In the ocean blue sky, a silhouette with a face shaded by a green mask rises: we are in 2011, and Soko sings I thought I was an Alien . She wanders the streets of Los Angeles, foreshadowing the whole melody of a generation for whom otherness will no longer be a stigma, but a force with the LGBTQI + movements, the #MeToo wave and today a youth fighting for it. environment. Soko therefore seems to have paved the way for Billie Eilish and a whole independent female scene. The alien, the weirdo fascinates, and is no longer just the prerogative of pop culture, it is a being who gains rights and visibility. Almost ten years later, the protean Soko still lugged her face of Lolita new wave between film sets and recording studios. Shocking in La Danseuse or Voir du pays in 2016, here it is radiant on the set of the shooting, not letting pretend an air of tiredness (it comes back from two months of shooting). The reason ? A little creature with brown curls and lagoon eyes, named Indigo Blue . “I have never felt so full of love as since I was a mom. It allayed my fears, I'm refocused and focused, ”said the woman who ended up kissing her inner alien. Portrait of a timeless girl in a changing world.
An introspective trip to New York
Back in 2017. After her successes in cinema, Soko locks herself up to project herself into her own stories, “digest and regurgitate” , as she sums it up. No date, no romance: a period of one year where she works surrounded by musicians James Richardson of MGMT, James Righton (ex-Klaxons) or even Drew McConnell of Babyshambles on what will be her next album, Feel Feelings, including the release is scheduled for spring 2020. “It was the first time that I was given so much freedom. I have been making music for fifteen years and, finally, I no longer felt impostor syndrome. Working with friends ... This is the album I liked the most. So-and-so would play a few chords and then another would add his touch to the drums. I wrote the lyrics in the studio, a first! I just wanted to stay there, in my bubble. ” The quality of Feel Feelings is a continuation of the two previous albums, but signs of emancipation: “ Before, I felt like I had to deal with my traumas of childhood. Here, I wanted to keep the vulnerability, but also that the album is light, that it is happy. The Cure described their music as: happy sad.
Ode to love
Between melancholy ballads, shoegazes and powerful pleas celebrating non-conformity, Soko tells here the universal story of an inclusive love: “I am in a lesbian couple, I have a baby: yes, it's possible! It was important to talk about visibility, it is important to normalize my couple. I am still fighting against the homophobia that is present every day. The other day at the airport, when I noticed my baby's name, someone said to me, 'You are a little hippie, a little rainbow' ... I replied 'Yes!' while presenting my girl. We laugh, but people's unease is revealing, ” says Soko. Looking for Love, Oh to Be a Rainbow, and the sensual Let me Adore you are all songs celebrating love of any kind. “We are all looking for love, in all its forms: whether it is the person who can complete us or self-esteem.”
After the rain...
Mid-listening sounds Quiet Storm, a song recorded two years ago, a disturbing echo in the news: “It's about domestic violence. I wrote it for a friend, but when I recorded it, I understood that I had written it for myself. Seeing this girl, a black eye, I saw myself at 18, caught in a toxic relationship. This song is what the 18-year-old Soko would have liked to hear. Once, a neighbor yelled in my neighborhood. I was with Indigo, terrified. I called 911. I made it my problem, because it is quite simply an intolerable act. ” These dark moments give relief to the colors of life for the one who compares her album to a rainbow : “It's magic, it comes from the rain and the sun. If one of the two elements is missing, then no rainbow. We must relate the sad moments as the moments of joy: life is made up of a thousand equally beautiful emotions which sublimate us every day. ”
“I was afraid that today this album would have no meaning. In the end, he has even more, ” exclaims Soko. Since the recording, her life has completely changed: she is now in a relationship and is raising her son in LA “The album was not quite finished when I had my first ultrasound: the sound of the beating of her little heart ... Their echo ends the song Hurt Me With Your Ego. ” End of the album, a new chapter whose leitmotif is the acceptance of feelings: a philosophy that she strives to transmit to Indigo Blue. “I use the RIE method which encourages children to trust them, supports their feelings, reminding them that they are all valid. Me, I grew up with 'no', and without answers to my 'why?'. I explain things to Indigo and I encourage him, whether sad or happy, to feel his feelings. ” Feel Feelings: the title of the album seems crystal clear. For the past year, Indigo Blue has been following his mother on the set, “It breaks my heart to leave him when I go to work. I am privileged: sometimes I can take him, otherwise Stella is also there to take care of him. But many women do not have these possibilities. There is still room for improvement ... ”
A world too smooth
It bounces back to the era that she describes as a strange period, evolving in two opposite directions: “On the one hand, mentalities are opening up, evolving ... fashion advertisements are more inclusive, but at the same time we are still in a world that continues to seek extreme Photoshop perfection. The ideal world 'six packs of abs and Colgate smile' that erases the flaws. When I started, models and musicians were dissociated, and I didn't feel like a model. I had to tell myself that if I didn't do it, it would be hypocritical. If people like me, who don't make a size zero, who don't convey the standardized image of beauty, refuse to let themselves be represented, then the snake bites its tail. ”
The title Blasphémie, written in French, slips into the album: “It came out like that. French hiccups, but that didn't catch me. ” If French cinema dubbed it when it was young, Soko inspires and expires music in English. For twelve years, it is in California that she has built her “adult” life in an environment more in keeping with her aspirations. “The atmosphere is more progressive than in Paris, whether we are talking about global warming or animal violence. In France, you have to answer a real question when you're vegan. IN LA I don't just feel like a weird girl but on the contrary a girl who gets things done. ” She goes back to the importance of small gestures that save the planet and questions of education and communication. “LA is a key place, celebrities, like Natalie Portman, used their visibility there to talk about veganism and helped create the idea of the cool vegan.”
“The present moment!” Exclaims Soko, either accepting the past, no longer being afraid of the future and preserving the ssures that characterize us. As lightning marked the face of the elusive Bowie, Soko, a messianic alien, promises to remain full of surprises and contradictions. “I carry my guts on me, they are there, always in the air.” After three hours of shooting she embraces the team, finds a word for each one while Stella installs Indigo Blue in her stroller. The picture is perfect, even with the cameras off.
Find Soko's cover story in the February issue of L'Officiel de la Mode and much more at @lofficielparis