Sunday, May 27, 2018

Exploring the Jungle With Sofi Tukker

I'll never forget hearing Drinkee for the first time. It was one of those moments where the second it began, I knew I stumbled on something special. They hook you in with a distinct guitar riff, then engulf you with such a catchy, tropical house bass line. Next thing you know, you're mumbling along in Portuguese with no idea what you're saying, practically chanting, lost in a trance. 

That's Sofi Tukker, and that's the effect they'll have on you.

The New York-based duo, or, to be honest, the nomadic duo - they've given up their apartments to tour - started their crazy journey in Providence, Rhode Island, while both attending Brown University. Sophie Hawley-Weld was part of an acoustic bossa nova act, while Tucker Halpern was busy DJing. He remixed one of her songs on the spot, and suddenly their whirlwind adventure began. 

Since then, the two have been inseparable, touring non-stop, landing a Grammy nomination before even releasing their full-length album, and becoming Apple darlings, with their songs being used not once, but twice in commercials. 

Throughout all this, we couldn't help but wonder more about them. Who are Sophie and Tucker? We were lucky enough to have a chat with the duo right before they played a banger set in Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom and talk about their childhoods, multiculturalism, and how they unwind after living on the road for so long. 

Meet Sofi Tukker.


You guys have said that your debut LP Treehouse is, "about the childhood spirit of play". What are your fondest, most freeing childhood memories you have?

Sophie: I loved my childhood so much. I think my favorite childhood memories may have to be either going camping with my family and hiking through beautiful mountains with our backpacks, or playing soccer/dancing with my friends. I had a band in the third grade called "The Amazon Girls" that I'm still proud of to this day! 

Tucker: I used to make forts everywhere I went. The idea of treehouse for me puts me back into those spaces that made me feel excited and free.

You've both talked about being really spiritual in previous interviews, so we were curious if either of you practices any form of meditation? Do you have any tips for people looking to decompress or relax when they have a lot going on?

Sophie: I am a really sensitive person, super porous to different energies and I take my decompression time really seriously! I really like the apps "Calm" and "Simple Habit" -- even if I am in a room full of people and can't escape it, I can put headphones on and tap into my breath in a guided way. 

Tucker: This is more Soph's thing. I usually work on remixes in my free time and if I'm reallllllllly tired, I'll just toss on some basketball or Netflix.

We watched your Stingray interview where personality-wise, you discuss Sophie being the more slow and calculated one, while Tucker, you're more wired. How do you think that translates into your dynamic? It sounds like you both perfectly balance out! 

Sophie: I may be slower but I don't think I'm more calculated! I'm just more of a dreamer. And can be quite impulsive, actually!

Tucker: Yeah our personality traits are perfectly different I think. Together I think we are a really well-rounded person, haha.

Your music makes us want to dance - obviously! If you guys could throw the ultimate party, what would it be like? Big, small, who would play? What would be happening!

It would be in a jungle, in a treehouse, surrounded by our best friends, everyone performing and shining.

Sophie, this could be a question geared more towards you. You sing in Portuguese and you're so enamored by Brazil. Multiculturalism is obviously important to you, so we're wondering what sort of cultural differences in Brazil you really appreciate as opposed to North America?

Sophie: It's hard to put my finger on exactly the reasons why I love Brazil. It's an energy I can feel right when we land! It has to do with the warmth of the people. There's a sort of natural joyfulness and warmth and friendliness to the people. And I just love the Brazilian's relationship with music. It feels like everyone is born with this rhythm deep inside them. So many people play instruments and share music in this really organic and freeform way, all playing and dancing together. I am in awe of the expression that flows through peoples bodies when they dance the samba, especially. 

You guys make jungle beats, so naturally, our next question is as follows: If you were any wild, jungle animal, which animal would you be and why

Tucker: a giraffe: the long neck, height, and lanky movement

Sophie: a puma: fierce as fuck!

Let's talk about the book tree! It's really the coolest thing ever. Tell us a bit more about it.

It's an 8-foot tall sculpture/midi-controller with books all around it. There are contact microphones inside each book and every time we hit a book, it sends a signal to play any kind of sample! It's been with us since the very beginning of us performing and it keeps growing with us too! Now it's UV reactive and, true to form, we have giraffes painted on Tucker's side and Puma's on Sophie's. 

With your fans sending you book covers to use, what's the most intriguing book cover you've received?

We haven't gotten any book covers from fans yet, but that's a great idea! We've gotten some beautiful books made from fans but they are too special to hit with drumsticks every night!

Is there any book you wouldn't dare rip apart because you love it too much?

Women Who Run With the Wolves. 

You've been on tour non-stop for such a long time now, and you're still going! You just recently announced part two of your world tour. When this is all over, what will be the first thing you do when you get home? We understand you don't even have apartments in New York anymore?!

Yeah, we actually don't have homes now! The tour bus is our home! And hopefully, the tour never stops. We are really passionate about making sure that we are touring in a really healthy environment and treating our bodies and spirits really well so that we don't have to stop! 

Musically, you guys are so inspired by so many genres and decades across the board. What's your favourite musical era?

Tucker: 90s- early 2000s euro dance/ house.

Sophie: I don't think I have a favorite musical era! 

We ask everyone this question and we're also surprised by the responses: If you could re-do the soundtrack to any film, which film would it be and why

Tucker: Junglebook! Because I love making soundscapes of the jungle and integrating that into music. That would be so fun! 

Lastly, any piece of advice for our readers?

Make things you love, be with people who lift you up and encourage you, and Fuck They!



    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Comanche Peak Releases Return to Fear Mountain

    "A spherical journey that leads the listener through layers of soundscapes built with effected voices, guitars, ambient percussion, and a variety of synthesizers. Dark and immersive, the story told with this music follows a character as they pass into the afterlife to confront their own demons, and concludes with them coming back to life and moving on." 

    So delighted to share the latest album from Comanche Peak (John Anderson JR), Return to Fear Mountain. We've chatted with John in the past when he released Carnival Lights, a lighter, more ethereal and airy EP. Return to Fear Mountain, on the other hand, sounds like a lovechild of Vangelis and Goblin and sees Anderson honing his sound with this progressive, dark, and absolutely captivating release.  

    To go with the album, Anderson has released three videos for LabyrinthWitch's Promise, and Sword and Lazer. In true Comanche Peak fashion, the supporting videos are entrancing - just like the music.

    "The work for this project started right after the Carnival Lights EP.  I wanted to create something really different from that first release, both in mood and sound.  There’s more percussion, darker synths, and even vocals, though no lyrics are actually sung, I wanted to use the voices as instruments. The album Osorezan by Geinoh Yamashirogumi (Akira) provided the jumping off point and gave me something to fall back on when faced with creative decisions along the way.  Osorezan (Fear Mountain) is an actual place in Japan and is regarded as a gateway to the afterlife. ( The group that performs the music is this ever-changing collective of people from all walks of life that create music together, chances are the same performers on Osorezan are not the same you hear on the Akira soundtrack.  This inspired me to make this release a more collaborative effort which leads to 3 very talented friends being featured on some songs.  I extended that same effort to some great video artists who put together some amazing content, all their work is now available on  Return to Fear Mountain is a concept album that picks up where Carnival Lights left off.  The idea of dying and coming back to life struck me as a metaphor for confronting personal demons, realizing that your obsessions don’t have to control your life, and then moving forward. That’s what the last song, “Back on the Road,” is there for, it has lots of momentum and is this "to be continued moment."

    I highly recommend checking out this concept album, it's perfect for like-minded individuals looking to create something themselves, or simply as a piece of cinematic bliss.  


    Comanche Peak
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