“SOPHIE can turn anywhere into a studio.” “Not that that’s always to your taste!” says SOPHIE, the two exchanging a giggle and quick cigarettes, smoke wisping between them. As soon as people's ears open up and they are ready for it, then you can take it in very weird places. Maybe the heart moved on. The stans theorized that a rumored breakup with model Tzef Montana caused her to scrap the album they were intended for. Her entire album is wildly ambitious — thematically and sonically — but it exceeds the impossible hype built by years of buzz surrounding SOPHIE's work. I've been searching for that for a very long time. “I think I’m in a weird place,” she offers, with confidence and playful curiosity, rather than the feelings of worry or confusion many would correlate with the ‘weird’. It’s blazed across the stage of London’s Fabric and DIY spaces in Glasgow, European warehouses, US superclubs, and will tonight at an iconic Ibiza spot in a rare b2b with French producer Agoria.

“I want to go into the clubs and experience it, have an audience’s perspective for the first time in a long time.” Her first experience of music and clubbing came early, rootling through rave cassettes of her half-brother’s and dad’s at just seven-years-old. “I first caught a very tiny snippet of a SOPHIE soundcheck in 2011,” says Andrew Thomson, head honcho at Huntleys + Palmers. I guess time will tell. The Scottish label released the artist’s first remix and debut release, 2013’s taut, glittering electro-house number ‘NOTHING MORE TO SAY’, which would have come out earlier and the wider world would have met SOPHIE sooner if, according to Thomson, distribution hadn’t been as slow. But you also really understand pop music. To see her in the studio with Rihanna was more of an affirmation than a surprise — a matter of when, rather than if. Putting that content within mainstream pop music is how the messages can spread the widest and fastest and in the truest form to themselves as possible. [I'm] definitely interested. Low around 30F. “My early music was quite rooted in UK dance music, and then it became more pop-focused after spending more time in the US, and now it’s ended up in a more experimental place that doesn’t fit comfortably in any existing system.”. Follow. “It was enough to pique my intrigue,” he adds of his first SOPHIE experience, “and I promptly approached her for the remix, which subsequently led to a now-infamous beach party at OFFSónar later that year, where a completely unknown SOPHIE absolutely smashed it with a live set of fully-formed hits. “I looked in the mirror and saw her coming,” recalled Tzef. They wanted it a bit more raw, but then they left it anyway and people liked it. I've kind of tuned out of it a bit, but there's always that one song that sets the trend and then everyone copies it. DJ Mag's Anna Cafolla meets her in Ibiza to talk artifice and authenticity, and a new era of live performance. I feel like I’ve definitely moved even beyond those ideas now.” But not to worry, there’s more — with her next epoch, SOPHIE hopes to tear down the industry-imposed deism on her image, and the narrative imposed on her as both a visible artist and a trans woman. SOPHIE confirms hopes that this will culminate in a forthcoming album, one that’s a collaborative work with pop-affronting “eye-catchers” and “relatable” earworms. It was exposing, having an image tied to an old circus. They’ve only met once at Coachella, but she’s excited to see what they can do together. underlines this proposition, making it impossible to imagine any future without SOPHIE on top. You can appreciate certain aspects of underground culture, and you can despise certain aspects.

For PAPER Pride, we invited SOPHIE and girlfriend/model Tzef Montana to sit down and talk candidly about making hit songs, embracing transness and taking hormones. The couple was dressed down for the beach in matching white shirts by Italian designer Stefanel and Greek ’80s icon Billy Bo, layered over black swimsuits they had picked up at the airport.

Using her keen understanding of pop music, SOPHIE dissects and reconstructs every element through her songs to critique and celebrate the mainstream market. What's the relationship between your music and sex? Track Review of Sunscreen by Sophie Perhaps feelings changed. And when you take hormones, you can just be aware that these are the different control systems inside of me, and I want to take control of those things to try and find a balance for me that works — that feels good.

Are you excited to go on tour? Arriving at the night club, the pair ascended to the stage like queens.

You can learn things about people from sex. I think that's a better way to discuss what might be different about people than any of our current language.

For you, as you've expressed to me, it's not anything you feel you need. “I’m at a point now where I want to reassess what’s going on, and I’m interested to know how much I feel I would need to compromise on my values of how music should sound, what areas it should touch on, to fit into this kind of world,” she says.

“Is that a teardrop in your eye?” she asks in song, hands running through a halo of auburn curls in the stunning self-directed visual. Which one of your songs would you play while having sex?
SOPHIE had no age, no gender, no face, no origin — only associations, including her work producing for major artists like Charli XCX, Madonna and Vince Staples. “Initially I was quite alright with letting the music speak for itself, but then the problem is, people start filling in the gaps for you,” she says. “We’ll be at the beach just chilling out, and she gets a stone, and throws it again and again, just to hear the ‘plop’,” says Montana with light exasperation. "Take Me to Dubai" — a track I recently made and haven't released. To create those bridges is possible, it’s one of the most important things for artists to do.” With a dedicated fan-base that feels marginalised and unrepresented comes weighty responsibility that has, SOPHIE says, been emotionally corrosive. Aenean eu leo quam. But for the time being, she’s focused on the next transfiguration of SOPHIE, ready to crescendo and climax into the next phase. “Artificial bloom / hydroponic skin / chemical release / synthesise the real,” ‘Faceshopping’ spits over juddering beats, celestial hooks sparring with abrasive pitch shifts. New World!" “I thought the way she looked was over the top—curly hair and high-waisted pants, like a hybrid of a cute poodle and Michael Jackson at his hottest.” Sophie burst into shy laughter and shared her side of the story: “The first thing Tzef said was, ‘why are you late?’ I couldn’t believe someone who didn’t know me would talk to me like that.” With a wry smile, she added, “We were both really annoyed by each other, and it stayed like that for a long time.”.

Recent Instagram posts suggest that SOPHIE and Tzef are still together though.

If you're straight from the factory, your life should have a certain look and come with a certain short list of factors that you have to fulfill in your own way. One day, Tzef decided to bury the hatchet, taking Sophie to a restaurant for what turned out to be their first date. As a trans individual, it's more about going through a personal journey of discovering yourself. I’m allowing early rave stuff and those memories to be pretty influential for my new record.” Mostly, SOPHIE uses the Elektron Monomachine and Ableton Live to make music, building her instrumentals from waveforms, rather than traditional sampling, to form an expansive personal library. I think anyone claiming that they are limited in their ambitions to be underground is just selling themselves short,” she says matter-of-factly. “There was an interesting dialogue at that time about authenticity,” reiterates SOPHIE. She talks of more pop collaborations and studio production, speaking frequently of the push-pull in compromising sound or message, of resources and the economic viability of self-funding to make her shows how she wants them to be, with frustration. “They shouldn’t be made to feel like their identities are not mainstream, or to be marginalised just through genre and categories.
"Oh, I know what transgender is, so I can accept it on a certain level. It could be even more though. It's gonna be exciting. “I always just saw young people ignoring those binaries and being the most interested in what makes them feel a different way. Really, it’s a nice fantasy to do it all without compromising your core values, that’s the real challenge. sophie and tzef montana talk about the power of love. Sophie and Tzef Montana have the kind of love that can turn even the most hardened cynics into believers. Her first sampler came from a friend of her dad’s in Spain, and it was bitty, difficult work that informed her developing production skills, using small sequences and writing music around them. Then we edited the vocals and tried to overproduce the song. Everyone should fuck with Pride.

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