Vancouver sounds good to Swedish rockers
Sweden band The Sounds has managed to stay together for15 years of recording and touring. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
The Sounds is a Swedish indie-rock band formed in 1999 that visited Vancouver promoting its fifth album Weekend. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the band’s guitarist Felix Rodriguez.
24: You’re a long way from home. Is it just a completely different world over here?
FR: It doesn’t really seem that far away because Sweden is pretty Americanized. They call us “Little America.” Some cities in Canada and the U.S. you see a big difference though. Vancouver actually reminds me a little bit of Stockholm and San Francisco because there are a lot of bridges. It feels a little bit like home.
24: English is not your first language. When you write lyrics, do you write them in English or do you translate?
FR: When I write lyrics, I write them in English. I might read something and form a story around it, but I don’t write in Swedish and then translate. It’s an advantage and disadvantage sometimes. Maybe you know what you want to say, but you end up writing in a different way than you normally would. Sometimes that can be poetic, sometimes it just sounds wrong.
24: Did you grow up speaking English or did you learn it later on?
FR: Nowadays you learn it in third grade. I didn’t start to learn until the sixth grade. I wasn’t really good speaking English before The Sounds existed. I came to the states and that’s basically where I learned to really speak it. We have all the American TV shows and we would watch them with subtitles and speak along.
24: The Sounds have lasted with the original lineup for 15 years. That’s a pretty good run. What keeps you together all this time?
FR: You have to have the same goal and be really good friends from the beginning. We also have individual personalities and we are all different characters. I think that’s the main key. Not everyone can be really outgoing and hyper, and not everyone can be the quiet one. We just fit together.
24: You’ve just released your fifth album. What lies ahead in 2014 for the band?
FR: We’ll finish touring on this album and then after (that) during the summer we’ll hit the European festivals. We’re always busy working in the studio and we’re always writing music both for the band and ourselves. Everyone in the band is contributing. You never know when the next album or hit song is going to happen — if it’s going to take time or going to be quick. But we will take a break from touring at some point this year, but never take a break from being creative.
24: Is there a really good live music scene in Sweden?
FR: Yeah … we have a history of really good bands and songwriters, and are good when it comes to music. It’s not a disadvantage to say you’re a band from Sweden and it’s important to us as a country. Ten or 15 years ago, it was all about what’s coming out of England, now it’s a really good scene.
24: Do people in Sweden still care about ABBA?
FR: Yeah — I think we’re proud of them. Maybe it is because of them other bands saw that it’s possible. I was influenced by them. If they can do it, I can do it.