Swedes The Sounds play eventful US tour in COVID era
Sounds singer Maja Ivarsson never gave Murphy’s Law much importance. But the troubling past year and a half under the grip of the pandemic has taught him otherwise. No sooner did her Swedish outfit announce the spring release of her sixth album “Things We Do For Love” – ââa nice throwback to the retro Blondie energy of her first hit in 2002 “Living In America.” “- that the lockdown has pushed him into the depths of summer. schedule, canceling a world tour in the process. The most that the Helsingborg rocker could do to support him was to give a live concert and then take a strange train trip with a record company to Stockholm with her 6-year-old son, Dante, to promote him in this event. who had become a virtual ghost. city; they had a huge wagon all to themselves, and the whole floor of their hotel too. When The Sounds finally managed to put on an American “Things We Do” tour to The City this weekend, Ivarsson was up to anything. Good thing, she said, phoning from her tour bus on her way from Chicago to a concert in Denver, “Because it’s been an absolute nightmare just to get here!”
For any other European group considering a getaway to the United States, how many hurdles have you had to overcome?
Oh my God. It was a real hassle, just organizing all the things, like the double shots of the vaccine, then I had to renew my passport, and I had to go back to Stockholm to get a work visa, but the embassy was closed. . And I had to validate my vaccination certificate, then another COVID testâ¦. because now you always have to check everything twice, then three times, with all your documents signed. But then, with the embassy shutting down and no response, I only got my work visa two days before I had to leave for the United States – it was just crazy. In addition, I also left my son behind, and I have never been without him for so long in my life. So there was a lot of stress coming here. But the payoff has been incredible, just by playing the shows that we have played so far. In New York, I started crying on stage, because it was great to see the crowd and to feel all the love. I think the audience is as excited as we are.
Didn’t your problems end when you got here?
Well, we played in DC, and we had to go to Cleveland, but the tour bus broke down in the middle of the freeway, so we couldn’t go to Cleveland. But first we had a flat tire, then there was something wrong with the brakes, and then something else. Indeed, anything that could go wrong went wrong, until we found ourselves stranded on Highway 885 with smoke coming out of the engine and all those heavy trucks racing by. So we had to get in a small van for 10 hours to get to Chicago to play two shows, one at midnight. And I’m a little too old for sleepy midnight shows – I’ve done this a few times in the past, but I’m not 25 anymore. I’m almost 42 now, which is another story.
Last year you argued that Sweden is a smart social democracy and that indigenous people don’t need to be empowered to do the right thing. And of course, your current vaccination rate is 70%, with the country now resuming pre-pandemic life.
I think in Sweden in general right now everyone is really scared of the delta version of the virus, and that’s what I’m scared of too. But I can see that the crowds here in the United States – even though they’re vaccinated and we’re vaccinated – they’re still wearing masks inside. But I am really proud to be a Swedish citizen; I think we did a good job. And we’re about to have a new prime minister – the last one was sacked – so I really hope for a woman prime minister. I think it’s embarrassing that a country like Sweden never had one.
Last year you were working on a new song by Sounds called “Words Don’t Always Come Out Right”.
Hmmm. Yes, I wrote so many songs. And I started writing songs in Swedish, and now I’ve finished maybe 20 or 30 for a Swedish solo project. And that doesn’t change my singing, but I’m from the south, in SkÃ¥ne, and our southern accents in Swedish are a very distinct dialect – the accent is so thick and distinct, I can sound exotic even in my native country !
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
Sounds, masters of the stars
Or: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., SF
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $ 27.50
Contact: (415) 885-0750, gamh.com