Skip to main content

Sophie’s Earthquake

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. NRS

Log on and tune in at sophiesearthquake.bandcamp.com.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.