Half Greek, half Peruvian, born in Lima but raised between Germany and New York, Sofia Kourtesis is a fresh, emerging voice. Her music interweaves shadows and introspection with smart grooves – seductive melancholy. Her mixes, too, cross similar territory, aided by her broad knowledge of music as a globe-trotting DJ and booker.
So, it’s a perfect start to our week this week, with some listening and a peek inside a studio. This is what’s so exciting about being in music now: we get to hear those new artists find original paths.
Apart from being a sci-fi movie addict and teenage veteran of a hip-hop band, Sofia is an obsessively hard-working DJ, now turning her style to a more minimal, restrained approach in her own music. And in those productions, you’ll hear the chime of toys and lo-fi flea market finds alongside more – innocence and experience. That mix of styles finds new clarity in her single, “Killa,” which to my ears is a strong indication this is an artist to watch, in advance of a release coming soon. You can check in later to see if I was right.
In the meantime, I was curious to talk to Sofia a little about how she works.
Your setup is built around Ableton Live, right? What will find in your production toolkit?
I use also an MPC that I found in a German flea market, old Casio keyboard synths [a Casio PT-1]. I sample a lot of children toys – triangles for children, mini keyboards – and sound that I record from the streets.
I love the sounds of old tapes; I just recorded some of those.
I’ve found myself talking a lot lately about how people learn. How did you go about learning production?
I learned by doing. I have a good friend of mine that is musician and help me out with some details and teaching me how to use Ableton Push.
And DJing, what’s your tool of choice?
I use vinyls and and old Casio machine and an MPC.
Your voice seems to me the most essential part of your productions. Tell us about that a bit.
My voice is the line in between my productions. I create the beats sometimes out of it, by sampling just some bits of it.
You’ve been really active as a DJ and touring. Can you tell us a bit about where we’d find you, and what you’ve been working on?
I’ve been working on my first EP, called “This is It” — the first Single is “Killa.” I had been playing in New York lately, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and New Zealand — I love doing it.
Give a listen to the darker tunes that came before Killa and the upcoming EP, spooky sounds and ephemeral drifting voice in the mist:
It’s also worth listening to Sofia’s mixes, giving you a sense of the threads of her musical influence:
Local Suicide did a great interview in their LSD Faze Time series.
German speakers, Thump DE has also done a profile.
And you can follow her here:
Sofia Kourtesis * MissSofie* [Facebook]