Sophie in February 2018
|Birth name||Samuel Long|
|Born||17 September 1986|
Sophie Xeon (born 17 September 1986), known mononymously as Sophie (stylised as SOPHIE), is a Scottish record producer, singer, songwriter, and DJ. Xeon is known for her synthesised and "hyperkinetic" take on pop music, and came to prominence with singles such as "Bipp" (2013) and "Lemonade" (2014). Her compilation Product was released in 2015, and the debut album Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides followed in 2018. Xeon has worked closely with artists from the PC Music label, including A.G. Cook and GFOTY, and has produced for acts such as Madonna, Charli XCX, Vince Staples, Let's Eat Grandma, and Namie Amuro.
- 1 Career
- 2 Sound and image
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Origins and early years
Sophie grew up in Glasgow, UK, with several siblings who she remains close with - one of whom, Benny Long, has helped mix her music. Starting at a very young age, her father would play cassettes of electronic music in the car and take her to raves, and she quickly became enamored with the music. Describing her childhood in an interview published by Lenny Letter, she revealed, "I spent all my time listening to those cassette tapes. I'd steal them from the car." After receiving a keyboard as a birthday gift, she then began to create her own music. By the time she was approximately nine or ten years old, she confessed to her parents that she wanted to drop out of school to be an electronic music producer (although they did not let her do so and she continued her schooling). She continued to create music throughout her adolescence, even regularly announcing, "I'm just going to lock myself in my room until I've made an album." When Sophie was still a child, she started to DJ weddings and birthdays. Her half-sister asked Sophie to DJ her wedding, as Sophie admitted that her half-sister "didn't know what I was doing in my room on my own" and had assumed she was a DJ. This was when she started learning to DJ in addition to production.
Sophie began her adult music career in a band named Motherland (with bandmates Sabine Gottfried, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Marcella Dvsi), and later collaborated with her bandmate Matthew Lutz-Kinoy on a series of performance works. In 2011, she scored the short film Dear Mr/Mrs by Dutch team Freudenthal/Verhagen. Sophie became involved with artists affiliated with the PC Music label after encountering Dux Kidz, a project between A. G. Cook and Danny L Harle.
Sophie released her debut single "Nothing More to Say" in February 2013 via the London-based Glaswegian label Huntleys + Palmers. The single comprised two mixes of the titular track (titled the "Dub" and "Vox"), as well as the B-side, "EEEHHH", which was initially posted on (and later deleted from) SOPHIE's SoundCloud in 2011. Its follow-up, "Bipp"/"Elle" - which had been released on SoundCloud as previews in the previous year along with a third track "OOH" - was released on Numbers later that year. "Bipp" in particular, featuring vocals from Sophie's former Motherland bandmate Marcella Dvsi, received considerable attention from music critics, topping XLR8R's year-end list and placing 17 on Pitchfork's. Pitchfork later ranked "Bipp" 56 on its list of the best tracks from 2010–2014. In mid 2014, Sophie collaborated with Japanese pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Also in 2014, Sophie collaborated with A. G. Cook and the US-based artist Hayden Dunham for the project QT, co-producing her debut single "Hey QT" with the former. The project included an energy drink called the QT Energy Elixir. At the singer's request, "Hey QT" repeats the drink's name for product placement.
Sophie's next single, "Lemonade"/"Hard", was released in August 2014, with vocal contributions on the former from fellow musician Nabihah Iqbal and model Tess Yopp and vocal contributions on the latter from PC Music artist GFOTY. Numbers released "Lemonade"/"Hard" as a 12" single. Both tracks appeared on the Billboard Twitter Real-Time charts. "Lemonade" and "Hard" placed 68th and 91st respectively on the 2014 Pazz & Jop critics poll, and the single was included in the top ten of year-end singles lists by The Washington Post, Resident Advisor, Complex, and Pitchfork; "Hard" was included in the top ten on lists by Dazed and Dummy. "Lemonade" appeared in a 2015 commercial for McDonald's.
2015–2017: Product and breakthrough
In March 2015, Charli XCX announced a collaboration with Sophie. It was later revealed that the pair had worked on multiple songs for her upcoming studio album. In September 2015, Sophie's debut album Product was made available for preorder. The eight tracks listed were the four Numbers singles from 2013 and 2014, as well as four new tracks: "MSMSMSM", "Vyzee", "L.O.V.E.", and "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye". "MSMSMSM" was released on 29 September, and released "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye" on 15 October.
