to a couple of people, sometimes there are a couple of people in the front who are waiting for the next act and you try to win them over. It totally depends on the scenario; if it’s a live show, if it’s a festival, if it’s at night, if it’s in the day time. A lot goes into the show, it always feels different.
How often do you guys sit down to decide changes for the show? Does it stay pretty consistent throughout an entire tour?
Sophie: For a tour, it’s pretty consistent, but we’ll have wildcards and add and subtract songs all the time.
Tucker: A lot of the time we make new songs and we want to try them out before they come out, and we change them once we see what reacts and what doesn’t react. Sometimes people will scream, play this song, and we’ll be like, okay!
One of the reasons it’s great to speak with you is because you met at Brown, and MUSE is a student magazine. What would be the biggest piece of advice you have for student artists?
Sophie: The biggest thing that we always say is to make music that you want to hear. Trust that if you love it, other people will love it. The other thing that I would probably say is that thinking back to our time in college, it’s such an amazing opportunity to not have to get a job and to focus on learning and creating. We kind of started late, and then we had a year out of college that was challenging because we were creating and trying to grow the band and get better but it was also more difficult financially since we weren’t in college anymore. It was less time to explore and create. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t really change anything, but it would be so cool to have taken the opportunity to learn exactly what I wanted to learn and not feel like I have to learn anything specifically because somebody else told me to do it. If I’m drawn to making music, learn as much as I can about making music while I have the freedom and time and lack of responsibility to dive into it.
Tucker: Also, the one thing I would say from college is, I think the best thing I did was meet people. The shit I learnt from people from other countries, from other parts of the world, from different backgrounds, I think is where I learnt the most. I learnt more than in classes and stuff.
Sofi: I was more of a nerd, I loved classes!
What were you studying?
Sophie: I studied development studies, so that was like economics, history, sociology, anthropology and like Portuguese, so kind of random.
Tucker: I studied history of art and architecture, but I was a basketball player, so I was like kind of a professional athlete. And it comes with a whole different set of things to deal with and learn about. So we were both working hard in really different ways in different places. I would say explore as much as you can. Once I started doing music stuff, I learnt how to DJ and then made myself available to DJ every party on campus.
How do you transition from doing those sort of student events like parties and playing for your friends, to becoming professional musicians and playing big shows?
Sophie: Funny enough, we were talking about this the other day, when we were at college, we actually tried out to do this student performance and we weren’t accepted in it. They didn’t think we were good enough or whatever. So in college, we didn’t actually perform together ever, we tried I guess but we weren’t accepted. We graduated and we kept working at it and our first couple shows weren’t so great. We just kept at it and eventually found out who we are through doing it, and now we love it and it’s the best thing ever.
In electronic music, a lot of artists will end up sounding the same, but you guys have such a distinct sound. How did you work on developing that? Did you always have that or did it take some time to figure out?
Tucker: I think the key to that was that Sophie didn’t know anything about dance music before we met. We have such different influences and background and interests, when we make things together it doesn’t even sound like it even came from one brain or experience, it comes out sounding so different. We also wanted to make it a real point to use live instruments and live guitar, and sort of bring in the grungy rawness of a rock band into dance music. We also experiment a lot.
Sophie: We’re definitely not trying to make a genre; we’re just trying to make music.
You guys have a few new singles you put out in 2019, I’m not sure how much you can share, but what else can fans expect for the next little bit?
Sophie: We can totally share!
Tucker: We’re soo excited, we have the song that feels like the most us.
Sophie: We usually say we love everything equally, but I think right now we have this one child we love more than any other child and it’s coming out September 6th it’s called “Purple Hat”, and then we have our EP coming out on September 20th, it’s called Dancing On the People. We couldn’t feel more excited about it, we’re eager to share and show what we’ve been inspired by.
Awesome, I’m so excited to share with the students of Queen’s as well.
Checkout Sofi Tukker’s newest single, “Swing” here