I called Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy (performing this Saturday at White Oak Music Hall) to conduct our interview and was greeted by an orchestral ringback tone that brought me to her voicemail. Her recorded message is a quirky rap about how she would call me back when she got back to her phone.
A few seconds later, my phone rang, and I picked up.
“Sorry about that. I lost track of time.”
Sophie told me that she has been relaxing at her home in Nashville, getting ready for her upcoming tour. I thanked her for her time, and we got right into it.
Byline Houston: So, you’re really into astrology. Have you ever ended a friendship because they were an incompatible sign?
Sophie Allison: No, I don’t trust it that much. I have trust in it, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be the base of every decision. It’s like guiding principles.
Byline Houston: Yesterday, you released a demo version of the song Blossom with a previously released b-side. How would you say this version resonates with you differently than on the album?
Sophie Allison: That one is special to me because it was one that I recorded in my dorm room way before Soccer Mommy was a thing. It was actually the first song I wrote for the album. That song especially kind of came out of me. It was improvised almost. I was just throwing different things on the track. It came out way different than the album.
Byline Houston: Do you do a lot of home recording?
Sophie Allison: Yeah, I did a lot of home recording before working on the studio.
Byline Houston: Would you say you’re a gear snob? Or, do you just use whatever gets the job done (when recording)?
Sophie Allison: I’m not a gear snob, to be totally honest. I do not have nice recording equipment. I have an electro voice microphone, the re20 I think it is, and I have like a Tascam. Everything else is just mic’d really basically, like when I’m recording guitar or something. I either mike it or record it straight into the Tascam.
Byline Houston: How would you compare home-recording versus working in the studio?
Sophie Allison: I love recording at home. It’s just a fun project making demos. But working in the studio is better for getting the full vision of something that I don’t know how to do. You need that space to record.
Byline Houston: In the past, you’ve listed influences such as Mitski and Avril Lavigne. What is influencing you now? What are you listening to?
Sophie Allison: I was just listening to My Bloody Valentine’s Tremolo EP in my car, and the Creation one too. I’ve been listening to a lot of Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple has been big on rotation. I’ve been listening to the band Fishmans a lot too, like a 90’s J-pop band.
Byline Houston: You are very open with your fans on your twitter feed. Do you feel that’s a helpful outlet for you?
Sophie Allison: I don’t know. I guess it’s just something I’ve always used since before doing music, that exact account. I think it’s just something to do when I feel some type of way, making a joke about it and making it light hearted. Or just venting about an issue. But I don’t really know if it’s helpful. Sometimes I feel it’s counter productive.
Byline Houston: What are the highlights of being on tour? What do you look forward to?
Sophie Allison: I look forward to having the regimen of being on tour, because when I’m home I have absolutely nothing to do. So I look forward to having something to do every day. I especially like driving on the West Coast, driving in the big van and seeing everything. I love laying in the back seat and listening to music or watching Buffy on my phone. I also like trying new food and finding new places. And obviously the shows.
Byline Houston: What is the most important thing you’ve learned since playing professionally as a full-time musician?
Sophie Allison: That’s interesting. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m so lucky to be even doing this, because it’s so hard to get started playing music, involving time, money, and luck, too. I was very fortunate starting off living in my parents house while touring, and even then it was hard. And some people don’t even that enough of a fortunate life, they just couldn’t tour. And some people wouldn’t get as much out of as I have.
Byline Houston: What things do you associate with the city of Houston?
Sophie Allison: My mom grew up there. That’s pretty much what I think of when I think of Houston. I think of how the cockroaches are huge. She would tell me about them.
Byline Houston: Do you have any surprises planned for the show at White Oak Music Hall?
Sophie Allison: We’re trying to learn a song we don’t usually play. I’m not going to spoil what it is, but we recently started learning a song from Clean.
Byline Houston: What should your fans be looking out for during 2019? Any new music on the horizon?
Sophie Allison: I think we are going to start recording something new. I’ve already recorded a whole album, and I would really like to get started on some new music and continue touring.
A lot like the feel of her songs, talking to Sophie was comfortable and familiar; like someone that you could see hanging out at the local venues, knowing all the bands and cool spots to hang at around town. There is no unnecessary rocker pretense, and she seems to like it that way.
Soccer Mommy returns to Houston on Saturday, Feb. 9 for a show at White Oak Music Hall.