The first time I spoke to Sofi Tukker was in LA the day of their release party for the Soft Animals EP. In the year and few months since, Sofi Tukker have been nominated for a Grammy, played Coachella and other large festivals, and are now on tour supporting Odesza.

On October 20th, the duo played their second show of the tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Chet Porter opened and warmed up the crowd. Odesza staked their claim as headliner using an increased production budget to their advantage.

Then there’s Sofi Tukker. The duo brought out their signature beat tree and as always wore coordinating outfits that only enhanced their hypnotic sound and whimsical choreography. They even brought out Jake Shears to sing the duelling vocal lines on ‘Awoo’. But even more than the bright colours and dance-worthy beats, there’s an earnest connection that Sofi Tukker presents to the audience. To see these two bring that same sophistication and honest fun to such a large crowd was a revelation. At one point, Sophie said “fuck it” and jumped off the stage and joined a dance circle in the pit. Literally half the band was in the audience. And Tucker, just like Sophie, took command of the whole stage working as equal parts beat commander and hype man.

Sofi Tukker ensure the experience is immersive; while they are your tour guide, they’re the ones who tell you about the hidden gems. Off the record, of course. The performance is about what is best for the audience while recognizing no two audiences are alike. The spirit of the show is comforting for music fans who find meaning in those moments when everyone is united for the cause of music and joyful release.

A few hours before show time, I was escorted backstage to Sofi Tukker’s green room. After taking a few minutes to catch up and chat about the fact we were steps from where the Lakers relax before games, we settled in to discuss their steady rise and what they are most looking forward to in the future.

There’s a lot of talent out there waiting to be discovered. You two have been a shining example of putting your nose to the grind and finding success. Do you find that after having put in that work, it beat out having a more “overnight” success?

T: It’s funny because we don’t really know what it would be like to be an overnight success.

S: Yeah, and not to be cheesy, but the fun is in the grind. And I don’t think we would have it any other way. It’s really satisfying to put in the work and like, just the work itself is fun.

T: I mean, you get to travel and see places. Yeah, it’s exhausting and you get sick, you miss a lot of things. But, you get to see the world. I had been out of the country for a total of two days before I was in Sofi Tukker. And now I’ve been everywhere the past two years. I’m jetlagged all the time, but I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

S: There’s a real satisfaction in feeling momentum slowly build. We really have been able to play shows to 50 people, then 200 people, to 5,000 and now all of a sudden 20,000 people in front of us! I think if we had gone straight to 20,000 people in an audience, I don’t know what that would have been like.

T: Well, we would have been shitty.

S: We would have been shitty, for sure. But it’s nice to have gotten that practice in and iron out the kinks. We learned more about ourselves and who we are. The process really is the fun stuff.

Relating to that, your act is very visual and involves the audience. Have you made any adjustments or changes when it comes to your live show now that you aren’t performing in intimate venues?

T: It’s something we’re definitely working on every night. We talked to our manager about it and he was like, “Look, you’re in an arena. You got to talk to the crowd on the right and on the left. You got to address everyone specifically.” We’re used to playing for the pit. And it feels like an amazing conversation we have with the audience the whole time. Making people 1,000 people in the back feel like the show is up close and intimate is difficult. And we are learning how to do it. We’re trying to make it how those smaller shows felt- having a moment with 200 people. If we can get that feeling in an arena, fuck.

S: And we had the book tree at the early shows and we still do. But, we are expanding the forest a little bit. You’ll see a little more color; we added some bark to make it more like a tree [laughs].

T: Sequin bark!

S: Yeah, and some leaves. Slowly maturing, slowly getting there.

I mean, you can even see that with the evolution of your music videos as well. With ‘Best Friend’, you collaborated with peers and you can tell you are having a genuinely good time. What’s it like to contact someone you respect and invite them to make some music together, finding out they love and respect you, too?

T: It really happened casually like that. We had this track that we made in my parents’ garage. We had become god friends with NERVO through a mutual friend. And she was like, ‘We manage this sick, Japanese DJ. If you ever want a Japanese verse on something, let me know.'

So, we had no idea what to do with this song [‘Best Friend’]. We have this one verse with Sofi singing about a best friend. So, we sent it in and asked if he’d be able to add a Japanese verse to it. And NERVO responded, “Yes, definitely. But, can we also jump on it?”

And we were like, “Oh, yeah. And since it’s already a song about friends, let get out best friends The Knocks on it. And we came up with this thing. We didn’t know what to think of it, but we loved it. We didn’t know if it would be released as a single but things kept organically happening. And then with Apple-

Oh yeah, Apple using the song!

T: Oh yeah, Apple- we love them!

S: And the video was the best time ever. It was such a vibe. It was out there.

T: There was so much love in one place. We rented an Airbnb in Ibiza and were just driving around on ATV’s in scenic places. It was tight. NERVO has a big party out there and they invited us to come and DJ the party with them. So, we figured we’d record the video out there. And we were thinking of what to do, and decided to do what we would want to do for fun with friends in Ibiza and then film it.

Awesome, awesome. So, switching gears a little bit, what’s it like to be on an international tour, playing arenas like Staples Center and just absorbing it all in?

S: Well, last night was out first night so I don’t know the answer entirely. But, it feels- I think we just feel really lucky to be here. And also I feel a little bit in awe. Like the whole spectacle is just ginormous.

T: It’s awesome seeing their team and how its run and managed. Odesza reached this in 5 years and it is just really impressive. And also they are just the nicest people. The crew, the band, the drumline, everyone is just so nice. Which, we were hoping, but you never know.

So, even though the focus is on performing and this tour, is there still writing and new things being developed in the background or is the focus just on the touring for right now and let writing happen as it happens?

S: Yeah, pretty much. I think we have a day of in Phoenix on a few days and will do some stuff there.

T: We have a lot of stuff mix, mastered, and ready in the pocket that we are pretty psyched about. A lot of it is going to be released over the next half year. And then we have a lot in progress for the next group after that, already. So, we’re just kind of always making things.

S: And we’ll figure out what to do with them when the time comes.

And I know it may sound vague, but what are you looking for when it comes to the future of Sofi Tukker relating to how things are going right now?

S: I want Sofi Tukker to be more than just Sophie and Tucker. I want it to really stand for the things that we care about. To just be a force of joy for people. We have learned over the past year and half or so of touring that we get to create these spaces that feel really fun and inclusive- like a little getaway; at least that’s how we feel. And I hope we grow and get to build that feeling more and more.

T: I mean, eventually we want this to be our headline tour and bring along a young, promising band and highlight their abilities. That’s something that will be really exciting.