Sound Source: Audax the Damsel Stays on Tempo in New EP

Onyekaorise Chigbogwu, Reporter

Weinberg sophomore Sofía Stutz, also known as Audax the Damsel, released “Tempo” on Oct. 2. In this episode of Sound Source, Sofía talks about the creation of the EP and how the theme of time plays out across the five songs. 

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Onyekaorise Chigbogwu and you are listening to Sound Source, a podcast tuning into music on and around Northwestern. In August, Sound Source spoke with bilingual rapper Sofía Stutz, professionally known as Audax the Damsel. At the time, she had already recorded “Beads” and “Procrastination”: two of the five songs which would be on her newly-released EP, “Tempo.” We spoke with Sofía again to take a close look at “Tempo” and talk with Audax the Damsel about the meaning behind each song.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Sofía’s process for creating this album started in March of 2020. Of course, that’s when COVID-19’s stay-at-home orders started to go into effect.

SOFÍA STUTZ: Towards the end of Winter Quarter, I wrote “Procrastination,” and I was super pumped about recording it, but then I got a call from my mom saying you have to come home and that was precisely the day where I was going to record “Procrastination.” So that was disappointing, but also the beginning of this project.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: The weirdness of time passing under the pandemic inspired Sofía to create a project that expanded on that first song. When stay-at-home orders interrupted her ability to record “Procrastination,” she narrowed in on a theme. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: I’m actually really grateful that that happened because that particular song helped me figure out what theme I wanted to tackle for this EP. The theme as a whole is really about time. Time just feels different under the circumstances that we’re living in. It’s like we’re living in this weird time warp where it’s both going by really really slowly, and we’re like “When is this gonna be over?” But it’s also going by so quickly. It’s been like six months of the pandemic.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: The title of the EP has multiple layers of meaning. “Tempo.”

SOFÍA STUTZ: It comes from the Latin word “tempest” which means time. And then of course, in music, tempo refers to the cadence, the speed, the rhythm of music. It kind of encapsulates what this whole EP is about.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Sofía had originally planned to release “Procrastination” as a stand-alone single. Instead, it helps kick off the EP as its opening song. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: “Procrastination” is really about delaying something supposedly important and doing something else. So, it’s basically about prioritizing certain things given the time that you have. And in this case, it’s about prioritizing creative endeavors. I wanted to do kind of a subversive song where I celebrate procrastination as something positive, you know, which has negative connotations. I will choose to prioritize a creative impulse that I have because those things sometimes just dissipate into thin air if you don’t seize the moment.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: “Procrastination” is followed by “Legado,” which means “legacy” in Spanish. On the song, Sofía connects with her many musical influences.

SOFÍA STUTZ: At the very beginning, I talk about Erykah Badu. “Mama’s Gun” is one of her classic albums. And then I talk about Earth, Wind & Fire, and I talk about Big Pun, A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, Jorge Drexler. I list all of these musical influences to say, “These are the people who have shaped me. These are the people who I listened to in my childhood. These are the people who I am listening to now.” And then the chorus — the hook of the song — is “mi legado para dejar” which means “my legacy to leave.” Now, I have a legacy to leave as well.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Sofía says she has spent a lot of time thinking about her identity and her expression of herself along with her perception from other people. As a White Latina, she says her identities seem to contradict themselves to others. “Beads” is a song wrapped up in all that. She was born in Argentina but grew up in the United States. The song is an ode to her extended family who lives in Argentina. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: “Beads,” the title, refers to my jewelry — gifts that I’ve received from my aunts and family members. And those gifts are really symbolic of my connection to them, and it’s about the difficulty of moving, but it’s also about accepting that I have roots here in the United States. There’s this one part where I say, “It’s time to celebrate,” and it seems like a really joyful phrase — and it is — but the melody is actually pretty melancholy.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: The next song is “Tempo,” which shares a name with the EP as a whole. In this song, Sofía creates a metaphor between life and dancing. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: I am a dancer, and I grew up dancing a variety of different styles. I just really love the image of dance as a symbol for life because it really captures the beauty, the pain that comes along with it, and the skill and the effort too. I would say the thesis statement of the song is, “La vida es un baile y bueno, hay que improvisar.” Which means, “Life is a dance, and so we have to improvise.” 

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: The EP closes with the song “Indefinitely.” In it, Sofía directly wrote about the pandemic and all the awkwardness that surrounds it. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: I would say this is one of my favorite songs on the EP. It just really feels relevant to this moment. And so I made this song as a song of comfort. And I don’t know how comforting it really is (laughs) because it really grapples with the difficulties and the frustrations. I talk about being frustrated with Zoom classes and all of those things. But on the other hand, it has kind of this funky upbeat instrumental. Also at the end, there’s a lot of hope.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Onyekaorise Chigbogwu. Thanks for listening! Hope you’ll join us next time for another episode of Sound Source. You can listen to “Tempo” along with Audax the Damsel’s other music on any major streaming platform including Spotify and Apple Music. She says she hopes to release more full-length projects in the future. 

This episode was reported and produced by me, Onyekaorise Chigbogwu. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Alex Chun, the digital managing editors are Molly Lubbers and Jacob Ohara. The editor in chief is Marissa Martinez.

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