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. Go here.
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.