III Points Festival

Five Essential Sophie Tracks to Warm You Up for Tonight's III Points Set

We get it. You're bummed out that LCD Soundsystem pulled out of this year's III Points. If you're thinking there's nothing else worth your time on the first day of the festival, however, you're wrong.

Let us introduce you to Sophie, the reclusive British producer who, over the past couple of years, has been ingesting Eurodance, bubblegum pop, and noise and regurgitating some of the most addictive beats known to man. Loosely affiliated with the label du jour, PC Music, he and other acts like A.G. Cook, Hannah Diamond, QT, Danny L Harle, and Felicita are challenging the notion of what constitutes pop and dance music. Is it all done in jest? Who knows, but it somehow works.

What matters is that people are paying attention as Sophie has gone from underground novelty to in-demand producer. So if you're intrigued enough to check out the 2:20 a.m. set at the Sector 3 stage tonight, here are five tracks that will introduce you to Sophie's frenetic brand of dance music.

5. "Bipp"

Perhaps no track serves as a better introduction to Sophie's work than "Bipp." The cut is so infectious that as soon as you're done dancing your ass off, it will hit you: This track doesn't feature any traditional drum beats. Instead it relies on the squeaks and squawks in the bassline as its foundation. This has essentially become his signature sound, letting you know you're hearing a Sophie track even if you don't know it. 

4. "B Who I Want 2 B"

Sophie's affinity for J-pop is evident in his work. So when "B Who I Want 2 B" was picked up by Japanese popstar Namie Amuro, it seemed like a natural fit. Add in a guest appearance by vocalist Hatsune Miku, and you've got one of the best dance-pop songs you'll hear this year. Sophie fans, however, were enjoying the cut way before Amuro's version, when it was an unreleased demo with English-only lyrics that was played frequently during his DJ sets.

3. "Vroom Vroom"

If you don't remember "Bitch I'm Madonna," we don't blame you. Never mind that Madonna seemed to be unsuccessfully trying to tap into youth culture — the track itself was a hot mess. The men behind the track were Diplo and Sophie, and, for the latter, it was the first time working so close with pop royalty. But, thankfully, Sophie's best mainstream-pop-meets-underground-dance collaboration came this year when he produced Charli XCX's Vroom Vroom EP. The title track itself is so over-the-top ridiculous that it works.

2. "L.O.V.E."

Just when you think you have Sophie figured out, he throws a curveball. "L.O.V.E." seems to run contrary to everything he has showcased so far. It's grating, chaotic, and repetitive, and most importantly, it lacks the pop-hook structure that has become characteristic in his music. Instead the vocals just say, "L-L-L-L-L / O-O-O-O-O / V-V-V-V-V / E-E-E-E-E." So why even bother with it? Because Sophie still manages to introduce a lot of new ideas of what constitutes music while tearing down the rules.

1. "Hey QT"

A collaboration with producer A.G. Cook and performance artist Hayden Dunham, "Hey QT" seems like a bold statement on the overcommercialization of the music industry. But it's also a great song. It points to Eurodance gems like Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and Vengaboys' "We Like to Party!" all while maintaining an air of serious dance music. The call-and-response of, "Hey QT! Yeah!" also makes this a fan favorite and unashamedly enjoyable.

Sophie at III Points. 7:20 p.m. Friday, October 7, on the Main Frame stage at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $99 to $299 via iiipoints.com.
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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran