Living in the USA… Musically, At Least
Considering the fact that the Sounds’ first album was called “Living in the USA,” it seems reasonable to expect that some of the Swedish rock band’s five young members have lived there. Think again.
“So, which of you have actually lived or spent time in America,” I ask the group, taking a coffee break from finishing the final tracks of the album in Ljudhavet Studio on the south side of Stockholm.
“None of us has lived in the USA,” says lead singer and songwriter Maja Ivarsson, “but I had a holiday there once at Christmas.”
“I’ve seen it on TV,” pipes in Jesper Anderberg, 20, who plays keyboards.
“Our bass player has been to the USA to play soccer,” drummer Fredrik Nilsson contributes helpfully.
The Sounds, who had already played at major festivals like Hultsfred and Roskilde, were at an exciting, pivotal stage in their young career when we met in 2002—they could either cannonball into something big or fade away. But they have gotten off to a sensationally fast start.
The video for their B-side breakthrough hit “Hit Me!” is constantly played on Z-TV, a youth-oriented Swedish television station, as well as on MTV.
“I wrote that one in about five minutes,” says Ivarsson, 23, a diminutive blonde who is transformed into a tough-looking punk in the music video. The video that has given them a jump-start worth millions cost them all of $500 dollars to produce. It was filmed in the empty, backyard swimming pool of a friend in their hometown of Helsingborg.
The Sounds are a feel-good rock band inspired by everything from The Clash, to reggae to disco.
“We don’t like deep, dark bands who look down at their shoes when they play,” says Ivarsson, who writes all the lyrics for the group. She is frequently compared to Debbie Harry of Blondie-fame, and that isn’t entirely accidental.
“I love Debbie Harry so much. Once, when I was about 17 years old, I met her back stage after a concert in Christiania [the free-city in Copenhagen] and asked for her autograph,” Ivarsson says.
Now that “Living in the USA” has been released in this country by Warner Music, there is every reason to expect that a whole lot of people will soon be going backstage to beg for Maja Ivarsson’s autograph, too.

David Bartal was right in this first interview with the band (Spring, 2002).


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