Why Soccer Mommy’s skint

Soccer MommyAs the Soccer Mommy tour bus rolls into Bristol this afternoon, rain stops play and the band decamp to the dressing room for pre-match beers; instead of exploring this wonderful city. They’re certainly not feeling  disheartened about tonight, having recently acquired a venue upgrade from The Louisiana to Thekla, due to tickets flying out of the box office.

Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy is a long way from New York, where she played her first shows under the alias in 2015. Over the past two years she’s quit university to concentrate solely on her music; having impressively signed a deal with Fat Possum Records. That kind of story needs explaining and we settle on a beat-up leather sofa in the hub of Thekla in search of answers.

“Since I was a kid I wanted to be a musician, then as a teenager, it was still something I wanted to be, but it felt like an unrealistic dream, and something that everyone wants.”

Instead of selling her soul to the American version of X-Factor, Allison bought a recording device: “I had all these songs and I just wanted to record them, but add parts and I guess, kind of produce them a bit. I didn’t really think of it as that at the time, just that it would be cool to hear things back and get an idea of what I might want to add, you know, to make it more of a song.” Which to her credit is the real charm of early releases: For Young Hearts and Collection are both articulate and filled with DIY and lo-fi wonder.

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Having at first used Bandcamp as her platform for the world to listen, Soccer Mommy went on to send her DIY recordings to Orca Tapes, who encouraged her to send more material. That was when things started to really happen; she explains: “I started to get press from Stereogum; I got a small mention in an MTV article and that [gained] me a small internet fan base – and all of a sudden, thanks to Bandcamp and Orca Tapes, I had a bit of a following."

Soccer Mommy’s debut album Clean is a triumphant moment for the band, least of all because like many musicians starting out, it's a hard and poor existence. Alison remembers: “I just remember emptying my savings to get to New York to make the record and thinking, how am I going to afford this? But I had to go, so I threw everything at it and thankfully it paid off, but it was such a hard time. I was touring constantly and living on the road in these really shitty living conditions but also getting to play these amazing shows and live my dream. Clean really feels like an encapsulation of that year of my life, it was such a pivotal time."

With venue upgrades, countless interviews and radio plugs, Soccer Mommy seems set to go from one pivotal moment to the next. These well-earned musical elations are all down to her well-crafted debut where you get songs that are gift wrapped in studio production that doesn’t compromise the band's lo-fi ethics and DIY recordings of past. It's a smart move from a gifted new musician.

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