When asked to describe the various elements that came together to form their first full-length record, Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern—the duo better known as SOFI TUKKER—both let out a simultaneous laugh. “Lots of craziness,” says Sophie, “It’s the sound of traveling and excitement and new friends and endless shows and total exhaustion and learning more about ourselves through it all. It sounds like our lives.”
It makes sense that Treehouse, SOFI TUKKER’s sparkly new album, would encapsulate the sound of so much wildness. Since releasing their debut EP, Soft Animals, back in the summer of 2016, the New York duo have ridden a wave of attention that neither could have ever anticipated.
The band was catapulted into the spotlight by the success of their first ever single, the genre-smashing “Drinkee,” which, after being featured in an ad for the Apple Watch, quickly went on to rack up over 45 million Spotify streams and snag a Grammy nomination.
Recorded in various places around the world, the ten tracks on Treehouse reflect the wily, nomadic nature of its two makers. “We just worked whenever we had time, wherever we happened to be, “says Tucker. “We wanted to keep our forward momentum going, which meant recording and writing at odd hours between shows and on days off, no matter how exhausted we were.” The result is an album that takes the eclectic poetry-pop sensibilities of the band’s debut EP and blows them up to stadium-size. “An important aspect of the record is that we made it while we were on the road and playing shows,” says Sophie. “We tried the songs out with audiences, which really inspired us. If something didn’t connect the way we thought it might, we’d go back and re-work it the next time we were in a studio.”
The give and take with audiences—and the feeling of creating a kind of ecstatic communal space—is at the heart of Treehouse, a record that seamlessly marries the vibe of classic house music with deft guitars and exotic percussion. “A Treehouse is this magical place where you can allow yourself to return to this childlike state of awe and creation. Anything goes in a Treehouse. We loved that idea because that is what we’re always trying to create—a safe space where everyone can experiment and be themselves. It’s this elevated space in nature that can bring you back to those childhood impulses and freedoms.” In a display of experimentation on stage, SOFI TUKKER play an eight foot tall MIDI drum sculpture of their creation called “The Book Tree.” Sophie and Tucker also bring this creative, community spirit to their sweaty,
intimate DJ sets. “Whether playing live or DJing, we’re trying to bring that Treehouse mentality with us everywhere we can. It’s important to us to create a space where everyone in the room is expressing themselves with abandon, not just us on the stage.”