For the past few years Sofi Tukker have become a regular feature on festival line-ups across the world. And there’s good reason for it: the house duo create brilliant, bubbly bangers that see people swarming to the euphoric party they create wherever they land across festival season.
Since meeting at Brown University in 2014 the duo (Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern) have been nominated for several GRAMMYs, had the electro-pop nugget ‘Best Friend’ appear on an iPhone X advert and earned a coveted spot on the FIFA soundtrack. And all this alongside scores of epic shows to thousands of fans across the globe.
Now as they gear up for another busy festival season, including a slot this weekend at Electric Castle Festival in Romania, we caught up with the pair to talk all things Electric Castle, their new EP ‘R.I.P. Shame, Pt. 1’ and why they used to hate doing music videos.
You’re playing Electric Castle in Romania this weekend, is it your first time playing in Romania?
Sophie Hawley-Weld: “It’s actually our second time! We were there about a year ago, it was amazing.”
Tucker Halpern: “It was incredible, and we’ve been looking forward to going back since.”
S: “I actually broke my foot when we were in Australia, so I’ve spent the past two months recovering and doing a lot of physiotherapy, so Electric Castle will be our first show back, which we’re really excited for!
You played Coachella before you had to take a break – how was it?
S: “Coachella was really a dream. We created our ideal live show, and we spent years coming up with and realising this new production, and we finally got to use it and debut it at Coachella. So it was a really special moment for us!”
Will you bring this new production onto Electric Castle?
S: “It’s a little a different, we’ll be doing different variations depending on the festival or on the country or the show. So for Electric Castle we’re doing a hybrid DJ set, and it’s really fun and we get to go really wild! But I’ll still be playing guitar and singing, but it’s more of a DJ crazy set.”
What was your first festival?
S: “I went to like one folk festival in my life before we started playing festivals, and Tucker never did either.
“But the first festival we really remember playing as Sofi Tukker was Corona Capital Festival in Mexico City, and it was one of the most cathartic moments of our lives, because we realised what it felt like and what it felt to play festivals. And there were so many thousands of people who were there, and we’ve never been to Mexico before, and it was just such a happy surprise. It was a really amazing moment of a lot of love.”
You’ve got the new the EP ‘R.I.P. Shame, Pt. 1’ coming out in September, when did you start working on it?
S: “Probably a year and a half ago? We’ve been working on it whilst we’ve been on the road, whilst we had my foot broken. The song ‘Fantasy’ was probably written a year and a half ago.”
You’ve just released the first single is ‘Swing’, which has been a fan favourite live moment for ages. What does that song mean to you?
S: “It’s such an epic song to us. It’s one of our favourites to perform live, and it just has this kind of epic, super, energetic, very theatrical moment.”
And you just released the video for ‘Swing’ as well, was the concept your idea?
T: “It was a combination. Usually we do videos and work with friends and directors to sort of embellish our ideas, but this one was a little more of our friend Charles Todd of Scheme Engines’ idea.
“We shot in Mexico in these ancient ruins called Centro Ceremonial Otomí. And we used that as a lot of inspiration, and as it sort of has that feel already!”
Do you like doing music videos?
T: “When we did our first video ‘Drinkee’, we actually hated it. Cos we wanted to make music, and we didn’t think about that we had to do videos or acting or photoshoots or anything of that sort of stuff, and then when we got a few videos in we started to loving it. We were just really awkward in front of the camera at first, and now we’re more comfortable to be weirdos, and that helps a lot.”
The EP is called ‘R.I.P. Shame, Pt. 1’, does that mean there will be a part two coming out?
S: “Yes there is….I’m looking at Tucker and wondering how much I can say…but yes we are trying to indicate that there is more coming. It’s the first piece of a fuller piece that’s coming later”
On your next tour you’ve partnered with PLUS1 – who donate $1 from each US tour ticket to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). How important is it to do this?
S: “Really important. I think for us, we try to bring joy and love and connection to our shows, and love going into communities and feeling really connected to people. So it’s just part of what we’re trying to do, trying to bring that beyond the show and into the communities as much as we can.”
Sofi Tukker play Electric Castle Festival on Friday July 19.