6 May 2019

Your New Best Mate

A relative newbie to the ever-expanding world of podcasts, we were first graced with a Mate. episode in September of last year. Since then, it's garnered a loyal following and comparisons to firm favourite, The High Low - albeit more Northern and all the more relatable. I had a chat with Sofie and Lara - the podcast's hosts - about how they met, the London-centric nature of creative industries and what they have coming up next; as well as their divine recommendations for what you should be listening to, reading, watching and eating this month...


how would you sum up Mate. in a sentence?
Sofie: Like sitting with your best friend for an hour catching up on life.
Lara: A real life snapshot of two best friends weekly WhatsApp conversation.

why did you decide to start the podcast?
Sofie: I think we have such an intense friendship and it’s a fairly new one, so when we first met we found we had so much to discuss. We wanted to know about each other’s relationships, families, friendships, musical tastes, favourite magazines, books etc. We began a continuous WhatsApp chat filled with recommendations and would share articles and podcasts we loved and in the end, we thought why not share it with everybody else? A lot of our favourite podcasts are hosted by middle class, media types and we wanted to produce something a little more Northern and relatable.

Lara: Yeah, I think that when we met we were both really getting into listening to podcasts and that was a big thing we connected on. From the off we had a really open and honest relationship and while we got to know each other, straight away it felt really normal and easy to discuss a whole host of topics such as female friendships, romantic relationships and career issues. We thought that if we were having these conversations then other people were too, so sharing them via a podcast might be an interesting format and something people could find helpful. Like Sof said, as well as discussing weightier topics we also wanted to ensure we included all the fun other stuff too, being relatable and real was really important to us. 

how did the two of you meet?
Sofie: We actually met over Instagram, we agreed to meet at a wine bar that we both loved!

Lara: It was like going on a first date! We were both so nervous, asking our boyfriends what we should wear, did we think the other would be dressed up? I was genuinely more nervous meeting Sof the first time, than going on my first date with my now boyfriend!

you’re both based in Liverpool, what are each of your favourite things about the city?
Sofie: Liverpool is my home, I was born here and the people are unlike anywhere else in the world. Everybody is so warm, generous and kind and the city unites like one big family. It’s infectious. 

Lara: I came to Liverpool for uni 6 years ago and loved it so much I never left. I love how much there is going on in, what is quite a compact city, everyone supports one another’s endeavours and there’s more and more cool stuff going on to get involved in. Also, I love architecture and I think Liverpool’s got some amazing buildings and spaces. 

you cover the most relatable topics; from imposter syndrome and the social pressures of Instagram, to how overworked millennials are on the brink of burning out – how much of an impact do you think social media has had on opening up dialogue about issues that aren’t necessarily talked about all the time?
Sofie: I think social media gets such a bad rep and I can see why, however for us, it enabled us to meet and acted as a barrier for us to become acquainted over time. Social media is primarily still a place for us to share our successes, but we are becoming more aware of the impact of transparency online and celebrating our ‘failures.’ I hope we are being more honest about our lives offline and our mental health, which can only be a huge step forward. The scales are definitely tipping.

Lara: I think that social media has been instrumental in opening up a much needed dialogue around so many important issues. It’s also given me the ability to appreciate different perspectives, that I otherwise wouldn’t have necessarily had access to before. We just need to be weary of the added pressures of using social platforms, that’s the only downside.

you’ve spoken about the London-centric nature of creative industries  and having the itch to move away to feel fully fulfilled career-wise. do you think this is changing as cities like Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool become creative hubs of their own or will the lure of bigger cities always be too compelling?
Sofie: I do hope in our lifetime we will see large cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow challenge and draw people away from London because at times, it feels like the epicentre of the world. There is so much big business there and the North still has a lot of catching up to do. It is a great, diverse city and London is definitely my second home. I am one of few people to enjoy the fast-paced nature of it all - I just wish it wasn’t so extortionately expensive. 

Lara: I totally think that the cities you mentioned are becoming, quite rightly, valid creative hubs of their own. I love how entrepreneurial people are in these cities, and I think that not being London based can be a massive strength for some creative brands/businesses/outlets, Northerners seem to support and champion start ups and the underdogs more than London. But personally for me, I am still completely excited by the pace of cities like London. I love the variety they offer and seeing friends succeed and thrive there makes it even more appealing for me. Unfortunately in my line of work London is still where the best opportunities are, I don't think this will be the case forever though, the North is moving in the right direction and is offering more and more people amazing things.

you recently hosted your second Date with Mate event, how did it go and do you have any more events coming up?
Sofie: It went really well! We are so excited to have people who want to come and listen to us talk and to share a space with like-minded people. We are really proud that venues have listened to our podcast and enjoy what we do enough to host us. We discuss everything from careers, relationships, side-hustles, sex, podcasts – you name it and we discuss it! It is important to have spaces for women to chat honestly.

