Soko - Musician, Actress, Fervent French Woman - in Love with "Telling Stories"
Photo by Ward Kweskin
Stéphanie Sokolinski, better known as Soko, is a 27-year-old actress and musician who's steadily garnered accolades and critical praise for both facets of her work.
Immortalized on the screen in Alice Winocour's impeccable historical drama Augustine, SoKo's 2012 album I Thought I Was an Alien also shot to fame thanks to the viral sensation of Wren Studio's "First Kiss" video, which starred strangers kissing.
Currently on tour supporting Foster the People, Soko is an unassuming French woman, artistically driven and still in awe of the worlds that surround her. We here at Crossfade had a chance to speak with Soko about music, film, and Gallic passion.
Crossfade: Aside from the 90 million plus hits it received, what is your personal opinion of "We Might be Dead by Tomorrow" playing in the background of a video about strangers kissing? A tongue-in-cheek coincidence or a prophetic telling of the casualness of the modern relationship?
SoKo: Well, the owner of Wren, who asked me to be in the video, is a friend. She told me about the concept of the video, and asked me if I could be a part of it and come kiss a stranger, I had said 'why not! If it could be a girl that'd make me feel a bit more comfortable' and she said 'sure.' And I had no idea what I was in for and told her she could use my music and then, it became viral in days. Which was insane. The video has such a genuine, childlike tone to it, I feel like my song actually fits perfectly with that.
You're from Bordeaux, one of my favorite areas in France, and as a French woman I suspect that you inhabit the classic French fervor for passion; given that your lyrical work deals with love, what is it about being French that gives you such an informed insight?
Ha ha! I'm not sure... I grew up in a really small village outside of Bordeaux, it felt pretty secluded. I lost my dad very early on, so my childhood was pretty heartfelt with pretty dramatic events which I think probably affected my way to see life and write about it.
You've had success as an actress and as a musician, you've had moments of ambivalence in the past but you've managed to make great turns in both fields, what are your approaches to acting and to creating music and how similar or not are they?
Since I'm a kid, my dream job is "telling stories" so whatever that is/means is what I keep doing; writing music is absolutely vital for me. I need to do that for my sanity but it makes me freak out every now and then because it's such a solo journey. I don't deal well with having so much pressure all on me and that's when I NEED to disconnect, and do a movie, and be part of a team and have project where everyone has to come together to be able to make it happen. All with love and passion.
So, I really need both in my life.
See also: Ten Best Female Punks Ever
At 27, some might say that you are too young to truly have experienced many human emotions and be able to express them, but in your music and acting - like your powerful performance in Augustine. What do you attribute your artistic maturity to?
Wow... uh, I have no idea. I always feel like a constant child. I hate having responsibilities, I'm terrified of being an adult and I'm very entitled to my own feelings and messed mind, and the only way I know how to deal with this is to write it down and you from the outside it seems like I have it together, that's cool. And I wish that was true! But... uh, not really!
With this tour through Florida billed as "intimate," I get a sense that you don't particularly care much for the spotlight and for huge fanfare, yet you've been sampled by Cee Lo, voice-acted in a Spike Jonze film; all things that can and will lead to greater exposure, how do you feel about something like that, becoming an instantly recognizable celebrity?
I don't really think about this kind of stuff. Spike is my friend, so that happened just organically. I'm not here to chase exposure or anything. Just wanna do fun stuff and make art that is fulfilling all the time! Playing intimate venues, for small audience, is where I find true happiness.
You're working on your next album now, is that correct? What can your fans expect in this effort that will be different from I Thought I was an Alien?
I've just finished a new album yes, it's called My Dreams Dictate My Reality, it was produced by Ross Robinson (The Cure, At The Drive In) and I guess it's a lot more gothy-punky-dreamy than I Thought I was an Alien; that was a lot more intimate. It talks a lot about all my fears and anxiety and death and childhood and having Peter Pan syndrome and it's got a really heavy tone to it but sounds a lot more upbeat, tones of synth and chorus-y guitars!
SoKo - "Monster Love/I Just Want To Make It New With You"
You'll be doing a DJ set at Kill Your Idols for your stop in Miami, what kind of music pleases you as a listener at home and what kind of music do you usually gravitate towards in a club/DJ setting?
A lot of '80s punk and other weird '80s stuff... I usually just play all my favorite songs, from The Cure, to the Clash, to The Smiths, to Paul Simon!
Have you found a happy medium between acting and performing? You have a pretty busy schedule ahead of yourself with this new album and it is my understanding that you've signed on for a handful of feature-length productions next year?
I'm so nervous, I have no idea how I'm going to be able to manage such an hectic schedule. I want to release my new album as soon as possible, and yes, after that I'll be off onto crazy movie adventures for a while. Hopefully I'll be able to do it all!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Merçi pour votre temps á répondre a ces requetes. S'il vous plait excuser mon francaise, il a ete longtemps.
I have no idea, hopefully married with kids and tons of cats and the coolest record collection! And hopefully not dead!
Crossfade's Top Blogs
Soko. An in-store performance. Thursday, October 16. American Apparel, 720 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-672-1799 or visit americanapparel.net.
Soko. Opening for Foster the People. Thursday, October 16. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $50 to $150 via livenation.com. All ages. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.
Soko. A DJ set. Thursday, October 16. Kill Your Idol, 222 Española Way, Miami Beach. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-534-1009 or visit facebook.com/killyouridolmiami.