100 wreks #8 – SOPHIE tribute episode

Sophie, pioneering Grammy-nominated Scottish musician, dies at 34 after climbing accident ...

Immaterial – SOPHIE

Welcome to another episode of 100 wreks. As always I am your host, Renny, AKA DJ Snootles, bringing you the sound of underground. Tonight, we’re focusing on someone who changed pop music forever, and that of course is SOPHIE. Sophie Xeon, known only as SOPHIE in all caps, was a scottish producer and artist heavily involved in the PC Music scene of the 2010s. She produced for prominent artists such as Charli XCX, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and ITZY, and sounds from her Splice sample pack can still be heard in today’s top hits. In my opinion, the soundcloud scene today could not be what it is without SOPHIE’s groundbreaking contributions. Next up is “BIPP” from SOPHIE’s album “PRODUCT.”

Hey QT – QT

SOPHIE’s work can be hard to organize if you’re first getting into her music. Over her career she created two albums: PRODUCT, and the Oil of every pearl’s un-insides. Her second album, the Oil of every pearl’s uninsides was released in 2018. PRODUCT wasn’t released all at once, however, instead being released song by song over almost a decade. The first track, BIPP, which you just heard, was released in 2013. The final track, UNISIL, which you’re about to hear, was released in 2021, just two days before SOPHIE’s death.
Before you hear “UNISIL” I have to play an absolute fan favorite. I remember hearing this song when it first came out, I was only in high school. At first I thought it was *too* crazy and bold, but since then it’s become one of my favorites, and impossible to escape online. I almost didn’t play it tonight because it’s explicit, but I decided it was worth the censoring. Get ready for the one, the only, “Vroom Vroom” by Charli XCX.

Vroom Vroom – Charli XCX (prod. SOPHIE)
Faceshopping – SOPHIE

That was Faceshopping, which has a really cool and very trippy music video if you ever feel inclined to check it out.
SOPHIE’s impact on her community cannot be understated. Like I said, I don’t think hyperpop could have come to be if it wasn’t for her. After her tragic death in 2021 I watched the community come together in a way I had never seen before. Countless artists put out covers and remixes inspired by SOPHIE’s bold musical spirit, and there were several URL fests hosted in her honor. This next track is a remix by Alice Gas that was just released on the psuedo-label collective Weird NXC. Here is “Immaterial (Gassed Up Mix)”.

B Who I Want 2 B (Himera Edit) – SOPHIE

If you’ve ever heard the song “mos thoser,” which is one of food house’s biggest hits that unfortunately I couldn’t play on air because it’s just too explicit, you might remember Frax’s iconic lyrics:
“New world order no more gods only SOPHIE
Yall know god is trans so let’s pray to her and stream trophy.”
Here they reference Charli XCX’s song Trophy, which of course was produced by SOPHIE, as well as SOPHIE’s song “It’s Okay To Cry.” The song is one of the most cherished among members of the community, as its music video was the first time SOPHIE publicly expressed her trans identity. The video pictures SOPHIE against a bright sky with clouds all around her, earning her the semi-joking title of “God” among her fans, hence Frax’s lyrics. This song means so much to me, especially since it’s a way that SOPHIE can be with her fans even though she’s no longer here physically. I hope you enjoy, here’s “It’s Okay To Cry”.

It’s Okay To Cry – SOPHIE
Roll With Me – Charli XCX (prod. SOPHIE)

It’s worth mentioning SOPHIE’s signature songwriting style. This is just my personal opinion, but when I think of a SOPHIE song I think of a dark, disjointed section followed immediately by a bright and poppy one, overlayed with cute lyrics. The contrast between the two creates a kind of auditory whiplash, and when both styles combine at the end of the track it creates a powerful impact.
Our next track is for the KPOP fans out there, here’s “24 hours” by 4th generation girl group ITZY, produced by SOPHIE.

24HRS – ITZY (prod. SOPHIE)
Ponyboy – SOPHIE
Sweat (SOPHIE Remix) – SONIKKU + LIZ

On January 30th, 2021, SOPHIE fell from a balcony in Athens, Greece, while trying to take a picture of the full moon. Her death shocked the community and left many fans and collaborators in a state of mourning.
AG Cook, PC Music’s founder and one of SOPHIE’s closest collaborators, released a eulogy in April of 2021. It’s beautifully written and I think presents a heartfelt portrait of SOPHIE’s life. I want to share the last paragraph with all of you, since it has helped me deal with SOPHIE’s death and maybe it can help you. The full eulogy is incredible so I highly recommend reading it at agcook.com/msmsmsm.
There’s a weird trick that I do all the time when I’m writing music, which I don’t often talk about. I think of friends of mine, people who I’ve collaborated with a lot, and I think, “What would they do?”. How would Charli flip this melody? What note would Noonie add here? What chord change would amuse Finn? How would Alaska turn this image into a lyric? Through everything, the easiest persona to summon has always been Sophie. I can ask her anything really – as long as its about music – and she’ll answer right away. Now obviously these funny avatars, these bootleg copies of friends that I hold in my mind are consistently inferior. The real Charli can effortlessly out-topline my own Charli simulation. But now for the first time I’m trying to access someone who has passed away, and I worry that her special voice might fade. Despite that, and with a weird certainty, something tells me that the voice might now be more real than ever. Maybe it really is her suggesting that I try recreate that sound using a different oscillator or make that lyric a bit more fun. Maybe she’s here right now, visiting from a place with no rules and no limitations. Maybe she’s become a part of me, a part of everyone who loved her in their own way. It’s indescribable, to have lost a friend who was so caring and so real, and whose presence was a constant affirmation of life itself. And it makes me feel just like we never said…
End quote.
SOPHIE’s death is a great tragedy, but her life has left us with a thriving music community full of constantly evolving sounds. Not only that, but a community built on inclusion, one that gives queer and trans people a voice unlike any we’ve had before. I want to close out tonight’s mix with a song from SOPHIE’s PRODUCT, one that could very well be considered a message from her now. This has been 100 wreks, I’m Renny, and this is “JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE” BY SOPHIE.