QSC Aspiring Interview: SOFY on Chaos & Commotion and her Ratworld fandom

Set your alarms, rodents; rat girl winter is coming. Meet London-based artist, SOFY, who reveals all about her brand new mixtape, Chaos & Commotion.

Take a peek at SOFY’s gloriously unhinged Instagram account and between the photos of herself carting around a lifesize cutout of Timothée Chalamet on the London Underground, random camera roll pics and performance / studio footage, you’ll find rats – lots of rats.

“I don't have a rat!” SOFY admits from her home in London. “The rat in the photos belongs to a friend of the photographer who took all of my press shots for this campaign. He had a friend with a rat, which we brought to the set because my fan base is called Ratworld. I can't remember how it happened, but it was something that was thrown around as a joke, and then it kind of stuck. 

"Now everyone's wearing rat T-shirts and I'm taking pictures with rats…it's all got a bit out of hand. I'd love to have a pet rat, but my housemates would not be down for that. It's good for people to have something to hold on to, you know?” she deadpans. “You can't really have anything with Sophie; it doesn't really work. Sofas?” she suggests. “Nah!”

Hailing from a small village just outside of Leicestershire, SOFY moved to London after uni. Covid hit, and she found herself back in her hometown, where extreme boredom while on furlough led to her dabbling in basic production skills and exploring what she wanted to write songs about.

“I surprised myself when I randomly decided I wanted to become an artist in 2020, but when I actually think about it, it's not surprising at all because when I was a kid, I used to put on shows with my brother – I say put on shows with him, that's quite a loose term,” she interrupts herself. “I forced him to. We used to get tennis racquet guitars and I'd make tickets, write a setlist, make a poster for the door and stand at the door and sing through a whole Busted album. My parents would be sitting there like, ‘Cool’, but sometimes we would also make up our own songs. 

"I remember I used to absolutely get into it and then not be able to divert from it at all. My brother or my cousin, or whoever I'd be doing it with would be like, ‘I'm bored now. Let's go and play something else’. Now, when I'm in a songwriting session, it makes me feel like I did when I was a kid when I was making up songs with my brother or my cousin,” she grins.

my fan base is called's all got a bit out of hand.

Fastfoward to present day and SOFY has played two sets at Glastonbury, sold out her own 800-capacity headline show at London’s Lafayette, been championed across BBC Radio 1 (including performing her own Maida Vale live session), and had her single Big Talk chosen for the FIFA 2023 soundtrack, sitting alongside artists like FKA Twig and Rosalia.

SOFY’s tunes are catchy – sure – but a big part of her appeal is a unique combination of sing-along melodies and self deprecation, which spills over into her relatable, conversational lyrical style. She cites Jamie T and Lily Allen as artists that have influenced her songwriting; drawn to the way they approach their craft by taking pleasure in rhyming the mundane.

In Strawberry Milkshake, SOFY name checks Maccies and muses, ‘What's Waitrose without Iceland?, while new single Timothée Chalamet playfully mixes sexual innuendos with boy and girl band references and frantic children's game, Bop It! (‘You're sugar watermelon, put my mind in one direction; Bop it, pull it, twist it, flick it, Push my button, Sugar business).

Meanwhile, WET PAINT conjures Lily Allen’s rhyming of ‘Tesco’ with ‘al fresco’ in LDN, or Jamie T’s, ‘Sheila goes out with her mate Stella, it gets poured all over her fella’, with the lyrics, ‘Whoops I did it again, found my way to your house, made my 5K a 10. Fake an asthma attack coz I’m tapped doing laps ‘round your cul de sac. Now you’re my saviour with a blue inhaler, must repay the favour, won’t you come round later?’

“The first artist that had a really big impact on me in terms of, ‘I've never heard music like this before, I absolutely love how this sounds and I want to make something like this’ was probably Jamie T,” she nods. 

“I first heard his music when I was about 14 in my indie awakening. I went to see his Brixton show when I was about 18 and it was fucking amazing. I still love him now. I went to his Finsbury Park show the other day and it was amazing. I love the way he writes lyrics. They're always really clever and they're funny, but they often have a deeper meaning. I also love Lily Allen,” she confirms. 

“Her lyricism, obviously, is iconic in the same way as Jamie T. I like it when it's a bit on the nose and there’s a bit of humour in there. There's this guy called Matt Maltese as well, who I really love. He's kind of in the same lane as those guys in terms of his lyrics – they’re super honest and he's got some great metaphors. I'm a sucker for a metaphor.”

I like lyrics that are a bit on the nose and there’s a bit of humour in there.

She elaborates, on a roll now: “I love it when people are doing stuff that isn't trying to conform to, ‘I must do this thing that's gonna go viral or I won't be successful’. That's what I like about Jamie T and Easy Life. They've got where they've got organically just by fans liking their music, and it's been a slow burn rather than an instant, ‘Oh my god, this song went viral on TikTok and is now number one in the charts’. 

"It's really inspiring to see artists that are doing really well without having had that ginormous TikTok smash that everyone seems to be chasing at the moment. All the major labels seem to be chasing that: ‘Is it gonna go viral? What can we do to make this go viral?’ Actually, sometimes you don't need to touch 2 million people with this song. You just need to touch 10,000 people who really like it.”

Not that she’d mind a viral moment of her own, should that naturally happen. “I wish I had that formula,” she laughs at her quick pivot on the matter. “Man, if anyone's got that formula, let me know. I used to be a bit more hung up on it than I am now. 

