Who? Hungarian experimental pop duo, Sophie M, arrived on the scene in 2020. Its members, Dorottya Ács and Pál Zwickl, are both classically trained musicians. Their Youtube bio might not be the most revealing — “Sophie M will make music for your mum’s art project” — but hell, it’s got humour.
What? Their new single Knives, is inspired by a tragedy that took place in 2011 at a West Balkan club in Budapest in which three young women were killed in a stampede as they rushed to exit the club. Early reports suggested the chaos was ensued by a knife attack, but this hypothesis was later dropped by the police. Eventually, the club owner was sentenced to three years in prison for filling the venue over its capacity.
What they say: “The West Balkan club tragedy hit our generation hard,” Sophie M told The Calvert Journal. “This was the year we first started going out and experiencing nightlife. Clubbing in Budapest in the 2010s was still very unregulated. The tragedy was not forgotten: it’s safe to say that we share a collective trauma from the event. For us, this [single] presented a moment of self-reflection. Musically, the mood changes drastically in the second half of the track: the lyrics evoke a state of panic; while the choreography, too, recreates anxiety through movement.
“Knives draws on this event, however our goal was not to recreate that atmosphere, or to tell an exact story. We rather tried to capture an overall feeling of the conflicting attitudes towards nightlife in our region — and possibly beyond. We asked ourselves why we, as a generation, continue to go clubbing. If it is simply for fun, how are we still not bored by it? How does it serve us? Do we want to become part of the collective and feel a sense of belonging, but what happens when the collective becomes too much?”
Why you need to listen: Combining dance and jazz inflections, Knives starts off with a joyful, carefree, teen spirit embodied, in the video, by a group of contemporary dancers heading for a night out. The song and video evolve into something more reflective, a painful generational anthem and an exploration of the existential comedown that even clubbers cannot escape.