Sophia will play at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona, Spain on May 27th.
The Flower Shop limited edition 7 inch series will be brought back to live. The first bands that will be recording tracks on Old Betsy Satan, the Flower Shop 8-track, are Girls in Hawaii and La Merika.
Three new items are now on sale at the Flower shop online store:
1. the limited edition CD by The May Queens has been added. The May Queens was a side project by Robin and the other Sophia members back in 1999. For those who don't know how they sound, there's an MP3 from the album in our audio section. By the way, if you liked 'If a change is gonna come' from People Are Like you're also gonna like the May Queens album.
2. The last few copies of the 'Desert Song no. 2' 10 inch are also on sale.
3. And by popular demand, the Collections:One T-shirt can now be bought through the online store.
Studio Brussel will be broadcasting the Sophia gig at the AB in Brussels. The show is called 'Live is music' and hits the airwaves on Sunday between 5PM and 6PM. A first part of the show will be aired today. More will follow in the coming weeks.
The support act at tonight's gig in London is The Silent League. This is the new band of Justin Russo who used to be a member of Mercury Rev and the wonderful Hopewell.
Now that the Fall tour is almost finished, Robin has announced that he will start working on a new Sophia album as soon as possible. He might record it in America as quite a few people from the Sophia Collective live there now.
Sophia's keyboard man Will Foster will also be very busy next year as a touring member of The Tears. The Tears is the new band of Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler (both ex-Suede).
People who went to see Sophia on the current tour and bought the Collections:One album already know this: the Flower Shop webshop can be found at www.theflowershoprecordings-online.com
A new Sophia T-shirt has been designed and is currently being sold on the Fall tour. There's a photo of the Collections:One themed T-shirt here.
A new release on the Flower Shop Recordings is Copenhagen's 'Sweet dreams...' album.
The album was recorded and co-produced by Robin Proper-Sheppard. Robin also added some acoustic guitar, vocals or keyboard to 4 of the songs. You can download 3 songs from this excellent album from the Copenhagen site: www.copenhagen-uk.co.uk
Official release date is November 15.
Also on November 15 Sophia will be in 'Buzz' on PURE FM (Belgian radio station).
Robin will be interviewed and will play a session. The show is aired between 4PM and 7PM and can be followed online at www.purefm.be. UPDATE: The interview and session have been cancelled!
As you probably know, the legendary BCC Radio 1 DJ John Peel sadly died this week. The God Machine was one of those bands that got noticed by John Peel and were given the chance to play a Peel session.
Ron Austin (The God Machine's drummer) set up a little tribute site where he 'd like to share a memory and a song with everyone who will remember the famous DJ. You can download 'Double dare' (Bauhaus) from the God Machine's May 29, 1992 Peel session at beatfactoryrecords.com
Ron had this to say about the track:
"The three of us (Jimmy, Austin, Robin) sat in a small flat with a crap radio listening to our Bauhaus cover introduced by John Peel. It was the first time we had our stuff on the radio and so many things changed that evening. I'm so honored to have been part of it. Thanks John."
The Fall tour has started. Please mail us your reviews, set lists and pictures. They will be added in our tour section.
Sophia's main man, Robin Proper-Sheppard, has compiled a tour CD that will be sold on the Fall tour. The CD is called 'sophia:collections:one' and has an enhanced section. It will be a numbered limited edition of approximately 3000 and will cost £8/12 EURO. For those who can't come to the tour, don't worry: a number of these cd's will be sold through the new Flower Shop online webstore (more about that later) and through a limited number of shops.
When the limited edition sells out, more will be manufactured BUT they won't be in the special sleeve designed by Kirsa Wilkenschildt (of the band Copenhagen) and they won't be numbered. The only reason why this is a limited edition is because of the packaging (all hand-folded) and numbering (hand-stamped); not as some marketing game.
This is the track listing:
1. Airports (2003) - outtake from the 'People are like seasons' sessions
2. Easy (if you want me) (2004) - new song
3. Wind In Your Sail (2003) - a.k.a.'Someday' but with new string arrangement added
4. You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk (2000) - with Adele Bethal (Arab Strap/Sons and Daughters)
5. Razorblades (2004) - with band and string arrangement
6. Holidays Are Nice (2004) - the new unreleased version
7. If you want a home (1999)
8. Genius (2003) - new mix of previous version
9. Zinc (1998) - an instrumental song from the early days of Sophia. Recorded with James Elkington (now of The Zincs) on Drums and Guitar.
10. Reprise:Crescendo - Sebastian Schipper, the director of Absolute Giganten, has let me use the scene from the film that includes the re-recording of Reprise for this special release.
A bit of background about the CD delivered by the master himself:
"The CD had a working title of The "Save The Sophia Tour" CD. This is because when I originally booked the tour with the string section, extra crew and BIG sleeper coach (needed because we have 12 people travelling on this tour) I didn't understand exactly HOW MUCH it was going to cost and soon realised that I wasn't going to be able to cover all the extra expense with just the fee's we get from the concerts, so rather than a. cancel the tour b. not bring the strings c. run and hide, I put my thinking cap on came up with Tour CD idea. Tour saved, strings saved, we're all happy and... On The Road AGAIN. (I guess
it's a similar story to De Nachten except that while 'collections' has saved the tour, De Nachten, honestly, saved Sophia.)
When I first asked if I could use the clip from 'Absolute Giganten' I thought they would have the english subtitled version on the DVD. Well guess what? They didn't. So after getting 3 or 4 people to help with the translation (funny, they all came back with different translations and they were ALL German-speaking) Neil Henderson - also from the band Copenhagen - and I took a little creative license, compiled what we felt were the best translations from each person and did it ourselves. It's certainly not a DIRECT translation but you can still really understand the emotion beneath the scene which is why,
after all, I worked on the song in the first place. The German-speaking community may find it funny to read but I think we did a pretty good job...
And I just want to add that while this isn't intended as the new Sophia album it certainly wasn't just thrown together either. I spent 4 weeks in the studio deciding what songs I would use, working on the older songs and writing the newer pieces, recording and mixing what is finally being released and putting together the enhanced section. It's definitely a collection and as such doesn't have the same sense of concept or dynamics that an album, thought through from beginning to end, would have but having said that I did enjoy the freedom to create outside of normal the 'album' environment and can difinitely see where I might be headed in the future. Of course these things change all the time..."
Adam Franklin (ex-Swervedriver) will join Sophia again to play guitar during the Fall tour.
He had this to say about it:
"Sophia heads out on the road again around Europe for a month. This tour's a bigger operation as there's gonna be a string quartet out with us also. I've only played with the strings twice, a festival in Belgium and a radio session in Paris but for some strange reason the string players are always the ones who go straight to the back of the bus and start skinning up and then later on they're all wasted and shit - they're far more rock'n'roll than they oughtta be in other words!"
Adam also recorded some new songs that may end up to be a new Toshack Highway record. In his own words:
"We've done these new recordings that sound a lot more electric and rocky. I'm still not sure if these recordings should be as Toshack Highway or not, especially as Jeff Townsin doesn't play drums on them - there was originally a plan to record with Jeff and Will Foster who are both also in Sophia as well as having done those Toshack shows back in 2000. In the end though we couldn't find a time when everyone was available and so I went up to Toronto in August and recorded ten songs with Ley Taylor and Matt Durrant from Sianspheric and Dean Williams who does this electronica thing called Quasimojo with Ley. I'm especially pleased I got to finally lay down this instrumental tune called "Theme from LSD" which was something that Steve George, Jeff Townsin and me came up with during a Sophia s
soundcheck in Milan a few years back."
