Sofi Tukker Didn't Intend For "Best Friend" To Be A Hit & Talks New Album 'Treehouse' In iEDM Interview
Hearing Sofi Tukker’s hit single, “Best Friend” puts you in a good mood almost instantly. So good, the record went on to be featured on Apple’s iPhone X campaign last year. And this isn’t the first time the musical duo landed placement with Apple. In 2015, “Drinkee” played in the background of an Apple Watch commercial, which quickly escalated to over 20 million streams on Spotify and even a Grammy nomination for best dance recording.
Comprised of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, Sofi Tukker have successfully pushed their way to the forefront of dance music, bending the genres of EDM, rock, and pop into one. Now, they celebrate the release of their new project Treehouse with a headlining tour, with two sold-out dates at the historic Fonda Theater in Los Angeles.
iEDM caught up with Sofi Tukker the day after, as they touch down in San Francisco for another Cali show.
iEDM: For those who don’t know, who is Sofi Tukker?
Sofi: Sofi Tukker is two people. It’s me, Sofi, and Tukker. [laughs] It’s basically like a new person, and the person is made up of our two very different musical tastes and influences.
Tukker: And personalities.
iEDM: How would you describe your sound?
Tukker: We don't even know. It sort of varies a lot. I think the best way to describe our sound is what mood we’re in, what gets us really excited. And what takes us to the place we want to be.
iEDM: Where would you say you fit in the realm of EDM or dance music in general?
Tukker: I think we sometimes don't necessarily fit, and I think we’re cool with that. We just really do just make music that we’re psyched about. And if people categorize it as EDM, or they categorize it as alternative or whatever, it’s fine with us. If it's what we like, then we don't really care about the genre. But it’s definitely forward dance music. It’s meant to make people move.
iEDM: You guys are from New York. How does that play into your life and career?
Tukker: Honestly, it doesn’t that much. We moved to New York when we graduated, but neither of us are actually from there. As a band, we sort of feel like we were born in New York, and that’s kind of where we identified at first. But we don't even have apartments anywhere now. We just live on the road because we’re touring so much. The bus is sort of our home. Like today, the Bay Area is sort of our home. [laughs] We have a lot of friends there that we love, but I don't think the New York theme necessarily influenced us musically that much.
iEDM: How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Sofi: There’s definitely a lot of musicians there recording, and we’ve done a lot of really cool work there. You know, finding really talented collaborators. We were just in LA yesterday, and we did a session with an incredible percussionist and guitar player. I just think that LA is one of those places that really talented people are flocking to, and so it's cool to be around.
iEDM: Sophie & Tucker, what’s the dynamic like between you guys in the studio
Sofi: In the studio, it’s really collaborative. We try to not even remember who makes what, because we often can't. [laughs] It’s really free flowing and organic. Tukker is usually at the computer, and I'm usually at the guitar/notebook. We try to make all the decisions together, and if one of us doesn’t love something, then we don't use it. We both have to love absolutely everything that we create.
iEDM: Talk about your new project Treehouse. What do you want fans to get from your story?
Sofi: Treehouse is our first ever album. We just put it out. The reason it's called Treehouse is because we’re alluding to that place in childhood where you escape with your friends to just create things, be really inclusive, messy, expressive, and make your own rules. Just sort of a magical place in the forest. I think that’s the type of place we want to create at our shows, and where we want our fans to go to when they close their eyes and listen to our music.
iEDM: “Best Friend” is at 21 million views on YouTube. Can you talk about the making of the record and did you foresee it blowing up like this?
Tukker: That song was pretty funny. We really just made it for fun. At the time, it was an ode to friendship. Sofi was on the phone with her best friend from college, and I was making the beat — and the “do you wanna, do you wanna” part, just having fun. Then we got a bunch of our friends on the track, like Nervo, The Knocks, and Alisa. It was sort of like when you’re in college and you’re just making stuff with friends, and it’s just fun. Like an inside joke sort of thing almost. And we had a preexisting relationship with Apple from them initially syncing our first song, “Drinkee,” in a commercial. We had sent them our whole album way ahead of time because they asked, and they came back to us a month later or two months later saying they want to build something around this song, “Best Friend.” And we were totally shocked because we weren’t really sure that song would be on the album. And we didn’t think it would be a single or anything. So the fact that it was the song that blew up and put us on the radar — put us on the Top 40 and on the radio and stuff — was pretty wild.
iEDM: How important is social media for your career?
Tukker: It’s really important. At first, we were skeptical about how important it is, and if it really is a necessary thing you have to do to be a musician. Because it’s such a different thing than making music. But we’ve learned to really love it because it kind of keeps us in touch with all the people that we’re constantly meeting, and our friends and family that we don't really get to see anymore. It’s sort of a connector for people who end up liking our band. They end up getting to know us, our personal hobbies, and us as people. That’s a big part of what we do as well. It's as important as the music sometimes, for people to connect to us and relate to us as people.
Sofi: I would say it all starts with the music, and the music is definitely at the center. And that’s how we first connected. But everything else that can amplify the joy we are experiencing, is what we really want to do.
Tukker: We’re really being ourselves when we make music and Instagram-ing and Storying and stuff. It's all the same world.
iEDM: What do you want your legacy to be?
Tucker: I probably couldn't really answer that for at least another 30 years, because I want part of the legacy to be that we have longevity, and a long career. I would say just being really positive, bright stars no matter what’s going on around us in the world. And a place where you can really smile and dance, and forget about the bullshit. That’s hopefully a big part of how people will always think about us when they hear our music.
iEDM: What would you guys be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Sofi: That’s so hard to know. [sighs] I was studying conflict resolution in college, so who knows. But then I also was going to move to Brazil to teach yoga, dance, and music. I know that music and movement would have been a really big part of my life, no matter what.
Tukker: I’m not sure what I’d be doing. I’d probably something in basketball, or talent scouting in music or something like that.
iEDM: What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Sofi: We recently had a couple propose on stage, which is really special. It was really cool. In Berlin!
iEDM: 3 things you need on tour?
Sofi: Yoga mat, and vibrating hypersphere. [laughs]
Tukker: Explain yourself.
Sofi: It’s like a vibrating foam roller. I’d also need matcha powder. I’m literally drinking it right now.
Tukker: I’d go with my phone, my Beats Pill, and my computer because I like to do DJ mixes all the time.
iEDM: What advice do you have for an aspiring Sofi Tukker?
Sofi: Don't try to be Sofi Tukker, try to be yourself. I would say make the things that you love and that’s it. Don't make it for other people. Make it for yourself.
iEDM: Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Tukker: I looked at my iTunes lately from when I was in high school, and the most played song was “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. It’s obviously not current, but overall, that’s my most played song. I thought that was pretty cool.
Sofi: I don’t know. I’d say right now, probably Robyn.
iEDM: Dream collab?
Sofi: Dream collab is Robyn.
Tukker: Oh, that’s good! I’d say John Mayer, or Die Antwoord.
Thank you Sofi Tukker for chatting with us!