Age never comes into it, unless it comes to pop culture references. Then we’re in trouble.
“What do you think of when someone says dream?” A question posed by Bridie Monds-Watson a.k.a. SOAK just a few weeks ago on her Twitter account. Whilst most of us will direct our thoughts to flying or being butt-naked in front of our boss, it seems SOAK’s dreams run deeper, with her debut album ‘Before We Forgot How to Dream’ honing in on future uncertainties, yet with a hunger for experiences, no matter the cost.
You could say that 2015 was the year these dreams came true, with the record receiving praise across the board, resulting in extensive tours, TV appearances, festival slots and a Northern Ireland Music Prize nomination. Not bad for an eighteen-year-old from Derry.
With some songs on the album having been written when she was just fifteen, Monds-Watson still feels the subject matter is relevant to her today. “I can still relate to certain elements,” she begins. “It’s all just kind of honest, true stories – a lot of them just a stream of consciousness – so I’m never going to cringe at any of the lyrics in my songs, I don’t think. The only thing I think is that when I play them now, there are parts of certain songs I’ll care about more than others.”
Many have rushed to applaud SOAK’s wise-before-her-years songwriting but, thankfully, she says age has never played a part in her career. “I think it’s because I’ve been doing this for three years quite intensely and all the people I work with, I’ve built up specifically; it took a long time to choose which people I worked with and they’ve become genuine friends,” she says. “I mean, I don’t think there’re many people my age that are professional musicians, so I think it would be really difficult to compare the people I work with, with people my age. Age never comes into it, unless it comes to pop culture references. Then we’re in trouble.”
Most of us will conclude that the latter teen years are some of the best to spend with your mates, but having just gotten back from the States in August, and with the rest of the month filled with endless rehearsals and festival appearances, SOAK says she is beginning to miss home. “I’ve been on tour for eight months non-stop,” she explains. “Thing about summer is that everybody’s off school and hanging out but it’s when I’m unbelievably busy. Whenever it’s the school year, they’re all in school and it doesn’t matter really and I can see them every now and again, but then summer comes along and I do miss out on a lot of things.”
While she’s keen to emphasize that her pals from home are great at keeping in touch, the singer-songwriter has also had time to make some in the music industry, most notably CHVRCHES, who even remixed her song ‘Blud.’ “It was really cool that they did that,” she enthuses. “I like to hear that version, like not in a club-club because it’s not really a banging anthem, but I’d like to hear it in a nice little cafe or something”
Although you wouldn’t necessarily associate SOAK’s efforts with club-bangers, her own taste extends beyond the usual expectation. “I really like that Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber tune,” she laughs during the admission. “I think it’s incredible. And I actually really like the direction that Justin Bieber’s going which is something I never thought I’d say.”
Bieber is a figure that’s had his fair share of negative backlash – a topic SOAK recently touched upon concerning negative YouTube comments on her own and her friends’ work. “I was seeing friends’ videos and my own stuff that we’ve put a lot of time into, for it then to be slated by people who don’t really have anything to show for themselves,” she explains. “Or y’know, the kind of people that don’t like certain stuff but then they’re on YouTube watching it! I don’t get it. So it’s kind of a point I wanted to make. These people writing the comments thinking, ‘oh they’ll never read this’ etc, but it is hurtful y’know?”
Being so busy over the past year, album number two is still very much a work in progess; or in fact, a work not yet in progress. “I’m trying to write for it but I’ve got such ridiculous hours I just haven’t had the chance to sit down by myself and just write,” she says. “I know what I want it to sound like, who I’m going to work with and how I’m going to do it but I haven’t actually started writing anything yet. I’d need to sit and figure out how to write songs again! It’s been such a long time. I’m used to singing songs I wrote four years ago!” Despite there being nothing set in stone, she is certain of one thing, “it will definitely sound different. I’m really excited.” And boy, so are we.
Check out ‘BLUD’ right here: