How do you build a community when everyone is so far apart? That’s the all-important question that Softcult – made up of sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn – found themselves asking when they began sharing their self-described ‘grunge shoegaze dreampop indie’ with the world last year. “It’s a really weird thing to have never really played [live], but then still feel connected to a fanbase,” begins Mercedes, reflecting on the tight-knit kinship they’ve already managed to naturally construct so far with listeners.
The band had made their intentions clear when they released their debut single, Another Bish, in January 2021 (‘I won’t sit, I won’t stay, roll over, obey’). With a message people could sadly relate to, Softcult’s ethos of addressing important topics while empowering their fans was evident from the off. “Day in, day out, when you’re interacting with misogyny and getting used to living in a very sexist world, it can wear down on you,” Mercedes sighs. “It’s turning something bad into something good, I guess.”
Dig even deeper and you’ll find that this goodness extends to more than just Softcult’s music. Mercedes and Phoenix are determined to protect and uplift the new generation – whether that’s those who are struggling with their identity or relationships, or women in the music industry in general. “Even if we haven’t met, we feel connected by this common cause,” nods Mercedes.
On that latter point, having previously played together in pop-rock outfit Courage My Love, the sisters are no strangers to the complicated politics of the music industry. While in previous projects they may have erred on the side of people-pleasing, though, this time they’re here to speak out. In turn, it’s empowered their fans: from joining in the discussion themselves, or having the courage to speak up about other issues. “When we started writing for this project there were moments when we were like, ‘Ah we can’t say that…’ and then it’s like, ‘Yes, you can!’” says Phoenix proudly.