Photo by Kristy Benjamin
Drum&Lace founder Sofia Hultquist and I were 'Instagram Friends' for years. Both living in NYC but never really meeting (except in passing at a party). When we finally did get to sit down and chat IRL, it was across the country in LA at Cafe de Leche, where she had been already living for a year. Seeing that I was visiting LA on my Instagram account, Sofia slid into my DM and BAM we met up, because it is the future!
Chatting with Sofia at this little hip cafe was really memorable. First off, she looks like a doll. So that's adorable. On a less obvious level, I learned about what she and her co-composer husband Ian Hultquist (a founding member of Passion Pit) were dedicating their lives to scoring music for fashion films, and specifically ethical fashion films. Truly unique and awesome. I think HELPSY readers will find her as cool as I do. Here we chat about many things, including what it was like to score the Anna Wintour documentary, 'The First Monday In May' (which luckily I got to see at the Tribeca Film Festival, and their score quite literally makes the movie, it's genius) and her ongoing ethical fashion project with Noir Tribe and the Ethical Fashion Initiative.
Photo by Aubrey Devin
Tell us a little about what you do, day to day, since it's not exactly the typical work day!
Honestly every day is a little different depending on what I’m working on. If I’m working on a feature film or documentary, then my day to day will involve essentially waking up and working on it until going to sleep, and then repeat. When working on these big projects, most social events and outings are really quasi non-existent! A day when I’m working on shorter films, fashion films, or am just taking care of some admin stuff like licensing, then it tends to be a lot more flexible. I’m definitely not a morning person, but being able to have a home studio helps as all I have to do is roll out of bed and be sitting at my desk by 10am or so. The morning is usually dedicated to catching up on emails and news, whereas the afternoon into the night is when I feel the most creative and ready to write!
How did you get involved in fashion and the ethical fashion movement?
I’ve always been a supporter of environmental causes and, because of growing up in Italy, I think I always had an appreciation for craftsmanship and tailoring, as well as the idea of fashion as an art form. When I began writing music for fashion, I realized I could pour this support into trying to work with emerging designers that were creating their lines in an ethical and sustainable way. The slow rise of people finally starting to understand and invest in fashion and lines that are ethical has also helped me continue to support them!
How do you see music and fashion in relation to one another? Like twins or like competitive cousins or like ….
Hmm I’ve never thought about that! Maybe like Irish twins? I think that obviously both music and fashion can co-exist without each other, but the melding of the two can create something that can support one another without necessarily overpowering the other.
Tell us about some of the highlights of working with Anna Wintour and First Monday in May? I mean, what an honor!
Working on The First Monday in May was a really incredible experience, and such a great fit for what I do! Unfortunately, though, I never got to be in direct contact with Anna Wintour and was even too shy to go up to her while we were in the green room together when the documentary opened in Tribeca this past April! My husband Ian, who co-scored the documentary with me, and I primarily communicated with the director Andrew Rossi. He was then the liaison that made sure that the film and music were ‘Anna approved’! One of the highlights of being able to work on the documentary though was being able to see so much more footage than what ended up in the final version of the film. There were so many hilarious, interesting, and mesmerizing things that I feel so lucky to have been able to see.
What's on deck - can you give us a sneak peak into your most current project?
There’s a few things coming up, some of which I can’t really talk about yet! The most exciting thing that I can chat about right now is that a ethical fashion video series called “Ethetics”, by director duo Noir Tribe, that I’ve had the pleasure of scoring the first two episodes of has recently partnered with the Ethical Fashion Initiative. This means there’ll hopefully be more episodes coming soon! Also, my husband and I recently co-scored another documentary about Asian elephant conservation called “Love & Bananas” directed by Ashley Bell that will hopefully be coming out soon. And lastly, the original soundtrack to The First Monday in May was just released on Little Twig Records.