Snowglobe 2018: Sofi Tukker Discuss Their Zhu Collaboration And 'treehouse' Grammy Nom
By Kat Bein
Fresh off a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic Album for their 2018 debut Treehouse, New York electro-pop duo Sofi Tukker brought a vibrant heat wave to SnowGlobe Music Festival in Lake Tahoe. Though the multi-lingual group normally has a raucous live show, some last-minute travel hassle left them without much of their gear. Undeterred, the duo quickly adjusted to perform what it called a “rave set,” a hybrid DJ-live situation that brought one of the most high-energy sets of the weekend to the festival main stage.
Singer Sophie Hawley-Weld ran up and down the stage dressed as a glowing snow princess in white furs and delivered a pitch-perfect vocal performance, while her partner Tucker Halpern manned the turntables. Both party animals dove into the crowd before the show was over, and they even dropped a few, new unreleased songs. MTV News caught up with the cool kids backstage to hear all about their massive 2018 and when we might get to hear some of those new songs in full.
MTV News: I saw online you've got a song coming out with ZHU in a couple weeks. How was it working with him?
Sophie Hawley-Weld: Yeah, it was really fun. It was really organic. We walked into the studio and just wanted to see what would happen and then it just flowed really nicely and we ended up making a weird song.
Tucker Halpern: It's kind of fun. It definitely has both our personalities in it. It's a little funny and dirty for ZHU, I think — like in a sexual way.
MTV News: You guys were just in Portugal, right? You did a video for “Energia.” It was your first time in Portugal?
Hawley-Weld: We flew in from Japan, and I remember just feeling so fucked up, but in a good way. It was such a trip, because we woke up and all of a sudden we were in Portugal. We met Pabllo [Vittar] for the first time during the shoot for the video, and we had the best day ever. We were kind of delirious.
Halpern: It was a giant love fest. It was so much fun. We got to dress up in crazy outfits and run around the most beautiful city in tuk tuks, and we were filming a documentary, and all of that got intertwined with the video.
MTV News: Tell me about this documentary.
Hawley-Weld: I don't think we've announced that at all.
Halpern: It's not really an announcement. We've basically been filing stuff for the past couple of years on this crazy traveling journey. Hopefully that will become something.
MTV News: You guys draw a lot of inspiration it seems from your travels. Where recently have you been inspired?
Hawley-Weld: Our new music is all over the place, because we've been all over the place, so it makes a lot of sense. One of the things that we've been most inspired by is just the crowds — meeting and building community. We're really inspired by making music that feels like it takes up that space, so our music, it's a little bigger and it's a little more epic. We thirst for that feeling in the live show, to just have that togetherness in this epic way, so that's been a really big thread of inspiration.
Halpern: Different cultures around the world and different communities react differently to different things, different types of music, and they like to move different ways. Our minds have been opened up so much. I feel like we've been making a lot of music lately, and I'm really excited about the new stuff that will be coming out pretty soon. It's just all different eras, all different genres, all different parts of the world.
Hawley-Weld: We've also gotten to collaborate with so many people. One of the most exciting things ever: We collaborated with the band Bomba Estéreo who have honestly been one of our favorite bands for awhile.
Halpern: We've met each other a couple times at different things, and both were really big fans of each other. We finally just made the perfect thing.
Hawley-Weld: It's in Spanglish and Portuñol, which is Portuguese and Spanish together. It's a really fun combination of us.
MTV News: I've got to congratulate you guys on the Treehouse nomination.
Hawley-Weld: It feels crazy. It's definitely not like we're writing music being like, “Oh, is this gonna get us a Grammy nomination?” It's like, “Do we love this music? Does this make me feel happy and come alive?”
Halpern: Do I want to show this to everyone? If you don't, then something's wrong.
Hawley-Weld: But then it's really cool that we've got this nod on top of loving it already.
Halpern: We did a lot of weird things on that album and took a lot of risks, did things that we didn't really know if people would like but we liked it. It is a cool affirmation that it's respected by someone at least. There's also so many awesome electronic and dance music artists out there, and so many genres that don't get represented in awards like that that we respect, also.
MTV News: Anything you want to say about what you've learned in this last year and are taking with you into the next?
Halpern: I think something that feels even better than the crazy accolades is believing in a friend, someone who you think really deserves it, and helping them and seeing their career start to evolve. That's been one of the best feelings, because we started this thing called Animal Talk, which is an artist collective, party, and record label. It's just been amazing to see that sort of thing grow, and it's a total arm of Sofi Tukker — sort of an extension of the world we're building — but it's really not just about us.
Hawley-Weld: It's pretty cliché, but its cliché for a reason. The more you give, the more you receive; or, the more you make it about other people, the more internal satisfaction you get.