Adam Franklin will also appear on a Wire tribute album which is out on November 9, 2004:
"These guys at Words On Music, a label operating out of Minneapolis contacted me and said they'd love for me to be on the Wire tribute album they were doing and that the whole album was gonna be versions of the one song, Outdoor Miner! A great song for sure, but a whole album of one song? So I figured that I should try and do something that sounds totally different to the original. So it's an acoustic finger-picking folky-sounding thing although there is also some pump organ and electric guitar feedback in there. We originally tried to record it on the road on the Sophia tour when we were in Bergen and Dublin but it didn't sound right so I recorded it back in Brooklyn at Jason Marcello's studio Excello in the end."
Sophia will play a gig at the Scala in London on November 17.
If you live in Copenhagen you should check out the 'I need no map' group exhibition at the Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art.
German artist Johanna Domke is showing a video called "You'll miss what's gonna stay" which uses Sophia's 'Reprise' as the score. The video is about a group of young people hanging out. Nothing much happens and time seems to stand still. After a while you realise that you're looking at a 15 seconds loop, which is very hidden through a technical complicated effect. Sophia's 'Reprise' is playing as a loop in the background, charging the scenario emotionally.
All the works in the exhibition take their starting point in the real world but simultaneously remove themselves from reality taking a course of direction towards parallel universes, utopian ideas and fantasies. The exhibition runs until October 18th. More info at www.overgaden.org
Most of the support acts for the Fall tour have been announced.
The Album Leaf will join Sophia for most of the German, Belgian and Scandinavian gigs. They cancelled all their September gigs to tour with Sophia.
Thalia Zedek will support Sophia in Italy.
We've finally installed a decent forum on the site. You can use it to report, chat, discuss or fight about all Sophia, God Machine, May Queens or Flower Shop related issues. There's also an Off-topic section that you can use for all stuff which is not directly related to Sophia.
Please register first, it's really quick and simple. The forum is still brand new so if you encounter any troubles please report them. You can mail me or post in the Off-topic section of the forum.
The Fall tour has been extended with 3 gigs in Italy: Turin, Bologna and Rome.
Four new dates have been added to the Fall tour: Linz, Rubigen, Basel & Köln.
According to the website of the For Noise festival in Pully, Switzerland Sophia will be joined by a string section for their gig at the festival (August 6).
'Holidays are nice' is now a radio single all over Europe (including the UK).
Sophia played one of their biggest gigs to date at the Rock Werchter festival on Saturday. You can listen to a backstage interview, read some reviews and check out the pictures in our tour section.
Concert organiser Mean Fiddler has announced that the Schüttorf Festival will not take place in 2004. Apparently they were unable to book the necessary headliners. Sophia were scheduled to play at the Schüttorf Festival.
Sophia kicked off their festival season without a bass player. Robin and Will (piano) had to fill in the bass parts themselves. Read the Aerodrome review in the tour section for more info.
The first date of the Fall tour is in: Fabrik, Hamburg (Germany) on November 3.
Two new festival appearances have been confirmed: the For Noise festival in Switzerland at the beginning of August and the Schüttorf festival in Germany early September. More details and links on the tour page.
Labels have made the new rerecorded 'Holidays are nice' available for download. You can find the MP3 in our audio section.
'Holidays are nice' is the new single from the 'People are like seasons' album. A rerecorded version of the song (featuring the whole band) has been sent out to radio stations in Germany. A commercially released single should follow soon(ish).
Robin recently played a few radio sessions in the UK, where he premiered 'Holidays are nice'. The song has also found it's way into the current set list and has been played for the first time during the concert in Oslip, Austria. Three new gigs in Italy have been in the tour section.
Today exactly 10 years ago Jimmy Fernandez (who played bass in The God Machine) died unexpectedly from a brain tumor. Jimmy's gone but not forgotten.
As mentioned last month Sophia will do another tour this Fall. It will be a very special, singular project featuring a string section. So Sophia & strings will be 9 people on stage. Tour period will be October 20 to November 14, 2004.
Something seems to have gone awfully wrong with the pressing of the 'Oh my love' single. The CD has the tracks in the wrong order and the B-side on the 7" is the wrong one ('Someday' instead of 'I hope that I don't fall in love with you').
More tour news: after the summer festivals Sophia will do an extra European tour. This time they will be playing bigger venues than during the current tour. Dates are still being booked but rumour has it they will play at the AB in Brussels, Vera in Groningen and Paradiso (main hall) in Amsterdam.
Two new festival dates in Germany have been added in the tour section.
Tune into XFM, London's premier alternative station tomorrow night (Thursday April 8th) to hear exclusive session tracks from Sophia on the Claire Sturgess show. For those listeners outside London, you can still listen in at www.xfm.co.uk The show runs from 2100-2300 GMT.
No rest for the wicked. Sophia has been booked for the FM4 tour in Austria at the end of May. Other bands on the bill are Die Sterne, Waxolutionists and Stella. The FM4 tour will come to Oslip, Salzburg and Innsbruck. More details on the tour page.
The UK release of 'Oh my love' has been postponed and will now be released on April 5th 2004 on CD and 7" single.
M. Craft will support Sophia at the London Islington Academy gig. (www.musicforears.com/mcraft.html)
Sophia will play the FM4 stage at the Aerodrome festival in Wiener Neustadt, Austria on June the 11th. Other bands on the bill are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Pixies, Slayer, Korn, Linkin Park,...
More info at www.aerodrome.at
Although Sophia are on a European tour at the moment, that doesn't mean that Robin's Flower Shop label is on hold.
The new Copenhagen album 'Sweet Dreams', which was produced by Robin Proper-Sheppard, should get released November 15. (updated 25.10.2004).
Stingray Firecracker have enlisted some new personnel and should release a single and an album (also produced by Robin) on the Flower Shop soonish.
Gamine who supported Sophia in Brussels are now officially part of the Flower Shop posse, so we might expect some material from them too.
There might be another Rhonda Harris album as well.
And then there's also The Hissyfits (a three piece girl punk rock band from New York) who have a single called 'Can't keep waiting' ready for release.
'Holidays are nice' has been re-recorded with the full band and will be the second single from the album. Potential B-sides are an acoustic version of 'Razor Blades' and the instrumental 'Airports' which was originally meant to be the last song on 'People are like seasons'. The single will probably be released towards the summer. But first there's the UK release of 'Oh my love' on March 22.
We've been adding reviews, set lists and pictures of the current European tour in the tour section. Please keep sending in those reviews, set lists and photos.
We can exclusively reveal that Sophia will play the Rock Werchter festival in Belgium this summer. Rock Werchter is a 3-day event and Sophia will play on Saturday July 3. Other confirmed bands are: David Bowie, The Pixies, Metallica, Moloko, Muse, Placebo, Kosheen, Lenny Kravitz, The Darkness, Monster Magnet, Korn,...
'People are like seasons' is released in the UK today!
Here are some reviews from the UK press:
"This is easily a match for the big, universal songs of Flaming Lips or the Verve and deserves to be massive. To be loved long-term." The Daily Telegraph
"Ryan Adams should start looking worried." The Independent on Sunday
"A decade's worth of life lessons compacted into less than fifty minutes... A fruitful affirmation of hope over despair." Mojo
"Like the Marianas Trench in the Pacific, Robin Proper-Sheppard's latest album has considerable depth." Jockey Slut
"Proper-Sheppard is revelling in his rediscovery of rock's raw power without sacrificing his trademark emotional honesty. It's quite a trick." Uncut
"I simply can't stress enough how much you should go out and buy this record. You'll be playing it over and over again and wondering why it isn't number one already... So get it, you will love it, I have said enough." The Sunday Telegraph
Quote of the day: "I had to give up my appartement in Brussels this week and also the one in London, it's just me, my suitcase and the road" (Robin)
The European tour has started. Please feel free to send in concert reviews, set lists and pictures. They will be added in our tour section. As promised we added 5 more gigs in France.
The second single from 'People are like seasons' will be 'Holidays are nice'. Rumour has it that the song has even been re-recorded for the single.
