It’s 2018, so whether you like it or not, you know you’ve ‘done good’ if Apple picks your song to soundtrack the first ever talking poop emoji… as well as the entire ad for their long-awaited iPhone X. Sofi Tukker’s single Best Friend was the perfect choice. It’s a peppy blend of cool, tropical sounds punched out with percussive cowbells, horn stabs and a baseline as infectious as the band’s sunny disposition.
The duo, Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, formed in 2014 and dropped their first EP, Soft Animals, in 2016. Their hit single Drinkee was soon after nominated for a Grammy and they have been making waves on the music scene ever since. They met in their last year of university at an art exhibition where Sophie was performing in a jazz trio, and Tucker was booked in for the DJ set afterwards. Tucker showed up early to find Sophie singing beautiful, slow bossa nova (her bread and butter back then) and without skipping a beat, leapt on stage and began to mix one of her songs on the spot. Well – it was probably a little more polite than that, but the spirited sentiment stands!
The rest is history – quite important history for the music industry. Sofi Tukker’s sound is a bit of an enigma; it has been called ‘acoustic house’, ‘folk-dance’, and ‘electro-pop’ amongst many other things. And really, they’re not fussed how their music is defined, as long as it makes people want to dance. It’s helping pave the way for all sorts of genre-defying music and propagating cross-pollination between genres, artists and languages. Best Friend, a collaboration with NERVO, The Knocks and Alisa Ueno, is a real testament to that. Their most recent single, Energia, takes them back to their love of the Brazilian language, drawing lyrics from Brazilian poet, Chacal. It is a brilliant representation of the ecstatic rhythms Sofi Tukker has become known for.
Having just finished their sold out tour of North America with ODESZA, Sophie and Tucker took some time out to talk to us before they packed up and headed over to Europe.
You met while you were both studying at Brown University. What came first – the music or the friendship?
Tuck: Music came first! It wasn’t really until we moved to New York to pursue our career together that we became friends.
Sophie, tell us a good story about Tucker.
Soph: I was struggling this summer with migraines and had to take time off to heal. Tucker ended up flying all around Europe and to Las Vegas by himself, and even face-timed me into his DJ set because we had to cancel a live show. That’s the kind of guy he is. Hard-working and so compassionate.
Tucker, what’s your favourite Sophie story?
Tuck: I’ve got lots of stories about Soph being slow and driving me nuts – which has inspired her new nickname, Slophie (ha-ha). But a favourite is around the same time as her story about me. Many people I know would have lost hope, but she stayed determined to figure it out and get back to doing what she loves. She ended up having to get a surgery a few days before we started a two month tour. We played every show on that tour without one migraine!
Who are some of your icons, in music or otherwise?
Tuck: Larry Bird. The fact that he always worked obsessively hard has always been something I’ve looked up to. Back when I was heading towards a professional basketball career, I wore his number (33).
Soph: The Brazilian singer, Maria Bethania. She is the reason I often wear all white. The first time I saw her, dressed in white, there was something divine about her presence.
Do you ever run out of energy?
Soph: Luckily, what we do brings us so much joy and inspiration – so even when we are exhausted, our spirits are lifted. We get tired, but making our music is naturally reinvigorating! (Tuck just chimed in and said, no he never gets tired. He’s lying!)
You filmed a segment of one of your music videos on a houseboat in west London once – what were your impressions of Notting Hill?
Soph: We LOVE houseboat culture in London! One of our best friends Charlie Barker lives on a house-boat there and has a really beautiful lifestyle and community – the whole area is so special. Made us consider moving to London… we are still considering…
Why did you choose Ibiza as the setting for the Best Friend video?
Tuck: We did the song with NERVO who has a residency there and invited us to do a DJ set with them, so while we were out there amongst those stunning landscapes, we realised it was the perfect opportunity to film the video. It was truly one of the most fun weekends ever, being with some of our favourite people in such a special, beautiful place.
What are you most looking forward to for your upcoming show in London?
Tuck: The people! Many of our best friends live in London and it has become like a second home for us – it’s definitely one of our favourite places in the world.
If you want to go and be Sofi Tukker’s new best friend for a night, don’t miss out on a chance to see them live in London at Heaven on January 31st. Trust us – if you feel like a pick-me-up after a dreary January, their colourful stage presence and high energy beats are bound to put a smile on your face.
Sofi Tukker: sofitukker.com