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Photo Courtesy of Emma Swales

Canadian Grunge Duo Softcult Invokes Change Through Music

It is hard to make a change in the world when no one seems to listen, but Canadian twin sisters Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn prove that all you need is a strong voice. These twins banded together to create music featuring powerful lyrics and heavy instrumentals to shine a light on uncomfortable topics such as gender violence, inclusivity and diversity. 

Emma Swales

It is hard to make a change in the world when no one seems to listen, but Canadian twin sisters Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn prove that all you need is a strong voice. These twins banded together to create music featuring powerful lyrics and heavy instrumentals to shine a light on uncomfortable topics such as gender violence, inclusivity and diversity. 

They created Softcult, a grunge rock band that vocalizes and spreads their message on the hardships that come with being a woman within the alternative rock community, as well as society in general.

Softcult’s edgy post-punk style is influenced by artists such as Deftones, Bikini Kill and other shoegaze alternative groups. The band was formed by the Arn-Horn sisters in 2021 shortly after their split from the dream pop band Courage My Love. The twins expressed their hopes for independence and wanted to go in a different direction with their own band and touch on the topics that were important to them.

“We were signed to a major label, toured around and had a lot of great experiences, but we became really frustrated,” said Mercedes. “We had to ask permission to release anything or write the music that we wanted to write. We didn’t have complete full creative control over the art, so by the end, we were just so done.”

Once the duo branched off and created a name for themselves, crafting lyrics and making music became second nature. Softcult was slowly becoming the perfect outlet for their creative energy and a solid platform for their strong voices and opinions. The twins stated that they take pride in their lyrics and hope to shed light on the countless hardships that women and non-binary people face every day.

“The inspiration is all around us and there is no shortage of inspiration for our songs,” said Mercedes. “I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing because a lot of the stuff that we write about for example is social injustices and gender violence. We try to call it out. 

“It’s not so much hard to write about, it’s more wanting to be sure that the way we word things and the way it’s conveyed comes across the way we mean it to,” continued Mercedes. “We try to do the topic justice. I find that the music comes easily but when it comes to the lyrics we have to take a second and think about how we want to say this.”

Since its start, Softcult has released 22 singles and gained a large following in the alternative rock community. The band has reached many different audiences, allowing them to tour several countries worldwide. The band released its latest single “Shortest Fuse” in January. Softcult releases these songs to encourage its listeners to speak up and fight for what they want.

“Our band is all about empowerment, so even though we are calling out a lot of negative stuff it’s supposed to be a call to arms,” said Mercedes. “We realized that you have the power to change things, you can stand up for yourself, you can change society and call things out. You can ultimately make the world a better and more inclusive place for everybody. We are just hoping to inspire and empower people to do that.”

As the twins move forward with their musical journey, their voices grow stronger and their messages continue to reach audiences around the world. Softcult plans to release an EP later this year, and claims that its music will never stop pushing the bounds on important issues and empowering women and non-binary people.

“We just started touring in 2021 and the growth so far has been awesome to see,” said Mercedes. “The main thing for me is that it’s still fun and fulfilling and that we never lose sight of why we are doing it. If it becomes about success it means you’re losing what made you who you are and the message of empowerment and gender inclusivity.

“When we start to lose that, that’s when it will be time to call it,” continued Arn-Horn. “As long as we stay true to our message, I don’t care if we keep playing in small venues or big arenas. The big thing for me is to stay true to our art at the end of the day.”