Soko - Photo by Robin Black

Photo by Robin Black

When I arrive for the interview with SOKO, her day was more than stressful: A flight from Paris to Germany early in the morning, interviews and photos without a stop, organizing problems with her band and on top of that she’s hoarse. Quite a few reasons for a nervous breakdown. But not for the L.A.-based singer who appeared on the scene eight years ago with her touching song I’ll Kill Her and now goes on tour with her second record My Dreams Dictate My Reality. She is warmth personified, concentrated and impressively open when it comes to her emotions.

So this interview is for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION…
Nice slogan!

Thank you. What do these words mean to you?
That’s how I live my life – with hope and passion. Every decision I make and everything I do is coming from a passionate place.

I have the feeling that the media try to sell you as a kind of rebel right now. Would you see yourself as a rebel?
Not at all. I’m fully open and honest in my songwriting and I’m giving all of myself in every single thing that I write. But I don’t rebel against anything.

And would you say that you are a feminist?
I love strong women and I love women who have things to say. I definitely believe that we should all have equal rights, all over the world, not just in privileged countries. I wish that every woman would have access to her inner power and can express herself as much as men do.

Your song ‘Who Wears The Pants’ also has the message that it doesn’t matter what gender you have or who you love. Nevertheless, would you sometimes like to be a man?
No, not at all. I’m very happy as a woman. People kept asking me if I’m the ‘woman’ or the ‘man’ when I’m in a relationship with a girl. Of course I’m still a girl! Not because I date a girl I’m gonna turn into a dyke, chop my hair, grow muscles and a moustache. To me that’s what feminism is: you can be fully a woman and still love a woman that is also womanly.

What’s the gay scene in L.A. like?
I don’t know. I don’t really like communities, because I feel that they try to marginalize themselves so much. It’s very narrow-minded if you think you can only hang out with people who like the same gender as you like. There are people being homophobic but then there are homosexuals who are phobic of straight people as well. And that’s very terrifying.

You are not afraid to put all of your emotions into your songs and give us intimate insights. Where do you take that courage from?
I don’t think it’s courageous, I just don’t know how to write about anything that is not personal. I write thoughts and poetry, every day. I bottle it up and then it explodes in my mind and turns into a song. It’s like a pure extract of everything I have in my head.

ARIEL PINK sings on two of your new songs. When have you met him the first time?
We dated some years ago and wrote each other songs on our previous records. I wrote him, for instance, I Just Want To Make It New With You. I’ve also sung on his newest record Pom Pom and then he sang on mine. We wrote Lovetrap together. We really are a crazy match.


Photo by Kenneth Cappello


But not for a relationship?
No. Not in a million years.

Because he’s a mad man. He is a mad genius. I could not be with him.

In ‘Keaton’s Song’ you sing ‘I’m trying to kill the worst of me to be the best for you’. What do you mean with that?
I’ve punched myself a lot and was really mean to myself. I didn’t like myself. I’ve hit myself so hard that my whole face got red. I was trying to kill that part of myself that I don’t like. That is very self-destructive. So now I’m longing for more stability and try to have an easier approach to life and relationships and not to be that intense with everything I do.

Do you have strategies for that?
I just try to be in the present moment, enjoy every minute like it is the last and make the best of everything that I encounter. When I get angry or sad, I just sleep and escape into dreams.

What are you doing if you’re not working on your songs?
If I’m not making music, I’m always doing something else related to it. For instance making artwork or directing videos. In April I will be playing in a movie. I’m always working on something and being creative. I don’t even remember the last time I had a day off.

You don’t need that? Just hanging around?
To me boredom is death. If I don’t feel like my day has been productive and creative, I feel like it’s a day wasted.

What do you miss most when you are on tour?
I don’t live my life missing things. I think the key to happiness is to be in the present moment. If you constantly contemplate being somewhere else and missing things, you are doomed to be unhappy wherever you are.