A tribute to SOPHIE – one year on

Articles, Spotlight // Sun 30 Jan 2022 - 17:26pm

The end of January marks the first full moon of the year. With many people referring to it as the ‘Wolf moon’, some electronic music fans call it Sophie’s moon. It has been exactly a year since the electronic music muse passed away while gazing at this very moon, and so fans honour it in her memory.

A PRODUCT of their own design

Sophie’s music career gained success in 2015 with her first full length release, PRODUCT. It’s sharp, exaggerated sounds and vivid splices were an unconventional and ironic take on mainstream pop music; enticing people with different music tastes to question what they were listening to.

Whether people were listening out of curiosity, appreciation or just sheer confusion; it managed to inspire many underground electronic and mainstream pop musicians to dig through their kitchen utensils and, in Sophie’s words, “explore a hyperreal world of sound” the unconventional way.

Whole New Sound

You may or may not be familiar with the term bubblegum pop or hyperpop. These are subgenres of dance-pop/electro-pop music stemming from the PC music label, which cultivated a particular sound that Sophie is largely responsible for.

An ensemble of high-pitched vocals and up-beat, over-produced, cartoonish melodies were the ‘hyperkinetic’ approach to a musically sticky and sweet outcome fans could savour. So much so, it had artists like Madonna and Charli XCX wanting to give it a spotlight in the pop world.

Transforming dance

Sophie’s magnum opus: ‘Oil Of Every Pearls Un-Insides’ is an introspective look at her identity as a trans woman. It explores ways in which she could use her body and identity as a driving force behind her creativity, rather than hiding it.

‘It’s Okay To Cry’ from the album, is a self-acceptance anthem that resonated deeply with masses of queer fans. This resulted in the album gaining the recognition and praise it deserved, with it being nominated for Best Dance/Electronic album at the 61st Grammy Awards. With this, Sophie broke a record as the first openly trans woman to be nominated for a Grammy.

Pre-SOPHIE

As a tribute to the late electronic music pioneer, it would only be appropriate to explore the unturned, hidden gems of her discography. During Sophie’s formative years as a musician, she embarked on a collaborative project with Berlin DJ Jeffrey Sfire – the duo named themselves Sfire in 2013. It is here that Sophie’s influence of 80s electronic music and musicians such as Kraftwerk, can be heard most.

Flashback even further, and Sophie was part of Motherland, an ‘indietronica’ band, active in 2008 and 2009. Their work – uploaded on MySpace and Soundcloud – was described as an avant-garde take on electro-pop, accompanied amateur, homemade music videos that appear on YouTube if the devoted fan looks hard enough.

Inspiration for generations

It would be an understatement to say Sophie reshaped the landscape of electronic music for good. She invites us into a ’Whole New World’ of music and creativity, while nurturing and inspiring a generation of listeners and producers with her endearing, humble and vibrant nature.

Whether it be feelings of euphoria, or feelings of deep sadness — revel in the timeless archive of music Sophie left for us during her lifetime, the way she would have wanted.

Words by Lewis Hadfield

The playlist below us features our favourite tracks from SOPHIE’s discography – be sure to give it a follow.