Interview by Jessica Awh
Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy is a guitarist and singer hailing from Nashville, TN currently making music in NYC. We had the privilege of asking her some questions about growing up in Tennessee, going hard in the pit, working with Queens-based label Orchid Tapes, developing her love of cassette culture and what she envisions for her musical future.
Rare Candy: I have something you made in this room right now– the Dream Wave tape that came out this summer.
Allison: I had so much fun making that! I did all the inserts and artwork by hand.
RC: You have a fledgling tape label, right? Soccer tapes?
Allison: Kind of! I’ve only released that Dream Wave tape and my own stuff, technically. I want to do tapes for more people, and not just for a bunch of dudes. There are a lot of girls back in Nashville who play music and don’t talk about it, and I want to find out who that is! Even if you play just a little bit, message me; I’d love to help you release something. No one will hit me up, but I know they’re doing it!!
RC: It’s so cheap, too, just to do a small run of tapes.
Allison: I make them cheap. I print out the labels and covers and stuff on my own. I got my deck at an antique store for sixty bucks with the speakers included. I love tapes–vinyl sounds great, but I feel like there’s often not a huge difference between vinyl and digital. Cassettes sound so different; so much warmer.
RC: Tell me about your journey with Orchid Tapes. How did it come to be? What was the vibe?
Allison: Definitely - I love everything about them. It’s actually really weird how I got on there. I hadn’t even hit him up or anything, and one day Mat Cothran, who I am obsessed with (from Elvis Depressedly) just tweeted my link and followed me. A month later I saw that Orchid accepted demos and I sent something in, and Warren [Hildebrand] emailed me back really fast saying “I actually already listened to this,” because Mat had sent it to him. So, I re-recorded For Young Hearts, the EP I made the summer before college. When I sent it in, he said “yeah, I’d love to help release this.” Personally, I thought that the way Warren mastered it sounded so much better!
RC: So you recently had a track on a compilation from Orchid, too, right?
Allison: Yeah, my song “memories.” I re-recorded it using a little toy Casio. (“memories” was first released on soccer mommy’s “songs for the recently sad” in 2015.)
RC: It sounds so different - it’s awesome.
Allison: I wanted a new version of the song because I like it a lot–I’d just gotten the Casio and I wanted to use it for something. I wasn’t planning on using the track for the Orchid comp, but Warren emailed me super last-minute and was like “do you have a track for this?” I happened to have that one track.
RC: Do you feel like the way you write has changed since coming to NYC?
Allison: I can tell a difference between what I write when I’m home [in Nashville] and what I write when I’m here. Back home it’s all super catchy, poppy stuff that swings; here my songs are almost jazzy, definitely a bit more electronic, more lo-fi.
RC: Would you say that that’s the direction you’re moving in general?
Allison: Well, I don’t know about that. I recorded an EP over the summer with my band in Nashville; it’s coming out on Glad Fact. I’m really excited about that. It’s very catchy and upbeat, and I like it a lot, but I came back here after and started writing stuff that sounds more like my other songs again.
RC: I missed a couple of your shows in Nashville this summer. What’s the next move?
Allison: There are going to be a lot more! I think my band and I are going to tour this summer, up the coast–that’s my plan. I want people up here to get to see the full band–it’s so much more fun!
RC: What’s the best crowd you’ve ever played for?
Allison: That’s a hard one. It’s between the release show I played this summer for my tape, and the show where we opened for Frankie Cosmos. I liked that that crowd wasn’t all people I knew, but the release show was also fun because it was all of my friends. It was my first show with the full band, too.
RC: What kind of concert-goer are you?
Allison: It depends on the venue. If there are people I know, I’ll be really social. I’m a scorpio rising, so I’m quiet at first! And if it’s a punk show, and I like the music, I’m gonna be in the middle of the pit. I can’t help it. I’ll be really sick or exhausted and I’ll tell myself I’m not going in, and then once I get to a show I’ll be like, “no, I have to!”
RC: Top of your head, best pit you’ve ever been in?
Allison: I think the best was at a JEFF The Brotherhood show. It was the first time I’d crowd-surfed, and I was really sick. I fell like, six feet and landed on my head. I was fine, though! Now I catch myself every time and land on my feet like a cat.
RC: You’re an expert. Ok, another question: what are you listening to now?
Allison: As of today, the new Solange. “Mad” is the best track, in my opinion. In terms of New York stuff, I listen to Long Beard a lot. It reminds me of Mitski, even though it sounds nothing like Mitski. It’s very eloquent – her voice is so pure.
RC: Changing gears here, what’s your favorite social media platform right now?
Allison: That’s SO HARD. I love Instagram... Facebook... my favorite is probably Twitter – I use it the most. I find most of my memes on Twitter.
Allison: I love making deeply ironic jokes on Facebook – stuff my friends won’t even get. The other day I shared a link to the Twenty One Pilots SNL performance, like, “Frick!!! Who’s going with me???” People who know me will get it. They’ll laugh.
Check out soccer mommy on Bandcamp and watch for her new 7", coming later this year on Glad Fact. Follow Sophie Allison, hater of Twenty One Pilots, on Twitter.