In an industry that carries a heavy weight of self-serving agendas, social media clout-fueled pretentiousness, and a thick shadow of toxic male-dominated ignorance, a strengthened mass of radical creatives with the passion for empowering one another emerges.
SOFI TUKKER, the Grammy-nominated New York City-based dance duo have announced this week the launch of their new record label and aritst collective known as Animal Talk. Though, their catchy bounce-filled electronic music has won over fans worldwide, it's their intoxicatingly genuine and supportive demeanor to people throughout their community that has truly lifted their reputations.
Since first breaking onto the scene in 2016 with their hit singles "Drinkee" and "Matadora", the duo have had a skyrocketing trajectory of success. In a one year span, SOFI TUKKER managed to go from an opening act to a sold-out headlining tour, appearances at multiple major music festivals, secured a coveted spot on multiple iPhone commercials and even picked up a Grammy nomination along the way. For a band that came together as a mere chance encounter while in college, that's a lot to navigate through. But it was the sincere moment a star basketball player Tucker Halpern approached a Brazilian-jazz enthusiast Sophie Hawley-Weld after an open mic night that a flame of trust, empowerment, and encouragement was first lit. And that fire continues to burn brighter each year.
I encountered that flame when first I saw an early performance during their debut appearance at SXSW. I had met their manager for the first time while in the audience waiting for their show to start. The conversation was quickly dominated mostly by how great the two of them were, let alone talented. And as the conversation continued, others who had met them during the week joined in with additional affirmations. There was this sense of excitement behind everyone's joyous praise of the group that complimented the performance. As a jaded New Yorker, it's something I couldn't help but be wary of. But, to my disbelieve, it was all genuine.
As a band, Sophie and Tucker are two selfless musicians who love what they do not just for themselves but because SOFI TUKKER is an outlet for them to lift up the best side of the friend that's standing next to them on stage. And as their fame continues to rise, they continue to further that excitement by acknowledging the people that lifted them up and passing on that sense of encouragement to others. And the end result: 'Animal Talk'
Meant to help cultivate a community of creatives, celebrate the wild feminine, champion gender equality and encourage folks to reconnect with their lost childhood innocence, the duo formed an artist collective (a non-traditional record label in a sense) known as, Animal Talk. Today, the collective featuring various artists currently involved in the project have released their first launching track, "Manifesto" meant to share the ideals behind their movement.
Last fall, while on tour, SOFI TUKKER came across LP Giobbi, a trained jazz pianist from UC Berkely and an aspiring DJ. As the group was thanking fans following their performance, LP had approached them to share her love for their music. In a chat I had with LP, she shared, "I had first met them (SOFI TUKKER) after one of their shows just as a fan. Tucker had asked if I was a musician and I mentioned that I do some DJ work too. His eyes lit up and he quickly shouted at me that I need to send him whatever I'm working on. I was almost taken back by his excitement but I shared it with him and the minute he listened to it, he told I have to open for them on their tour." She continued, "And just like that, I was suddenly opening for them on the road across the U.S. and Europe."
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When we were just a couple college students making music, there were two people that gave us the confidence and opportunity to pursue our dream of making music into a career. Those people were @djbroc and @mrjpatt of @the_knocks . Without their belief and friendship, I don’t know if we would have started Sofi Tukker. Now we are starting our own collective called Animal Talk where we get to do that for artists who were in our position. We have met and become close with some incredible artists who we are SO excited to introduce to the world. Tomorrow we are launching ANIMAL TALK with a group track made by all the artists together as a way to explain what we are about. We have started this with friends who we respect and believe in, and we are going to release music of friends who we respect and believe in because the world will be a better place with these artists shining. @weareanimaltalk
That immediate excitement for drawing out the best in others has been a prevailing motif throughout the existence of SOFI TUKKER. "While on tour, it's almost status quo to see Tucker just yell out in a crowd, alright everyone on the bus, were' all hanging out," shares LP.
After further connecting with the group, LP brought in her manager and longtime friend Lauren Spalding (aka Hermixalot), a seasoned music industry professional with a wide array of experience within various record label and management agencies. From there, conversations sparked between one another and Animal Talk quickly began take form.
Both LP and Spalding shared similar ideals with SOFI TUKKER on inspiring radical creativity but to also further champion the change of the female narrative within pop culture and society. As an early teaser of Animal Talk, LP released their first single titled, "Amber Rose." A fun spirited dance track that features a poem dedicated to the bravery of Amber Rose through the ownership of her own female narrative following the scrutinized breakup with Kanye West.
The formation of Animal Talks didn't come overnight, nor was it systematically planned. LP Giobbio explained, "The music came first before the label. The artist just kept coming and this community of like-minded creatives formed naturally." She further shared, "We had all just watched the HBO documentary 'The Defiant Ones' so Lauren and I called Tucker and Sophie and felt the time was right, we were all just feeling really inspired."
As a group, SOFI TUKKER wouldn't have made it to where they are today, hadn't either of the two believed in one another with such passionate conviction. LP continued to share, "Tucker talked about how he wanted to do that for other artists. And witnessing his excitement for such a selfless thought process has really inspired my own creativity. It really gets me up and ready to go. It's something all these other artists have been attracted to and has helped build the community organically."
But forming a label takes more than a group of creatives with a passion for music. And when the additional business side of things needed to be outlined, that's when Lauren Spalding stepped in. " I came in after the project was set up but it was always born as a communtiy of artists first and foremost," shared Spalding. "Having worked in artist management, film and record labels, this serendipitous opportunity to put together something new from a totally different approach was incredibly appealing. All the artists involved, are in this because of an unadulterated love for the music and that kind of passion is why I felt confident about getting involved with this project. Everything about this has sort of come down to a community of people to push each other and discover the passions within themselves they didn't know they had. Coming from LA, it's refreshing to be a part of something like that"
So far, the Animal Talks roster includes; nu-disco DJ LP Giobbi, UK singer-songwriter Rokky, and additional artists soon to be announced. To celebrate the launch of Animal Talk, SOFI TUKKER and LP Giobbi will be hosting a three-night release party series in Vancouver, San Francisco, and Seattle. Each venue will be transformed into a neon jungle to provide fans an experience of explosive creativity while letting loose their animalistic wild side.
"As adults, we catch up over coffee and beer but as kids, we would play and build sandcastles and we want to build spaces where we cultivate that opportuntiy to build playgrounds and reconceptualize that innocence." LP Giobbi
For full details on the launch parties, click HERE.
When asked about any hesitation about working on a project that's so flooded with passionate free thinkers and creatives, coming from a business aspect, Spalding jokingly commented, "They're honestly just a bunch of maniacs jacked up on herbal tea and geeked out on music 24-7. They are unequivocally living and breathing what they are passionate about and it's a great thing to have the chance to be a part of that." To be honest, it's a great thing to see more labels like these unfold!