The Sounds

Our full interview with leadsinger Maja, on bisexuality, hanging with The Strokes and being your own worst critic.

You’ve been quoted as saying you want to be the best female vocalist around. Who do you think your major rivals in that category are?

Just to start off, that quote is a misquote. I’ve never said I want to be the best vocalist around, I said I wanted to be remembered as one of the best female entertainers and performers. It doesn’t even have to be female; I just want to be remembered as being one of the best performers and entertainers out there. I remember when we had our break through in the early 2000s, there was a lot of teen pop idols at the top of the charts and I thought I just want to be the opposite of all these innocent, Disney, kind of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, female vocalists. I know I don’t have that kind of voice, I know my limits. I’m not the best vocalist, but I’m a pretty darn good performer and entertainer. So that’s what I want to be remembered by. I really don’t see it as rivals. I think that’s the problem most of the time with women that we always want to see it as a competition. Guys actually see it more as a family thing; if you’re on top I’m gonna bring you along with me. Women, we’re just like “I’m on top and you watch out”. We’re so hard on each other I think, and that’s really a bad thing. I don’t want to be anybody’s rival and I don’t want anybody to think that I’m their rival. I just want to be remembered as one of the good ones. And I think Juliet Lewis is really, really cool and Gwen Stefani is doing a really good job. She’s been doing it for so long and I want to be part of that crew.

What do you make of the recent spate of female performers claiming to be bisexual? Lady Gaga, Jessie J, even Cheryl Cole has said that she fancies Rihanna…

I don’t know, I think most girls, one time in their life, want to experiment with the same sex. I’ve heard that here in America it’s usually during your college years; that’s when girls make out with other girls just to try it out. I dated a girl in the past and that was the only one I’ve ever dated, and I will never date a girl again. No, she was great but no. That was my experience, or my experiment. I loved her, we had a great relationship while it lasted, but I think that’s the only one. I’m sorry for all my gay fans out there. I’m in love with a boy.

Why do you think you’re so popular with "the gays"?

I think it actually started out in the beginning because the guys in the band are really cute; especially Jesper, who plays keyboards. He has this boyish look and this boyish kind of charm, and I know a lot of gay guys are totally into him, and Felix as well. It started out pretty early. Even the early days of our band, we had a big gay following. I think that’s only a good sign because the gay community is very sensitive when it comes to picking up new music and new styles and it’s a very cool scene. So it’s very flattering to have a big gay following, I think. They know what’s good and what’s not. I think our music has a little bit of that electronic, dancey kind of elements that goes well in a nightclub. So, yeah, we have cute guys in the band and I used to date a girl, maybe that’s why.

You’ve toured with some of the biggest bands in the world. Do you have any scandalous tour stories for us?

Oh shit, I have so many. We’ve been a band for 13 years now. I remember when we were out with The Strokes - that was maybe in 2003 or 2004. So we were really young and it was one of our first biggest tours that we did in America and we all are big fans of The Strokes. But that was a lot of partying. I think everyone in that band went to rehab after that tour pretty much. So there was a couple of scandalous moments, but it was all good and I love The Strokes. They are so cool, such a great band and we became really good friends and we had a lot of good times together.

A fan on your website recently said he was going to get a tattoo of Maja’s face on his chest. How does that make you feel?

Actually, there is a guy already out there with my face tattooed on his whole belly or chest. It’s really flattering and I’ve seen so many Sounds tattoos. Every show that we do, there’s at least 3 or 4 people coming up to me afterwards, showing me a new tattoo that they made; either it’s lyrics from a song or it’s the faces logo, or my face, or just the band’s name. I don’t know what it is, people enjoy doing tattoos with our logos or our faces or our names or lyrics or stuff like that. What can I say? It’s really, really flattering because you’re going to have it for life.

In your new single, you tell us to ‘dance with the devil.’ If you could dance with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Grace Jones. I think me and Grace Jones or Jerry Hall, like if I was a little older and during the years of Studio 54. I think me, Grace Jones, and Jerry Hall would have a really good time dancing and we would definitely be dancing with the devil that night.

If you were going to ‘conquer the planet with dance’, which dance move would be your weapon of choice?

See I got so many good moves… no, I’m just joking. I don’t know, I’m not the kind of dancer who has any choreography, so whatever I’m doing onstage. It’s just the music makes me move in a certain way I guess. I don’t really plan any moves or any choreography kind of dance. Probably one of my kicks, it will be my kicks.

What’s your idea of musical heaven?

Musical heaven, to me that is that hour and a half on stage. Cause usually when you’re on tour or when you’re doing a promotional tour, like right now; it’s so much work. The 23 hours of the day are a lot waiting and a lot of work and when you finally get up on stage and you have that hour or hour and a half to play music in front of your fans, that is my musical heaven.

And musical hell?

That would be the other 23 hours. No, not really. Musical hell would be when you’ve been working on a song for a really long time and it still doesn’t end up the way you want it to be. It can be really frustrating in the studio sometimes when you do vocals and you just don’t nail it. I think I’m my own worst critic, like most creative people I think. But my musical hell is when I’m not doing as good a job as I want to be, but I’m very disciplined. I never give up; I’m very stubborn. So if it means that I have to do vocals for 8 hours to nails that song, I’ll do it for 8 hours. But that could definitely be musical hell.

Your new album’s called Something to Die For. What’s the one thing you would die for?

Well the title is meant in the most positive way. Like I said, we’ve been a band for 13 years and if we would not die for each other by now, what would it take? You know? So for us this means how passionate and how much we love doing what we’re doing. Just to be able to stay together for 13 years with the same band members and we still have the same good chemistry in the band and we’re actually friends; we’re not business partners. We’re doing this with love and respect for each other and I think that’s why we named the album “Something To Die For”. Also, we did everything ourselves. We produced it ourselves, we recorded it ourselves, we did everything ourselves so this is our passion and this is what we live for and this is what we die for.

The Sounds new album is out now,

Words: Simon Pollard