Sofi Tukker on plants, poetry and overcoming fatigue - The Mind Map
By Susie Bennett

Sofi Tukker on plants, poetry and overcoming fatigue

“Be kind to yourself!”

Published 01/07/2019

Influenced by Kundalini yoga chants, the Portugese poet Chacal, and West African dance and drumming, the American duo Sofi Tukker have a vibration all of their own. Their hypnotic and tropical debut release Drinkee spiralled it’s way into the modern consciousness. After going viral it was featured in Apple Watch adverts and has since been nominated for a Grammy. We caught up with Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern to find out how they stay mentally healthy for Going Through The Emotions…

What are you working on at the moment?

Sophie: Healing my foot and finishing new music!

Tucker: Working on our next album! 

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

Sophie: My biggest life challenge has probably been my health. I’ve had a lot of different health issues, from broken bones and ligaments, migraines, to mental health challenges. I put a lot of effort into my routines, what I eat, how I exercise, sleep, manage stress and my emotions, and spending quality time with myself! It’s a daily thing! The routines have gotten easier over time, like being sober or exercising daily, but I still have to show up every day and do the work I know I have to do in order to feel great. 

Tucker: My health. I have issues with chronic fatigue that made me have to stop playing basketball. And I am still trying to overcome it! I have changed my diet and I take a bunch of supplements to work on my gut health in the hopes that that makes me feel better. I am seeing smart doctors who hope so, too! 

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Sophie: Waking up with my partner, jumping in the ocean, making music, eating fresh plants and laughing with my friends and family, dancing… that’s just one type of perfect day!! 

Tucker: Making exciting new song with all my favourite people and then going to a party and DJ with all my favourite people.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

Sophie: I am listening to INNA, reading Michelle Obama’s biography, and watching “Pose”

Tucker: Listening – Our unreleased album. A lot. 

Watching – how to get away with murder

Reading – between books…

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Sophie: My family and community of friends

Tucker: My family and friends and opportunities and all of it, everything.

Complete this sentence: “Good mental health for me means…”

Sophie: Gosh that’s such a hard question!!! I know what it feels like (and I know what it doesn’t feel like!!) but I’m not sure I can put it into words exactly. It’s generally a feeling of positivity or a feeling of beauty, even when things are really hard or sad. It’s a feeling of control: not being completely at the mercy of what is happening externally, but at the same time being able to really connect with what is happening externally, if that makes sense. 

Tucker: Staying positive. 

How do you stay healthy in an unhealthy industry that has a propensity to party?

Sophie: The community I surround myself with is either sober themselves or respects that I’m sober. I am in love with my people and we bring the party and create our own atmosphere that feels healthy and uplifting, even in clubs that usually have different vibes. I eat plants, I drink water, meditate and exercise daily, and I’m so proud of it all. Being healthy doesn’t have to be at odds with partying and having a good time.

Tucker: Party responsibly, on our own terms. 

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

Sophie: Oh yeah. It’s changing right now because I broke my foot. But I usually change it up between HIIT, yoga, biking, Pilates and swimming. 

Tucker: I can’t exercise yet but I will once I am healthy enough to have one! 

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

Sophie: I had a band in middle school called “The Amazon Girls” we made up songs and choreography during recess.

Tucker: Playing 21, the basketball game, at recess (and coming back into class unacceptably sweaty)

Who was your best friend at school? What was the funniest thing they did?

Sophie: In middle school, I had a tight knit group of girl friends called “the meal” – and we are all still in daily contact. We used to be really serious about making music videos. At the time, it wasn’t funny. Just very serious. 

Tucker: Simon Reale and he accidentally squeaked a lot in puberty.

What three songs lift your spirits?

Sophie: Our new song ‘Playa Grande’ with Bomba Estéreo 🙂

Lizzo – ‘Juice’

Gilberto Gil – ‘Aquele Abraço’

Tucker: ‘Playa Grande’ – Sofi Tukker and Bomba Estereo 

‘Come With Me’ – Nora En Pure

‘Not About You’ – Haiku Hands

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

Sophie: “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Tucker: “You’ll never make the shot you don’t take.”

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Sophie: Be kind to yourself! 

Tucker: It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and it will pass.