ARTICLE IAN MONROE
SOHN DOESN'T WANT YOU TO TALK ABOUT HIS REAL NAME, EVEN IF HE IS READY TO DEBUT AN INCREDIBLY ANTICIPATED ALBUM IN THE NEW ROLE OF STAR. BEFORE HIS SOLD OUT SXSW SHOW, WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE MASTERMIND BEHIND TRACKS FROM BANKS AND LANA DEL REY TO DISCUSS MOVING FROM BEHIND-THE-SCENES TO FRONT-AND-CENTER
“‘I died a week ago’ is an unlocking of change,” says the South London-born electronic singer/songwriter/producer SOHN. He's talking about the ultimately macabre-sounding opening lyric for “The Wheel” off his forthcoming debut album Tremors. If by chance the name doesn’t ring a bell, then certainly his collaborative works will. SOHN is the mix-master for rising stars like Kwabs and V’s own cover-starlet, BANKS. The latter artist's Sohn-produced track, “Waiting Game” sets the sensual tone the Victoria's Secret Dream Angels TV ad.
"The Wheel," which has close to a million plays on SoundCloud, was the starting point of Sohn’s ascension in an indie-electronic industry. From there the hype and fandom has only risen higher with surmounting eagerness surrounding Tremors.
Surrounded by a burgeoning electronic music scene, it seems strange for a native artist to voluntarily say goodbye to London, but it was that scene that motivated Sohn's move to Vienna. He's there, he says, to focus in self-inflicted isolation on the album. “I wasn’t really connecting with anything in London and had a bit of a freak out. Even going back now, it’s very tempting to fall back into the fast moving pace and to get caught up in things... Austrians work at a different speed—I didn’t have to be so hyperactive.”
The relaxed environment is reflected in the slow-building tracks that together create a lyrical narrative of love, loss and recovery. “It’s really very reflective. It’s like looking back on things with a glass. Looking back on the past and how its affected me and who I am.”
"Vibrations are tremors that shook long ago," goes the chorus in the album's title track. “That line is so important. It’s like a personal earthquake that never goes away and comes up in other parts of your life and relationships.”
Sohn is part of an industry wave that sees more and more producers stepping out from behind the glass and stepping into the spotlight including fellow contemporaries Kingdom, Shlohmo, and Beyonce’s Boots; however, Sohn clarifies, “I’ve always been making music myself and then producing, not the other way around.”
That isn’t to say that he resents the behind-the-scenes work, especially when it comes to his contributions on music-muse BANKS’ forthcoming album. “That could be a big record. Just something that’s remembered in ten years, and to think that I helped with that…These are really talented people... [With other artists,] I get to be more playful because I’m not one hundred percent responsible. That doesn’t come across alone—alone I don’t sculpt with a quizzical eye. It’s more flowing and natural.”
When pressed on who he sees as an up-and-comer SOHN is quick to offer up London-based artist Shura, whom he recently met up with in England after her track, “Touch” spread like wildfire. “That’s her first tune and that means she must have something good coming.” The get-together was arranged on Twitter and a quick look at his timeline shows similar meet ups with rising stars like Angel Haze, MØ and London Grammar. From media presence alone it would appear SOHN is already an it-member of the industry. Tack on some high-profile collaborations and a solid premiere album and there is no denying 2014 will be very kind to this creator.