Big Talk: SOFY Interviewed

Alt-pop artist on serendipitous meetings, FIFA soundtracks and her second EP...

“I’ve always been that kid that likes making noise.” Alt-pop riser SOFY is currently on a trip down memory lane, describing how she and her brother used to put on shows for their parents as children. “When I was really little, I’d make a guitar out of a tennis racket and I’d force my brother to play the drums and I’d sit him down and dress him up,” she recalls.

Without any of her family carving a musical path before her (no nepo babies here, thank you very much), SOFY never considered a career in music as an option. That was, until lockdown hit the UK in Spring 2020 and SOFY was placed on furlough from her office job. With a ton of time on her hands, she decided to give it a try.

“I decided I would try beatmaking, just for a bit of fun. I found samples from Splice and started making little beats and they were shit! They were so shit.” she laughs. Not to be deterred, SOFY tested out vocal top lines and lyrics over her beats, and quickly found her groove. “I’ve always really liked words and I’ve liked singing and I don’t know why it took me so long to put the two together,” she explains. “I’m quite an expressive person. I’ve always been better at writing my thoughts down rather than saying them out loud, because my brain is always going like a million miles an hour. When I’m speaking, I sometimes word vomit, and then I don’t really get across what I actually want to say. As soon as I started writing songs, the floodgates opened and all this creative energy that I’ve had – probably inside me for my whole life – it’s like I finally found a way to channel it.”

Clearly it was meant to be, as within a year of SOFY releasing her first track, ‘Strawberry Milkshake’, she landed a host of slots throughout festival season – including a set at Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing Stage, a big bucket list goal for her. In November 2022, she sold out a headline show at London’s Omeara.

Another huge moment in SOFY’s career came recently, when her track ‘Big Talk’ was added to the FIFA 23 official soundtrack. “I didn’t actually believe it until I got the game loaded up,” SOFY remembers. “It was the first song that came on the loading screen. It was crazy.”

The milestone is particularly pertinent for SOFY as not only did she play the game herself growing up, but it also acted as a source of music discovery, where SOFY first heard tracks by some of her favourite bands and artists to date. “The first time I heard a Blur song was when I used to play with my dad in the early noughties. We had this copy of FIFA 98 World Cup. And I think ‘Song Two’ by Blur is on there. I remember sitting on the living room floor watching my dad play it and then I’d have the riff stuck in my head for days afterwards,” she says. “It makes me really happy to think that ‘Big Talk’ could be the same for another young music fan or someone else who is finding new music through FIFA. It’s really special.”

As well as Blur and Easy Life, SOFY namechecks The Stone Roses and Loyle Carner as some of her key inspirations. Needless to say, SOFY’s beats have come a long way since her lockdown Logic days. Mixing 90s rap and hip-hop sounds with playful, witty lyrics, one YouTube commenter called her the ‘Lily Allen for the Andrew Tate generation’.

SOFY attributes part of her live success to her band – four pink overall-clad lads that she met via Instagram. After being booked to play a BBC Music Introducing gig in June 2021, SOFY put a panicked Instagram post up asking if anyone wanted to be in her band. Serendipitously, Ed, Will, Sam and James were the first people to respond. She says the chemistry was instant from their very first jam, and the band have been best friends ever since.

While it all seems to be on an upward curve for SOFY, she’s not quit the day job just yet (although no doubt she will soon). “No one talks about when you are doing music and also doing your full time job, SOFY says. “Not many of us can do music full time right now, but obviously you still have your touring commitments and shit to do when you’re trying to get to the point where you can become a musician full time.”

“A lot of massive serotonin highs on the weekends and then straight back into the office on Monday morning,” she jokes.

SOFY’s second EP, ‘Bored in Colour Pt. 2’, was released mere moments ago. In the same vein thematically as the first part of the project, SOFY reveals that she didn’t originally intend to write it as a body of work, more of an off-the-cuff amalgamation of diary entries from the past year of her life.

“It’s about being a young person in your 20s, trying to figure out life,” she explains. “I’m very inspired by people and situations and relationships especially, even though not all of the relationships that are discussed in the project are mine – some of them are like ‘btw’ is probably the main one. That is like a very personal song for me. But the rest of them are about stuff I’ve overheard on the tube; things me and my friends have talked about. The overriding theme that ties them all together is that they are quite conversational and honest, open dialogue and social commentary, which is the way I like to write songs the best.” 

Sonically, the EP stays close to the first part of the ‘Bored in Colour’ project. “There’s the hip hop beats, big drums, woozy guitars and Easy Life vibes,” SOFY explains. “I would say this project has more Britpop influences than the first part and it feels a bit more rough and ready.”

On this record, SOFY also explores her vocal ability through ‘btw’, which is a more subdued number that showcases her vulnerability. It’s a stark contrast to the rest of her more lively roster, but has been welcomed with open arms by her loyal following.

“I feel like there’s a lot of my career so far that’s just fallen into place,” SOFY says. “It makes me feel like this is what I’m meant to be doing.”

Bored in Colour Pt. 2‘ EP is out now.

Words: Aimee Philips
Photography: Vzavz

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