It’s a gray, post-rainy day in Neukölln’s Heimathafen venue when NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION shows up to talk to SOHN. Featuring soulful and personal vocals over an electronic soundtrack, SOHN’s reputation has been steadily building since releasing The Wheel EP in 2012. Dark, confessional, and meditatively moody, the songs are supported base of sound that balances and complements. In a genre that doesn’t prize or even necessarily have vocals, SOHN is adding a soul to cold bleeps, drums, and synths. Touring fresh on the heels of the release of his debut album, Tremors, SOHN greets us wearing all black with his trademark hood. He is soft-spoken and erudite, and occasionally cracks his seriousness with a laugh or a chuckle. A Brit transplanted to Austria, he talked to us about why Tremors is a ‘repair’ album, the uselessness of legal birth names, and why he gets off on the idea of destroying everything in order to start something else.
Why did you move from London to Vienna?
Mainly because I felt like I wasn’t connecting with London at all, and I’d always lived there. I was travelling a little bit, and ended up finding a few bands who were in Austria who I got on really well with. And, as happens when you aren’t from a place, everyone says, ‘You should move here! You should move here!’ So I just did.
Was it an easy move?
Yeah, it was quite painless. I think that, I sort of get off on that, anyway. That kind of thing of just deciding to just destroy everything and start something else.
Do you bring that into writing songs?
Yeah I think so, it’s quite prominent.
There were some high expectations for your debut.
Not from me. [laughs]
Well, that answers my question on how you dealt with the pressure.
The good thing was I wasn’t really aware of them. I’m not sure how much of that is due to anything I’ve been doing, or whether I wasn’t really plugged into that. When it’s you involved, you don’t see all that stuff, that sort of Internet stuff in the same way that outside people see it. Although now that I think about it, if I had seen the way that it’s gone for me the last year and half or so, and I’d have seen that from someone else, I’d be sort of looking at like “Jesus, it’s sort of massive” but when you when you’re involved it doesn’t really hit you in the same way.
The people around you are sort of taking care of it for you, sort of buffering you from it?
I think there’s just no context to understand it. There are big things I would probably be more amazed by, but things like, the way the music has come out so far, I wasn’t aware of that sort of blog world and internet stuff, it didn’t touch me in the same way.
What about your own internal pressure of going from an EP to a full-length?
No, for me it’s like, it’s just natural. I wanted to get an album out. I didn’t really expect anyone to be interested. It has come as a massive shock the last two weeks, the way it’s been since the album actually came out because I realized it’s actually hitting loads of people. I just, absolutely honestly had no idea that anyone would give a fuck about this album coming out.
I saw you at Roskilde last summer, at the Gloria stage. That was a lovely show.
Aww amazing yeah. [later he mentions that is the show where he realized his music was affecting people, as that small venue was packed]