Last night Sophia played a small, warm-up gig in Evreux to prepare for the kick-off of the European tour tonight in Brussels. The tour is now extending into May with the addition of 2 new dates in France. There should be even more new concert dates in the next few weeks.
There's a new downloadable MP3 in the audio section with an interview that Robin did for toazted.com at the end of last year.
UK release of 'Oh my love' is March 22. The single will be release as a CD and a 7".
CD track list:
1. Oh my love (radio edit)
4. I hope that I don't fall in love with you
7" track list:
1. Oh my love (radio edit)
2. I hope that I don't fall in love with you
'People are like seasons' is entering the album charts all over Europe: No. 8 in Belgium, No. 66 in Germany, No. 105 in France,...
There's a whole bunch of new interviews on the site. One of the interviews is an overview of the records that formed Robin's musical taste. There's some funny information in there about what The Cure's '17 seconds' means to Robin. You'll need to understand some French though.
Oh, don't forget: the European tour starts at the end of the week with gigs in France and Belgium.
The Sophiamusic starship has reached its final destination!
We've moved to a reliable and bannerless server. The site also got its final (!) domain name: please update your bookmarks one last time to www.sophiamusic.net
A big 'thank you' goes out to those who helped us with all the changes during the last few weeks. You know who you are.
The UK single for 'Oh my love' will be released on March 22 as a four track CD and a two track 7". The video for 'Oh my love' was filmed in Vienna, and sees Robin Proper-Sheppard reunited with his former God Machine colleague Ron Austin, who directed it (Austin also directed the video for 'Are You Happy Now').
The song was originally conceived as a duet, so Austin and Robin used this conceit as the basis for the video. Robin wanted to reinforce the idea, however subtle, that the song is actually a duet and therefore have the girl in the video mime the words that she would have been singing (including the chorus, which gives a totally new perspective on what the song is actually about).
The video is still available our audio/video section.
There are new tour dates for France, the UK and Italy. The gig at La Maroquinerie in Paris will get a new date later.
Cucamonga, a program on Belgium's Radio 1 recently had an interview with Robin, you can download an MP3 of the interview in our audio section.
Robin premiered a new (and unfinished) song called 'Razor blades' during his Studio Brussel session. Check the audio section for a link to streaming audio for a part of that session. We've already added the lyrics for 'Razor blades' in the lyrics section.
Apparently the song was also played at the Mono gig in Oslo, January 21.
Sophia (+ string section) played a Black Session for France Inter on Monday. The setlist has been added to the tour page. Robin's laptop (with the electronic parts of the songs on its harddisk) crashed, so they had to improvise a bit.
The first part of Robin's solo session for Studio Brussel was aired this Sunday. The second part will be aired in Rock Bottom on Sunday 25th of January.
If you want to go and see Sophia perform their Black Session in Paris this Monday, make sure you have confirmed entrance tickets. There's only room for 250 people, but several thousands of fans have already applied for tickets!!
If you're in Germany, you should check out SchwarzWeiss on HR1. They're broadcasting a Sophia special this Saturday from 9 pm until 11 pm.
Robin's record label 'The Flower Shop Recordings' have just launched a new website:
Copenhagen have completed a new record (produced by Robin) which is set for an April 2004 release on the Flower Shop label.
Robin already has some songs ready for a new Sophia record. One of them is called 'Technology won't save us'. It's a song with lavish orchestration and was originally meant for 'People are likes seasons', but it didn't really fit in with the rest of the songs and was eventually omitted from the album.
We've added several interviews and a couple of reviews. Feel free to send in scans or transcriptions of interviews and reviews from where you live!!
Talking of interviews, there's one with Robin in this weeks HUMO magazine, Belgiums most influential mag. And they're giving away free tickets for all 3 Belgian Sophia concerts. Visit www.humo.be to participate.
The UK release of 'People are like seasons' has been postponed until February 16.
The cd has an enhanced part with lyrics, screensaver,...
Robin played a session for Duyster on Studio Brussel (Belgian radio station). The session will be aired this Sunday evening.
Earlier that evening Robin will be interviewed in Rock Bottom, also on Studio Brussel.
'People are like seasons' is the album of the week on German Radio Eins.
Robin wil be interviewed (+ maybe a session) tonight on Belgian Radio 21 during Expresso which is broadcast between 19h30 an 20h00.
(update: Robin played 3 songs: 'Fool', 'I left you' and 'So slow')
Support band for the Botanique gig in Brussels is Gamine (www.gamine.net).
A Season Drive will support in Switzerland (wwww.aseasonsdrive.com).
The UK release date for the 'Oh my love' single will be either March 22 or 29. Here's the tracklisting for the single:
1. Oh my love (radio edit)
4. I hope that I don't fall in love with you
The last song is a Tom Waits cover (from the album 'Closing Time')
Sophia (full band with strings) will be doing a Black Session in Paris on January 19. The session is open to the public and ususally lasts about 50 minutes. The session will be broadcast during 'C'est Lenoir!' on France Inter. You can listen to the show online at franceinter.com. Visit the website of 'C'est Lenoir!' to get free tickets to attend the session.
Robin and Will (piano player) will be doing a duo showcase in Oslo at Cafe Mono on January 21.
The German band Jansen will be the support act for all Sophia gigs in Germany and Austria. For more info about Jansen go here: www.jansennetz.de
The February 12 gig at The Spitz in London has been cancelled.
Sophia will be interviewed on Belgian Radio 1 on January19. Listen to Cucamonga at 21.00h.
The January/February 2004 issue of German music magazine SPEX has a feature on Sophia and a bonus CD with 'Oh my love' on it. You can find the full tracklist of Spex CD #37 in the discography.
Musikexpress, another German music mag, also has a CD in its January 2004 issue. The first song on it is Sophia's 'Oh my love'. See discography.
Another French gig has been confirmed for March 7th at La Laiterie in Strasbourg.
The UK tour has been extended until April 8th. Venues and towns are still to be confirmed.
Sophia will play radio sessions for Cucamonga (Radio 1, Belgium), Duyster (Studio Brussel, Belgium) and an as yet unknown program on Radio 21 (Belgium). Dates as soon as we get them.
A first batch of free tour singles has been sent out.
You can listen to good quality 30 second snippets of the new album on the French Labels site.
Now that it's possible to listen to 'People are like seasons' on two different sites and since the album release is imminent, we've put the lyrics for the whole album online.
Apparently there's an Italian band who call themselves 'The Sophia cover collective' and who only play Sophia covers. They only play one gig a year around Christmas time. If you know more about them, please let us know!
We recently discovered that the Italian avant-garde musician Claudio Rocchetti released a CD called 'But speak fair words' that has a Sophia cover on it. The track is credited as '(tired nervosa)' but is actually a cover of Woman (glass version). The CD is a limited edition of a 100 copies and was released by S'Agita Recordings in May 2003.
The cover galore doesn't end: The Shallows (the now defunct band by Brian Gregory, who is Mark Eitzel's touring guitarist) released an EP called Crooked Rain in 2001. The fourth song on the EP is a cover of 'So slow'.
Both the Claudio Rocchetti and the Shallows release have been added in a special section at the bottom of the discography.
Contrary to earlier reports from Robin that he didn't want another Sophia website besides www.sophiamusic.tk, the record company seems to have gone ahead and created an 'official' Sophia site. It's very flashy and you need to be a bit patient, but you can have a listen to the new album. The quality of the audio is rather poor, but you get an idea of what it will sound like. Curious? Go to: www.sophia-music.com (but come back afterwards!) :-)
There will be a second gig in France on March 7. Venue and town are yet to be confirmed.
Girls In Hawaii (www.girlsinhawaii.be) and Lawn (www.lawn.nl) will be the support act for some of the Benelux gigs.
