Soccer Mommy on ‘Clean’ and Personal Growth
On the day on the release of her first full-length album, Clean, Soccer Mommy (a.k.a. Sophie Allison) spoke to TIDAL about her new album and her growth from beloved, hyped songwriter to her breakout moments.
Who were you when you first started playing music? What was the impetus behind that decision and what was the first song you wrote like?
I was 5 when I first started playing music and writing. It wasn’t really a decision, as much as something I just wanted to do for fun and then never stopped doing. The first song I wrote was pretty much gibberish because I was so young. It was called “What The Heck Is A Cowgirl?”
Are there any techniques or songwriting tendencies from then that you can still sense in your process today?
I think the only thing that has really stuck with me is the fact that I start with chords and then add melody and the lyrics. I think, other than that, I’ve changed a lot as a writer.
How did you feel in the days after uploading your first few records to Bandcamp?
I didn’t feel like anything was going to come from my Bandcamp releases. I was just feeling a lot of anxiety and hopelessness about relationships, and I wanted to get them out through music. I had no clue it would lead to anything more.
For Young Hearts seemed to be a strengthening of your sound and clearly express these themes of longing and doubt. Was there anything during the recording of the record or between records that brought any sense of assurance you were on the right path?
I had a lot of time to reflect when I was writing and making For Young Hearts. I spent a lot of time alone my first year of college, and I feel like that tape is what kind of came from it. I think I could see my audience growing a bit, so it made me feel like I had to put a lot of work into making the tape good.
What was it like having Orchid Tapes support in releasing that record and how did come about?
I just sent Warren from Orchid Tapes my music through email, and he responded. It was just a stroke of luck, I guess. Orchid Tapes was really great to work with, and I’m forever thankful for where that tape has allowed me to go.
What made the songs feel “right” to include them on Collection?
I mostly chose songs for Collection based off of what I was playing live with my band and as a solo act. I also wanted to include a few new songs to show where I was going, and that’s why “Allison” and “Outworn” are on there.
I’ve seen your music described as “sad,” but it has always come across as healthy, cathartic music? Do you access feelings of melancholy when writing? Do you feel any sense of relief after finishing a song?
I definitely use music as a way to get my feelings out. It’s very cathartic for me, especially when I play songs live. I think that I get out a lot of sadness in my music for sure, and so when I sing it live, it kind of resurfaces those feelings and I get to feel the relief again.
Does Clean, as an album title, point to any new chapter/renewal with this being your first full record of original material with Fat Possum?
I think it definitely points to a new chapter for me. The title was supposed to reference this metaphor of being clean of someone or having moved on from them. It was also supposed to apply to a sort of rebirth for me after such a revelatory period of my life.
“Your Dog” really sounds unlike anything you’ve made. It has a bite (I can’t wholeheartedly say no pun intended) and is brimming with confidence. Does that resonate at all and what was the path to making and finishing that song like?
That song is actually a really painful song to me. It came from me feeling like I was giving too much to people and always being let down because of expectations that everything I gave would be returned. It’s kind of like me saying, “I don’t want to be like this anymore, but I feel like I’m never going to escape the way I am.” I think the confidence that people hear in it is more of a shouting-from-the-rooftops anger with being stuck with yourself.
Something I feel that really creates an intimacy in the music you create is understanding your having to negotiate internally what formal, higher education’s role in your life as of now. I think a lot of people struggle with what they feel is right/safe and what really fuels them? You are staying on the road for the foreseeable future, how did you reach that decision and was it particularly difficult?
It was really for me, actually. I just felt like I had this whole path laid out for me, and I could either go with what I loved or go back to school and miss out. So when it came down to it, I saw I had the option to do what I wanted to do, and I went with it.
From the time you released your first record in September 2015 to today, how have you changed or grown personally, and how has that impacted your creative career?
I’ve gone through a lot of loneliness and a lot of self reflection. I moved to a new city, went through the realization that i wanted people to want me more than I wanted to find what I wanted, I started a career, toured the country and Europe, met my boyfriend and had a long distance relationship for a year, and a million other things. My life has been pretty hectic, but everything that has happened has made me mature a lot and I think it all helped me become a better writer.
How do you enjoy these moments of releasing your music and having an audience that is looking for it?
It’s very stressful, but once the music is out and you see positive feedback, it’s really rewarding. It feels like everything you’ve poured into your art is being understood, and it feels like you’re understood for a moment. It can be a very fleeting feeling with all the stress of the job, but it’s worth it.
TIDAL is proud to announce the world's first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly curated Editorial.