Sofi Tukker

Grammy-nom­i­nated duo from New York with trop­i­cal dance bangers

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IF EV­ERY­THING HAD GONE to plan, Sofi Tukker would never have ex­isted. Mus­cle-bound DJ Tucker Halpern was des­tined to play pro-bas­ket­ball, and vo­cal­ist Sophie Haw­ley-weld had a yoga teach­ing job lined up in Brazil. In­stead, the duo have rubbed shoul­ders with Grimes, met a preg­nant Bey­oncé on the Gram­mys red car­pet and last month played to 10,000 peo­ple in Mex­ico. Not bad for a back-up plan.

“It was the turn­ing point,” says Tucker of meet­ing Sophie in 2013 at Brown Univer­sity, Rhode Is­land. The pre­vi­ous sum­mer, an ill­ness put an end to his sports ca­reer. He de­cided to make mu­sic his life and quickly started Djing at frat par­ties. Sophie stud­ied con­flict res­o­lu­tion, taught yoga and played acous­tic nights around Prov­i­dence, RI. But it wasn’t un­til their chance en­counter at a gallery open­ing that things took off.

“We clicked straight away,” re­counts Sophie. “At first I was writ­ing the songs and he was pro­duc­ing them. Then it evolved into col­lab­o­rat­ing and mak­ing them from scratch.” They moved to New York to­gether and re­leased their first song, ‘Drin­kee’ – the Gram­mynom­i­nated alt-dance banger that they “didn’t re­ally think about” un­til it blew up and gave them the chance to take their mu­sic global.

Adapted from a poem by Brazil­ian writer Cha­cal,

‘Drin­kee’ fuses deep, driv­ing bass with an in­fec­tious gui­tar hook and a Por­tuguese vo­cal. It’s earned them a le­gion of fans, as well as celebrity ad­mir­ers such as Grimes. “Last sum­mer we played a fes­ti­val in Milan where we were on be­fore her,” re­veals Tucker. “A year later she sent us a mes­sage say­ing, ‘I’m a fan. I like what you’re do­ing. Keep it up!’”

It’s ad­vice they’ve taken, with a new record in the pipe­line and a world tour booked. “Even on our days off we go into the stu­dio,” says Sophie. “We want to do this for the rest of our lives.” Luck­ily for them, that looks in­creas­ingly likely.

Alex Flood

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