Lara: It was a fab night! We had 3 amazing panelists that created such diverse, interesting and funny conversations. Sof and I always want our live events to be as candid and real as possible, so we were thrilled that the panelists and guests felt relaxed and comfortable enough to talk about the topics really openly and honestly. We have actually just confirmed a venue for our third Date with Mate event and we are heading to Sheffield in June to host at Ambulo! We are super excited and tickets will be live soon! 

one of my favourite parts of your episodes is the ‘oh my god mate you’d love’ segment where you both talk about what you’re loving at the moment. what are each of your favourite of the following right now: 
Sofie: My favourite song at the moment is Lykke Li/Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings. I saw the video recently on YouTube and it is the ultimate 70’s heartbreak, disco, summer song!

LaraDespite valiant efforts from my friends my music knowledge is limited and I mainly listen to old music. However someone sent me the song recently, King of Hearts by Charlotte Dos Santos and I’ve had it on repeat. It’s an absolutely gorgeous song, proper summer vibes. 

SofieMy favourite movie at the moment isn’t a new release, its one I have been meaning to watch for some time and finally did, which is The Dreamers by Bernardo Bertolucci, starring one of my favourite actress’ Eva Green. It is set in 60’s Paris and follows a twisted love triangle, it is very warped and sensual.

LaraMovie, I’ve got to say Greenbook. I saw it at the end of its run in the cinema and thought it was utter brilliance. It made me laugh and cry and taught me so much about a subject I thought I was pretty well versed on. Ultimately, it’s an amazing story of true male friendship, which I don't think is portrayed often enough. Its also beautifully shot and the colours are amazing. 

SofieMy current book is probably one I would recommend, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty who is the genius behind Big Little Lies. It is set in a health retreat where a group of strangers are forced to live together under some unethical circumstances. A real page turner, I read it in three days!

LaraI don't have to think twice about my book recommendation, its called This Is Going To Hurt, by Adam Kay - I’ve been telling anyone who will listen about it! It's Adams' memoir about the years he practiced as a junior doctor. It's one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, some of his stories about patients he’s seen are unbelievably hilarious. However it's also one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read too, junior doctors and NHS staff in general are living saints. It’s a total love letter to the NHS, and I think everyone needs to read it to realise just how lucky we are. 

SofieMy favourite restaurant is Leroy in Shoreditch. It is upmarket dining but in the most casual, fun and least bit pretentious setting. The best dinner date setting and the food is really tasty!

LaraI think KILN in Soho, London is my favourite restaurant at the minute. Its Thai barbecue, everything is cooked in front of you on open wood fires and grills. It’s super chill, and really well priced. Last time I went we sat right at the bar the smells from the kitchen were unreal. I’d 100% recommend the halibut & aubergine jungle curry and the clay pot baked noodles. Also they have some belter wines, we got through a lot of rosé!

SofieMy all time favourite magazine that I will always be devoted to is ELLE Magazine, which I have been reading ever since I was a teenager. It has the perfect balance of career, sex, and relationship advice with a good mix of fashion too. The new contributing editors are amazing too.

LaraFunnily enough, ELLE DECORATION will always be my favourite magazine. I love interiors and design, so my monthly delivery keeps me up to date with what’s going on and provides me with a lot of future home inspiration. It also has a great travel section! 

who would your dream guest be on a podcast episode and what would you want to chat with them about?
Sofie: I think my dream guest would be host of Gurls Talk Podcast, Adwoah Aboah. For such a high profile model to be so publicly honest about her attitudes towards sex, her life growing up and her relationships, I think that’s really admirable. Nothing is off topic with her and I would love to just chat to her about everything we cover on Mate.

Lara: Stacey Dooley would be my dream guest I think. She's so personable and honest. I love the documentaries she creates and I think she’s a great down to earth role model for women. I also think she's hilarious, I love her style and she's ballsy, I don't think she’d be shy about over-sharing. 

what do you most want people to take away from your podcast?
Sofie: We recently had a review from a person who had moved down South and didn’t really know anybody. They mentioned needing a little pick me up and so had been listening to Mate. on their commute to cheer themselves up. They commented on how they felt as though they were chatting with their friends and it made them feel less alone. It really brightened up my day – I think for people to feel less alone is what I would want people to take away.

Lara: Same as Sof, I want the podcast to feel like someone’s real life mate. I want it to give someone that same feeling as a really great chat with your pal, the kind of chat where you feel instantly better and you don't realise but you have been waffling away for over an hour about all sorts of random stuff. If the podcast can be the mate that someone might need when they are feeling a little alone or down, then I am happy! 

you can follow the girls on instagram and listen to the podcast via itunesacast and spotify.

all images supplied by @mate.podcast