Sofi Tukker Quickly Taking Over the World

One can hear Sofi Tukker pretty much everywhere. The NYC-based duo composed of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern has had two tracks featured on Apple commercials, a song on the most recent FIFA video game, as well as a Grammy nomination for best dance track in 2016. Some may not recognize these two by name, but their unique and colorful take on house music makes them extremely distinguishable. We had a chance to send Sofi Tukker a few questions to get to know this duo and caught up with them in Madison, WI while on tour with Odesza. Check out the interview and a few photos from the show below.

Sensible Reason: Sophie and Tucker, you truly seem like the best of friends in all your videos on social media, how did the two of you start making music together? 

Sofi Tukker:  Haha! It took us a while to become best friends! We started making music together our senior year of college. But we didn’t really know each other that well. We moved to New York together to form the band and still didn’t know each other that well. Thank god we like each other!! We feel really lucky that we get along so well, as well as love making music together!

SR: You have a very strong and consistent social media presence, how has this helped you get started as a group? How has social media hurt (if at all)?

ST: Not sure, we actually really love doing it. It felt a little weird at first and was hard to get used to, but now it’s something we love doing! It kind of forces us to document life in a way that we are really grateful for! Neither of us has a very good memory, so it’s awesome to get to look back and see all of the things we have been doing!

SR: You once did a live video taking phone calls from fans, where did that idea come from and what did you think of the whole experience?

ST: That was really fun! We were surprised how many people called us and especially, how many different countries were represented. We had people from all over the world tuning in. That was really cool. It made us feel closer to the people who are supporting us! The idea came up because we had a phone on the album art! We figured we might as well make it a real phone number.

SR: It seems you have quite the international following, where are you best received by your audience? 

ST: We still haven’t been to a lot of places. We’d love to go to Turkey, where we have a really supportive audience. We have especially loving fans in Mexico and Brazil. And we continue to be surprised by all the different places that pop up!

SR: A handful of your tracks are in different languages, how many languages do you speak? 

ST: Sophie speaks Portuguese and German well (although she is hesitant to ever claim fluency), and we both understand Spanish!

SR: How would you describe your approach to house music? What does house music mean to you? 

ST: Tuck is a real house music guy. It’s our favorite music to play in our DJ sets.
Tuck: It’s the whole reason I started to make music. It’s what I wake up listening to and go to bed listening to, and what I listen to before shows. And I have a house tattooed on my finger!

SR: What artist(s) have inspired you to make music?

ST: All things inspire us to make music! Our friends, experiences, the music we love, even the music we don’t like…

SR: What was it like to attend the Grammy Awards?

ST: It was insane and totally surreal! We never thought we’d be there so the whole thing was really a whirlwind.

SR: Your debut EP was a huge success, when can we expect a full-length album from you? 

ST: To be announced….

SR: We’ve been hearing your tracks all over, from Abercrombie & Fitch playlists and FIFA games to new phone commercials. How do these places approach you for these gigs?

ST: In all different ways! We usually get an email from our management asking us if it’s ok with us, and we almost always say yes! The first commercial we ever got was an Apple commercial that we got for our song Drinkee before it was even on Spotify and before we had a team. Someone found it on Soundcloud and approached us. That was one of the greatest emails we have ever received!

SR: Speaking of gigs, how is the tour with Odesza going? 

ST: It’s going really well! We are getting to go to a lot of cities that we have never been to before, which is especially fun. We are in Grand Rapids tonight, loving it so far.

SR: You have an upbeat and colorful style, describe it for us and how that translates to your music videos. 

ST: Color and fun are really important to us. It’s who we are and what we want to share with the world, both visually and aurally. The last music video we did for “Best Friend” was really organic in that way. We just brought our own clothes and didn’t have a script, it was a guerrilla-style shoot of us having fun with our friends in a beautiful place!

SR: Last question: Cats, dogs, or neither?

ST: We both had dogs growing up but we really love both.

During their set at Alliant Energy Center, Sofi Tukker captivated the entire crowd with their vibrant on stage performance. Sophie donned an impressive white halter body suited with billowy white pants while Tucker kept it casual in shorts and a t-shirt. The two had a playful banter back and forth as Sophie stole the show with her dancing and interactions with the crowd. She wanted to pull a few people on stage but security looked at her like she was crazy, so she took it to the next level and jumped off herself, dancing with the crowd for an interlude. Meanwhile, Tucker kept things going on stage with the synth and their self-made drum machine tree, an impressive instrument complete with animal decals and fake leaves. Once back on stage, Sophie grabbed the guitar for a few tracks, tearing it up and pumping up the crowd as she paced from side to side. Her showmanship and energy on stage were amazing as she had the fervor of a hair band frontman, her smile never broke.

The two brought their special brand of house/pop music with a little bit of an eclectic jungle theme. Tucker used a voice changer for the deep voice parts of songs like their most popular single, “Best Friend” which added even more of a stage presence for the duo. Choreographed dance moves in combination with lights and bass made their set one for the books. After playing the entirety of their False Animals EP, they ended with a deep house breakdown of “Drinkee” leaving the crowd stunned and begging for more. Their set stood out as one of the most entertaining sets we’ve seen by a touring support duo. We can’t wait for another release by this colorful group and for them to headline their own tour. Things can only get better for Sofi Tukker from here on out. They just finished up their tour with Odesza, but we’ll be watching to see what they come up with next.

Ashley Cizek

Went to school at UW-Madison, graduating with a BA in psychology. I hula-hoop, I write, I enjoy sunlight.

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