"Sophie was there with [Miami artist Veronica Gessa] and saw us, and told Veronica, 'Hey, can you get these girls to L.A.?'" recounts Basside's Linda Attias (AKA Que Linda).
Attias and her collaborator, Carolina Villalba (AKA Caro Loca), had been performing since 2015, with a style that seemed unabashedly Miami, grabbing influences from the likes of L'Trimm, the 2 Live Crew, and Avenue D (a duo that included Attias' older sister, Debbie.) Their debut single, "Q.L.C.L.," mixed familiar themes of partying, drugs, and budget ballin'. They established a mantra of "birthday sex and cheap Champagne" but warned listeners in Spanglish that "you can look, pero no tocas."
On the other hand, Sophie had cultivated a secretive persona filled with bubbly bass, chirpy vocals, and stand-ins during live events. The world first took notice of Sophie with the release of "Bipp" in 2013, a roller coaster of a track with beats made up of squelches and burps paired with a vocal delivery reminiscent of classic Miami freestyle.
It wasn't until 2017, with the release of "It's Okay to Cry," that most listeners could actually put a face to Sophie. Using the single's release as a way to come out as transgender, Sophie (who preferred not to use either gendered or nonbinary pronouns) seemed to relish being a visible trans figure — which was just as well, as accolades poured in. Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides, released shortly after "It's Okay to Cry," garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Given the air of mystery that surrounded the producer until then, it's understandable that Attias wasn't familiar with Sophie when Basside was summoned to L.A.
"I was aware, but I never put a face to it," Villalba adds. "I heard [Sophie's work] going out and stuff and from DJs that I knew. So when I put two and two together after the session we had, I was amazed."
From their sessions with Sophie, Basside came away with six tracks.
"Sophie tried everything we suggested," Villalba says, admitting she felt nervous at giving the producer any kind of input. "[Sophie] was just so kind and open."
Attias describes Sophie's demeanor in the studio as chill, making the collaboration feel relaxed and comfortable. The work consisted of Sophie playing around with beats as Attias and Villalba wrote lyrics whenever the mood struck.
"[Sophie's] studio was sunny and bright, as opposed to a lot of studios we've been in before," Attias recalls. "It was a very happy vibe."
However, after the sessions, Basside's biggest obstacle was how to go about releasing the music. Attias and Villalba were performing tracks like "My Best Friend Too" and "Fuck It Up" live, while Sophie often teased the records during countless DJ sets. Meanwhile, fans of PC Music (the collective loosely associated with Sophie) shared snippets — both demo and live bootlegs — of the tracks whenever they were spotted in the wild.
Still, there was no official release, but not because Attias and Villalba were hesitant to share the work. According to their manager, Sophie needed to give them written permission to release the tracks, but the women said they had difficulty reaching out to the producer.
"We were worried because [Sophie] was so big, and we didn't want to step on anyone's toes, and we wanted to make sure we were doing it the right way legally," Attias says. "Our manager kept telling us to wait."
Attias and Villalba finally connected with Sophie when the producer was in town for a show at the Insititute of Contemporary Art, Miami in 2019, and asked how they should go about releasing the tracks.
"[Sophie] said, 'Oh, I made those for you. You could have released them the next day, and I wouldn't have cared,'" Attias says.
But what really stuck with Attias and Villalba was the advice Sophie gave them, insisting they didn't need a label to release the music.
"It was very encouraging, like, 'Put your shit out. You deserve to heard,'" Villalba says.
"Everyone, like our manager, was trying to help thinking we were trying to make money off these songs, when in reality we weren't," Attias adds. "We were just trying to get these songs out so people could listen to them."
There were already plans to release the songs in 2021 when news broke of Sophie's sudden death on January 30 in Athens, where the producer was living at the time, after a tragic fall. That gave Basside pause as to whether to release the songs, fearing it could look like the duo was exploiting the tragedy.
"The passing of Sophie made us realize that time is short and we shouldn't wait any longer," Attias says. "We also wanted to give a gift to everyone that's heartbroken."
That gift was Sophie's remix of "NYC2MIA," a track previously released on Basside's 2017 self-titled EP. The rework features Sophie's signature thumping bass and low-frequency squawks as Attias and Villalba chant, "New York to Miami/no bras, no panties."
To honor the producer's legacy, Basside also decided to donate 100 percent of the profits from the track, which is available for download on Bandcamp, to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a legal-aid organization that serves low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming.
"Sophie made the song. We brought the fun and chanty lyrics, but Sophie created the whole vibe," Attias attests.
As for the five other Sophie-produced tracks, those will also see the light of day when the EP, F*ck It Up, drops in April on the Brooklyn-based label Sorry Records.
"After Sophie's passing, we wanted to give people unreleased stuff," Attais adds. "Granted, it would have been awesome if we could have released this when [Sophie] was here to see what would have happened with it. At this point, it seems like we are going to give everyone a bit more of [Sophie]."
While the new EP's release is a bittersweet moment for Basside, the pair is honored to have worked with the producer.
"Sophie was different from anyone we ever worked with before," Attias says. "Sophie felt our energy and created something that was us."