The interview we had with Robin Proper-Sheppard last week is now online. There's one or two scoops in there: there was supposed to be a hidden track on the album called 'Airports' but Robin decided not to use it after all.
And Robin was asked by M83 (a French band) to do some vocals on one of their songs. It's currently unknown if and when the song will be released.
Check the interview section for more details.
(a big thank you goes out to Jasper at Bang!)
'Oh my love' has reached the number 1 position in the Arriba chart on Belgians no. 1 radio station Studio Brussel. Arriba is a chart that lists the favourite songs by the Studio Brussel presenters and the music journalists of Belgium's most influential magazine HUMO.
New in our audio/video section:
You can now download an MP3 of 'Oh my love'!
And you can also watch the video that was shot for 'Oh my love'.
We interviewed Robin this afternoon for the website. Expect a transcription of our conversation in the next week or so. Robin presented us with a copy of the free tour single, which is finally going to be distributed. Part one of the distribution process will start next week with an e-mail to check everybody's home address. Those of you who changed their e-mail address will get a chance to confirm their home address later on. Don't e-mail me for this. Just keep checking the site in the next few weeks for the right instructions. The intention is to send out the free tour single before the album is released.
The free tour single is only for those people who bought the De Nachten album during the 2001 tour and filled out a card with their coordinates. As mentioned before the single is now a 10 inch with 'Desert song no. 2' on it and an etching and lyrics on the back. It's a beautiful collector's item.
Robin played a session for Dutch radio (VPRO Club 3voor12) on Wednesday. Murphy's law was involved in this one as strings kept breaking. The whole thing ended when Robin smashed his guitar out of frustration, accidentally hitting a girl in the front row. Luckily the girl's OK. The guitar obviously isn't. You can listen to the session and even look at Robin smashing his guitar at the end of 'Desert song no. 2' on the VPRO site. We've added a link to the correct page in our Audio section. We'll also bring you a translation of the VPRO review in our tour section soon.
Robin and Will played a small showcase at the Oxymoron in Berlin on Wednesday. We added a review & pictures in the tour section. The nice people from www.gaesteliste.de also did a small interview that evening which we put in the interview section.
Sophia played a special showcase at London's Bush Hall on Tuesday. You can check out the set list and a review in the tour section. More reviews and photos are expected in the coming weeks.
On November 25th Sophia will play a free gig at Le Pop In in Paris. Le Pop In is a small club in the 11th district. The gig starts at 21h and support comes from Senso.
Sophia will play a 'Club 3voor12' radio show in Amsterdam on November 26th. This show will we broadcast from 22.00-01.00 on 3FM. The session will later be streamed on this site: http://3voor12.vpro.nl
Further concert dates have been added or changed for: Heidelberg, Copenhagen, Vienna, Wels and Glasgow.
A one track promo single for 'Oh my love' has been sent out to radio stations. The lyrics for the song have been added in the lyrics section. See sleeve in the discography.
Georgie Bush at Buckingham Palace or
Sophia at Bush Hall.
Choose your Bush.
There are new concert dates for France, Ireland and the UK in the Tour section.
‘Fool’, a track from the new Sophia album has been broadcasted by the French radio station Aligre FM during their excellent ‘Helter Skelter’ program. If you have RealPlayer on your PC, you can listen to a stream of the program if you follow this link: http://vigomatic.free.fr/player/helter1.htm
The song starts 35 seconds into the stream. The program will be online until November 24th 2003. The lyrics for ‘Fool’ have been added in the lyrics section.
The tour list got a major update: some new dates (Austria, Germany) and a bunch of confirmations.
The release of ‘People are like seasons’ is getting closer (2 months to go)! More and more music bizniz people have heard the album; I didn’t want to keep these impressions from you:
“This is the most diverse Sophia record up to now, with the usual sad songs, but also with pieces of hard and intense guitars, electronic rhythms, PJ Harvey-rock and even with the unexpected piece of positive pop. We’re already addicted (by Bas Ickenroth)”
“Epic in its intent, its sound and its presentation, PEOPLE ARE LIKE SEASONS never falls into the trap of sounding pretentious or misguided as it captures a sound once described, simply but perfectly, as The Big Music. Where SOPHIA have on occasions been accused of excessive melancholy and a maudlin temper – something that has normally been compensated for by live performances, but which has no doubt been the attraction for the legion of fans that has grown with each release – the new album fleshes out the sound and extends the dynamic boundaries, whilst maintaining Robin’s traditional but effective approach of keeping things minimal, whether they be lyrically or musically. Whether he’s delivering contemplative and introspective songs (for which SOPHIA have until now been best known), presenting a newly developed pop sensibility (as heard on lead single Oh My Love) or showering huge brooding riffs onto his audience, the intensity of the SOPHIA experience is somewhat akin to Mogwai (coincidentally huge fans) performing the songs of Coldplay (probably not such huge fans) in a darkened room with only candles for light.
Most notable of all, whatever the level of volume, is the genuine drama and depth of Robin’s songwriting. As his voice cracks with emotion on the heartbreaking Swept Back, as the guitars kick in across the speakers at the beginning of If A Change Is Gonna Come and explode at its end, as the piano swells gently on Fool, as Desert Song No.2 draws to its final bloody conclusion, as the refrain of Swore To Myself whispers to you, even as the seemingly upbeat but sardonic Holidays Are Nice reveals itself to be laced with bitterness like cyanide in popcorn, it’s a relentless but undeniably potent album that, in its hypnotic intensity, tugs and pulls at you relentlessly. The overriding impression of the album is that it rocks, but this is quite clearly not a rock record. In fact much of it is quiet, pained, acoustic and mines a rich vein of melancholy that seems to seep through all of Robin’s music throughout the years. But when the delivery is this powerful, formidable and, literally, awesome, that response seems a little more understandable. Perhaps, if you call your band SOPHIA, you are never going to be quite what you seem. (from a Press release)”
Another gig in Switzerland has been confirmed.
Entrance for the Sophia gig at the Muffathalle in München is completely free!
We're redesigning the site. We hope you like it better than the previous design.
There's a new promo pic in the pictures section and several tour dates have been confirmed for Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland.
Here's the track list for the new album 'People are like seasons':
1. Oh my love
2. Swept back
4. Desert song no. 2
5. Darkness (another shade in your black)
6. If a change is gonna come...
7. Swore to myself
8. Holidays are nice
9. I left you
10. Another trauma
There's a long list of new European tour dates in the 'On tour' section. But, be careful, most of these dates are still unconfirmed and the UK dates still need to be added too. Expect additions and changes within the next few weeks.
For those of you who thought they’d never get their free tour single: it’s finished and there's a picture of it in the discography. As mentioned before the single is now a 10” with ‘Desert song no. 2’ on it and an etching and lyrics on the back. You can find the lyrics in the lyric section of the site. The artwork and the etching on the back were done by Kirsa Wilkenschildt from the Flower Shop band Copenhagen. She has also made the artwork for the new album, which we’ll show later.
The 10” will be delivered soonish. For those people who’s address or email was indecipherable, who have moved or changed their e-mail, don’t worry: Robin will take their singles with him on tour, along with a full list of all the people that bought De Nachten on the 2001 tour, and distribute the singles he was unable to mail out.
Some more random information:
The concert at Bush Hall will be with the full band and a string section.
A new date for the European tour: Sophia will play at the Fabrik in Hamburg, Germany on February 19. Tickets at www.fabrik.de
We have two new promo pics of Robin in the picture section. They were taken by long time Sophia collaborator Philip Lethen.
And for those who hadn’t noticed yet. The site has a new URL: www.sophiamusic.tk
So change your bookmarks if you hate banners and pop-ups.
The showcase at London's Bush Hall has been confirmed. The gig will be open to the public and tickets will be on sale through Ticketweb.co.uk Tickets cost £8 and the show starts at 7:30 pm. This will be the first opportunity to hear songs from the new album!
