Northern Transmissions sat down with English musician, songwriter and producer Toph Taylor (aka SOHN) between shows at SXSW. His upcoming album Tremors comes out this April on 4AD.
NT: How did your whole relationship with 4AD start? Were you a big fan of the label beforehand?
TT: I wasn’t a fan of many labels when I was younger. It’s only recently that I became an admirer of certain ones. It’s kind of like finding a new best friend, you discover one band or artist and then you start to learn about other groups or singers. Beggars let me stroll through their warehouse, and they told me to take what I wanted. I had a great time. They have put out so many good records, it’s incredible.
NT: Tremors is coming out pretty soon, is it a big departure from the Wheel EP?
TT: I think my voice is stronger, mainly because I put myself out there more. I let out a bit more of my personality this time. I used to be more guarded and hesitant on my previous work, but I just put basically everything I had into this album, and didn’t hold back.
NT: How has living in Vienna, Austria, impacted your writing?
TT: It has had a huge influence on me. There’s so much more space to breath and think, which really helps me create. I was so hyper when I was living in London. Moving to Vienna has made me so much more comfortable with who I am. It’s such a calm city compared to London, and it really relaxes me.
NT: How did you feel when “Artifice” was picked as the hottest single in the world by Radio One’s Zane Lowe? Were you surprised?
TT: It was really bizarre, I don’t really have a connection to mainstream music or follow that type of stuff in the press closely. Then, one day I saw myself in Q Magazine and thought wow, shit! I’m actually cool. I was pretty excited to see how people were stoked about a song that I had done.
NT: What are the live shows going to be like?
TT: The live show is more powerful than the album. It’s based on waves of synths, they really ebb and flow quite a bit more than the recorded stuff. In the live setting I would definitely compare it more to, maybe, Sigur Ros with synths. I play with Albin Jonaska. He’s a genius, and I’m lucky to play with him.
NT: What was it like collaborated with Banks, Lana Del Rey, and Rhye, was it a challenge for you?
TT: Strangely enough, not really… Everything has felt very natural up to this point, and I suppose I approach every person or project as equal so it hasn’t felt like a pressure to work on those things. I’ve also really enjoyed that stuff, which of course makes it easier. The remixes (Lana Del Rey, Rhye) are solitary experiences, I just deconstruct the songs and piece them back together the way that I would interpret them, and the songwriting/production (BANKS, Kwabs, Erik Hassle) have been simply getting in a room with the artist and writing and making a song with them, and around their character and voice. Both are very unique challenges.
NT: Which five albums have been an inspiration to your career?
TT: Bjork – Homogenic, Radiohead – Kid A, Space Dimension Controller – Unidentified Flying Oscillator, Paul Simon – One Trick Pony, Michael Jackson – Bad.