Samuel Long is a London-based electronic music producer who works under the stage name Sophie (stylised as SOPHIE). He came to prominence in 2013 with his single "Bipp"/"Elle" and released "Lemonade"/"Hard" the following year. He has worked closely with...
Samuel Long is a London-based electronic music producer who works under the stage name Sophie (stylised as SOPHIE). He came to prominence in 2013 with his single "Bipp"/"Elle" and released "Lemonade"/"Hard" the following year. He has worked closely with artists from the PC Music label and produced for acts including Charli XCX, Liz, Le1f, QT, Madonna and Namie Amuro. His debut album Product was released in 2015. Sophie's music has been described as an exaggerated take on pop music, and features prominent high-pitched vocals and an attention to synthesized electronic textures.
Sophie was in a band named Motherland (Sabine Gottfried, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Marcella Dvsi) and later collaborated with his bandmate Matthew Lutz-Kinoy on a series of performance works. In 2011 he scored the short film Dear Mr/Mrs by Dutch team Freudenthal/Verhagen. Sophie became involved with artists on the PC Music label after encountering Dux Kidz, a project between A. G. Cook and Danny L Harle.
He released his debut single "Nothing More to Say" in February 2013. Its follow-up "Bipp"/"Elle" was released on Numbers later that year. "Bipp" drew attention from music critics for omitting a traditional drum beat to prominently feature a bouncy bassline. The song received attention from music critics, topping XLR8R's year-end list and placing 17 on Pitchfork Media's. Pitchfork later ranked "Bipp" 56 on its list of the best tracks from 2010–2014. B-side "Elle" features a more powerful drum beat, drawing comparisons to TNGHT and Rustie.
In mid 2014, Sophie collaborated with Japanese pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. His next two singles came in August 2014. Numbers released "Lemonade"/"Hard" as a 12" single. "Lemonade" alternates between stuttered chants and a pop chorus with "bubblegum hardcore stabs". "Hard", whose melody is built from plucked strings, is dominated by a bass-heavy rhythm section. Its vocals are by PC Music artist GFOTY. Both tracks appeared on the Billboard Twitter Real-Time charts. "Lemonade" and "Hard" placed 68th and 91st respectively on the 2014 Pazz & Jop critics poll. "Lemonade" was in the top ten of year-end singles lists by The Washington Post, Resident Advisor, and Complex; "Hard" was in the top ten on lists by Dazed and Dummy. Pitchfork ranked "Lemonade"/"Hard" at 21 on its list of the best songs of 2014. "Lemonade" appeared in a 2015 commercial for McDonald's. "Hey QT" was a collaboration with A. G. Cook and pop singer QT. The project included an energy drink called the QT Energy Elixir, and at the singer's request, "Hey QT" repeats the drink's name for product placement.
In March 2015, Charli XCX announced a collaboration with Sophie. It was later revealed the pair had worked on multiple songs for her upcoming studio album.
In September 2015, SOPHIE's debut album Product was made available for preorder. The eight tracks listed were the four Numbers singles from 2013 and 2014, as well as four new tracks: "Msmsmsm", "Vyzee", "L.O.V.E.", and "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye". "Msmsmsm" was released on 29 September, and released Just Like We Never Said Goodbye on 15 October.
Sophie primarily uses the Elektron Monomachine and software to develop his music. Instead of sampling, he builds the instrumentals from waveforms. Likening the construction of a track to building a sculpture out of different materials, he uses the Monomachine to create sounds resembling "latex, balloons, bubbles, metal, plastic, [and] elastic". Sophie's music features an exaggerated sense of cuteness. The Fader likened it to "K-Pop, J-Pop, Eurodance at its most chaotic, and even turn of the millennium American/UK boybandisms." His songs often incorporate high, pitch-shifted vocals.
Sophie remained anonymous for some time, concealing himself in interviews by masking his voice or covering parts of himself. At one Boiler Room show, he recruited drag performer Ben Woozy to mime a DJ set while Sophie pretended to be a bodyguard. He decided on the moniker Sophie because he thought "it tastes good and it's like moisturizer." His early visuals came from a series of colourful images he refers to as "Homemade Molecular Cooking". His single covers show plastic objects, an idea that originated with discussions with John Roberts a fellow electronic musician. At the POPcube event, Sophie unveiled posters and postcards outlining the products to be offered through his online store, which include a set of wedge heels, a puffa jacket, and unique sunglasses.