Interview: Sofi Tukker on festivals, their friendship with Maggie Rogers and the appeal of Portuguese

Sofi Tukker is the stage name of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, a duo from Brooklyn best known for their single “Drinkee.” The track, from the 2016 album Soft Animals, was featured in an Apple commercial and highlights some of the Brazilian sounds that Sofi Tukker often feature in their music.

This past weekend, the band performed at Osheaga in Montreal, as one of the few live acts on the festivals EDM stage. I talked to Sophie and Tucker about their busy summer of touring, upcoming dates with Odesza, and how studying at Brown University shaped them as musicians.

Brian Benton: So, you lived in Canada at one point, right?
Sophie Hawley-Weld: I did, I lived in Victoria, near Victoria.

Had you been to Osheaga or Montreal?
Sophie: Yes, to Montreal.

How’s it been so far? I know you probably just got here.
Tucker Halpern: Yeah. We just got here and really late last night we had a crazy day travel, too. But every time we come to Montreal it’s such a good time and we love the great audience.

I noticed a few artists on this bill that you’re friends with, and I’ve seen posts of you hanging out with. Maggie Rogers comes to mind. Do you get to see her and other people that you know at a weekend like this?
Tucker: If we had made our flight yesterday, we had plans to come in and make any of it but we were travelling all-night, so she played yesterday, I think.
Sophie: I think we’re both going to Lollapalooza tonight. We try, every time it’s like my first day.

Is that kind of how it is during the summer that even artists who live in the same neighborhood get to usually see the best of most?
Sophie: Yeah. I mean, a lot of our friends who live in the same city probably don’t see each other unless we’re playing the same cities.
Tucker: Yeah, we never really get to see them at home.

Cool. And I want to talk to you about going to Brown because that’s kind of an unusual thing. Do you think that your music would be different if you hadn’t gotten an Ivy League education?
Sophie: I don’t really think it’s about the Ivy League education so much as the Brown education. Brown is really an amazing place for intellectual curiosity and I got to see every random subject you can possibly imagine. And we were really encouraged to be curious. Like one day, I decided to learn Portuguese and everyone was really supportive even though it made no sense for me to do. I had no reason to other than that I really wanted to and I really liked their music. Then I got to dive in and take a class about Brazilian music and a class about West African dance and that was encouraged there, so I think that is definitely made an impact in how I thought about music and culture going forward.
Tucker: Yeah, for me, it was way less about the classes and more and more about the people, so that kind of like opened my eyes to different ways of thinking about life and about everything. And it was also full of people that are not that overly-impulsive and it was seeing that contrast made me even more aware of it all and I think helped influence me.

Would you ever go back to school?
Sophie: No, thank you. I loved school at the time but this is just so much better.
Tucker: Yeah, I’ve learned more in the past two years than I’d learned ever in my life.
Sophie: Me too. I’m glad I had that foundation, though.

So then you’re going on tour with Odesza starting in October. How did you guys get connected?
Tucker: They reached out. I think they came to us. I guess they didn’t expect for us to say yes to the tour but we were glad to.

Sofi Tukker at SXSW

Yeah, actually, the first time I saw you was at SXSW at an Ultra Records party, which was you guys playing live between a bunch of DJs. It’s cool to me that you can kind of balance on that line between being a electronic act and more of a pop act.
Sophie: 
Yeah, I remember that show. It was like semi-outside?
Tucker: I forget what the venue was too but I guess even Odesza thought it might be a little out of line with the shows we usually play but we were like, “Yeah, we’d love to do that”.

And the last show of your tour happens to be in Brooklyn, so it will be a nice homecoming to end months on the road. Other than that tour, anything else coming up that you guys want to plug or talk about?
Sophie: We have some new music coming out and then we’re also going to be at bunch of festivals this summer before the tour with Odesza.

Sofi Tukker’s tour dates can be found www.sofitukker.com/tour.

