A future star making big, bold music, SOFY is starting a new chapter with a resounding bang. Read our latest Hype playlist cover feature now.
Words: Neive McCarthy.
There are very few artists who would suggest holding a single launch party in a laundrette. For SOFY, however, it seems to fit her particular brand of vibrant chaos. Out of the box, approached with apprehension and miraculously pulled off by way of a laundrette owner with a huge PA karaoke system, and she had perhaps her most unusual, though special, gig to date. Mounds of washing were swapped for stripped-back versions of her greatest hits and some of her loyalist fans.
“It was so nice to see everyone together interacting with people they haven’t met before,” SOFY reflects. “How this is bringing people together, real-life people is what it’s all about to me. That was really nice. Sometimes a new release of music can feel like it’s just in the ether now, and you see the streaming numbers, but you can’t really equate them to real people and emotions and stories.”
Those emotions and stories are no doubt plentiful – SOFY’s music is recognisable for its ability to resonate with so many. Masterfully detailing her way through the peaks and troughs of her twenties, SOFY continues to paint a picture familiar to many.
“The more I play, the more I want to write a rock song and shred on my guitar”SOFY
However, as she returns with another banger, ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’, SOFY seems to have upped the stakes a bit. The third track from a brand new mixtape, ‘Chaos and Commotion’, set to release in October, SOFY’s latest is an absolute firecracker. Exploding in different directions, rowdy and unrestrained, it’s worlds apart from the earlier two singles, ‘socks’ and ‘supermarket’. It’s a brand new side to SOFY, one that seems to have been readying itself to erupt for a while.
“It’s a very silly song,” SOFY laughs over Zoom. “I think I was feeling a bit chaotic that day. We were talking about people being dickheads and how you can take on a persona that’s not necessarily your own. In ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’, I was just channelling pure chaos, dickhead energy. It’s got a lot of RATBOY energy – we were listening to ‘MOVE’ from his first project, so we wanted to capture that raucous, ‘fuck everyone’ energy with it.”
The track bursts into life, a quick-fire pelt into that cocky unruliness and the new grounds for exploration it offers. Whilst SOFY’s first project, the ‘Bored in Colour’ EPs, favoured laidback beats and chilled guitars, ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’ sets a new precedent for her upcoming project. ‘Chaos and Commotion’ ups the ante – it’s a larger-than-life throwing of paint at the wall and seeing what sticks. Thankfully, the stuff that does is absolutely golden.
“This new project is more confident and more experimental,” SOFY explains. “There are way more genres crossing over in this bad boy – there aren’t any two songs that are the same. It pulls from a lot of different influences. Me and my writing team, all the producers and artists that I’ve worked with, we’re such a small team, there’s not many of us. We’ve all been working together for quite a long time now, so we’ve hit our stride with that.”
“With these new songs, I feel like I’ve said my initial piece with the ‘Bored in Colour’ EPs and this new project can explore different avenues and thoughts and sonics. ‘Chaos and Commotion’ for me sums up the last year and a half. I’ve experienced quite a lot of change, quite a lot of chaos, and I think the project being called that and all the songs being quite different and chaotic in how they all relate together sums up the ethos of the project. A lot of fun and good times went into making it, and it shows through.”
The experiences SOFY has had over the last few years have undoubtedly changed the narrative of the project – both in terms of life experiences informing her lyricism and the musician experience that has just blossomed and sprawled out further than ever before. From writing her first-ever songs to playing impressive headlines and making the FIFA soundtrack in just a couple of years, SOFY’s output started to transform in reflection of that. She’s always been chameleon-like – from sarcastic to sincere, from singing along with your mates to wallowing in your room, she manages it all. Here, though, those tendencies are amplified.
“A lot of it is also influenced by the live show. In this new project, a lot of the songs are more upbeat. Ever since I started playing shows, the more I play, the more I want to write a rock song and shred on my guitar. They’re more upbeat, live bangers.”
It’s that energy that is captured on ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’ – a hook that will no doubt rattle around rooms long after the live set is done, a cartoonish, colourful soundscape and that quintessentially SOFY delivery with a grin and a laugh. It’s breezy and light but nevertheless hard-hitting.
“I love taking on other personas with songs that aren’t necessarily me. In real life, I’m quite a people pleaser, I’m very relaxed, and I’ll go with the flow – the song ‘No Drama’ is about that. That is just totally me to the core. But there are other songs like ‘Ashley Cole’ and ‘Yoyo’ that are manifestations of the person that I would never be. It’s quite fun to put yourself in other shoes and express the parts of you that are super, super buried and you’d never put across in your actual personality, but you can get away with it in a song.”
It’s not all loud expressions of this melodramatic self, however. ‘Chaos and Commotion’ features some of SOFY’s most sincere offerings yet – lead single ‘socks’ is ultimately her first true love song (“I was in my simp era!”), and captures the dizzying beginnings of a relationship to a glistening indie-pop backdrop.
“Usually, I’ll say something then immediately add some sarcasm to make it softer,” SOFY admits. “It’s very sincere, but it’s nice to be sincere sometimes. I find it so much easier to say stuff with songs than actual words. I don’t know why that is – it’s easier to get across what you really want to say rather than being face-to-face with someone and trying to say it with words. I find it a lot easier to express myself through music. It’s why it’s so great. I’ve had so many times, even before I was an artist, when there’s something I wanted to express to someone, and you just send them a song, and all the lyrics are really bait. I love how music can be an icebreaker and bridge a barrier for deeper conversations that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have that song to ease you into it. It’s like a time capsule.”
“When I’m making songs, it’s the happy space – I’m in my element”SOFY
With this project, more than ever, that time capsule-like nature to music will be one looked back on fondly for SOFY. Pouring more and more of both herself and her time and energy into this mixtape, the tracks are completely marked by the joy and happiness found whilst making them and made even better because of that.
“If I love what I’m doing, I can feel confident with it,” SOFY says. “When I’m making songs, it’s the happy space – I’m in my element that nothing from the outside can touch. That’s what I like most about writing songs – no matter what you’ve been doing in the day or what’s going on in my head, when I’m in the writing room with all my mates, nothing matters apart from what we’re making. I think with that for me comes a sense of, I literally can do anything. There’s a huge difference for me with how I find being an artist, and when I’m actually doing the artist stuff – making songs, playing shows – I feel like I can fucking rule the world. But if I’m just scrolling through social media, I feel like a piece of shit on the floor. It’s just a testament to how doing the stuff makes me feel so much better. I think the confidence in this record comes from living, breathing and being totally engrossed in making the record. I know that it’s a part of me. “
From the FIFA 98-inspired ‘Yoyo’ to the spiralling anxiety of ‘Breathing Exercises’ or the innuendo-laden ‘Timothee Chalamet’, that part of SOFY is always close to home for a lot of her listeners – it’s not just a part of her, but a relatable, engaging part of them too. Capturing everything from falling in love to feeling like you’re falling behind, from being on top of the world to being in the miserable throes of seeing your ex move on, this is a sonic journal that is written with a pen of universality. It’s more ambitious than ever, but it’s also more real than ever, too. ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’ exemplifies just what SOFY is capable of, and ‘Chaos and Commotion’ promises more of that – it’s a new chapter opening with a colossal bang. ■
SOFY’s new single ‘Ashley Cole Type Beat’ is out now. Follow Dork’s Hype Spotify playlist here.