It's been 10 years since the Sounds formed in the historic Swedish city of Helsingborg, but these New Wave rock artists are just beginning to peak.
This year the Sounds released their third album, Crossing the Rubicon. The group are enjoying their greatest chart success to date, fueled by the popularity of the single "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake."
The Sounds didn't just wait patiently for success. They've earned it through years of long, hard touring that most rock bands would never endure.
"I like to think we're very determined," drummer Fredrik Nilsson told me during a recent phone interview. "We believe you don't get anywhere until you do the hard work. We all decided when we started this that the band would come first. No one could take a serious job, get married, anything like that. I think the downfall of a lot of other bands is that they're not on the same page."
The Sounds have played more than 500 shows since they released their last album in 2006. "For bands like us, playing live is where you make your money," says Nilsson. "It's hard to sell albums these days. The albums really just get people to come to the shows."
The Sounds' music mirrors their straight-ahead work ethic. It's uncomplicated New Wave that could have been made in 1983, not 2009. But the Sounds craft melodies that make their songs memorable.
The group's stage presence is defined by the energy of lead singer Maja Ivarsson, a blond, tattooed diva who identified as bisexual in a 2007 interview with Out magazine. Since then, the Sounds have been increasingly covered by LGBT media outlets.
"Maja and [guitarist] Felix [Rodriquez] went to school together," says Nilsson. "Me and [bassist] Johan [Bengtsson] grew up in the same neighborhood." The strait separating Helsingborg from Denmark is called the Sound.
Nilsson says the band hasn't tired of touring just yet. "Some days you feel like you want to have your life set up with a different routine, but we still have the passion for this."