In February 2016, Charli XCX released her Vroom Vroom EP, produced primarily by Sophie. It was later revealed that the extended play would act as a teaser for XCX's upcoming album, which would be produced by Sophie. After the extended play's release, Sophie embarked on tour with Charli XCX in promotion of their new music. Sophie, along with A. G. Cook and Hannah Diamond, also involved with the EP, received cameos in the official video for the lead single, "Vroom Vroom". The video was premiered on Apple Music and other platforms soon after.
In late 2016, Sophie acted as an additional producer on Charli XCX's song "After the Afterparty", which features vocals from Lil Yachty. The song is the first single from XCX's upcoming third studio album. Sophie cameos in the single's official music video. Sophie also received production credits for two songs on XCX's 2017 mixtape Number 1 Angel.
In January 2017, it was announced that Sophie was working with record producer Cashmere Cat. She appears on "Love Incredible", alongside former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, and "9 (After Coachella)" with MØ.
2017–present: Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides and other solo releases
In October 2017, Sophie made her solo musical comeback with a new single, "It's Okay to Cry", the first new material she released in almost two years. The music video for the song was the first time she used her voice and image in her work. She subsequently opened up to the press about being a transgender woman. Later in the month, she also made her debut live performance, where she premiered newly-recorded songs from her second album with vocal performances by Cecile Believe. One of the songs, "Ponyboy", premiered on Australian radio station Triple J, and the song was released with a self-directed music video on 7 December 2017. The third single from the album, "Faceshopping" was released on 16 February 2018 with a music video on 4 April 2018.
On 3 April 2018, Sophie announced via Instagram that her album was complete, and that it is not titled Whole New World as previously thought. On 1 May 2018, an interview with Crack Magazine revealed that the official album title is Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. It was released on 15 June 2018 by her own label, MSMSMSM, along with Future Classic and Transgressive. In early 2018, she revealed in a tweet that she contributed to and produced Lady Gaga's latest album. In a video posted up on social media, when asked, she said: "Yes. I mean whatever, you know. I work on a lot of different things. If it comes out, then it's cool. You can never tell. But she's a really cool person."
In July 2018, she revealed that she has worked on four new projects, including her newly-released debut album, which are all going to be released this year. She said, "I have the next one finished... I'm going to release four albums this year". She has even stated in an interview with Lenny Letter that she has done so much collaborating with other people that, "Basically, I've done a whole new album in the last two weeks." When asked to clarify whether she meant EPs or albums, she stated that it would be "a mix". Additionally, she has also been working with Kim Petras, Charli XCX and Bibi Bourelly on new material within the year, as well as some rap collaborations - this as well as the confirmed Lady Gaga collaboration.
Sound and image
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Sophie primarily uses the Elektron Monomachine and Ableton Live to create music. Instead of sampling, instrumentals are built from waveforms. Likening the construction of a track to building a sculpture out of different materials, Sophie uses the Monomachine to create sounds resembling "latex, balloons, bubbles, metal, plastic, [and] elastic." AllMusic wrote that Sophie's "sophisticated, hyperkinetic productions" feature a "surrealist, blatantly artificial quality," typically making use of high-pitched female vocals in addition to "sugary synthesizer textures, and beats drawing from underground dance music styles." The New York Times described Sophie's work as "giddy fun, but [...] also an invitation to consider pop's pleasures, structures and gender expectations, and pop's commercial status as both a consumer item and an emotional catalyst." The Fader likened it to "K-Pop, J-Pop, Eurodance at its most chaotic, and even turn of the millennium American/UK boybandisms." When Billboard asked Sophie what genre her music falls under, she replied "advertising."
Sophie remained anonymous for some time, concealing her identity in interviews by masking her voice or covering parts of herself. At one Boiler Room show, drag performer Ben Woozy was recruited to mime a DJ set while Sophie pretended to be a bodyguard. She stated that she decided on the moniker Sophie because "it tastes good and it's like moisturizer". Sophie's early visuals came from a series of colorful images she refers to as "Homemade Molecular Cooking". Her singles' cover art often depicts objects made from plastic or other industrial materials, an idea that originated from discussions with John Roberts, a fellow electronic musician. At the POPcube event, Sophie unveiled posters and postcards outlining the products to be offered through her online store, which included a set of wedge heels, a puffa jacket, and unique sunglasses. Although these products were offered for sale when the album dropped, they were immediately sold out except for a "body safe silicone product" bundled with a special edition album, raising suspicions that these auxiliary products were never real.
The music video for her 2017 single, "It's Okay to Cry", marked the first time she had used her own voice and image in her work. In the video, Sophie appears on camera unobscured for the first time, against a backdrop of clouds and later stars. The video closes with a lightning storm that hits at the song's climax.
