The LA based French singer talks us through her hopeless romanticism, gothic sensibility and new album, My Dreams Dictate My Reality.
Three years ago French singer/songwriter Soko aka Stéphanie Sokolinski, unleashed her debut album, I Thought I Was An Alien and the music world collectively fell hard for the brunette from Bordeaux.
After touring the album worldwide and falling in and out of love with boys, girls and the music industry, Soko resettled in Los Angeles and took a hiatus to work through her crippling anxiety and develop a new musical direction.
Now she's blonde and back with a darker sophomore record, My Dreams Dictate My Reality. Produced by one of her heroes Ross Robinson, the man behind some of the later works of her favourite band The Cure, as well as nu metal megabands Korn, Slipknot and Sepultura. The resulting album is a Californian goth dream with an unapologetic lyrical openness that is both heartbreaking, joyous and a requiem for all of our past selves.
Soko proved she is as candid in her art as IRL when she divulged to i-D some crucial things about herself.
1. Soko is a crazy workaholic…
"I barely get five hours sleep on good days, I have to deal with time difference while traveling and end up staying up, working all day and night. Also, I love the adrenaline and rush that goes into trying to make things happen, whether it's through giving birth to an album or directing music videos or making my artwork. I love deadlines and how crazy, insanely creative it makes me feel, I thrive on this and it's sort of twisted... the more I work, the happier I am.
2. She suffers from social anxiety…
"Most of the time, it's really hard for me to be around people and I don't really have a home so I crash with friends all the time, meaning I'm never alone. But I chose the people to surround myself with, it's different with strangers. I sometimes just vanish aka French exit out of places when I start feeling my heart beating too fast with anxiety and I retire in my safe bubble of aloneness."
3. Soko believes she is undateable…
"I always get dumped. I've never broke up with anyone ever, I think people are scared of me or something. Perhaps it's the case of - at first they like the idea of me, but then they get bored and abandon me... boo hoo. I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'm doomed to be sad and lonely forever I guess."
4. Her most prized possession is a Farfisa Organ…
"It resides at my place in Paris, it's from the late 70s and sounds goth as hell. Every single time I'm charged with a lot of emotions, I sit down to play it and write a song. The last one I wrote on it was Visions which is on my new album."
5. Soko is really tactile…
"I force my band members to give me massages, cuddles and kisses everyday when we tour and I equally give back the love! It really helps keep us close and in a good mood."
6. Nothing makes her happier than cats and kids…
"I seriously think I'd be the happiest just being the mum of 10 kids and having 20 cats, that sounds like my dream life. Kids and animals keep me young and playful and it's impossible to worry around them. You have to always be in the moment, which I love. If I had to choose between hanging out with adults and kids, I'd just be with kids forever, live in neverland and watch cartoons all day."
7. Soko believes in YOLO!
"My life is all about the mottos; 'seize the day', 'you only live once', 'we might be dead by tomorrow' and 'you snooze you lose'. I try to live every day as if it was the last."
8. She writes everyday.
"I obsessively have to unload everything that crowds my head. I need to write like I need air. From random thoughts to life stuff to poems to dream journals."
9. Soko's number one human being is Ross Robinson..
"I recorded my album in Venice Beach at his house. He produced my album and helped me fully realise the vision I had of my dream album. The best part about working with him (other than him being the most passionate, devoted, caring, loving, supportive man) is that we have the same lifestyle, we're both vegan health freaks. We'd start all of our studio days going to yoga together and then work until we can't keep our eyes open and our ears are bleeding with love for music."
10. Los Angeles makes her feel the most creative...
"I have to make art everyday otherwise I get bored and to me boredom is death. I direct my own music videos and I love getting my crew of friends together in LA to do so. Most people around me are so creative and always down for adventures. I try to make it fun so they're always there when I ask them to come shoot a VHS video completely illegally in a car wash at midnight, and walk me on a leash and wash me out. I feel like this city allows me to do that."
Words by Courtney D read the full interview up on i-D.