Musical duos are few-and-far-between in indie genres. There’s Matt and Kim, Grouplove and Shovels & Rope, to name a few, but the duo structure is certainly not the most widespread for an indie group. Even rarer is an indie house duo.
So when one comes along, we must take note; especially if they’re from New York City, and they’re playing Panorama Music Festival this weekend. This pair is Sofi Tukker, comprised of singer/songwriter/percussionist Sophie Hawley-Weld and producer Tucker Halpern. They met while in school at Brown University and soon after released “Drinkee,” which received a Grammy nomination.
Now they have a new single out, and they’re playing Panorama this weekend. Originally hailing from New York, the musicians are thrilled to be playing a home show. This fall, they’re touring with ODESZA. Read our interview with Sophie and Tucker for the full scoop.
How did you two first start making music together? Did you always know your music would have this electronic, danceable sound that channels tropical house music, or did it just evolve that way?
Sofi Tukker: We started making music together when we were still at college. At first, Sophie was making bossa-nova inspired acoustic music and Tucker was DJing house music. It wasn’t until we collaborated and made something from scratch together that we found our sound! We still don’t know how to define it (nor do we want to), we just make what we want to hear! And yeah dancing is a favorite activity for both of us, so I think that will always have a strong place in the music we make.
How did you guys decide to remix “Dark Days” by Local Natives? Were you fans of the band before?
ST: They reached out and when we heard the song, we were really inspired. It’s such a beautiful song already. And the guys in the band are the nicest! We got to perform the song with them at Coachella. Love them and their music.
Who are your biggest influences?
ST: We are each influenced by totally different people. We are both really inspired by artists such as Stromae, our experiences, family, friends. Anything can inspire us really. Our shows and festivals play a big part in inspiring lots of the new music we have been making.
Your first EP’s title was inspired by a Mary Oliver poem. Why did you decide to call it “Soft Animals?” Does literature often influence you?
ST: She has this beautiful line that goes: “You don’t have to be good… You just have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Soph is really into literature and always gets inspired by different authors and poets’ turns of phrases! Poetry plays a large role in our songs too because the Portuguese songs are all collaborations with Brazilian poets.
Having received a Grammy nomination so early in your career (for the hit “Drinkee”), how does that affect you going forward?
ST: It doesn’t really affect us much. We are still a young band making music and building out our live performance! There are more people that see what we are doing as legitimate now though, which is always nice! It was a huge unexpected honor, but we know we have such a long way to go and hopefully we can get back there one day!
You guys are from New York, so what does it mean to you to play a festival here? How are you feeling in the days leading up to your Panorama set?
ST: We loooove being at home! We could not be more excited. Last time we played in New York was in April and we have been excited to come back home and play ever since! We don’t get too much time at home
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
ST: We really love performing all our songs!! At the moment, our unreleased song “Batshit” is one of our favorites because we get to go especially Batshit Crazy!
What have been some of your favorite memories from touring?
ST: We have such a good time on the road. We travel with a small group and we spend most of the time laughing. One of our favorite memories was going to Brazil for the first time and getting to speak Portuguese to the audience and everyone knowing all the lyrics–probably better than we did!! Coachella was a standout couple shows as well. We love the small headline shows we’ve done as well!! Anytime people come to see us we feel excited and grateful!
For more info about Sofi Tukker, visit their Facebook page.