Sóll, a very young up and coming artist from the indie pop scene with mesmerizing melodies and a mesmerizing voice, presents her very first fully self-produced EP: A taste of sun & dirt†
Can you tell us in a few words about your artistic journey?
Thanks to my parents I started with music at a very young age. I didn’t want to do it professionally until I started doing modern music in 9th grade at the conservatory. From that moment on I really clicked where I told myself I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. So I went on to high school where I studied music, and today I went to jazz school in Toulouse. I started composing for myself shortly after I started my contemporary music lessons at the conservatory, when I was about 16 years old. Today I experiment in my compositions to develop an artistic identity that suits me. So knowing what kind of sound I would like to go to, or even what I want to say.
Why the name Soll?
I really like languages in general. It interests me a lot, for the same reasons that I love music. I like the whole side of the different sounds. And I especially appreciate the Nordic languages, including Icelandic. So I wanted to find a word in Icelandic that would suit me well. I had chosen Sòl, which means sun in Icelandic, but it was already used as such everywhere. So I just added an L!
You recently released your first EP, all by yourself. What made you want to make it?
In fact, I had already composed a few songs without a particular project in mind, and I thought it would be good to start a project with an end goal. Because I really like composing songs here and there, but it’s even better if you have a goal in mind and work towards it. It motivates me more. I was interested in composing all these songs that I could put together into a small EP, which would serve me as a bit of a repertoire later on as an artist. And also to experiment, and see what comes out. I’m always looking for sounds that I like compared to what I’m used to doing, see what I like to compose or not. It was a very experimental experience for me.
So what was the hardest thing to make it?
I think it was the mixing, to use the software. It was the first time I really took full advantage of it. I was more used to just composing on guitar, because I’ve been composing that way for a long time. So that was really new territory for me. It was complicated because I wanted to achieve this very clean and professional sound from the start. So I was always looking for tutorials on YouTube on how to mix a voice, how to mix an acoustic guitar, etc. It can be quite frustrating at times.
Is there a particular message you would like to share in this EP?
I don’t think I really had any particular message in mind. I wanted to create something that would really appeal to me. Something a bit organic, that speaks about me, about my feelings, about what I feel in everyday life. So I don’t necessarily have a message along those lines, but I would really like if people listen to it, they can focus again on what they’re feeling. Reconnect with yourself.
Why the name? A taste of sun & dirtand this album cover?
Before the name, I like to find phrases that convey the mood of the project in general. So I chose this name because “sun” (Sun in English) kind of symbolizes the happy side of what I’m telling in the EP, and “dirty” (dust in English) is for the slightly darker side, the more complicated feelings I raised. And I think it fits well with this duality when you’re alive, these two somewhat clichéd facets: the sunny side and the dirty side. I was initially inspired by this phrase “A taste of dirt in your mouth” (an aftertaste of dust in the mouth†
In retrospect, I didn’t have too many ideas in terms of coverage in the beginning. I had thought of a somewhat graphic design. But in the end, I like taking pictures of what I do on a daily basis, and I chose this photo of a cake I bought to eat alone in a park in the sun, which was a great time to illustrate this EP.
You write all your songs in English. Is there a specific reason why you made this choice?
It is true that I am thinking more and more about writing in French. However, choosing Basic English was because I like how that language sounds. I like it flowing when we sing. And it is a language that almost everyone speaks! So to defend such a project, which mainly exists on the internet and therefore knows no boundaries, everyone can understand. The more negative side is that the French public is less involved afterwards, because it doesn’t necessarily understand everything.
Is there a song that was harder to write in particular?
I would say Story of death and drought† I actually first wrote the lyrics around 2020/2021, I think. Which I don’t normally do. And I tried several times to put them to music, but each time I got nowhere. It was hard to find a melody or structure that I really stuck with because I was trying to create some sort of basic pop song. So I was stuck in this structure: verse/chorus/verse/chorus. And I freed myself from that by just telling myself I’d follow what I’d written with nice little instrumental transitions, and really wanted more atmosphere than song structure.
And on the contrary, was there one that was more natural than the other?
I think that it In my bed which was the easiest to compose. It’s the one I’ve kept most refined with just ukulele/vocals. And then it was at a time when I needed this song the most because I wasn’t feeling very well. So I thought I’d just write how I felt at the time, and I feel like I finished the song in 2 days.
In I don’t know what it feels like to live a balanced life, we find an audio that you have mixed with the composition. What is the story behind this sound?
It is an example of a poetess named Rupi Kaur, she wrote several collections of poems including: Milk and honey which I think this audio is coming from, but I’m not sure. I had read it a while ago, and while looking for a poem to write a song about, I thought about this particular poet and focused on the poems she had read. And I chose it because it seemed like a good poem to build around. So I took samples of the passages she was reading and arranged them to serve the song.
The last 3 tracks of the album have a somewhat enchanting atmosphere due to the harmonies of the voices, and the melodies. Was this the desired effect?
Yes, it was a good intention! I would like to evolve into such a musical atmosphere. I really like this side of harmonic pads with all those voices that give you the impression of being suspended. The artist Dodie, one of my favorite artists, has a lot of this kind of musical effect in her intro and in these songs. It’s an element I really like in his music, and it inspired me to do it in my own way. I really like this very mesmerizing effect it creates.
What would you like to achieve as an artist in the future?
Of course I would like to keep composing now, keep experimenting to see what kind of sounds I could work on and appropriate myself as an artist. And I would also love to be able to set up this project live, to be able to present the EP directly to the public. These are the 2 aspects I want to focus on the most.
You can find the artist Sóll on his Instagram account @solls_oll and on his YouTube channel: Sol†
Interview by Julie Hallot