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All Around The World: Sophie’s Earthquake

Guitarist and vocalist Janosch Dewald talks Peter Gabriel, pop academies and musical earthquakes.

Germany: the country that brought us Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kraftwerk and the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg. “It’s manufactured but there’s a lot of talent there and some very skilled musicians,” says Janosch Dewald, who lives near the university for budding pop stars and musicians in Mannheim.

Manufactured music is something the frontman of psych-proggers Sophie’s Earthquake knows about because he was once a commercial musician. “It’s what I refer to as the ‘dark period’ of my life!” he laughs.

Named after the thundering sounds their music created in their former drummer’s wife’s basement, Sophie’s Earthquake’s eponymous debut EP bears more than just a passing resemblance to Tool with its melodic harmonies and hypnotic rhythms that crash and thrash their way to an intense crescendo.

“Many people say that about us,” Dewald admits, “but personally, I’ve only listened to Ænima. I grew up with Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, David Sylvian and Pink Floyd, but nowadays I’m listening to a lot of Meshuggah, so that’s quite different!”

This curious but prog-friendly list of influences isn’t always audible through his band’s music, but that should change as the open-minded German trio are currently working on their first full-length release. “The EP songs have an almost psychedelic feel to them so we’ll keep that but we’ll also have some harder ones, and others that will sound strange and interesting, like early Peter Gabriel,” he explains.

Although Germany is a breeding ground for experimental music, Dewald admits he’s out of touch with his local scene. Instead, he seeks out new sounds online and remains modest in his ambition: he wants to perform more live shows and win more fans.

“Just being able to do this is a dream come true,” he says. “The biggest thing for me right now is for us to play our music to people who want to hear it and to record an album with my own songs on.”

Sophie’s Earthquake recently released the vinyl version of their debut EP through Adansonia Records and will embark on a European tour this autumn.

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Natasha Scharf

Dark prog (and chocolate) fan Natasha has been a Prog regular since 2009. News Editor between 2014 and 2019, now Deputy Editor, she is the only member of the team to have appeared on Prog's cover.