Thursday, February 13, 2014

Five facts about SOHN, whom you should know

Singer, songwriter, producer, facial hair enthusiast: SOHN is the shadowy figure behind some of my favourite records of the last year (most notably Banks's slinky Waiting Game).

He's got a solo album coming out in April, and the doleful first single, Artifice, got the official Zane Lowe "hottest record" klaxon last night. But don't let that put you off, because it's a thoroughly classy, quietly adventurous slice of electro-soul.

SOHN - Artifice

But who is SOHN? Here are five facts I've culled from Google which you can use to impress Guardian readers at dinner parties.

1) No-one knows his name
Perhaps because he's based in Vienna, SOHN has managed to maintain an air of mystery. His Facebook page has been deleted, and his Twitter bio simply states: "English not Austrian, solo not a band. Also not a girl.". In fact, if the lyrics of Artifice are anything to go by, even SOHN himself might not know his true identity: "Somebody better let me know my name / before I give myself away," he warbles. Perhaps SOHN is Jason Bourne.

2) His first remix wasn't very credible
After learning to play drums at school, SOHN decided he'd like to be a DJ, so he picked up a Now That's What I Call Music compilation and tried to scratch one of the songs on his dad's turntable. "I think it was Barcelona by Freddie Mercury," he told Aritzia. "It didn't go so well. It didn't sound like it did on the telly."

3) He used to be embarrassed by his voice
"When I was at school, I stopped singing," he told Billboard last year. "It was embarrassing. Nobody wanted to hear a guy with a really high voice."

4) Radiohead were his inspiration
After falling in and out of a series of "terrible bands" at school, SOHN discovered his true calling while listening to a copy of Kid A. "It was really inspiring hearing an indie band create music from sounds that I had access to," he informed London In Stereo. "Also, I’m a bit of a megalomaniac and I quickly realised it’s a lot easier to make the computer do what you want than it is people."

5) He has really deep thoughts about life and stuff
"Darkness goes hand in hand with depth, both in music and in people," he philosophised in an interview with Fake DIY. If people don't feel or show any signs of darkness, I find it hard to trust them - darkness is 50% of life, right? For me the darker side of life is the most interesting part, it's where we find out who we are."

"I don't like The Darkness, though," he added, correctly.

So there you have it. Artifice is taken from SOHN's debut album, Tremors, which is out on 4 April via 4AD. It will also include some of the following very good SOHN tracks.

SOHN - Bloodflows

SOHN - Lessons

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