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🎵 IT171: I Think You’re Really Cool
✏️ Sophie Parsons
🗓 28.07.22

Sophie is a freelance illustrator and occasional writer based in London, UK.

Heya Sophie. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

My absolute favourite genre of film is a coming-of-age rom-com. The kind that begins with a meet; cute, crushes and a really great soundtrack to accompany it. And that’s what I wanted to encapsulate, that feeling of seeing someone and feeling giddy at the prospect of a crush. When I first moved to London, I would fleetingly fall in love on my 45 minute commute. The playlist is called ‘I Think You’re Really Cool’ because that’s ultimately all a crush is, an immediate judgement of someone’s vibe that you just think is kind of cool. The songs have that soundtrack-esque feeling about them: Fleetwood Mac, early Taylor Swift, Sixpence None the Richer.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I wanted the cover art to be romantic and a little ethereal, to make you fall a tiny bit in love with the subject but still have the distance that a crush on a stranger naturally has. I had a couple of ideas in mind, all revolving around seeing someone on the train. I landed on this one for its ambiguity: is the girl the subject of the crush or the one with the crush? And who are we, as the viewer and listener?

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

My housemate and I have a framed poster of Frank Ocean’s Blond at the bottom of our stairs, so I’ve grown incredibly fond of that image. I think it’ll forever pose an element of nostalgia for the flat-sharing days of my 20s.

2016, Boys Don’t Cry
Photography: Wolfgang Tillmans

When Kacey Musgraves’ released her latest album, Star-Crossed, with a feature film I became very obsessed with the aesthetic and storyline she was telling. I’ve always been very drawn to narratives and really love how the film pinpoints the reality of the album and also is just so fun - the costumes, the cameos, the campness.

‘simple times’ [MV] – Kacey Musgraves
Dir: Bardia Zeinali

What did you listen to growing up?

Anything I could sing into a hairbrush to, really. When I was around eight or nine, I was given a microphone for Christmas and there’s a photo of me standing in front of the TV singing along to Grease, which sums up a lot. ABBA Gold is one of the albums I really remember overplaying in my CD walkman, and I think that definitely came from my mum’s own childhood love of their music.

I also was (and still am) a self-professed pop girl: One Direction, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus. I definitely used to have some shame around it though. There’s such a stigma around pop music being uncool and I think teenage girls definitely bear the brunt of that. I still listen to Harry Styles and Taylor Swift on a heavy rotation - only now I really own my fangirl music taste.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

The past few months have definitely been soundtracked with sad girl music. I saw Phoebe Bridgers at Brixton Academy a couple of weeks ago and so have been feeding my post-gig blues with Punisher. I don’t think there will ever be a time when ‘Chinese Satellite’ doesn’t make me feel something. My go-to pick me up playlist is currently inspired by 00s romcoms: the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Eat World. When it gets to 4pm and I know I’ve still got a way to go with a drawing, this is like a little shot of something joyous. Nostalgia in its absolute finest form.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

At the beginning of this year, I was really struggling with the concept of my ‘niche’, what stories I wanted to tell through my illustrations. And it took a few quiet months of not a lot work and quite a few personal projects, but I have found a rhythm with really honing in on drawing things that I really love and believe in. I’ve got a couple of book-related projects ongoing, which as someone with overflowing bookshelves, I adore. I also am in the process of designing up some large scale painted murals; I did a couple last year and have found my footing with them and am intrigued as to how my work as a muralist can grow!

Where can we find you?

sophillustrates.com / @sophillustrates

Thanks Sophie 👋🏽