Sophie Strauss' latest single and music video transports us into a red-hued world. It feels as if Sophie is telling the viewers that it's okay to indulge in our vices, that it's okay to feel some way.
The song is a playful, indulgent admission of knowing that you’re going to end up back with a person you’d ended things with—it’s about knowing someone or something may be bad for you but sometimes you just don’t care; you have to have them back (at least for a little bit) and that’s okay. The lyrics over the lush chorus, “I’m gonna let you back in,” are juxtaposed against field-sampled sounds of domesticity and comfort—the percussion of clothes spinning in the dryer. Hana Haley’s video direction takes this idea and captures it at its most intimate. She creates a portrait of one woman’s self indulgence and of the lure of vices while still maintaining the security and confidence of a safe space for such feminine exploration. Haley’s subtle shifting of the color palate from soft pinks to hard reds lets the viewer see the fine line between sweetness and vice.
Watch the music video for Sweetboy below and peak our interview with Sophie and director Hana Haley about Sophie's music and the idea behind the music video!
@DOLESCENT CONTENT: “Sweet Boy”. It feels like we’ve all been there, letting someone back into your life who you maybe shouldn’t. How personal was this song for you?
SOPHIE STRAUSS: The chorus for this song was taken from a poem (yikes!) I wrote in college during a sort-of-relationship that was definitely in the realm of “I really shouldn’t, but I want to…” But then I abandoned the poem and didn’t think about it for a few years. When I picked it back up I was in a really different place emotionally and mentally and I could see the relationship more clearly. It was obvious to me that, at best, it should’ve been something fun--but it’d luckily lost the emotional pull it’d once had. The verse lyrics were written during that later time and definitely have a bit more self-assuredness and confidence about them. I think you can feel the distance.
@: What inspired this video? The colors are so vibrant and really throw you into this intimate world. What were you hoping for with this video?
SS: I’m gonna let Hana take the wheel for all the ideas/production for this video. We were actually primarily moodboarding a photoshoot and decided we’d throw a little video in there last minute, for fun. But of course Hana is a super-professional creative genius so even this tiny little shoot (all done in a friend’s bathroom in a few hours) came out so beautifully. I will say, I had only met Hana a couple of times but she is such a warm, thoughtful artist that the experience of shooting this video felt like a sleepover with a childhood friend. It was so comfortable and I felt so supported and safe with Hana as she shot me--which is saying something since the hot water didn’t work on the shower and it was literally freezing! All my rambling here is to say that I think this song is so plush and feminine and Hana both on and off screen embodies those things so effortlessly which was so perfect for this song/video.
HANA HALEY: I loved the pensive and emotional surrender of this song, and originally it inspired a photoshoot that turned into a 30 second clip concept that turned into a full music video. I knew I wanted to shoot in a bathroom setting with a shower and mirror because the symbolism behind these everyday activities are particularly powerful when a woman is going through this sort of emotional ‘cleansing’ (i.e. the shower). In a bathroom, we generally have more privacy to reflect and reimagine ourselves which is where true intimacy with the self can happen. It was my hope that we could create this sense of intimate privacy through the otherwise daily motions of “getting ready”.
@: What did you first visualize when you first heard the song?
HH: What first came to me when I heard the song was a color palette of white, cream, pink, and red. For me, the colors relate to romance, heartbreak, and feminine nature in general (I always relate these colors back to flowers). In addition to the colors, I visualized Sophie standing at a mirror in a red bra. From there it was fairly easy to build a bathroom setting, as a bedroom scene would have too many details and been harder to decipher the emotional subtext of the song. After setting up these base details, everything else came pretty easily, from the lipstick application to lighting up a cigarette, each motion is loaded with intention.
@: Is there empowerment of choosing to let someone back in, or do you feel like it’s something you’re giving into?
SS: I think it can be either. I think it’s also okay for things to be neither empowering nor un-empowering--especially right now when we are all under so much pressure to be empowered all the time, to the point where empowerment becomes kind of meaningless. I think the growth and perspective that can come with repeated visits to the same relationship can be constructive and empowering, but it can also be regressive, toxic, or even abusive. It really depends on how in touch with yourself you are able to be. I don’t feel that every negative relationship experience is inherently terrible, and I know I’ve learned a great deal about myself through recognizing my own patterns of behavior. Being able to say “wow, I’m strong enough to let this person back in” can be an amazing thing--whether that means you’re strong enough to be able to like, have sex with them without it being a heartbreaking emotional disaster, or if it means you’re strong enough to let someone try to be better--then that’s great! But it also can be a beautiful sign of growth and strength to say “you know what, I’m NOT letting this person back in my life, I deserve better.” I suppose there’s no prescription and not every action has an inherent morality attached to it--it’s often just what you make of it.
@: What was your process writing this song in particular?
SS: I bought a midi synth like two years ago--my first one! And this was actually the first song I wrote using it. I just plugged it right into GarageBand and started layering shit. I recorded a demo of it at home and then when it came around to making this record I reached out to my friends Jacob Masters and Connor Schon.
@: You’ve released a few singles this year. When can we expect a new album?
SS: My album Hard Study is coming out December 14th!
@: Any upcoming shows?
SS: I’m playing at the Love Song in DTLA this Sunday evening along with an amazing lineup of other artists for a holiday show. And then I have my album release party on December 14th at Desperate Los Angeles.