The first date from the European tour: Sophia will play at the Patronaat in Haarlem, Holland on March 26, 2004. More info at www.patronaat.nl
UK fans will be able to see Sophia play on November 18th at a very special intimate performance in the beautiful London's Bush Hall (for pictures and map see tour section or got to www.bushhallmusic.co.uk). The exact details of this showcase are still being confirmed.
The UK release date of 'People are like seasons' will probably be a week or two after the rest of Europe.
Some more details. The album will be released in Belgium by Bang! Distribution. They will follow the same release schedule as City Slang/Labels in the rest of Europe (the release is planned for January 12, 2004).
The album is currently in pre-production which means: photoshoots, artwork design and a video shoot (in Vienna). The video will be for 'Oh my love' which will be sent out as a promo-cd to radio stations before the release of the album. The song should be released as a retail single in the UK, but this will be after the release of the full album.
It also looks like there will be some showcases in November.
OK, here we go:
The third studio album is called ‘People are like seasons’. The album will be released in January 2004 by City Slang/Labels/Virgin all over Europe (except for Belgium). Which means that Sophia have traded all the small distributors for a big record label. That way, the new record should be more easily available than the previous albums.
Sophia also have a new and bigger booking agent for Europe. They have drafted up a big European tour for Sophia. The plan is to do a couple of UK shows (incl. London) around the UK release date (early February) and then start a European tour from February 12 to March 28 or even April 4. After that Sophia will be playing summer festivals. The band will tour as a 5-piece, but there might be some gigs with a string quartet.
This is an impression of the new album taken from a press release:
“’People are like seasons’ takes things a step further, however. It may be the first record that Proper-Sheppard has released through another label in ten years, but he has at no point relinquished control of his music. Again recorded and produced without any outside influences or intervention and then licensed to City Slang, it sees the sound of Sophia develop significantly from the introverted and almost country-tinged sounds of the first two studio albums, blossoming into a far more broad-shouldered beast, one that carries far more weight and even more intensity. It may at first be a shock to hear the band lean back towards the sound of The God Machine, but it merely reflects the way that the band have grown whilst performing live. It also offers a new dimension to the Sophia sound, building on the repetitive characteristics of the first two studio albums but offering a sense of dynamics and a genuinely accessible selection of songs that are no less powerful for that. As with Sophia's live shows, it makes little difference whether or not one is confronted with acoustic or electric performances when the songs themselves carry a genuine gravitas that is often missing from so much music at the moment, a quality that can rarely be faked and which should always be welcomed. Long overdue, this is the new sound of The Big Music.”
Copenhagen - who released their debut album on The Flower Shop Recordings - are currently recording their (as yet untitled) second album. Robin Proper-Sheppard is producing the album and will also play some guitar on it.
The third studio album is finished!!
Lot's and lot's of news coming your way very soon. Here's a sneak peek:
The free tour single is now NOT going to be a 7" of 'You Only Tell Me You Love Me When Your Drunk' and 'If You Want A Home. Robin has decided to use one of his favourite and most epic (8 minutes long!) songs off the new album (tentatively titled "Desert Song No. 2") and release it as a 10" with an etching and lyrics on the back. Very collectable. And very cool.
This will NOT be available in the shops, and will cost A LOT more to manufacture and ship. So well worth the wait!
The songs that were originally intented to be on the free single will not be thrown away, but are now considered as B-side material. And before you say "Why don't you put the other songs on the B-side of the 10 inch?" Well, because once you hear the new song you'll realise why Robin didn't want to trivialise your first experience of the new album with a cover version (no matter how much he likes it).
We'll get some info out very soon about the whole email/address problem for the free single (remember: this single is a present for those who bought the 'De Nachten' album during the intimistic tour Sophia did in 2001).
More news (album and song titles, release date) coming soon.
I found an interview from October 2002 where Malcolm Middleton (Arab Strap) talks about the 'Three cities' tour and about the new Sophia album. Check it out in the interview section.
For those of you wondering why it’s taken so long to finish the new Sophia album, this is just one of the reasons: last December Robin spent 4 days with his pals The Gasolineros recording a 3-track single. The single “The day I ran away” will be available from April 28 on Queen Bitch Records. You can find more info and MP3 samples here: www.thegasolineros.com
Regarding the tour single: in a few weeks time an e-mail will be sent to all the people that bought the single on tour so they can confirm the validity of their home address. We might also post a list on this website of all the people who didn't respond to that e-mail, so they can confirm their address through this site. After this is done the tour single will be sent out.
We're glad to present you a message from Robin about the new album:
As it stands, there's seven days until the NEW SOPHIA RECORD IS DONE!!!!
I'm going to finish 14 of the songs I've recorded and choose between 10 and 12 for the actual album. All the songs are new except "I Left You" which I really wanted to include on the new record. Is the new version of "I Left You" better than the live version? In some ways yes (my drummer thinks so...) and in some ways no (The studio version obviously isn't live and doesn't have the same energy which I love about the live recordings) but the song still means a lot to me (it seems to be about an aspect of my personality that I'm constantly confronted with) and I wanted the song to be available to the larger audience that will be made aware of this album.
On a side note: Live albums are generally seen as stop-gap recordings and as such don't command as much attention within the general public and media. I admit that I accepted this point of view and with the exception of the acoustic shows and the few general interviews that I did, didn't try to push the album as hard as I would a proper studio album. Does this mean that I don't like the De Nachten album? On the contrary, I tend to feel it's my favorite Sophia release. It's a little rough, but there's definitely a spirit to it that I love.
Back to the new (and still untitled) album: There's some pretty rockin' moments on the new record. And some pretty bloody noisy moments too. But there's also a lot of space. Indeed there's moments of almost total silence within some of the songs. There's definitely a lot of light and shade.
There are strings on about half of the album. And again, piano is a very big part of what I've been writing lately too. I recorded all of the guitars for this record myself (for better or worse) and realized that I can actually still create quite a decent noise on the electric guitar. And so in that respect, I guess the new album bears a little closer resemblance to some of the quieter (and NOT so quiet) God Machine moments than previous Sophia records. I'm afraid that some people might find this lack of extra guitar playing/players a bad thing... And I'm sorry for that. But what can I do? All I can say is that I heard the sounds that I wanted to try and create in my head and tried (some might say in vain) to create it with my own fingers. I hope I haven't failed...
There's also a couple of electronic-based pieces I've been working on too. Will they make the album? Hmmm, don't know. To the few people that have actually heard them, they say the songs still sound like Sophia. Strip away the acoustic guitar, add a few bleeps and blops and I guess they're right. There's definitely still a "Sophia" atmosphere to the computer-based music I've done, but will I use it? I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
And suddenly it's 2003. This should be the year where we finally get to hear the new studio album (and the free tour single).
Anyway, there's not a lot of news at the moment: I added an item about the origin of the bandname in the FAQ/Trivia section and I added a link to a new God Machine site called Sunday Velvet.
A round-up of the free tour single:
Robin has just recorded a string section for the first track: "You only tell me you love me when you're drunk'. The second track on the single is 'If you want a home', a studio recording of the track we know as 'B-side' and which was played at the end of the 1999 tour. It's a great version with really sweet vocals in the verse and absolutely massive
guitars in the chorus. As said before there will be at least two more tracks on the single.
Robin is even considering a commercial release of the single near the end of the year. Of course it's still absolutely free to everyone that bought 'De Nachten' during the tour.
I just added an MP3 of 'So slow' by Tex La Homa.
Tex La Homa is the UK-based band of Matt Shaw. As Matt is a Sophia fan, they sometimes play 'So slow' during their gigs. We got a recording of their brilliant cover which you can download in the audio section.
Tex La Homa also just released an excellent debut album: 'Dazzle me with transience'. You can find out more about Tex La Homa at www.superglider.com.
