Originally published in Stylus Magazine
Upon stepping into the space Sophie Stevens spends most of her music making time a few things will become abundantly clear. The first, she sleeps in the very same room. Her bed sits only a few feet from an electric piano, taking up much of the room on its own. Sophie says this can make mornings a challenge when the job of the day, as is the case every day, is to sit down and practice or write music. The desire to slap the snooze button is tenfold for those whose office is the same room they woke up in.
There’s an unmistakable aura in this room. One that feels bright and somehow gentle. Rainbow coloured Christmas lights skirt the ceiling on all sides. Their soft glow, along with the pink blankets on the walls, guide the atmosphere toward a place of calm. Playful art, created and collected over the years, hangs on every wall. A headshot of Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamaroux (2) sticks to a sheet of Star Wars themed note paper. There’s no real story behind that and somehow that makes its being there all the better.
Under Kevin on the wall is a Japanese advertisement with a less than enthusiastic Harrison Ford holding a can of Kirin Beer. The add, never meant to be seen on this side of the world, was found in Japan by Sophie’s father. “My dad was in Japan,” Sophie went on to tell me through a laugh, “and he said hey man, can I have that?” The add is one of a series that can be found behind a quick Google search, all of which have an equally energetic Ford.
Sitting at eye level, right next to the entrance way, sits a creepy, staring little monkey baring a crash symbol in each hand. The little primate acts not only as primary Gatekeeper of Nightmares but also as a music box. My ignorance of the stage kept me from knowing this to be a piece from The Phantom of the Opera. “It was my first real introduction to music,” Stevens explained of the show. “I used to have the script memorised.” The music monkey has been hers since she was about 10.
What made the monkey creepier than it may have otherwise been was the doll it had tucked under its arm. A little doll with little sunglasses. I wouldn’t have guessed, but once I was told I could see immediately, that the doll was Lou Reed. “I made [the doll] one night when I was a little sad and thought well, I couldn’t be sad if there was a tiny Lou Reed with me. I was really into his music and still am. I was so inspired by how many fucks he just did not give and just wanted to do something really ridiculous.”