Musicians at Home | Soso
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Soso is a lot of extremes. She’s a petite vision of a woman ensconced in gothic garb. Her music is dark, slow-building electro-pop glazed with a commanding voice. She does everything by herself, from writing and recording to video production. And she does it all from the comfort of her own home, under her company entitled Do It Yourself Bitch Productions.
A former songwriter for Scandinavian pop queen Robyn, Sophia Somajo (her full name from which the nickname “Soso” stems) says her own music is extremely driven by visual forces. She maintains a frequently updated blog that shows off her love for visually jarring dichotomies: the ugly next to the beautiful, the hard on top of the soft.
She also likes to change the look of her Sofo, Stockholm apartment almost monthly, depending on her shifting personal tastes. “Visual aspects change all the time. I’m telling myself that it’s evolution and not schizophrenia, ” Somajo says of her surroundings, while also listing “phobias and laziness” as reasons that keep her recording in her bedroom instead of at a studio. Scandinavian design conjures up images of minimal interiors and strong, clean lines, and unsurprisingly, Somajo is a fan of this look. But to prevent from falling into a trap of being a bit too generic, she infiltrates that aesthetic with “contrasts and randomness.” “I like [my place] when it doesn’t make sense,” she says.
Soso reveals that she’s also obsessed with Chinese culture, a theme that’s unabashedly referenced throughout her forthcoming album, That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up In China. “It all started with a cassette of Chinese pop music that my dad brought me on a business trip to Hong Kong in the ’80s,” she says. “I’ve had it for twenty years, and then it really got to me — how genius it was. So I based my whole album on it, sound wise.”
To get into that place, Somajo watched countless Chinese films in all their “super minimalistic, milky” glory while fusing traditional Chinese instruments into the strikingly bare-boned, bold verses of her tracks. In one such song, “Sab Lackath,” Soso recorded herself crying and edited it into a rhythmic beat. It’s this extreme personality, combined with her constant need for inconsistency, that drives Somajo’s personal design style.
Though nestled beneath the umbrella of her comfortable indie work ethic, her sound, her environment, and her look must stay fresh. “I’d never wear a whole outfit from one designer,” she says as an example. “That would feel really unimaginative. I mix it up with random crap that I pick up along the way…Ugly stuff, you know.”
So what’s a private person who’s pursued such a public career going to do when fame comes knocking on her Stockholm door? “I’ll cover my eyes and count to ten.” And when she inevitably has to leave the safe confines of her creative haven to travel the world in support of her music? “Actually, I made an active choice after my first release in 2008 not to perform anything live since I had made it in the most anti-social way,” she says.
But, that might not be entirely true—at least not forever. “I am moving slowly towards my audience,” she admits. ”And I am going to meet them in person in some form, this year and next.”
Chalk it up to her extremist nature.