- Product (2015)
|2013||"Nothing More to Say" / "Eeehhh"||Non-album single|
|"Bipp" / "Elle"||Product|
|2014||"Lemonade" / "Hard"|
|2015||"MSMSMSM" / "Vyzee"|
|"L.O.V.E." / "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye"|
|2017||"It's Okay to Cry"||Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides|
|"9 (After Coachella)"
(featuring MØ and Sophie)
(featuring Sophie and Le1f)
|2012||Auntie Flo||"Highlife" (Sophie Remix)|
|2013||Tiny Dancer||"Who Am I" (Sophie MSMSMSM Remix)|
|2014||Paris Suit Yourself||"Won't K" (Sophie Remix)|
|2015||Yelle||"Moteur Action" (Sophie & A. G. Cook Remix)|
Songwriting and production credits
- Fox, Killian (24 January 2016). "Sophie review – scream if you want to go slower". The Observer. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
- Fitzmaurice, Larry. "Sophie". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Grant, Kristin Westcott (19 August 2014). "U.K. Producer SOPHIE Q&A: On Secrecy, Synthesis & What's Next". Billboard. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Simpson, Paul. "Sophie - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Day, Laurence. "Sophie reveals piercing new single "L.O.V.E."". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "GAIKA announces debut album BASIC VOLUME, featuring production from SOPHIE". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- "Filing for MSMSMSM, INC".
- Lin, Yu-Cheng. "SOPHIE: A Beginner's Guide to a Hyperpop Mystery". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
- Siemsen, Thora. "SOPHIE On Criticism, Collaborating and Childhood". Lenny Letter. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- Russell, Legacy (11 January 2012). "Expanded Benefits: Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Sophie". Bomb. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Fitzmaurice, Larry (10 October 2013). "Rising: Sophie". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Bulut, Selim (24 February 2015). "Next: Danny L Harle". Dummy. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Powell, Mike (16 December 2013). "The Top Tracks of 2013". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Reynaldo, Shawn (13 December 2013). "XLR8R's Best of 2013: Tracks". XLR8R. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Gaerig, Andrew (18 August 2014). "The 200 Best Tracks of the Decade So Far (2010–2014)". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Denney, Alex (2014). "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu gets kawaii with Sophie". Dazed & Confused. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Lea, Tom (9 September 2014). "Hey QT! An interview with 2014's most love-her-or-hate-her pop star". Fact. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Liu, Nelson (2 October 2014). "Maxo 'Not That Bad' ft. GFOTY". Mass Appeal. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Richards, Chriss (23 December 2014). "The Top 50 Singles of 2014". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "RA Poll: Top 50 tracks of 2014". Resident Advisor. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "5. Sophie — 'Lemonade'". Complex. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "The 100 Best Tracks of 2014". Pitchfork. December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Cliff, Aimee. "The top 20 tracks of 2014". Dazed. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Bulut, Selim (8 December 2014). "The 20 best tracks of 2014". Dummy. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Helman, Peter (6 July 2015). "Sophie's 'Lemonade' Soundtracks A McDonald's Commercial". Stereogum. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Charli XCX teases Sophie collaboration". DIY. 28 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Sophie – "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye"". Consequence of Sound. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "Sophie – "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye"". Stereogum. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- Lee, Morgan. "StreamCharli XC's Sophie-produced Vroom Vroom EP. Fact Magazine.
- Lhooq, Michelle (7 December 2017). "Pop Producer SOPHIE on Anonymity, Honesty, and Artifice". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- "Sophie's 'OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES out now". Transgressive. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- DiMeglio, Mary J. (8 July 2018). "Sophie Confirms Rumored Lady Gaga Collaboration: Watch the Video". Billboard. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Ryce, Andrew (9 July 2013). "Sophie – Bipp / Elle on Numbers (Single)". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Sterner, Daniel (2014). "Sophie". Elektron. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- Kretowicz, Steph (26 June 2014). "You're Too Cute: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Sophie, PC Music and the Aesthetic of Excess". The Fader. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Pareles, Jon. "With 'Product,' Sophie Swarms the Senses With Synthetic Sounds". The New York Times. Missing or empty
- Turner, David (4 August 2014). "Sophie Debuts New Song 'Hard' on Rinse FM". The Fader. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Abellera, Jazper (13 October 2014). "Sophie Is Trolling EDM By Spitting Its Cult of Personality Back Into Its Face". Vice. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- Roberts, John (16 January 2013). "Sophie". 'SUP Magazine (25). Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- "SOPHIE – "It's Okay To Cry" Video". Stereogum. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Ravens, Chal (1 May 2018). "Cover Story - SOPHIE: Earthly Pleasures". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "Palmistry released a mixtape, worked w/ SOPHIE, playing NYC with Helix & more (listen)". BrooklynVegan.
- "Dollars to Pounds: Palmistry".