Ahead of Tel Aviv appearance: Sofi Tukker’s idea of success

Electronic dance duo from New York takes Tel Aviv on a ‘journey to a colorful, glittery, sweaty neon jungle’ this week

SOFI TUKKER’S Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern (photo credit: TOMA KOSTYGINA)
SOFI TUKKER’S Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern
(photo credit: TOMA KOSTYGINA)
Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern already have a Grammy nomination, two iPhone commercials and a spotlight on the new FIFA 18 game under their fabulously fashionable belts. Still dreamy-eyed and fresh in their careers, the New York-based duo has already conquered the electronic world; now, the two are about to take on Tel Aviv at Hangar 11 on June 7.
The Jerusalem Post had some questions for them about their motivations in coming to Israel, their obsession with the Spice Girls, and the story of their friendship.
Have either of you visited or performed in Tel Aviv in the past?
Neither of us has ever been to Israel before, but we have both always wanted to come.
Hangar 11 is a very cool, very spacious venue. How are you planning on transforming the space to make it your own?
We are going to bring our whole Treehouse world. It’s a journey to a colorful, glittery, sweaty neon jungle.
Your “beachy keen” settings and vibrant colors suit Tel Aviv so well. I guess it’ll be easy to “ride the wave” here, eh?
Yes. We both can’t wait.
Who or what influences you?
Everything, honestly – places and people and experiences. Life on the road has no shortage of new inspiration every step of the way. We even wrote Treehouse while we were on the road, so we are constantly being fueled and inspired by our experiences at shows.
Do you each play an equal role in the creative process?
[Soph] is more lyrically driven and [Tuck] is all about the beats; but like our name suggests, we do everything together.
I read in InStyle that your collective childhood dream was to be a part of the Spice Girls on a world tour. Have you realized that dream?
That is kind of how it feels, actually: slightly less fancy maybe, but we still get to travel around the world with our best friends, playing music and loving life together, just like the Spice Girls. [Tuck] is probably Posh Spice (or wants to date Posh Spice), while [Soph] is more of a Sporty Spice.
Having “Drinkee” featured in an Apple Watch commercial in 2015 was your first big break. How did it feel to be approached by such a successful global company?
It was crazy. It was when “Drinkee” first came out on SoundCloud, so we didn’t believe that the email they sent us was legitimate in the beginning. When we learned that it was, we got our sh*t together and found a lawyer, which helped us really start the band and shift all of our focus onto the music.
I’m also curious about the Portuguese poem on which you based the song. Some musicians believe that you can still feel something even if you don’t understand the words completely. Is that your goal with “Drinkee”: to invoke an emotion rather than linguistic comprehension?
We love the way Portuguese sounds and truly feel that music is a universal language. There is a whole other meaning when you understand the words, but when you don’t, you have different associations with the sounds, and that can be just as special in a totally different way – almost like a mantra.
You then had another song, “Best Friend,” featured on an iPhone X commercial in September (2017). Was there ever a fear that people would get stuck associating you with a brand rather than your own individual selves?
We were really just grateful for Apple. They made our careers possible by sharing our music with many more people that we wouldn’t necessarily reach otherwise.
With Grammy nominations and featured songs in commercials and games like FIFA 18 all in the span of two short years, does this constant activity fuel you two or terrify you or both?
It definitely fuels us. We don’t take anything for granted, and we are excited to keep working, and enjoy every second along the way.
Have you two always been best friends?
We started making music together when we met, but we didn’t become friends for a while. It was always about the music first. Turns out we really like each other though.
Have you had to adapt your individual styles to become a unit?
We like to say that we don’t compromise. If both of us don’t absolutely love something, then we scrap it. That’s why we love the name “Sofi Tukker” – it really does feel like we are a single entity.
Did your artistic image come naturally, or did it take some soul-finding?
There was a brief period where we thought we would go for the whole “smoky and mysterious” thing. Then we realized that we are really excitable people and decided to embrace the color.
Where did you acquire your showstopping fashion sense?
Sophie: Tucker is my fashion icon. We both know what we like, and we also both encourage each other to be more ourselves every day.
Your energy on stage is contagious! Any secrets to getting amped before a performance?
We do a little workout. [Soph] does a little meditation and [Tuck] listens to pump-up music – and then we are ready to go. We love what we do, and the people who come to our shows bring such incredible energy, too, which is easy to feed off of.
What else is next for Sofi Tukker?
We already have a lot of new songs ready. We have been really inspired making new music recently. It doesn’t stop just because we are touring or because we put out an album. Our music is always in creation.
What does success mean to you?
It means reaching our full potential as artists, performers and writers; it means continuing to enjoy all of it and keeping this spirit alive; it means lifting up and connecting with as many people as possible along the way.