SOPHIE Remembered As ‘Superhuman’ by Collaborator and Friend A.G. Cook

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

Producer A.G. Cook, the PC Music leader who was closely associated with SOPHIE throughout the late musician’s career, has shared a wide-ranging eulogy to his collaborator and friend. “I’m still processing Sophie’s life… her nature, her work, her beauty,” Cook opened. SOPHIE died nearly three months ago, at 34, after an accidental fall. “It didn’t matter whether we were talking about people or relationships or materials or music - she approached every topic with the love, care and intensity of someone who has truly lived,” Cook continued. He wrote of meeting SOPHIE in London in 2012, before Cook had even established the label and collective PC Music: “I couldn’t believe that there was someone out there, let alone someone in London, with such a strong vision and almost no regard for the walls between pop and experimental art.”

SOPHIE and Cook worked together on a number of projects, from the group QT (with Hayden Frances Dunham) to multiple Charli XCX releases; they also performed together and would often exchange ideas for their own music, Cook noted. “We were opposites in many ways, and naturally complementary,” he wrote, contrasting SOPHIE’s love for synthesis and sound design with his own use of chords. “We were intrigued by each other’s approaches and would trade a lot of those skills over the years, but when we worked together we tended towards that original formation, bringing elements together almost instantaneously.”

Cook went on to describe his final interactions with SOPHIE, including their last in-person meeting for a pre-pandemic trip to Los Angeles frozen-yogurt spot the Bigg Chill. The two also spoke about their music over the phone, including Cook’s 2020 releases 7G and Apple. “She was completely disenchanted with the conservative notion of ‘the album,’ and was even more disillusioned with the limited potential of streaming,” Cook wrote of SOPHIE’s future plans. “With a mix of self- aware hubris and total dedication, she sketched out this idea of an extremely generous platform that would give listeners all kind of access to stems, fragments, and revisions of her music. She believed that technology was wasting everyone’s time by attempting to emulate vinyl and radio, and that this infinitely generous approach was a logical endpoint for what music was always trying to be.” SOPHIE, Cook wrote, had been feeling “inspired” by working in Athens, Greece, where the musician eventually died: “When I first heard about her fall, less than a day before she passed, all I could think of was how superhuman Sophie was to me.”

Cook concluded his tribute with the first thing he wrote after SOPHIE’s death, a particularly emotional recounting of how SOPHIE has impacted his own work:

There’s a weird trick that I do all the time when I’m writing music, which I don’t often talk about. I think of friends of mine, people who I’ve collaborated with a lot, and I think, “What would they do?”. How would Charli flip this melody? What note would Noonie add here? What chord change would amuse Finn? How would Alaska turn this image into a lyric? Through everything, the easiest persona to summon has always been Sophie. I can ask her anything really - as long as its about music - and she’ll answer right away. Now obviously these funny avatars, these bootleg copies of friends that I hold in my mind are consistently inferior. The real Charli can effortlessly out-topline my own Charli simulation. But now for the first time I’m trying to access someone who has passed away, and I worry that her special voice might fade. Despite that, and with a weird certainty, something tells me that the voice might now be more real than ever. Maybe it really is her suggesting that I try recreate that sound using a different oscillator or make that lyric a bit more fun. Maybe she’s here right now, visiting from a place with no rules and no limitations. Maybe she’s become a part of me, a part of everyone who loved her in their own way. It’s indescribable, to have lost a friend who was so caring and so real, and whose presence was a constant affirmation of life itself. And it makes me feel just like we never said…

A.G. Cook’s full eulogy to SOPHIE is on his website.

SOPHIE Remembered As ‘Superhuman’ by Collaborator A.G. Cook