I took an idea from the official Arab Strap site and created a bootleg trading page.
People who are interested in trading bootlegs of Sophia gigs can contact each other trough the bootleg page.
This is NOT a commercial initiative: it is only for the purpose of trading, not selling!!
Robin Proper-Sheppard recently produced an album for Stingray Firecracker. The first single from the album is called "All to every one" and will be released in October on Robin's Flower Shop label. The album will follow soon. You can have a listen at 3 songs (including the single) on the band's website:
The mini-tour with Malcolm Middleton and Kristofer Aström has been confirmed.
It has been named "Three Cities... a.k.a. One man's home is another man's hell..." as it's a tour of the performers' hometown. This is where they'll be playing:
August 6: London, Water Rats theatre (www.plumpromotions.co.uk)
August 7: Glasgow, Barfly Club (www.barflyclub.com)
August 8: Stockholm, Kägelbanan (www.sodrateatern.com)
Sophia (Robin and Will), Malcolm Middleton (guitarist for Arab Strap; he has a solo album coming out in September) and Kristofer Aström (sings with Swedish band Fireside but also has an alt. country project called Kristofer Aström and Hidden Truck) are putting a few acoustic shows together for August. Most likely in London, Glasgow and Stockholm.
Once everything is confirmed we will be able to give you the exact dates and places
Sophia are currently playing in Denmark. If you get the chance to go to the gig you'll hear their cover of 'Chelsea Hotel' by Leonard Cohen. It's just piano and vocal and everybody seems to like it a lot.
Those still wondering about the tour single: yes it's coming and the track listing has now been extended to 4 (!) songs and is still growing! These will all be exclusive!
The new album is coming along quite nicely. Recordings will be finished up in July.
This is what Robin had to say about it: "The songs are going great and everybody working on it is really excited. It's different but the same. Know what I mean? 25% Fixed Water/Infinite Circle, 25% De Nachten and 50% "new" Sophia. And I don't mean the songs... but the style."
As a special favour to good friends the Radar Bros., Sophia will play as support at the Radar Bros. gig in London at the Barfly club (www.barflyclub.com) on May 27. This gig will be with Robin and Will, the piano player.
According to the organizers, Robin will NOT play at the Spot08 festival on May 10th. He will only participate in a debate about "DIY - Do it yourself". This has nothing to do with masturbation or 'Changing rooms', but should be about the music industry.
For this debate he will be joined by Emil Jørgensen from the Danish band Swan Lee (for the DIY fans: they have a beautiful female singer. www.swanlee.dk)
More info about the debate at www.spot08.dk in the 'Foredrag/Debat' section, where amongst other things you can learn that that Robin is actually a "sanger, sangskriver, guitarist og pladeselskabsindehaver". Go figure! :-)
All the live reviews, set lists, live pics and flyers have been inserted in the On Tour page, where every gig gets a separate page.
There seem to be some problems with the direct.at/sophia URL. You can avoid this by using the following URL to access this site: www.geocities.com/wouterberteloot/sophia.html
Robin will play three acoustic shows in Denmark. The gigs were booked around the Spot 08 festival in Aarhus.
The Spot festival is an annual event where for two days and from 5 stages about 50 up-and-coming Danish/Nordic acts present their music. Off stage there’ll be plenty of debates, panel discussions, workshops etc. where Nordic as well as international representatives from the wide world of music will throw new light on the possibilities and conditions for growth in the music industry and music as such - finding new pathways for development of the music and the surroundings and forms it can be presented in. That’s where Robin comes in as a songwriter, performer, producer and label-owner.
These are the dates:
May 8 '02: Voxhall, Aarhus (DK) www.voxhall.dk
May 9 '02: Rust, Copenhagen (DK) www.rust.dk
May 10 '02: Spot 08 festival, Aarhus (DK) www.spot08.dk and www.rosa.org
No other tour dates are expected as Sophia is currently tied up in the recording process of the new album!
Finally Robin has this to say about the free tour single: “To all the people that bought the album on tour, although I bow my head in shame, fear not, you are not by any means forgotten and in the end will be justly rewarded for the long wait. I PROMISE!!!”
From now on, the 'TABS' link on this page will guide you to a separate and brand new site with all the Sophia and May Queens tabs on it. (site built and maintained by Dries Neyrinck)
Sophia's PR company confirms that there will be a new studio album later this year. No release date has been set yet.
The tour finally starts to materialise: Robin will play a solo gig at the Voxhall in Aarhus, Denmark on the 8th of May 2002. More info: www.voxhall.dk
There's a new edition of the 'De Nachten' festival coming up this weekend in Antwerp and Amsterdam. Glasgows new rising noise sensation Aereogramme will be playing there. This is what they had to say about the God Machine in a recent interview:
"Mogwai did not invent quiet-loud, and we have singing in every single song, so we just shouldn't get the comparisons; and I say this in every interview, but if you're going to compare us, compare us to the God Machine. We love The God Machine - they were huge, huge influences, purely because on 'Scenes from the second story', the heaviest song was followed by the quietest song, and that to me was the most incredible thing and no one had ever done that. Everyone else was like 'Urggh', whereas the God Machine went right down and then suddenly made you shit your pants the next song later - that always impressed me"
There's a brand new interview from Pennyblackmusic.com in the interview section.
Robin talks about the new studio album. He hopes to release it in April next year. His original plan was to re-record the new songs that appeared on 'De Nachten' on to it, but satisfied with them as they are and feeling that they are already the "definitive" versions, he has decided instead to concentrate entirely on unreleased material. He has written over forty five songs, and is now in the process of whittling them down to decide which ones he will record for the new CD. He also plans to release a new May Queens album in 2002. More details in the full interview.
Some God Machine related news:
US post-hardcore emo rockers Garrison have covered 'Ego' on their new split EP with Hundred Reasons. More at www.garrisonkills.com
Plus there's a Welsh band Liberty 37 - who have been picking up rave reviews recently - who have just released a new album entitled 'God Machine'. The singer said this in an interview: ” I’m Wales’ biggest God Machine fan, I think I've cried twice in my life when people have died, and one of them was when I heard that Jimmy Fernandez had died - I was heartbroken. It was unbelievably sad; they were the greatest band I had ever heard! Everyone needs the God Machine in their life!" More info at www.liberty37.com
Some news about the free tour 7". Because of the earlier mentioned manufacturing problems with the 7", Robin has decided to release the songs on cd and not on vinyl.
The cd will be sent out somewhere in 2002. The planned free split 7" with label mates Copenhagen and Elysian Fields will also be put on cd and sent out along with the Sophia cd.
Elysian Fields have also just released a new EP on the Flower Shop label.
An excerpt from a recent interview (in HUMO magazine) with Mintzkov Luna:
HUMO: What was this year's high point?
Philip Bosschaerts (singer): I don't know if this is the highest of the highest, but it must be the five support gigs for Robin Proper-Sheppard of Sophia. I've been a fan of him for years and I was overjoyed when he told us after a gig that he really liked our music.
It's official: Sophia will NOT play any extra support gigs for Mogwai during the rest of their European tour.
Those who went to see Sophia in the UK, please send in you review of the gig!
Sophia have started their UK tour supporting Mogwai. I’ve just added a short review of the Bristol gig.
The support acts for approximately half of the Mogwai gigs in Europe (mainland) have been announced and so far there are no Sophia support slots.
Sophia's support slot for the UK dates of the Mogwai tour has now been confirmed. You can find the dates in the tour section. There's no confirmation yet regarding gigs in the rest of Europe.
It looks like Sophia will be supporting Mogwai on their UK tour. And possibly for a couple of shows in the rest of Europe too. We'll keep you posted!
No Sophia news at the moment. To ease the pain: I've added a link to a streamed interview and session with Robin, which was shown earlier this year on Canal +.
