Being the "in" artist isn't easy. Just ask Sophie Allison, who records as Soccer Mommy. Her debut proper, Clean, has taken a prominent place in the hearts and minds of the indie music world in early 2018, she hasn't a moment to bask in her accomplishment, constantly on the road for a U.S. tour. I managed to catch her via email in moments on the road, some of these exchanges are edited down for your perusal into the process behind an early favourite for many listeners this year.

Knowing your goal here was to craft a cohesive album vs. your kind of scattered releases in the past, how did it feel to tackle a full album in the studio? How did the new production values affect your process?

I wanted to make the record sound really cohesive on top of being cohesive in the writing sense. I went in with this idea that it should sound both gentle and crushing, and I wanted to do that in a way that felt like a humid summer night in a starry field. The production elements that I had made it really easy to explore ideas and make the album sound exactly how I wanted it to.

Related to that, how was it working with a more 'heavyweight' producer? How did he inform the creation of the album?

It was great working with Gabe. I wouldn't have worked with anyone if I hadn't worked with him I don't think. He really understood that I wanted this warm, even astronomical element to the music and he knew just how to get the songs there.

How has Nashville shaped your music?

I think growing up in Nashville has given my music a little bit of a southern feel. I think it also gave me this nostalgia for small-town life, and I feel like I often portray that in my music.

Soccer Mommy

Much of the album walks a graceful fine line between catchy fun and the emotional relationship tales that make up the heart of the record (in my mind, anyway), were you drawing entirely from personal experience or more writing stories? If the former, were you recalling old wounds, or more recent experiences?

I was writing from experience. most of the songs were newer wounds that were deeper than anything before. I think I went through a lot of pain and fear around the time I was experiencing what those songs were about. A few songs look back on old wounds, but they relate them to my current state. It's almost like self-reflection on my own mistakes that comes back up with new similar situations.

Is the Mary on 'Cool' inspired by an actual person in your life?

Actually, "Mary" is supposed to be this figure that represents all of the things I want myself to be. Rather than an actual person, it's all of the things that I idealize put into a symbol. "Mary" isn't real, she's only all the good things you wish you were.

Soccer Mommy

Animals are employed as devices often throughout the album, is there something to a dog or a wolf that expresses an idea more easily, or more powerfully, than just talking about a person?

I used the dog/wolf idea because the two are kind of contrasting despite being related. At the start of the album, I feel like a dog, being domesticated by someone, but I want to be a wolf that's strong and powerful. I want to be the one who can devour a person and leave them in the dust because I've been hurt and I don't want to be again. I think this is powerful because it shows that love can be animalistic and destructive, or it can be comfortable and loyal.

I've gotta ask, what kind of songs did you write when you were 6?

I was writing songs that were mostly nonsense at that age. By the time I was in middle school I was at least writing stuff that made sense, but even still I don't think my stuff was much good until high school at least!

Soccer Mommy

'Scorpio Rising' is one of the songs that stuck with me in particular, is there a particular story behind it? Can you delve into what you meant by a body 'made from the stars', and being a victim of the planets?

The story behind that is this: I was seeing someone in the summer who I wasn't going to keep seeing when I went back to college. I acted like I didn't care about it but I did actually care. the sooner it got to leaving the more I felt scared and worried about what was going to happen when I left - I assumed he'd meet someone knew who was everything I wasn't and I'd be left feeling sorry for myself. The line "you're made from the stars" was supposed to mean that he was a piece of my world that was bigger and brighter than other pieces. He was like a star in the sky that I would always have over me, and he was special. I felt like I was just another person who was affected by the planets and the stars and he was one of them.

What albums were you listening to yourself during writing and recording? Did any influence your songwriting or the vibe of the album?

When I was writing the album I was listening to artists like Mitski, Slowdive, Grouper, and ambient artists like William Basinski and Aphex Twin. I think that some of the ambient stuff influenced me to have ambient elements in the production of the songs.

Soccer Mommy

How was it touring with Mitski and Jay Som?

I loved playing with both of them! we got to tour with Jay Som for almost a month so we got to be really good buds with them. At one show in Omaha, we played a really rough cover of "soak up the sun" to like 20 people, it was super fun though!

Where do you intend to go moving forward? Do you want to hit the ground running/have ideas for the inevitable sophomore album, or intend to take a break?

I've already written a few songs for the next album. I'm not totally sure where it's going yet but I can tell it's going to be really personal about my health and my issues with myself, and I think it might get a little darker.

Soccer Mommy's debut full-length, Clean, is out now. You can read our review of it by heading here.