Interview with Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds

AE: They like to hear something familiar woven in with the new material.
Yeah, yeah. That’s what’s boring about being a debut band. You can’t really mix up your songs with anything, you can only play songs from your debut album because you don’t have anything else. But on this tour, it’s so much more fun playing. With the first songs we wrote, I wasn’t really a singer. I hadn’t sung before this band. I didn’t really what key I was supposed to sing in or what was good for my voice.

Some of the songs, like “Fire” from the first album, were really high for me to sing, because I didn’t know how to do it. I was like, whatever, sing, just screaming. And now, you can hear on the (new) album that it’s in a lower key and I can actually find a little bit more comfortable way of singing. So it doesn’t make it so hard to sing the old songs.

AE: Having never seen The Sounds perform live before, I was blown away by the connection you have with the audience. They sing along with your songs, they caught you when you did a stage dive into the crowd.
(laughs) I love my audience! As a performer, I think you have a really big responsibility (to them). There are so many bands that get up on stage and don’t seem to enjoy it. How the f*** will the audiences enjoy it if you don’t look like you are enjoying yourself? Even if I’m in the worst mood or if I have my period or whatever, I have to go up and deliver. I have to be fabulous every night. That’s my responsibility. They paid money to see something fabulous and good, they want to be blown away by the show. I owe them that.

AE: You definitely delivered when I saw you.
I’m glad you thought so (laughs). I’m really happy. At the same time, it’s not very hard, because I love it. And if you love something, you can’t really hold it back. It’s pretty easy. Some nights, of course, it’s harder, but most nights it’s really, really easy.

AE: I have to say that you as a performer, you put yourself through a rigorous work out on stage. I was sitting with a couple of women at the show who were marveling at your solid physical condition. Do you have workout secrets that you would like to share?
Seriously, my secret is that I’ve been to a gym twice in my life (laughs). I drink a lot of beer and eat junk food, too. I was hanging out with background technician for (the band) Morningwood and we were talking and I said that I get all these compliments about my legs and everything and I don’t know where that comes from, because I never work out, except on stage, which is more or less an aerobic task. He asked if I did any sports when I was younger, and I said, “Yeah, dude, I did karate when I was eight or nine and I did Thai boxing.”

And he said that that was probably it; that when my body was still growing and taking shape, and becoming the person I am today, I was working out like a maniac. But you do that because you think it’s fun, not because you want to get in shape. I think that’s what’s paying off right now.

I never work out or anything, and I look like I go to the gym everyday (laughs). Tell all the kids to play sports when they’re younger, it pays off when you’re older.

AE: I noticed a lot of gay men in the audience at the show in Chicago. Are you aware of The Sounds having a queer following?
Absolutely. We had a lot of dykes too, but it depends on what city you are in. But there are a lot of lesbians and gay boys. We have a big gay crowd. I think it’s because we look good and we’re not one of those sweaty, sweat pants, fat guy, pizza rock kind of bands. It’s always been like that in gay culture. They’re always a little bit ahead of everything.

AE: As a member of the queer community yourself, do you like seeing gay and lesbian people in the audience? Do you appreciate the support?
Yeah, man, I can feel the support and it’s the best support ever. I don’t know how to say it. I love every kind of fan. I don’t try to separate anybody from anybody. I just enjoy having great-looking chicks in the audience (laughs). And I can look back and it’s all good. I love it all the way.

AE: What are you most looking forward to about doing the Warped Tour?
We did the Warped Tour two years ago and it was an amazing experience. The vibe is so different from the European tours. The bands aren’t competitive in the same way here, especially on the Warped Tour. It’s all a family. Everybody is helping everybody else. If somebody needs something or if my guitar broke down you can borrow mine. In Sweden or in Europe, they’re more like–this is mine and that’s yours. (On the Warped Tour) we have barbecues at night and there’s a girl who DJs. It’s a really cool tour to do and I really appreciate that they wanted us back. I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be so much fun.

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