Sophia Bel Relives 00’s Teenage Angst In ‘You’re Not Real You’re Just A Ghost’
Sophia Bel is a Montreal-based artist, singer, and producer that has always been slightly out of step with her surroundings. Her black fingernail polish made her the target of bullies at her school in suburban Quebec City, something many people with an off-centre sense of style and scepticism of the status quo can truly relate to. Sophia Bel is proof that uniqueness and originality pay off regardless of what they say in school. Her latest project is an angsty, ironic kiss-off from the perspective of someone who’s been ghosted. And what better way to deliver this put down than with the aloofness of a misunderstood teenager from the 2000s pop punk era?
Every song Sophia writes is about something real – an experience or scattered thought brought to life. Plucking from a diverse array of musical styles to assemble her unique sonic bricolage, her rich soundscape is a patchwork of underground electronic music, skater punk, guitar folk, and even Quebecois hippie music. Lyrically, Bel delves into serious subjects aimed at anyone who’s ever felt alienated, but does so with an occasional self-deprecating wink and her ever present sardonic wit. With refreshing candor, she never wants the listener to get too comfortable with their surroundings. In Sophia Bel’s world, clichés are ripe for deconstructing.
Z: You’ve previously mentioned that you were bullied in school but are now owning the insults that once hurt you. Can you elaborate on your decision to call your EP ‘Princess Of The Dead’?
Sophia: I called my EP “Princess of The Dead” partly for it’s satiric tone, partly as a winky wink to the past experiences that have made me who I am today. Truthfully, I think that most people have been bullied in their lives, and most people have also been the bully themselves at certain times. It’s the worst thing in the world when you go through it, but everything is temporary. The good, the bad, the yin, the yang, they all teach us valuable lessons that help us grow.
Z: Do you have any advice for our readers currently struggling with bullying or verbal harassment in school or at work?
Sophia: It’s really one of the worst things in the world to cringe at the idea of going to school or work. My advice would be to take a break on social media and find real life activities and projects that make you feel good. When I started getting involved in extracurricular activities and school shows, I started to connect with new people and I made great friends. There are plenty of things to do, volunteer, join a tree planting organisation, see if there is a runner’s group at work. Positivity attracts more positivity.
Z: There’s a definite early 2000’s pop-punk influence in the track and music video. What about this era are you drawn to?
Sophia: Inspiration comes from so many places. I love the angsty eagerness of 2000s pop punk. Music from that era often had an edgy, raw and naive quality to it. I don’t like being too over processed.
Z: Can you take us through the inspiration and influences behind You’re Not Real You’re Just A Ghost and the creative process you went through to make it?
Sophia: My intentions were to create a fun, energetic song, I really didn’t want to overthink it. The music that CRi and I had started to create that evening gave me mixed feelings of frustration and excitement. The words kind of just came to me as a result of my inability to figure out how to communicate. It’s hard to process things when they fizzle away without closure.
Z: Being ghosted by someone can be a big hit to your self esteem and confidence. What do you do to help pick yourself up after being hurt by someone?
Sophia: There are people and situations that will never give you any closure. I think it’s important to decide for yourself when to give yourself closure. If you feel disrespected or taken for granted, you can decide for yourself to communicate your needs, and you can decide for yourself when to move on. Certain conversations are harder to have, but they are an inevitable.
Z: What’s next for Sophia Bel?
Sophia: I can’t say too much at the moment, but I will say this: 🪐🪐🪐
Z: This issue of Chapter Z explores the idea of home and what it means to us. Where do you feel most at home when creating and why?
Sophia: I work best when I am well rested and on a healthy sleep schedule. I’ve been in the process of moving over the past couple of months and it’s sparked a new interest in me for minimalism. Having a peaceful, clean and organised environment really opens up a space for me to create.