(see links section)
The latest UK release dates from the Flower Shop label:
Sophia - 'De Nachten' - October 15th
Elysian Fields - 'Queen of the meadow' - October 29th
Rhonda Harris - 'The trouble with Rhonda Harris' - November 26th (NEW DATE!)
Copenhagen - 'Tales from the forest' - November 19th (NEW DATE!)
All the tabs from the 'De nachten' album are now online.
Someone with too much time on his hands made a new site which will have all the God Machine tabs very soon. You can already find a link in the link section. (Where else would it be?)
This week's Humo magazine has a nice quote from Robin at Pukkelpop. Right before the start of 'So slow' he said: "Those of you who are bored, go to the Skate Stage to mosh or something." :-)
As mentioned yesterday it looks like ‘De Nachten’ will be released in the UK near the end of October, which will coincide with a London show at Toynbee Hall. This will be with full line-up including strings. You can find Toynbee Hall here: www.artsadmin.co.uk/aaresources/location.html
Robin is finishing up the free tour 7" and as an added bonus he’s going to include a free split-sided 7" with Copenhagen and Elysian Fields (both bands are on Robins Flower Shop label).
And Robin had this to say about the Pukkelpop gig: “Please thank everybody for their support at Pukkelpop. The band and I were totally blown away by their support. As always... Belgium rocks!”
Apparantly the UK release of 'De Nachten' is only for the end of October. All the previous release dates were issued by a PR company. Apparently they fucked up.
The live reviews section has been updated with all the reviews from the Belgian press about Sophia’s gig at Pukkelpop last weekend. This is what Robin had to say about the gig: http://www.vrt.be/real/stubru/dalet/sophia.ram
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad asked a bunch of artists which band they wanted to see during Pukkelpop. Robin Proper-Sheppard chose “Fireside. Great punk rock band, a lot better than all the sterile punk rock in the charts.”.
Today, Sophia’s live album ‘De Nachten’ is released in the UK. If you see any reviews, please send them in!
On Saturday, at the Pukkelpop festival, the band played their only gig this summer.
You can find pictures and a review in the appropriate sections.
The UK release of 'De Nachten' has been pushed back a week, so the new release date is August 27.
Belgian radiostation Studio Brussel will be at the Pukkelpop festival and will be paying attention to Sophia too. This means you can expect a short acoustic studio session, an interview and some live excerpts. You can listen at Studio Brussel on their website www.studiobrussel.be Click on 'Luister' and 'live'. Then choose your format.
Some Pukkelpop related info:
The band has been practising this week for the festival. Yep, Robin has just discovered the virtues of practising before a show! :-)
When asked about the bands of which he was very proud to have them on the bill this year, Pukkelpop-boss Chokri mentioned the following three: Sparklehorse, Xzibit and Sophia. Wahey! (source: Humo magazine)
Sophia keyboard player Will Foster is playing on the current Heather Nova tour. That means he'll be playing two gigs at Pukkelpop!
Manufacturing problems and other unforeseen circumstances have considerably pushed back the release date of the free tour 7 inch. All email and postal addresses have been logged, but it's still unclear when exactly the singles will be sent out.
But don't worry, you will get the 7" in the end. We'll keep you posted.
Keep an eye out for reviews of ‘De Nachten’ in UK magazines during the next few weeks. I’ve just added a review from metal mag Kerrang! in the album reviews section.
Some news from Robin’s Flower Shop label: ‘De Nachten’ by Sophia and ‘Queen of the meadow’ by Elysian Fields will be released in the UK on August 20.
There will also be two album releases on the label in September/October: Copenhagen will release their debut-album ‘Tales from the forest’ (FLOWCD 014) and Rhonda Harris (FLOWCD 013) will release ‘The trouble with Rhonda Harris’.
People have been asking to meet other Sophia fans at the upcoming Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. To make the necessary arrangements with other fans please turn to the GM and Sophia mailing list.
To subscribe, send a mail to email@example.com with the body of the e-mail containing the simple message: subscribe purity
The line-up for Pukkelpop has changed: Sophia moves up a spot and is now the second highest on the bill (see below: 25.06.2001).
There’s a review of Tool’s ‘Lateralus’ album in this week’s issue of Belgium’s most important magazine ‘Humo’. This is an excerpt: “It immediately reminds us of The God Machine during ‘Scenes from the second storey’, very obvious a record Tool have been listening a lot to”.
Exclusive news: I've got the exact date for the Pukkelpop gig. Sophia will play in the Marquee (second biggest stage) on Saturday 25th of August. This is the current line-up of the Marquee stage (Sophia got a very nice spot!):
Mark B & Blade
Sophia will play the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium. The festival takes place from Thursday the 23th untill Saturday the 25th of August. Some of the other bands already confirmed for the festival are: Stone Temple Pilots, Sisters of Mercy, Orbital, Papa Roach, Eels, Heather Nova, Spearhead, Mogwai, Stephen Malkmus, The Hives, Zoot Woman, Mercury Rev, The Divine Comedy, Starsailor, …
More info: www.pukkelpop.be and www.pukkelpop.zzn.com
I did some more research on collaborations Robin did and found some stuff he made as the Slack Dog Ensemble. This ensemble consists of Robin Proper-Sheppard and a bunch of people from the dance scene (such as Luke Vibert, a.k.a. Wagon Christ). The discography has been updated with the releases from the Slack Dog Ensemble (the tracklist for the ‘Slackdog EP’ is still subject to change!). I also added a link to ‘Ruff dog’ in the audio section (now removed). You can hear Robin talk at the beginning of the song.
I discovered a new Sophia song on the net. It’s a collaboration with OBX called ‘Reminds me of the sun’. It’s a really nice song, almost a lullaby. It was recorded for the ‘Constant friction: collaborations 2’ cd that was released on Lo Recordings last year. More info in the discography, lyrics at the bottom of the lyrics section .
Robin and Will have just finished the tour on Saturday in Copenhagen. Robin asked me to forward this message to all the people who went to see Sophia on the intimistic tour:
“Can you do me a favour and thank everyone for buying the album at the concerts? The tour went absolutely brilliantly and the responses from the audiences really made me proud to be involved with Sophia. Honestly, it was such a great reminder of why I'm doing it all in the first place.”
A new review for the gig in Oslo mentions that Sophia used a violin player on some of the Scandinavian gigs. And contrary to earlier reports, Robin was not able to book a gig in Sweden.
Regarding the tour 7". Do not to panic. The songs are ready to be pressed. All that Robin has to do now is find out how many he needs and find out how long it will take to manufacture. One of the main reasons Robin didn't bring the 7" with him on tour is the fact that only 1 company in the UK actually makes 7" now and they told him they were backed up over 6 weeks and couldn't guarantee a delivery date.
According to Robin, the new studio album will be released in October or November.
There are a couple of nice pictures from the Krefeld gig (with string section) in the pictures section. You can find more pics of the gig plus a review of the gig (in German) at www.gaesteliste.de
There's a new release on Robin's Flower Shop label: New York based Eysian Fields released a full album called 'Queen of the meadow'. Picture in the Flower Shop section.
Will Foster (piano) has joined Robin for the German dates. The setlist and a review for the Krefeld gig (with the string section) are now online.
About the Scandinavian tour: there will probably be a gig in Stockholm on May 4. Details will follow later.
There’s also a new German interview (from the beginning of 2000) where Robin mentions that Sophia was originally intended as a trilogy of which ‘The infinite circle’ was part two. But he also said he liked the Pet Shop Boys cover with Adèle so much that he was thinking about releasing a Sophia double cd with covers and remixes. At that point Robin was looking for songs and people to record some more duets. We do not know if this project will still go ahead.
