The songs of Berlin-based musician Sophie Soraya are beams of light created by synths and soft voices. Listening to her music feels like you’ve been given a chance to breathe; to stretch out and pour yourself a cup of coffee to start your day. It feels like a warm hug you get from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, or a slow burn film that leaves you wanting more. There’s something both calming and effortlessly sincere about how her music influences souls, and we can’t wait to hear more!
Below, we had a short discussion with Sophie about her new EP, about dealing with creative blocks, and about fashion styling, just to name a few.
Sophie! How are you today? How are you holding up in quarantine?
“I’m doing fine, thanks! Quarantine really starts to suck and I definitely had my time of doing nothing and enjoying it. I am really glad that creativity got ahold of me, and I am sure using this time to reflect on many things. I do miss my friends and family, though, and I can’t wait to enjoy summer with them. Yet, I am really grateful for the position I’m in. I know that many people are suffering a lot, and I really hope that things will get better for everybody soon.”
You released an EP called futile chamber. Can you tell us something about it and what inspired you while you were writing it?
“This EP means a lot to me. I find it hard to write about stories that don’t come from my own life and have a big admiration for people who can do that. So yeah, it’s a really personal collection of songs.
If you listen closely, you find something breakfast, morning, or sleep related in every song. I don’t really know why but my favorite memories, and also the most painful ones, are made in the morning or when you’re supposed to sleep. Every song is about a feeling; a memory made in my apartment.
I’d say it is about the fears you must overcome when you want to experience love. The risks you’ve got to take and mistakes you’re probably going to make to finally come to the point of being able to truly love someone else, and letting them love you. That doesn’t only include relationships with your partner, but basically every relationship that you have and want to hold on to. That sounded so cheesy, I hate it haha.”
Making music can get hard sometimes when you go through a creative block. Does that happen to you? If so, how do you cope? And what gets you back on track?
“To be honest, it happens a lot to me. I usually get some periods where making music is the easiest thing to me, but once I slip and stop for a bit, it’s really hard to get back on track. I think for me, the best thing would be to try and keep a constant routine when it comes to being creative. That doesn’t mean that I have to write a song every day, but to do something that reminds me of how much I love what I do. That could be listening to music, having a good talk with a friend about our plans and ideas, or just looking at the sky. I’m still working on that, though, but the more music I make, the easier it gets and the more I realize that it’s one of the things that makes me happiest.”
Some musicians have a specific place where they write or record songs that isn’t necessarily a bedroom or a studio. Do you also have a specific place where you like to work? How is your recording process like?
“I usually work in my bedroom. I don’t even have a desk; I either sit on the floor or my sofa and start to play around with GarageBand. When I first started producing music, I usually tried to come up with some chords on my guitar, but for this EP, as well as for my most recent music, I worked with my synthesizer (the microKORG XL+) and GarageBand tools.
I’m super keen on getting Logic or Ableton (when I have some money lol). Once I have some sort of melody or beat, I start to think of lyrics. I either come up with new stuff, or what I recently started doing is I recycle older songs of mine.
I mostly write about things that happened to me; feelings that I felt or moments I keep thinking about and how the surroundings felt when they happened. Once I go from mumbling to actual words, I record the vocals with my mic, which is the t.bone SC 440 USB. I don’t have a mic stand, so I came up with my own little construction which contains a broom and tape. Then I go inside my recording booth, which is my roommate’s wardrobe topped with a blanket, and I start recording.
To finish the song, I focus on the surroundings, which should exhibit how the song makes me feel and should make the audience feel. It’s all super self-made, and I know that you can hear that, but that’s really what I love about my music.”
Besides music, I see you have other artistic skills like styling! That’s so cool and interesting! Can you tell us a little more about it and what goes on?
“Yes, of course! Just some months ago, I started to work on my portfolio as a fashion stylist, and I really love it. I’ve been working in fashion for the past two years and, especially since I moved to Berlin, it’s become a big passion of mine.
For me, fashion is a way to discover myself in new forms whenever I feel like it. I love creating new worlds and being able to form different realities and atmospheres simply by choosing the right items and surroundings.
And it’s sort of the same for me with my music. I love to work with my friends, and I am so grateful for all the connections I’ve made in the past years with young, talented, and inspiring artists of every kind. They’ve helped me keep growing and find out what I actually want to pursue in life. That is what I try to put into my work as a stylist and as a musician.”
What do you hope for people to take away from your music?
“I hope that whoever listens to my songs can experience the feelings I had while writing them, but in their own way. I want them to feel whatever they need to feel in that specific moment they’re listening. I’ve talked about what this EP is about, but I really hope that everyone can create their own stories with it, use it as an idea of something, and adapt their own thoughts to it.”
// Buy a copy of Sophie Soraya’s limited edition cassette here
~Words by Nadine Galleguez.