After a relatively quiet 2020, LA-based DJ and hardstyle producer Softest Hard is back to touring.
She's no stranger to playing international festivals, having toured all over Asia and opening for Skrillex back in 2019. But her first festival performance in Canada was for the return of Vancouver's beloved two-day music festival, FVDED In The Park, and EDM.com caught up with her after a heart-pounding set.
EDM.com: I didn’t realize you’ve played Vancouver before. What’s your vibe on Vancouver?
Softest Hard: I fucking love it here. I love Vancouver, everybody showing so much love, everybody so nice. Shoutout all the people at Fortune Sound for bringing me here first, but this has been such an experience having to play a festival versus like a club, you know. I fucking love it here.
EDM.com: The crowd really loved you and your style is totally on its own, which is something I want to touch on. For people who don’t know what "Softest Hardstyle" is, how would you describe it in as little words as possible?
Softest Hard: So basically what Softest Hard style is, it’s a take of classic hardstyle that I dubbed my own, and made it "Softest Hardstyle." The Softest part is like the more melodic and pretty and it’s paired with the classic hardstyle drums, so that’s what I try to incorporate with all my music—something that’s pretty light and airy with a hard-ass kick. That’s what "Softest Hardstyle" is.
EDM.com: I also saw that you started off spinning hip-hop and being more into that scene prior to the EDM space. If you could have a collaboration with one rapper and one producer, who would it be?
Softest Hard: Probably Lil Wayne cause that’s my idol. I look up to him—he’s my favorite rapper—and then probably DJ Snake. Make something euphoric with some rap shit in it, the nostalgic energy that comes from Snake and then the classic rap shit from Wayne.
EDM.com: What I’ve read about you that was really inspiring, was that you just dipped to L.A. at 17, which is pretty much every teenager’s dream. What advice do you have for someone who is trying to chase their dreams in L.A.?
Softest Hard: Just go for it, don’t be scared. Being scared holds people back, and you have to just be confident in yourself and be very determined to get to where you want to be. You can’t just come to L.A. and be like, “Oh actually I’m lazy." No, you have to grind or you go back home.
Just do it. Be determined and be passionate. It’s all about knowing the right people as well to get far and having the right attitude. I feel like those are all really good components to have as an artist trying to make it out of the mud. So just do it, go for it. Don’t be scared and go venture out into the world.
Softest Hard at FVDED In The Park 2021
EDM.com: What is one thing that people would be surprised to find in your rider?
Softest Hard: Um, Twinkies (laughs). I don’t know, my manager put them on there so I kept eating them and I’m like, “Damn, love me some fucking Twinkies.”
But yeah those are on my rider, they’re funny. Everyone laughs, that’s why I brought it up. Cause every time someone comes into my room they’re like, “Why do you have Twinkies, that’s a weird-ass thing to have," but love Twinkies. I love sweet stuff.
EDM.com: Gotta love Twinkies. But what about real food? What are your favorites?
Softest Hard: Oh my god, I love everything. That’s such a hard question for real. I love pasta, I love sushi, I love Thai food. I’m not a picky eater—I love everything except like weird intestines and chicken feet and stuff.
EDM.com: So what are Softest Hard's top three late-night delivery spots in L.A.?
Softest Hard: I usually eat at this Italian restaurant called UOVO, I’m a big ravioli girl (laughs). Love me some ravioli, I’ll fuck up some ravioli at a late night.
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EDM.com: Let’s talk music for a minute. What are you working on? What’s next?
Softest Hard: I’m actually going to go work on my first album next month, we’re going to Amsterdam for a good week and a half to work on that. Insomniac is going to be releasing it and the first single is going to be coming out at the beginning of the year.
I have a lot of cool features on there and I’m so excited for this album. It’s my baby and it’s just going to be so big. All the people I have on it are my close friends who are also so talented and it’s going to be something really special.
EDM.com: Can you tell us what the sound is going to be like, or anyone else on it?
Softest Hard: So I want to maybe do like three or four songs that are hardstyle, big room bangers, and then three or four on the softer side, something that can be played on the radio. The hard stuff you can play on the radio as well but you know how that shit goes. So it’s gonna be soft and hard—you’re gonna get both.
EDM.com: What are you listening to? What’s inspiring you right now?
Softest Hard: I really, really have been listening to Don Toliver a lot. I love his voice. Really love Kali Uchis too, she’s a really good friend of mine. Love that they’re together and dropped a song.
Really been a fan of DJ Snake as well, all his new music coming out. “You Are My High,” like that song is a banger, I love that nostalgic feel, anything that makes you feel good I’m a big fan of.
EDM.com: The other thing I read was that you met Skrillex and Diplo?
Softest Hard: Yeah, I was working at a restaurant at the time when I met Skrillex, but still music was my passion. He found me on SoundCloud and was like “Bro, this shit cool, come link up with me,” and I’m like “This isn’t real, this is fake.”
So I pulled up to the studio, met Skrillex, met Vic Mensa, it was cool being in the studio with them. After that we just got close, that was back in like 2016 or so. And then Skrillex really put me on by involving me with all the OWSLA parties, and took me on an Asian tour letting me open for him—and that was huge for me. He’s still someone super important, I really want him to be on my album.
And I met Diplo because I did a "Diplo & Friends" thing. They really fucked with me and they gave me a slot every month on Diplo’s Revolution, and that really got me going too cause it’s like, “Damn I’m on the radio every month so of course I’m gonna get traction.” So that’s cool that they believed in me, and they still be mentoring me. Every time I have some new music I send it to both of them, and they help me with a lot of things. So shoutout to them, love them.
EDM.com So what can we look forward to from you till the end of the year and 2022, any shows that you’re going to play that people should come buy tickets for?
Softest Hard: I have a few shows coming up this year, playing Audiotistic which is in the Bay area, playing Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge, playing EDC Orlando and EDC Mexico City. Probably missing a few but it’s kinda scattered this year, I think after my album drops we’re gonna be touring off of that and Insomniac is gonna put me on all of the festivals that they have, so next year we on.
EDM.com And we’ll also see you back in Vancouver?
Softest Hard: No doubt!
Check out Softest Hard's newest release, "Power" with SAYMYNAME, below.