Brian Benton
Brian is the founder and editor of Respect Your Youngers. He currently lives in New York City, and previously lived in St. Louis and San Francisco. He enjoys public transportation and coffee, and can be found online at brianfbenton.com

Interview: Sofi Tukker on festivals, their friendship with Maggie Rogers and the appeal of Portuguese

Sofi Tukker is the stage name of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, a duo from Brooklyn best known for their single “Drinkee.” The track, from the 2016 album Soft Animals, was featured in an Apple commercial and highlights some of the Brazilian sounds that Sofi Tukker often feature in their music.

This past weekend, the band performed at Osheaga in Montreal, as one of the few live acts on the festivals EDM stage. I talked to Sophie and Tucker about their busy summer of touring, upcoming dates with Odesza, and how studying at Brown University shaped them as musicians.

Brian Benton: So, you lived in Canada at one point, right?
Sophie Hawley-Weld: I did, I lived in Victoria, near Victoria.

Had you been to Osheaga or Montreal?
Sophie: Yes, to Montreal.

How’s it been so far? I know you probably just got here.
Tucker Halpern: Yeah. We just got here and really late last night we had a crazy day travel, too. But every time we come to Montreal it’s such a good time and we love the great audience.

I noticed a few artists on this bill that you’re friends with, and I’ve seen posts of you hanging out with. Maggie Rogers comes to mind. Do you get to see her and other people that you know at a weekend like this?
Tucker: If we had made our flight yesterday, we had plans to come in and make any of it but we were travelling all-night, so she played yesterday, I think.
Sophie: I think we’re both going to Lollapalooza tonight. We try, every time it’s like my first day.

Is that kind of how it is during the summer that even artists who live in the same neighborhood get to usually see the best of most?
Sophie: Yeah. I mean, a lot of our friends who live in the same city probably don’t see each other unless we’re playing the same cities.
Tucker: Yeah, we never really get to see them at home.

Cool. And I want to talk to you about going to Brown because that’s kind of an unusual thing. Do you think that your music would be different if you hadn’t gotten an Ivy League education?
Sophie: I don’t really think it’s about the Ivy League education so much as the Brown education. Brown is really an amazing place for intellectual curiosity and I got to see every random subject you can possibly imagine. And we were really encouraged to be curious. Like one day, I decided to learn Portuguese and everyone was really supportive even though it made no sense for me to do. I had no reason to other than that I really wanted to and I really liked their music. Then I got to dive in and take a class about Brazilian music and a class about West African dance and that was encouraged there, so I think that is definitely made an impact in how I thought about music and culture going forward.
Tucker: Yeah, for me, it was way less about the classes and more and more about the people, so that kind of like opened my eyes to different ways of thinking about life and about everything. And it was also full of people that are not that overly-impulsive and it was seeing that contrast made me even more aware of it all and I think helped influence me.

Would you ever go back to school?
Sophie: No, thank you. I loved school at the time but this is just so much better.
Tucker: Yeah, I’ve learned more in the past two years than I’d learned ever in my life.
Sophie: Me too. I’m glad I had that foundation, though.

So then you’re going on tour with Odesza starting in October. How did you guys get connected?
Tucker: They reached out. I think they came to us. I guess they didn’t expect for us to say yes to the tour but we were glad to.

Sofi Tukker at SXSW

Yeah, actually, the first time I saw you was at SXSW at an Ultra Records party, which was you guys playing live between a bunch of DJs. It’s cool to me that you can kind of balance on that line between being a electronic act and more of a pop act.
Sophie: 
Yeah, I remember that show. It was like semi-outside?
Tucker: I forget what the venue was too but I guess even Odesza thought it might be a little out of line with the shows we usually play but we were like, “Yeah, we’d love to do that”.

And the last show of your tour happens to be in Brooklyn, so it will be a nice homecoming to end months on the road. Other than that tour, anything else coming up that you guys want to plug or talk about?
Sophie: We have some new music coming out and then we’re also going to be at bunch of festivals this summer before the tour with Odesza.

Sofi Tukker’s tour dates can be found www.sofitukker.com/tour.

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