"I think a lot of people forget, in the constant quest to find new fans, that it's so important to actually nurture the fans that you've already got. I sometimes forget about that. I'm constantly posting stuff on TikTok. My current followers are like, ‘We already know you do [music]; show us what you’re having for breakfast.’ There are people already there who just want to see behind the scenes and stuff that isn't promotional.

“I do love TikTok,” she admits. “It's really levelled the playing field in terms of, there is always the potential that something could happen. You've seen it take artists from singing in a bedroom to being signed to Columbia. It removes a lot of the need to have connections and the need to have money; that is a barrier to entry for a lot of people to do music. 

"Usually to get noticed by a label, you'd have to be playing gigs, going to all these showcases and putting on shows. If you're from a random town in the Midlands and you don't have any other friends that do music and you don't have loads of money, it's pretty much impossible to do. TikTok has made it possible for anyone to break into the industry, but it obviously comes with a lot of pressure, and a lot of changes to the industry. But the industry is fucked anyway,” she shrugs, “so just keep going.”

David Gray and dim the lights; It's a flirting technique, tried and tested!

SOFY’s brand new mixtape is Chaos & Commotion, which features the aforementioned song WET PAINT, which she describes as “feral” while also containing her proudest lyrical moment: squeezing David Gray and Doritos into one verse. In WET PAINT, SOFY tries to engineer ways to entice a lover, singing, ’Accidentally slipped, opened a beer and Doritos and dip, So you’d stay to be polite, David Gray and dim the lights.’

“I can't remember why we came up with that,” she laughs. “Obviously, I love David Gray. My mum loves him; it was a staple in the car when I was a kid. It just felt right: ‘David Gray and dim the lights,’ – you're chilling, you put on some soft music and you're like, ‘Shall we?’ It's a flirting technique, I suppose. It's tried and tested; you can try it,” she insists.

Does David Gray know about the track? “I tagged him on Instagram. I don't think he uses Instagram… he's probably off with his family having a nice time, not being on instagram.”

SOFY describes her latest release as “nine tracks of chaos and commotion,” and shares that her motto for the project was to make sure she nurtures her loyal fans by giving them what they want. “I like showing my appreciation to them, because they're fucking amazing. I've had people who come to every single show – they're always there. I don't really know how they get there because I know that they don't live anywhere near where the show is.”

the older stuff is great, but it's very chill, and I'm not sure how chill I'm feeling anymore, actually.

Chaos & Commotion features the song, socks, which sees SOFY step slightly out of her humorous/relatable comfort zone (although not entirely; it contains the rhyme, ‘You and me stayed up too late, Jaffa cakes and getting baked’).

“The song is about the euphoric first love feeling that you get in the movies that flips your world on its axis and makes everything look different,” she says. As a thank you to Ratworld, she threw a party to celebrate the song in a laundrette in Euston.

We all had drinks, played some songs on the guitar and then we all did karaoke. It was so much fun. Doing stuff like that is my favourite thing about music; it's more than just me putting songs out into the world – you're actually building a community of people. Complete strangers came away from that as mates. I see them now on Twitter talking to each other – it's very wholesome. Those moments are so much more impactful and special than a video getting a couple million plays on TikTok.”

SOFY says the project has lived inside her head for the best part of 18 months, and is excited for it to finally be out in the world.

“This is my first longer length project that I've put out, and we've been working on it for a really long time now,” she says. “I’m excited for everyone to hear it; there's quite a different array of songs on there. It's a super multifaceted project that was made during a time where I was feeling quite experimental. 

"I wanted to shake things up a bit and experiment with some slightly different sounds because the older stuff is great, but it's very chill, and I'm not sure how chill I'm feeling anymore, actually. So that's how Chaos & Commotion came about. It was written during quite a chaotic period in my life where I was experimenting with loads of different sounds, and it really shines through on the mixtape. There's a lot of different flavours there and there's something for everyone.”

The mixtape’s first and last songs (Yoyo and supermarket – her current favourites) are a prime example: They're completely different,” she nods. “supermarket is a sweet indie pop breakup song, and Yoyo sounds kind of like Kasabian – who I also love by the way; obviously being from Leicester, everyone loves Kasabian. It's quite thrashy compared to my other music. It's an avenue that I am really happy we were able to push a project into. I think it's gonna surprise a few people because it's quite heavy.”

shark attacks, songwriting and dog breeds – that's pretty much me.

Away from music, SOFY shares that she can become intensely fixated on certain topics. Her latest? Shark attacks.

“I’ve been learning about what to do in a shark attack,” she explains. “I read about that loads. I was on holiday and I was trying to have a week off, and obviously, I can't do that. I was quite bored, so I spent the whole holiday going down Reddit rabbit holes about shark attacks. I know exactly what to do if you're ever in a shark attack situation. I do like to think I would use all these tactics that I've learned if I was ever in a situation, but I think I'd probably just flail around and then die.”

She shares that she’s also got a talent for naming dog breeds: “When I was a kid I memorised every single dog breed. Now, if I’m out and about with my mates they’ll be like, ‘What kind of dog is that?’ I'm like, ‘Hungarian Vizsla’. I just know. If I ever see a dog and I don't know what breed it is, I always have to go and ask the owner what breed it is, then the Encyclopaedia expands. As you can probably tell, shark attacks, songwriting and dog breeds – that's pretty much me.”

November sees SOFY embark on her first ever headline tour, starting in Glasgow and ending in Manchester (by way of London and naturally, Leicester).

“It's our first ever headlining tour and I'm so excited about it,” she beams. “Honestly, I can't wait. We're getting the setlist together and starting rehearsals. I think we're going to open the show with Yoyo. It feels right as it opens the mixtape, so we'll open the show with it.”

Join the rat race from November 28th onwards and catch the Chaos & Commotion tour.