And again a new concert: Sophia will play at So What! in Oslo, Norway on May 2. (www.sowhat.no)
Another confirmed Sophia gig in Scandinavia: May 5 at the Vega in Copenhagen, Denmark. (www.vega.dk)
It looks like Sophia will tour Scandinavia: we have one confirmed date at Kvarteret (www.kvarteret.uib.no) in Bergen (Norway) on the third of May.
The German tour starts tomorrow, please send in your reviews! We're also looking for reviews from the gigs in Hasselt and Liège (B) last month.
For those who wonder why they didn't see St. Thomas supporting Sophia during the Belgian tour: someone in the band was ill (foot- and-mouth disease?) and they returned to Norway. So Robin asked Mintzkov Luna if they could also play on the 3 remaining dates.
A correction: the German tour will NOT feature the full band line-up. However, piano player Will Foster might be joining Robin again if everything regarding his father's death is taken care of.
Remember: the show in Krefeld is the only one where a string section will be joining Sophia! Don't miss it!!!
Some of the gigs of the German tour will be with the full band line-up. We can expect some changes in the Sophia line-up as guitar player Adam Franklin is moving to New York. On a similar note: May Queens drummer James Elkington has moved to Chicago.
Someday there will be a second May Queens album. It still has to be recorded and will be released a long time after the third Sophia album. Somewhere in 2015 I suppose.
The third Sophia cd is still set for a September release but if Robin has too much work with the Flower Shop label it might even be a bit later.
(news kindly provided by Christophe and Marz)
The new Sophia live album ('De Nachten') is already available in the shops in Belgium.
Support act in Münster is The A.M. Thawn (www.amthawn.de)
Sophia’s European tour started yesterday. The tour is now a solo tour by Robin as piano player Will Foster will not be joining him due to the death of his father.
The live album is simply called ‘De nachten’ and has been added to the discography. The album has eight songs and is absolutely brilliant. Everyone who buys the live album gets a postcard that has to be sent to the Flower Shop in order to get the free 7". The 7" will be sent to you near the end of April.
There’s a review of the gig in the live review section, the discography has been updated and the new lyrics will follow soon.
The Sophia gig in Prague has been cancelled. The gig in Frankfurt has been moved to Cooky's and the show in Dresden will take place at the Starclub (vakuum.net/starclub).
Some support acts for the tour: Rock Rally winners Mintzkov Luna will support Sophia in Brussels and Leuven. Ai Phoenix will support in Liège and Eeklo and St.Thomas is the support act in Diksmuide and Hasselt.
An update about the new releases: The only song that is not yet confirmed for the live album is 'Like a record'. The new song 'Ship' is now called 'Ship in the sand'.
The free 7 inch will feature 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk' (Pet Shop Boys cover) and a new song called 'If you want a home'.
For those who wonder what Robin did during the last months of 2000: he played bass guitar in Toshack Highway (who released their debut cd on Robin's Flower Shop label).
You can see pictures of Robin and the rest of the band in the tour section of www.toshackhighway.com or in the Toshack Highway section of www.paceagency.de
I've added a new interview (first one for 2001) with Robin and Adam where they talk about Toshack Highway and the May Queens.
An update about the tour and new album:
The tour is officially called 'An intimistic night with Sophia'. Robin will play acoustic guitar and Will Foster will play the piano. The new mini album will be made available at these concerts before it hits the shops.
The mini album is called 'The Night, de Nachten - The Birthday Tapes' and is a live recording of the concerts at the 'de Nachten' festivals earlier this year. (it was his daughter's birthday that weekend)
It looks as if the whole concert will be on the cd (see live reviews section for the setlist), which means that the 4 new songs and the Lennon cover will be included!
People who buy the mini album at the concerts will also receive a free 7" single with a new song and a Pet Shop Boys cover on it. More info about this cover in the FAQ section.
The third Sophia studio album is now officially scheduled for a September 2001 release.
Some tour changes for Germany: April 14 is now a day off and the concert in Krefeld (Luther Kirche) has been moved to April 16. This is the only gig with a string section.
Received the confirmed tourdates for Germany and the Czech Republic from the booking agency:
Apr. 10 '01: Irish pub, Ravensburg (D)
Apr. 11 '01: Club 2, München (D) (www.club2.de)
Apr. 12 '01: Festung, Traunstein (D) (www.cafe-festung.de)
Apr. 13 '01: Dreikönigskeller, Frankfurt (D)
Apr. 14 '01: Luther Kirche, Krefeld (D) (with string quartet!)(www.three-2-one.com/lutherkirche)
Apr. 15 '01: Gleis 22, Münster (D) (www.gleis22.de)
Apr. 17 '01: Knust, Hamburg (D)
Apr. 18 '01: Mau Club, Rostock (D) (www.mauclub.de)
Apr. 19 '01: Roter Salon, Berlin (D) (www.rotersalon.de)
Apr. 20 '01: tba, Dresden (D)
Apr. 21 '01: Palac Akropolis, Prague (CZ)
These are all the Belgian dates of the Sophia tour:
Mar. 20 '01: Botanique, Brussel (B) (www.botanique.be)
Mar. 21 '01: 't Stuc, Leuven (B) (www.stuc.kuleuven.ac.be)
Mar. 22 '01: Soundstation, Liège (B) (www.soundstation.be)
Mar. 23 '01: N9, Eeklo (B) (www.n9.be)
Mar. 24 '01: 4AD, Diksmuide (B) (www.4ad.be)
Mar. 25 '01: Muziek-o-droom, Hasselt (B) (www.muziekodroom.org)
Sophia will do a tour as a duo: Robin on acoustic guitar and someone on piano.
A new mini-album will be released too. It will only be available at the concerts. Every buyer also gets a free 7 inch!
These are the yet to be confirmed German dates:
Apr. 10 ’01: Irish pub, Ravensburg (D) tbc
Apr. 11 ‘01: Club 2, München (D) tbc
Apr. 12 ‘01: Festung, Traunstein (D) tbc
Apr. 14 ‘01: Luther Kirche, Krefeld (D) tbc
Apr. 17 ‘01: Knust, Hamburg (D) tbc
Apr. 18 ‘01: Glocksee, Hannover (D) tbc
This date in Belgium is already confirmed:
Mar. 24 ’01: 4AD, Diksmuide (B)(www.4ad.be)
Sophia played the first two gigs in a long time this weekend at 'De Nachten' in Amsterdam and Antwerp. They played the same songs at both gigs. They premiered 4 brilliant new songs (The sea, Ship, Bad Man, I left you) and Robin confirmed that the shows were being taped in order to release a live CD. I wrote an extensive review for the Antwerp gig. You can read it in the 'Live reviews' section.
There’s a new interview from 1998, where Robin talks about the new (third) Sophia album: "I think that the album will be quite a bit different. There will a few more instrumental numbers. I've been experimenting with some things that I find quite difficult to put into words. So I thought that rather than try to force myself to explain something in words, I would just leave it instrumental and hopefully let the music speak for itself."
Rumour has it that the performances at "De Nachten" will be recorded for an official live album. The third Sophia studio album is now rumoured for a September 2001 release.
There's also an edition of "De Nachten" in Amsterdam. Sophia is playing there on 12 januari 2001 (the day before the gig at "De Nachten" in Antwerp). More info and tickets at www.paradiso.nl
Sophia will perform an exclusive set at DE NACHTEN in Antwerp, Belgium on 13 January 2001. For the first time Sophia will play songs from their yet to be released third album.
De nachten ('the nights') is a 2 day event at De Singel which combines performances from writers and musicians. More info and tickets (800 francs/night) at www.denachten.com
The debut album by The May Queens (another project from Robin), simply called 'The may queens' is still available in the shops. If you like Sophia, you will like this album too.
A new Sophia album is expected early 2001. One excellent track called 'B-side' (as it was originally intended to be a b-side) is very likely to be included on the new album. Sophia played the song during their last tour.