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June 2, 2023
June 2, 2023
Blending the lines between genres, Sohmi is creating new definitions for techno and house. Sohmi, or Stephanie Oh, is an LA-based DJ, producer, and vocalist. Her long list of talents, achievements, and life-long immersion in music have led her to big successes in her career. Her recently released Recital EP, sheds a light into Sohmi’s creativity and artistic expression, and exemplifies her life journey. Although mixing and gaining inspiration from an array of genres, her unique sound has created a new subgenre, Minimal Pop Tech. A fusion of dark alluring sounds and upbeat techno pop beats, Sohmi’s sound is a journey of feels.
I had the opportunity to speak with Sohmi about her Recital EP and her career. Check it out below:
Congrats on the recent release of your EP, Recital. I read from your Instagram about the amount of time it took to work on this EP, how it has been a transformation for you, and fulfilled your childhood dreams. Having been working on it as your career began to grow more and you began touring, did it have any effect on the production or the emotions you wanted to implement in the tracks of Recital?
Thank you so much! Making and putting out Recital has been the most expansive experience of my musical career so far as an artist, and perhaps even as an individual. I put so much of myself out there with this EP, and so many of my more vulnerable facets, like my femininity and cultural heritage and childhood. These are aspects of my life that I have not always felt confident to claim, whether socially or through my creative expression, so touching upon all of those areas at the same time through both the musical and visual components of the Recital project has been really transformative for me, like you said. As far as the impact of my career timing on the production or emotions conveyed on the EP, I’d say it felt like this was really just the right time to attempt a project like this. I think I had to experience everything that I’ve experienced thus far, in these early stages of my career taking off, in order to even have the perspective to make the musical statements I wanted to make with each of the tracks of Recital. Now that I’ve made them, I feel like I can move forward in a way with greater confidence and freedom because I’ve told the world who I am. And people who discover me for the first time going forward may still misunderstand me, but now Recital exists and will always be there for those people – to speak for me, through my music.
Having been immersed in music and performing from such a young age, playing classical piano, singing, theater, etc. What drew you to EDM and more specifically what drew you to genres like techno and house?
I think somehow, the first time I really got to experience techno and house (Coachella 2016), my brain immediately processed those sounds as the ‘missing gap’ in my musical experience up until that point in my life between classical music, pop, dance, and something spiritual I still don’t really have a name for. And that was an incredibly alluring, powerful feeling that drew me into those genres very deeply and immediately. It was really kind of like love at first listen. For some reason, hearing techno and house music at Coachella that year – especially of the more vocal variety, like Rufus Du Sol – I was able to envision myself bringing together all of my different musical and artistic sensibilities and reintroducing myself to the world someday as an artist. I could just hear myself making my own version of house and my own version of techno, in a way that no other genres of music had ever truly inspired me to hear or imagine.
I saw a couple months ago you went B2B with ZHU, how does it feel being able to work with and perform side by side with other legendary artists in the EDM scene?
It’s all still very surreal to me. ZHU was one of the first artists who really got me inspired by and interested in dance music, especially as a fellow Asian American because there (still) aren’t very many of us in the scene. So sharing the decks with him at that party was one of those massive ‘full circle’ moments in life that really make you reflect on and take stock of the journey you’ve been on – as well as the progress you’ve made. And the same goes for so many other moments I’ve had the privilege of experiencing these past few years, playing alongside or on the same bill as so many of my heroes. Because on the inside, I’m still the same person and it feels like nothing has changed, you know what I mean? But I’m living and having these crazy moments now that I used to only dream about. My life completely changed in the last 3 years.
You are very outspoken about the importance of mental health and are always very transparent about your emotions with your fans. What are some things you do to maintain a good healthy balance between your work and mental health?
For sure. Mental health is something I really had to confront on a personal level during and as a result of the pandemic/lockdown, which happened to coincide with the ramp up of my career. It was a really strange and difficult time to be “on the come up”. As touring re-opened and I found myself in a completely different position as an artist post-lockdown than when it began, one of the things I’ve had to do to maintain good mental health is stop drinking while touring. I’ve also been trying to exercise more, take more frequent breaks for walks outside, and have been regularly seeing a personal therapist for several months now. I liken personal therapy to “mental maintenance”, the same way most of us are able to look at gym and exercise as “physical maintenance”. There’s no shame in it, in fact I really wish we could normalize it the same way we normalize exercise because it’s just as important if not even more important to cultivate strong mental health as it is to take care of our physical health.
Who would you say have been your biggest inspirations for your music?
Hot Since 82, Ellie Goulding, Gorgon City, Aaliyah, Tove Lo, and all of early 2010’s UK deep house in general – that was such an elite era!
I can tell you are always working hard with your career, on your music and I know we just got the release of your Recital EP, but are there any other special projects you are currently working on?
Thank you so much for saying that. It feels weird in a way to put out a body of work that felt so personal to make and took up such a big chapter of my life, and already be moving on to the next projects ahead – but that’s kind of the nature of the game I suppose. With that said, there’s definitely a lot of special new projects in the mix! I’m currently working on a remix for two of my earliest supporters, my next single (hopefully ready for the summer because it’s the perfect dark/sexy summer track), a guest mix for one of my dream labels, and tons more. I wish there were more hours in a day!
What should we be expecting from your set, for your upcoming show at Darkstar here in Tempe?
You can expect everything that has come to embody a SOHMI show – deep music, sexy grooves, some unexpected twists and turns, and a transformative journey that keeps you moving and dancing while getting deep into your feelings at the same time.
BRING YOUR FEELINGS!
Breaking through musical barriers, Sohmi has an unparalleled ability to create such enchanting emotional sounds. Her music tells a captivating story—Sohmi’s story. Feelings of passion, hard work, transformation, and warmth can be heard in her music. Thank you again to Sohmi for giving us a peek into her career and who she is. Sohmi is bringing her musical journey to Darkstar in Tempe on June 17th. Grab your tickets here!
Connect with Sohmi: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | SoundCloud
Source: Feature photo by Jess Gallo