Harlequin showcases the Viennese—and former-Los Angeleno—musician’s passion for her native city’s opera and ballet traditions as well as the baroque lyricism of cabaret, medieval performances and the court jester. Blended with nostalgia for early aughts reality television and American mall punk subculture, Harlequin presents a montage of peculiar characters, vernacular settings and mysterious chronologies that are as theatrical as they are musical.
Following her debut album Cult Survivor, Sofie’s second release for Stones Throw weaves a rich tapestry of Vienna, the city of her adolescence, and at the same time, hints at her nostalgia for a place that may or may not have ever been real—what she calls the “snowglobing” of her teenage self. During the making of her new album, Sofie experimented with her own identity through the act of dress-up. From the album’s artwork through to her live performances, she adopts the visual aesthetic and gestures of the court jester, clown and cabaret artist.
Sofie Royer Live in 2022:
Oct 4 – Le Trabendo – Paris, FR*
Oct 5 – Melkweg – Amsterdam, NL*
Oct 6 – Metropol – Berlin, DE*
Oct 7 – Tama – Poznań, PL*
Oct 8 – Praga Centrum – Warsaw, PL*
Oct 10 – Kantine – Cologne, DE*
Oct 11 – CHALK – Brighton, UK*
Oct 12 – St John at Hackney Church – London, UK*
Oct 13 – New Century Hall – Manchester, UK*
Oct 14 – Academy – Dublin, IE*
*support for Toro Y Moi
“Klein-Marx”is performed in Sofie’s native German, and released alongside a video by Jasmin Baumgartner and Sofie. The song is named after the Klein-Marx bridge – or Klein-Marxer-Brücke – that Sofie passes regularly on the way to art school in her hometown of Vienna. She says: “I sing about wanting to throw myself off the bridge when the going gets tough, the wry joke being that the bridge is not very high and underneath it the Vienna River flows shallowly, running into the Donau Canal.”
“Feeling Bad Forsyth Street” shares a glimpse into a brief period in New York City where she was “trapped after trying to pay off a personal debt accrued at the racing track”. Sofie sets the scene: “I’ve lost my appetite I’ve messed up again, messed up big time and I don’t know how I’ve ended up in this state again but all I know is buckle up chin up tough it out because it’s me against me against the rest of the world baby.” The song is also accompanied by a video created by Sofie and cult film maker Eugene Kotylarenko (Spree, Wobble Palace), and stars actors Vishvam Velandy and Peter Vack, Curtis and KJ from the Ion Pack, model Dagsen Love and many others.
“Schweden Espresso” is a song about a bar she frequents in her hometown of Vienna. “It has served as a haunting backdrop for many a personal scene, regrettable and otherwise, being played out within the confines of its seasonally decorated walls.”
The video was made by Eugene Kotlyarenko, filmed in Las Vegas, 2021, in the midst of Covid. Sofie dances, plays the slots – and gets married. Eugene and Sofie hadn’t planned that part of the video but spontaneously ended up tying the knot while filming. Eugene describes it as “in a way, the greatest wedding video in the world.”
“Baker Miller Pink” – the color also known as P-618, Schauss pink, or Drunk-Tank Pink, has been observed to temporarily reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behavior. To quote Boy George, “loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams.” Sofie wants the song to “encourage one’s own imagination and dreams to rise to the surface. Written specifically about a movement and scene I was trying to challenge, the lyrics ended up having the ability to call me out just as much as the next everygirl.”