Concert Spotlight: Sofi Tukker

Beach House Fantasy

Sometimes a summer vacation takes you to far away places, and sometimes music can do the same, which is the case for Grammy- nominated electronic duo Sofi Tukker. In the midst of a massive tour of Europe, North America and Japan, Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern take their futuristic, exotic sounds and global anthems to The Surf Lodge in Montauk for one night only, closing out the summer season on September 1.

They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they deliver a seriously high-energy show that is not to be missed. With a hit list of talented collaborators that already include ZHU, Bomba Estéreo, Benny Benassi, NERVO and The Knocks, this playful, fearless duo is on the rise. Sofi Tukker spoke with Hamptons Monthly about their upcoming DJ set and how amped they are for their first show in The Hamptons.

You are LA-based now, but having been a New York-based duo for such a long time, have you spent much time in the Hamptons prior to your upcoming Surf Lodge show and if so have you performed there previously or enjoyed your own personal time there over the years?

Tucker: Sophie hasn’t been to the Hamptons and I’ve only been one time. My friend got me a gig to DJ at a restaurant when I had just graduated college. It was before we had really started Sofi Tukker. I remember being really nervous. But I only went out for a day then back to the city so I haven’t ever gotten to spend any time there. Always have heard so much about it though, especially Labor Day Weekend! So, we’re psyched!

Sofi Tukker music is all about fantasy, imagination, escape, friends, love and celebration. Sophie and Tucker – what were you both like growing up, in terms of interests and hobbies and did any of your early passions trigger interest in what is now Sofi Tukker?

Sophie: We were super different as kids and now as grown kids. I started writing songs in middle school, when I realized I could just replace the words of my favorite songs with my book reports. I loved performing in musical theater too. But I was a really serious soccer player until I was 16, when I tore my ACL. My soccer dreams ended but I began to lean into the other parts of me. I wrote songs to help me deal with break ups, with moving around the world and being a new girl all the time – just life in general. I spent my childhood living in international school communities around the world with my family and so the music that I was listening to was super random and from all over. I was especially into jazz and Bossa nova and so that’s why I ended up studying Portuguese in college and then eventually living in Brazil. My international upbringing, being an athlete, performing, and writing songs as therapy is definitely all a huge part of what we do.

Tucker: My childhood was mostly sports. I was a total jock growing up. I played basketball in college and was planning on being a pro, until I got sick and followed my second passion with music. Now I’m happy it all happened to be honest. But as a kid I was in a garage band, basically a blink-182 cover band with my friends from school. I played the drums. We were called The Stale Donuts, we played a Halloween party once – my Halloween party. I always loved music and dancing, but it was really all put on the back burner because of basketball. The hard work and focus that I learned and had with basketball definitely has made its way into Sofi Tukker, and I think it is a big reason why we are who we are. 

Just any partnership is hard to come by but you two really nail it and complement one another when it comes to the music, the vocals, the attire, the music videos. How did the two of you vibe together several years back when you met at Brown University?

Tucker: It’s fun because we are so different. Our partnership and friendship seems to work so well because we are just so different. We have totally different upbringings, different interests, different knowledge of music, pretty much totally yin and yang. And I think that’s what makes it fun and unique.

Sophie: When we met, it was really all about the music. We didn’t really become friends until after we moved to New York. Over time though we have become best friends and our visual identity has become really clear too. Turns out that where we like to escape to in our minds is similar. We have really evolved as humans, artistically and stylistically in every way since meeting each other. Partly through the other person’s influence and partly just because we are evolving as we learn more about ourselves and get to do what we love every day.

With newer songs like “Swing,” and “Fantasy” along with earlier hits like “Drinkee,” “Best Friend” and “Awoo,” how has a Sofi Tukker live show evolved over the years and what can fans expect as you close out the summer in the Hamptons?

Tucker: We’re going to be performing our DJ set, so people can expect to dance. Sophie will be singing, playing some guitar, we’ll play lots of our songs, it will just be a big party. It feels like a homecoming even though we haven’t been to the Hamptons before because we’ll get to see so many people we used to see around New York. I’m so excited for this.

What has been the most “Batshit” experience for you in 2019 so far and what are you looking forward to next?

Sophie: Hmm, the most batshit experience was probably breaking my foot on stage in Australia. It was absurd. We ended up finishing the show, with me just sitting while crying and sitting down. We had to take two months off the road for me to heal but we ended up writing some of the best music I think we’ve ever made and I got to finally take voice lessons. So it turned out to be a great thing in the end.