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Words Laura Bannister
Photography Charles Dennington
Fashion Mikey Ayoubi
Art direction Matthew Roland Bannister
Grooming Kristyan Low at work:agency using O&M and M·A·C

Keeping good company with Soak

A four-page portrait story with Soak appears in the High flying issue of Museum, which you can buy here.

Talking to the Irish crooner on tour (more specifically: as her crew drives down a tree-lined motorway between Indianapolis and Minneapolis).

Before We Forgot How to Dream is the debut offering by Soak, released this year at the close of May. I suspect the Northern Irish singer—real name Bridie Monds-Watson—does not care one bit that a brand of laundry detergent shares her stage moniker; even if it is a fancy one, with scents named ‘Yuzu’ and ‘Lacey’ and ‘Fig’ and ‘Celebration’ and packaging it calls “collectable” (meaning it features no stock photos of Golden Labradors). Monds-Watson doesn’t care about any other Soak because she is 19-years-old and because it doesn’t matter, because she’s signed to seminal UK label Rough Trade and has been touring across America with a band of her own; because the non-stop washing machine that is The Big Business Music Industry is far from spitting her out.

“I loved Tegan and Sara when I was 14. They played a show near where I lived–they didn't tour very much through Europe then–and I couldn't go. All my friends got tickets and my mum wouldn't let me! Then two years later I got to support them.”

“I loved Tegan and Sara when I was 14. They played a show near where I lived–they didn’t tour very much through Europe then–and I couldn’t go. All my friends got tickets and my mum wouldn’t let me! Then two years later I got to support them.”

At 16, Monds-Watson was travelling from Derry to London to meet with music publishers. In the lead up to her full-length album, she released three EPs to plenty of buzz from The Guardian and the BBC. This is how quickly things can happen when you have an acoustic guitar and a YouTube account, when your voice is both husky and canorous and the confessional lyrics are your own. Perhaps Monds-Watson’s most endearing quality is her stubborn ordinariness: she’s wry and self-effacing in the face of the attention. Three examples in recent history: Before our conversation, she played adventure mini golf. (She lost both games.) After a brief Australian tour earlier this year, she got a tattoo that read ‘GOON’; an ode to cheap boxed wine. Once, as a surprise homecoming to her friends, she hid inside a bin.

“I do a drawing now, before every show. We print, like, 20 copies off and give them out at the end of the show.”

Before We Forgot How to Dream is out now.

Monds-Watson concedes her mother—who has a Saint Theresa statue wrapped in Soak’s festival passes—is likely her biggest fan. “At the moment my mum’s thing is this campervan she’s renovated. It’s so she can come to festivals when I play them in Ireland. She takes her friends—some of my friends travel with her too. I guess she’s a cool mum. I have to get her stickers to put on the back of this van. The last time I came back from America, I bought this bumper sticker home and put it on my wall. She was really angry, she’d wanted it for the van.”

Left

Shirt by Prada

Right

Knit and shirt by Prada

Left

Jacket, shirt and tie by Prada

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