The Sounds

by Amy Baker Rating: Release Date:

The Sounds are big news in America, clocking up impressive celeb fans including Dave Grohl, Gwen Stefani and Quentin Tarantino. Now they're concentrating their efforts on breaking the UK. We met up with Maya and Jesper from the band to see what they have been up to and to find out what all the fuss is about…

Welcome to London - are you excited to be here?

M: Yeah we're super excited to be here. Obviously we've been putting a lot more effort into breaking America over the last few years but you know if you grow up in Sweden and you want to be in a rock band, there's two markets that you want to break. There's the UK market and the US and we got the opportunity to go to America first because we got a record deal and we got the opportunity to tour with Smashing Pumpkins.

How did that come about?

M: I was a big fan of Smashing Pumpkins when I grew up. James Iha came to one of our shows in Stockholm. We had a friend in common, so this friend brought James to our show and after the show he came up to us and said, "Guys, you look exactly like a band should look and you sound just like a band should sound, I want to sign you to my label and lets do a tour". And I was like, "This is so crazy"; I mean, I didn't have a crush on him but he was the only kinda good looking guy in Smashing Pumpkins, I was just super stoked that he came to the show and that he was a fan of our band and the offer was too good to refuse but England has always been a priority for us as well.

You have enjoyed some success over here?

M: Yeah, we got a little bit of a following when we had an underground hit with 'Tony the Beat'. It was remixed by Rex the Dog and it became a little bit of an underground hit on the club scene. We did some stuff with NME and a bunch of interviews and stuff but then we had to go back to America to work on the next album. We drifted away and we didn't come back as much as we should have. The UK is such an important market and we're all really happy to be here.

And are you going to be touring in the UK? Any festivals?

M: We're doing Wireless and it's such a cool festival. The only thing that bothers us in the volume limit because of the location. It's just so retarded when you're doing a rock show and the sound limit is so stupidly low. It's just so quiet. I'm mean, it's one day, come on!

Any other festivals?

M: Oh yeah yeah, for sure. We're doing a lot of festivals in Scandinavia, Germany as well, we're going to Spain, we're going to America again, honestly - I lose track (laughs).

You guys are pretty famous for always being on tour all the time. Do you ever have any time off?

M: Err…no. I try, I really do try and the thing is that from the beginning touring was the only way for us to get our name out there because we didn't really have that much support from the radio or MTV - they don't even play videos nowadays anyway! So for us, it was always word of mouth and I think that that is why we've been able to stay a band for so long because we're not relying on the radio, we're relying on tours and fans. We've been blessed with having a really great fan-base. Everywhere we go, even though we won't necessarily have a record out, we can fill a room. Our fans are great.

Talking of fans, you've got some high-profile fans - Dave Grohl?

M: Yeah - well, I was about 13 when Kurt Cobain passed away so I definitely grew up listening to Nirvana and we met him when it was really early days with our band. We were going to do shows all over Scandinavia. Foo Fighters were touring and they wanted a support act, so the booking agent gave him a bunch of 10 CDs and told them to choose who they wanted and they picked us! I was like, "Oh my god, that's such a compliment". He came into our dressing room to welcome us and we drank some whiskey. That was really an amazing experience. He supported us by buying our t-shirt and wearing it in his video. He is honestly one of the most humble... You know, he's a really big rock star, he could be an arsehole but he isn't, he's a sweetheart. Such a gentleman.

(Jesper arrives…)

You went on tour with The Strokes as well. Did they live up to their party reputation?

M: I think that they all went into rehab after that tour. We had a lot of fun.

J: We saw them a couple of weeks ago in LA. They are really nice guys, I like their new album as well. Good comeback album.

So tell me about your new single, 'Something to Die For'? For people who haven't heard of you before, what should they expect?

M: I think, from an outside perspective, I would say our music is pop music but it still has a lot of punk rock attitude and a lot of electronic elements.

This is the first of your albums that you have produced yourself. How did you find it?

J: It was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work. We've produced our other albums with other people but 'producer' is quite a vague title sometimes. We've got a really strong sense of our sound and what kind of music we want to make so producing it ourselves just seemed like the best idea. Obviously it was a lot of work, there were things that we never knew before that we had to just learn. We had a really good sound engineer on side to help us get the right sound. The hardest thing was sticking to the timings; you know, if we said we were going to do it in six weeks and then actually doing it in six weeks, that was the biggest accomplishment.

You've been together now for more than a decade, how do you think that you have stayed together? Any big fights?

M: Oh man, we have been to hell and back so many times and I think that's the key to staying together; you know, keep everything under a lid and its gonna boil up and explode and then everything is gonna be a mess. We got our first deal when we were still in high school. Jesper was even younger than us, he didn't even have the right age to come into some of the venues we were playing at. We had to sneak him through the kitchen door, put him on stage, give him a couple of beers and then sneak him out the back door again. We were so young when we started this band. We've been growing up together and I think if you follow anyone from the age of 17/18 through to 31, it's a very turbulent time in your life. And if you're gonna do that at the same time as four other guys and at the same time be professional, be creative and working like maniacs, it's impossible not to collide sometimes.

J: It's a company, and when you're 17, you know nothing about running a company. You have to learn and make mistakes but at the same time, it's all that we know.

M: We've been doing it since we were teenagers and it seems like its working.

Do you prefer being on tour or being in the studio?

J: Before we loved touring; now we're more selective when it comes to shows. Now I think, the older we get and the more albums we have, we make more sensible decisions. We're not going to fly to Australia for a show tomorrow if the day after we need to be back in Sweden.

Is there any countries that you would really like to break or that you have never been to that you would like to go?

M: Japan. We were supposed to and then with all the things that have happened lately, it's not going to happen which is really sad.

Tell us a bit about your fans?

M: Our fans are great, we have some crazy crazy fans. One time we were playing a show in Finland and some dude that looked like Billy Idol, obviously fucked up on something, bit my leg. That was pretty crazy. Apart from that, our fans are great, the best thing is when we hear that our music has helped someone through a tough time.

J: That's definitely the best thing, finding out that our music means something to someone. Recently I had a drink with a fan who had been in Iraq and had had a tough time. Him and his wife told me how much our music meant to them and how it helped them get through difficult times. That kind of stuff means a lot to us.

'Something to Die For' and 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' feature on the Scream 4 soundtrack and Maya, you featured on a track that was on the soundtrack for Snakes of a Plane? Is there a theme developing here?

M: (Laughs) Don't forget Final Destination, we were on that soundtrack too! It's so funny, I don't even know how it came about. I was at my boyfriends house. I was sleeping and he had his computer up and was watching Scream 4 and I didn't remember anyone telling me that it was going to be on the soundtrack, and then suddenly in my sleeping haze I heard it and thought, "How does he have this track?". Then I realised. It was weird.

I've heard Quentin Tarantino is a fan. Have you tried to get on the soundtrack to one of his films?

M: Actually, when we met he told me that he wanted to get one of our songs on Kill Bill but apparently he wasn't allowed! I was like, "Aren't you the director?!". It was a big compliment. I told him I am a big fan of his movies and he told me that he likes our music. It was awesome.

So when should we expect to see you touring the UK?

J: We've got a few dates here this summer and then next spring definitely.

The Sounds new album Something to Die For is out on Side One Dummy Records on the June 6

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