"I think if you perform with conviction, something about that will be fascinating to people, and I mean this neither connotated positively or negatively."
The March/April 2022 GAHSP Anniversary Digital Cover documents Sofie Fatouretchi Royer, Musician and Artist, on the 30th of March in Vienna, Austria. Royer takes her usual walk through Stadtpark and performs in front of the Johann Strauss statue for the present audience. After playing for some time, she heads to Café Prückel, a café on the corner of the park where she is a frequent guest. On her way back home she takes another route in the park, passing by the Vienna River and the Franz Schubert statue.
Disclaimer: this cover is a digital experience bound to real-time events and relationships, therefore cannot be replicated.
Artist & Musician
Born in California to Austrian and Iranian parents, Royer is a classically trained musician. She spent her teenage years in Vienna studying concert violin and viola at the Konservatorium; performing with the Junge Philharmonie in the Volksoper, Musikverein, Konzerthaus, and various concert halls.
Her work in music began when she started interning at Stones Throw Records, an American independent music label based in Los Angeles, and subsequently was hired as digital manager, a role which expanded to A&R; bringing several artists to the label. Her foundations in DJing began at a Stones Throw hosted night called 56, which took place at the now defunct Mr T’s Bowl in Highland Park. There she connected with Boiler Room, when they scheduled their first West Coast broadcast, and she was booked to open for Dam-Funk, J Rocc and Peanut Butter Wolf. She quickly became responsible for the Los Angeles outpost, curating and hosting shows, later expanding to business development, merchandise and creative direction, a move that saw her moving to New York and London.
Current Works: As of 2017 she resides in Vienna, where she studies painting under Henning Bohl at the University of Applied Arts, as well as Philosophy, Psychology and English at the Universitaet Wien, plays violin in the Wiener Akademische Philharmonie, and works as a DJ, with her own radio shows on London’s NTS and Austria’s FM4.
Cult Survivor (2020), Royer's upcoming album is set for release in September 2022
The first set of images were taken in Stadtpark, while you performed in front of the Johann Strauss statue, as well as on top of the fountain which faces the entrance of the park. People passing by couldn’t help themselves but to stop and wonder - your presence was undeniable and inevitable, even in an ominous space like the park. Almost, as if you became a gateway yourself to new experiences for people watching you perform. How would you describe your relationship to music, performance and art, in connection to your audience?
The more and more convinced of what I have to do – and I mean that in the most humble way possible, for I am beginning to understand music and art as devotional – the less I care about an audience. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I think if you perform with conviction, something about that will be fascinating to people, and I mean this neither connotated positively or negatively.
The second set of images were taken at Café Prückel, a café on the corner of Stadtpark where you are a frequent guest. Throughout the shoot, your admiration for the city of Vienna could be felt strongly. What is it like to be a Creative there? After living in so many places all over the world, what makes this city so special to you?
I know it sounds silly, but I just love Vienna so much. Even though I was born in California, I did spend the better part of my early youth, my teenage years, in this city. So a part of me feels staunchly Viennese. Had I not left it for LA at nineteen I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do now. It just hasn’t been aesthetically homogenized into oblivion like so many other capital cities. It’s not considered a place to be. I love the old coffee houses, the art, the museums, the public gardens, the public swimming pools – and you can’t shake the history either, the city feels haunted by it.
To be working creatively here – of course the opportunities aren’t as vast as perhaps elsewhere. However, the upside of that is that if you take on this challenge, you’re allowed to develop without the pressure of conformity or adherence, you can forge your own chains.
The third set of images were taken in Stadtpark again, but this time it was already dark outside and you took a different route, passing by the Vienna River and the Franz Schubert statue. Our issue is titled GENESIS, Gateway - the process of becoming and evolving. What are the main aspects present in your life - environments, people or practices - which help you see things in a different light and more nuanced day by day?
I’m constantly changing, recalibrating, updating my system to be able to exist and process this world. Being present, aware, patient, really allowing yourself to partake in an exchange – irregardless of how small, allows that exchange to be imbued with so much more depth than it would have been previously. Also, I read a lot, I love reading so much. I grew up as an only child without a TV so I would just devour books, I can read really fast – and it really just is like downloading a new patch or something, suddenly you have all this new information, but specific information, there’s nothing like it.
THE Qu & A
What are 3 relevant problems that you wish to solve through your work?
What are 3 values that you wish to mediate through your work?
It’s really hard for me to quantify this in an answer, but I’ll offer up this — I just want to be of sanguine spirit, and that means possessing a disposition that continues to remain curious, tolerant, eager to learn and develop. I’m not yet Teddy McArdle but I’m also no longer De Daumier-Smith, right, maybe I’m Zooey Glass dangling the wet cigarette precipitously on the edge of the bathtub. Sometimes the glass isn’t half full, or half empty, it’s just a glass with water in it.
VOLUME VI, GENESIS Issue GATEWAY.
Cover Star: @sofieroyer
Styling/Creative Direction: @juliahorvath.concept
Special Thanks to Café Prückel. Read more about the iconic café located in the heart of the city here: https://prueckel.at
Written and Edited by Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy of GAHSP Media