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Drake and Sofia: Clearwater siblings are sweet on indie-rock stardom



(All this week, we’re spotlighting tbt*’s 2012 Ultimate Local Artists on Soundcheck. Today: Drake and Sofia.)

Drake and Sofia Sweet are familiar with the tiny living quarters that touring bandmates often have to share. But for them, it’s not a problem.

“We shared a room until we went to high school,” said Sofia Sweet, 25.

“There was a line we had made of tape, and I would change the line so I would get more space on my side, and then the next day, she would change it and make hers bigger,” said Drake, 23.

Typical brother-sister stuff. But it helped prepare Drake and Sofia for life on the road, which could come in handy as they get ready for bigger things.

Over the past couple of years, Drake and Sofia have pulled influences from a variety of genres to create their own catchy blend of indie pop and rock. And unlike, say, Liam and Noel Gallagher, the siblings are as sweet to each other as their surname implies, yielding a creative partnership that, like their music, is full of harmony.

“The way that I write is very melodic and smooth,” Sofia said. “He likes to spice it up a little, pushing me in different directions, and I push him, melodically. That’s why it’s cool to bounce it off of each other, because we do have different styles, but they work together.”

The siblings have always been musical — Sofia grew up playing piano and Drake was a drummer — but didn’t really play seriously together until their teenage years. At the time, both were really into mainstream hip-hop, like Outkast and Kanye West. But Sofia attended high school at a boarding school in Oregon, where she discovered indie music like Cursive, the Faint, Circa Survive and Portugal. The Man. “My sister came back with short, black hair, all scene-looking, and I was like, 'That girl’s cool,’” said Drake.

By the time he graduated high school, Drake was already a fairly successful musician, touring with various pop-punk and alternative bands like Automatic Loveletter, whose singer, Juliet Simms — a contestant on the current season of NBC’s The Voice — is a close friend of Sofia’s.

The siblings performed together in a group called Raising Theos, but cultivating their own unique sound, though, took discipline. After experimenting with various scenes and styles, Drake and Sofia began gravitating toward more melodic indie music, such as Stars and Eisley. The result was an EP, We Had Everything Planned Out, whose songs the band has performed as far away as Texas.

Drake and Sofia are currently writing a 10-song album — eight by Drake, two by Sofia — and are shooting for a bigger tour this summer. “We want this album to be very energetic, something that people can rock out to, have a good time with,” said Sofia, who also makes and sells crafts and jewelry at the band’s shows.

They plan to shoot several videos in hopes of landing a record contract, or at least a distribution deal. They’re also working on their own projects — Drake just released a solo EP — but it’s safe to say they have no plans to split up anytime soon. They have too much history for that.

“I could do my solo project, I could do an experimental band. But would it get far? I don’t think so,” said Drake. “I think that Drake and Sofia can get far.”


-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo/video: Douglas R. Clifford, tbt*

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:22pm]


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