Always, now, later, tomorrow, are all the times we’ve been tuned into Soccer Mommy’s (aka Sophie Allison) latest album, Sometimes, Forever. The record is a celebration of dualities as Soccer Mommy explores how love can be both sweet and seething, how sadness can feel all-encompassing but fleeting. Sophie’s witty, poetic, biting lyrics, teamed with the ethereal production stylings of Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin, is a chilli- chocolate combination that tingles the taste- buds. Touring the world, Soccer Mommy is well and truly ‘burning through September’, and we’re burning to see her when she comes to Glasgow this month.
SNACK chats to Soccer Mommy about the deliciousness of contrasts, the satisfaction of expressing the intangible, and why songwriting is her ride or die.
Your new album, Sometimes, Forever, is full of contrasts, kind of like salted caramel. Do you think that being a Gemini has anything to do with being drawn to opposites?
It’s highly possible! If I were to go into my chart, there’s just a lot of duality in general. It’s definitely something that I’ve always been drawn to, even in my earliest stuff I loved mixing beauty and softness with things that are hard and ugly.
It’s largely driven by the fact that it’s very hard to keep my attention on one thing for more than a second. I’m just constantly jumping back and forth between different ideas and different moods very, very quickly.
There’s just so many things to be inspired by! Speaking of which, how did the album title come to you?
When I figure out an album title, it’s usually towards the end of the writing of the record. Once I’ve got a lot of the ideas I can see them laid out before me; all the repeating ideas and things that tie together. And with this one, I really just felt like there was a lot of fighting the possibility that things can be two things at once, polarising in themselves. I was thinking about feelings especially, about how they can be all encompassing, but also temporary. I’ve struggled with the sense that you can be completely consumed by an emotion, and it can feel constant, until suddenly you’re somewhere else, in an entirely different moment. I was thinking about putting permanence on impermanent things. Not just permanence, but demanding that something is either everything to you and all-consuming or it’s unimportant, and I wanted to challenge that with the title.
Giving form to intangible things, like feelings, is something you do so well; are there any songs on the album that hit the nail on the head?
My favourite one for that reason is ‘Feel it All The Time’. When I wrote it I felt like it captured a very specific feeling. There are a lot of lyrics in it that are very metaphoric, but it really felt like they expressed exactly what I was trying to say in the song. There’s a tonne of little moments all over the record, but that song specifically… It reached in and got out a certain thing that I know how to express before.
That must have felt so good. What was it like working with Daniel Lopatin?
Yeah totally! He was completely amazing to work with. I’m a fan, so when we started talking about doing this album I was just so excited about how cool it would be. I had no idea how it was going to turn out; it could have been a million different ways in my mind. I think it was kind of perfect. He brought so much to the table and he helped materialise so much stuff that I imagined doing but didn’t know how to execute, because it was a little out of my wheelhouse. I’m not really a producer, so the ideas in my mind can be limited. He just totally took it to the next level, pushed it out of the comfort zone. I think he was also really excited about keeping the sound of the band and the core of the songs alive, while also adding all these other things I wanted.
In ‘Darkness Forever’ I can totally relate to yearning for relief when you feel like your brain is on fire. Does it ever feel overexposing to share such depth of feeling?
Honestly no, not most of the time. Every once in a while, something feels a little raw. But it always dies in some way, because no one knows the person you’re talking about, or the exact day you’re talking about, for the most part.
So there’s always that to make you feel like it has this personal relationship with you. But also it’s something that no one else is experiencing, not in the same way. And the time between writing a song, supporting it, mixing and mastering it, putting it out into the world, also helps to loosen your own grip on it.
‘Fire in the Driveway’ reminds me of a Ted Hughes poem, ‘lovesong’. There is something terrifying but enticing about falling in love so deeply you become the same person: why do you think that is, and why is it that you return to these themes?
When you are first falling in love, or getting into a relationship with someone, it can just feel all- consuming. It can feel like it’s everything. I always wondered what people would think of that one; ‘Fire in the Driveway’. It’s actually not about a romantic relationship, from my perspective. I didn’t mind that it mirrored that a little bit because I like the blurred line and talking about love. And I think we always want to imagine that when talking about love, things always have to be romantic. But I think it can also be about other relationships, and it can have that same depth, connection, and pain when it comes to an end.
‘Following Eyes’ reminds me of all the times I have to walk home at night by myself, keys in between my fingers. Why are you drawn to horror?
Totally. I just love it! I think it’s something that I’ve had fun with my whole life. My family always loved Halloween and had a lot of fun with those kinds of things. I’ve always watched a lot of horror and fantasy stuff. I really wanted to write a straight up ghost story, something spooky for the fun of it. I wrote that guitar line and thought it had this kind of dark, eerie thing going on, and needed to make something with it.
It’s dark, but also light-hearted and kind of fun; it’s just a cute little story. It’s not some metaphoric thing for her life or anything like that.
Both ‘Following Eyes’ and ‘Shotgun’ both have such a clear narrative; have you thought of writing other forms or is music your ‘ride or die’?
It’s my ride or die. I mean, I tried writing stories when I was younger, in high school, but I just don’t get as invested. And honestly, I just get lazy and bored. I’ll start on the idea that I really like and get like a line or two in and just lose the drive for it. But I think with songs there’s such a clear way to structure things. And you don’t have to be precise and you don’t need to have that beginning, middle and end structure you need in a story in order to follow it. Instead, you can just use pieces that you like, that capture certain things. Writing songs has always been what I like to do the most, for sure.
Sometimes, Forever is out now on Loma Vista. Catch Soccer Mommy on 24th September at the QMU, Glasgow