French singer, songwriter, actress and possible alien, Soko, talked to us about creating music, working on her upcoming film The Dancer, and her thoughts on love. It seems like creating and performing has been a part of you for a very long time, but was there a moment that you realized you were a musician/ creator/ artist? I’ve always been the weird kid…never really had any friends growing up, was always just doing my own thing, on my own, and stuck in my head thinking way too much about absolutely everything surrounding me when most kids are just focused on playing and eating. I’ve wanted to be an actress, tell stories, escape my life to be someone else, maybe get the chance to play someone better than me, more interesting, more confident… Started from there, wanting to escape “my life” then loving writing about all the conflicts happening in my head…and then, needing this to be able to process all my feelings…and wanting to create something a little more positive out of the things that were haunting me. So, yes, expressing myself through art became vital very early on. All photos by Miriam Marlene Waldner. The word “art” is thrown around a lot. What does it mean to you? To me art is anything that [can] actually touch or move anyone…make people think, make them smile…taken from someone’s brain to entertain, disturb, comfort, create different feelings and affect differently anyone who’s tuned in to being a little vulnerable to beauty. To me art is anything that [can] actually touch or move anyone…make people think, make them smile…taken from someone’s brain to entertain, disturb, comfort, create different feelings and affect differently anyone who’s tuned in to being a little vulnerable to beauty. What human (or alien) qualities do you think are necessary to be a creative? Being ultra sensitive, self reflection, ambitious, workaholic, perfectionist, a good observer of life, feelings, emotions, people. And maybe add a touch of being extremely twisted and tortured and having the urge to share that with the world! You talk a lot about how love affects your work. What do you love? What is Love? Will you love us? Oh me, oh my! I actually just watched this amazing French film by my friend Gaspar Noé called ” LOVE”…this felt very accurate into where my head-space is at about love…it’s just such a fragile thing, so fickle, and so big…something that is inspiring and passionate and calming and forgiving and magical, beyond words.. It’s just such a fragile thing, so fickle, and so big…something that is inspiring and passionate and calming and forgiving and magical, beyond words.. What do I love? Travels, movies, music, my girlfriend, my brother, my family, my bed, animals, kids, people… I have a big romantic heart and even though I’m picky about who I let in very close, I do have a lot of love for a lot of things, and I’m sure if I knew you I’d love you…there’s always something to love about anything and situation. You have done a lot of work in both film and music. Do you put the same energy into both creative pursuits? They’re a totally different process for me. Right now I’m about to start a movie and it’s just so consuming, I do 6 hours of dance every day + production stuff and gym / run / swim everyday. It’s insane. I’m physically exhausted…learning all these new skills that I’m actually completely foreign to and it’s extremely hard to have to do something everyday so intensely that you’ve never done before and you’re actually terrible at. It’s like my ego is getting whipped daily because I’m not strong, fast or flexible enough to play this dancer character [Loïe Fuller]. I’m learning all new skills and shaping someone completely new inside of me. It’s both draining and fascinating and totally rewarding and magical but damn…such hard work. Music is more, a natural flow, just fighting with trying to express exactly what’s in my head and transpose it into melodies and things that touch me. It’s a lot easier. I’m completely incapable of thinking about music when I act, and vice versa. I just tune out of everything else. I’m very focused and a complete perfectionist / control freak. And I get very anal about wanting things to be perfect, embracing all their flaws. You worked with Ariel Pink a lot on your last album *Austere collectively faints.* How does collaboration fit into your creative process? I tend to write better by myself…I just love being alone and contemplating my train of thoughts and turning my own little world into music. I NEED that. But I do love working with friends, picking other people’s brain and trying to get songs out of them, helping them write… I really get a great kick out of that. Helping out someone else’s vision of the perfect version of what they’re aiming for…so gratifying. But I don’t really have the time to focus on writing for other people lately. I’m a little sad about it, and Ariel is just pffff…the hardest one of all. I do like these songs that we did, but that was an extremely hard process. Number one rock crush obsession of all time? If y’all could make something together what would it sound/look/feel like? Well…Robert Smith. It would sound like a dream of heaven with synth and guitar hooks of sorrow and beauty, look like a fluffy comforting cuddly long-haired punk cat, and feel like a caress and a secret in your ear. What’s your favorite film and why? Hook, because it reminds me of my dad, makes me dream of a better world. And reminds me that you can make absolutely everything happen if you believe in it enough. Also, it reminds me that I want to be a kid forever…and never want to get caught up in boring adulthood boredom. And continue being naïve, and trip and fall and rise again with a smile! What is it like to perform when all of your songs come from such an emotional place? Playing shows is one of my favorite thing EVER…but yes, it’s emotionally HARD and draining. But also gives me a great kick of adrenaline, and makes me euphoric. There’s no better state than feeling like you’ve just played a great show and were 100% connected and on fire and fully present. — As seen in Austere Made.