"Just because we are under "house arrest" doesn't mean we can't go to the club in our minds."
Musical duo, Sofi Tukker, is blessing the nation with the release of their latest dance anthem House Arrest. Seemingly a fitting title in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sofi Tukker’s new house track features UK duo, Gorgon City. Sofi Tukker aim to lift the world’s spirits with their song House Arrest, written a year ago but completed during the worldwide lockdown. Despite the distance, the song brought two musical acts together, following a long-time mutual admiration. We had the pleasure of speaking with both Soph & Tuck, discussing their latest track, daily DJ sets and keeping creative during the global shutdown.
Stuck inside? Cure your quarantine blues and check out House Arrest now!
Your latest track ‘House Arrest’ is a perfect anthem for the lockdown period. What was the story behind this song?
We actually wrote the song many months ago, before the virus was a thing. At first, it was a metaphor for house music and we just made the track for fun but didn't know what to do with it. A few months later, we sent it to Gorgon City and they put their touch on it and that made it really hit. We had just entered lockdown when we realised that (completely inadvertently) the lyrics are basically about exactly this period of time, so then we wrote a second verse about it.
You collaborated with UK duo, Gorgon City, for this track. How did the collaboration come about?
We're a fan of theirs and we were looking to make it hit in a way they do so well, so we sent it to them. We haven't met yet but now we feel like we know them.
With many stuck indoors due to quarantine and all creative industries on pause. How do you both keep your creative juices flowing?
We've been DJing every single day of lockdown, so today we are on to day 61 in a row. That has helped us a lot, just having a schedule and playing music every day. We've now been writing a lot and just generally staying very busy and creative. Little things like bike rides, walks, and keeping a schedule help.
When did you first fall in love with music?
Tuck: I fell in love with music a long time ago but didn't have the chance to pursue it because I was so busy with basketball. Basketball was my whole life. When I got sick and had to stop playing my junior year of college, I used that as an opportunity to pick up DJing and producing. It kept me distracted from the heartbreak of losing basketball and it was something I always wanted to do.
Soph: It's hard to say exactly when I fell in love with music, but I started writing songs on the guitar in middle school. At first, it was like therapy or journaling. A way to move through all my teenage emotions and sing and write about my experiences was the most healing thing. I have also just always loved to dance, since maybe even before I was born, my mom says I was dancing in the womb.
How did you two meet? Musical soulmates?
We met in college.
Soph: I was playing an acoustic bossa nova set with a jazz trio at an event and Tuck was the DJ that night. He came early, watched me play, and ended up remixing one of my songs on the spot. It was a natural musical chemistry and we haven't stopped ever since.
We understand your partnership with initially mainly musical, which in time naturally evolved to a genuine and cherished friendship. What were your initial reactions of each other musically? Did your shared love of music deepen your bond?
Initially, we learned a lot from each other and realised that we had very different knowledge about music. The more we shared, the more we realised that there was a sweet spot between our two brains that really made a lot of sense to us and we loved what we were creating between the two worlds of music we had come from.
Has your perception and meaning of music changed since working together?
Definitely. It's always changing. When we started, we had never played live before. So that really changed things for us. We started making some of our music for a crowd, knowing what really hypes people up and brings people together. And we have gone in a bunch of different directions, based on our travels and how we are growing as individuals. Music has never been so important and we have gotten to really realise how healing it is. There's nothing like the kind of catharsis and togetherness you can feel moving through music, together or alone.
Your musical genre sees a unique fusion of house style, EDM beats with Brazilian bossa nova. The blend of genres creates real feel-good music, encapsulated by your Grammy-nominated hit Drinkee. Did you think your eclectic combination and mash up of musical styles would resonate with people around the world?
When we made Drinkee, we were still in college. We had no idea it would connect. We thought it might be a really niche thing that a few people would like, and we really liked it. We had no idea it would first pop off in Italy and Turkey. We definitely had no idea it would get nominated for a Grammy.
As a duo, how does your partnership work? Is one of you responsible for the beats and another the lyrics? Or is it more of a collaborative effort across every track?
It's super collaborative, although Tuck does more of the beats and Soph does more of the lyrics. But we are really both involved with every sound and step along the way and our roles are often blurred.
Where do you find your inspiration for your music?
Everywhere! DJing is really inspiring because it's helpful to hear music loud and in the context of dancing and watching others dance and and hearing other music side by side. It always gives us a lot of ideas. We also get a lot of inspiration from travel and meeting artists all around the world.
Are there any artists that have really inspired you? If so why?
We are especially inspired by Mahmut Orhan from Turkey right now. We often DJ his music and he's made a bunch of remixes of our songs too. We are working on a bunch of music together right now that we're really excited about.
Several of your songs are based on poems by Brazilian authors and your track Energia saw a remix with Brazilian singer, Pabllo Vittar. Where does your love of Brazilian culture stem from?
Soph: I used to live in Brazil and I studied Brazilian music at college. I find the language so sexy and I feel so at home in the culture. It just clicked with me and I knew I had to follow that inspiration. I miss Brazil a lot but making music in Portuguese keeps me connected to a place I love so much. I work a lot with the Brazilian poet Chacal (Drinkee, Matadora, Swing...), and I still speak with my Portuguese professor from Brown almost daily.
What importance do poetry and literature play in your music?
Soph: I am constantly reading and getting inspired by ideas and word plays and different ways of using language to understand this human experience. Literature and poetry play a huge role in our music: even when it's nonsensical, it's about the sounds of syllables and how that makes you feel. Language is a great passion of mine and I like to be playful and intentional with it.
Following the Grammy-nomination from your acclaimed debut album, Treehouse, you also went on to perform on the Grammy’s main stage. This must have marked a monumental checkpoint in your careers!
It was definitely an honour to perform on that stage. We got to invite our parents to the Grammys with us and that was also a really special thing to be able to do and to have them all together in one place with an excuse to celebrate.
Soph: I just remember being so nervous for that performance and then it was over instantly.