When Nashville native Sophie Allison doesn’t answer her cellphone, callers are treated to a beatbox-scratchy song she sings that’s as cheesy as George’s “Where could I be?” answering machine message from “Seinfeld.” There’s a good chance she’ll miss a call, too. She’s busy touring the world as minimalist alt-rocker Soccer Mommy, promoting “Clean,” her new sophomore album for Fat Possum. “I was in fifth grade, and only 10 or 11 when I recorded that voicemail, using the mic on my phone,” she says. And she’s been experimenting in her bedroom studio ever since. It just took her a while to do it professionally.
Just when you think all the great band names are taken …
I know. It started as a joke on my Twitter account. I was making my music on Bandcamp, and Twitter was the social media outlet I used together with it, and then the name just kind of blew up out of there.
You were a music-business major at New York University. But you weren’t planning on playing music for a living?
I was just going to college, undecided, because I didn’t know what I was going to do yet. But after a year I did quit school and enter the music business itself. So I’ve left school — for now, at least.
How did you quit?
It was actually in the summer, after both semesters were over. I was touring and getting a lot of good offers for the fall. So I just decided to take some time off, because I had so much stuff that I could have lined up if I didn’t go to school.
But you kept your music secret for years before that?
Yeah. I didn’t really think it was very good, what I was doing. I mean, I would show my friends. But I also didn’t really know how to record anything, so I couldn’t share it with people online. So the only time people got to hear my songs was when I was sitting down with a guitar, playing it in front of them. Which was, uhh, kind of uncomfortable sometimes.
When did you master home recording?
When I was in high school, I didn’t really record at all except for voice memos on my phone of me playing. Then I got a Tascam four-track, and I used a Shure microphone, and everything else just went straight into the console. Later, I got GarageBand, and then eventually I got Logic and Pro Tools.
Your songs don’t require much — just you and electric guitar.
Totally. I’ve just always loved playing alone. I never liked working with other people, so I’ve just always gravitated toward making stuff simple and being by myself.
IF YOU GO
Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. April 7
Tickets: $10 to $12 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 626-4455, www.bottomofthehill.comCleanFat PossumPop MusicSoccer MommySophie Allison