Club Regulars 011: Sofie
Part of both the Stones Throw and Boiler Room families, the DJ currently resides in Vienna – the opera capital of the world. But what are its party credentials?
Sofie may be best known for her sets which merge disco, psych, funk and rare rap mixes, but she’s also a classically trained musician. That’s right. She can play the violin, viola and the piano. Impressive, right?
Her career began when she moved to Los Angeles aged 19. It was here she took the first leap into DJing after working at Stones Throw Records for six years – the well-respected alternative rap label, and soon after became involved with Boiler Room, initially curating the show’s LA outpost, then New York, before moving to London to be a part of the core team. The crowds love her, and she’s been a trusted DJ since, with a monthly show on London’s NTS Radio.
Currently residing in Vienna, where she’s studying painting, we caught up with her to get the party know-how of a city best known for its regal opera houses. Where does she go for a nightcap? What’s the state of the party scene looking like?
Read below to find out more…
How did you first develop a passion for raving?
I really got into decent ones when I was living in LA. I had just moved there at 19 to intern at Stones Throw and then got offered a job. Then just a few months later I started doing Boiler Room, so I’d end up renting these warehouse spaces to do our broadcasts in and some late/after raves would take place in the same spots.
What’s special about the Vienna club scene?
There are several really talented people with great taste! And it can be pretty reckless.
What challenges does your scene face?
There’s not a great deal of underground or unofficial stuff that really pushes the boundaries, musically and beyond. Also, many venues, in my opinion, are either too snobby, not experimental enough, or the sound system sucks. It’s like you have to pick between that axis; you can’t have it all. Once you’ve been to most spots several times that’s kind of it, I don’t find myself being surprised by anything new, and I guess personally, that’s what I’m looking for. My honest opinion at the moment is one of disenfranchisement and that sucks, I wish it wasn’t like that! I’ve put on nights, too, and they’ve been really fun – the need for anything different is palpable – but it’s not where my heart is at. On the other hand, I’m not out too much as a result thereof, and it makes Vienna a great place to work on writing music and making art.
What gets you pumped to go on a night out?
Most of my nights out here when going to a club are occasions I’m DJing at, so going through my music figuring out what I’m playing usually gets me excited enough. I’ll always selfishly play music I want to hear and am excited by, but my enjoyment transfers to a crowd, and vice versa! On other nights out I just enjoy going to openings, and I have a very big weakness for karaoke, although much like the regular clubs here, the karaoke clubs follow the same routine: either too expensive/upscale, too run-down with garbage microphones, or run by grouches.
You are a classically trained musician. What impact, if any, did this have on your music or DJ style later in life?
I almost finished a degree for it as a teenager – I attended the Conservatory of Music for two years before dropping out. I tried to really distance myself from it for a while and took a purposeful break, I was kind of despondent about the amount of discipline. Through films, I fell in love with classical music again, and now have a more personal approach to it. When I moved back to Vienna, I applied to an orchestra, largely for sport, just to see if I can play at places like the Konzerthaus again, which I do, and it’s agreeable enough, as an experience. I also really enjoy playing duets on the piano and violin!
If someone is visiting Vienna, where do you recommend they go?
I like Teuchtler for used records, Market for new ones, Loos Bar for a great espresso martini, and in the third district not too far from where I live is Café Malipop, which is run by an older lady with the longest grey hair, who’s also the only person I’ve ever seen working there. When she wants you to leave or if you’re being loud and enjoying yourself a little too much she’ll play weird avant-garde drone type stuff at full volume, it’s awesome. I go to Aida, a chain bakery, a lot since it’s pretty much the only place that’ll do an iced black coffee – they call it a beauty coffee. I‘m really only mentioning this because it‘s impossible to get an iced black coffee here that isn’t tepid, with a solitary ice cube melting in it. I dig Brunnenmarkt for food and my favourite euro discount shops. Drop by Halis Börek when you’re there!
Any other DJs/promoters/performers from the scene you’d like to shout out?
Wolfram does a semi-regular monthly night that I always have a lot to fun playing because it will take place at one of the only clubs with a very good sound system, and he’ll always include a bunch of different people on the lineup and it makes for a fun mix. Wet Vienna runs a femme/non-binary party that’s really fun (I’m DJing the next one!). Another shout to two of my favourite people to DJ with, Sami Nagasaki and Flugmodusboy, and also Zahra Khan aka DJ Hauswein who regularly plays wonderful sets.
Any dream guests at future parties?
If you could play a set anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Paisley Park. I’d like to go see what it’s like, just to perhaps get a glimpse of what it was like or could have been like when Prince would throw parties.