Maja Ivarsson of pop, rock and electro band The Sounds, part of
the Swedish invasion currently ruling the UK charts, is sitting in
a London hotel bar sipping on a bottle of Stella. The band flew in
from their home country earlier in the afternoon and the bisexual
singer has just had a massive row with her L.A. based boyfriend.
Still, the tiny blonde is looking as hot and rock 'n' roll as ever,
wearing a denim jacket with red patches and a thick layer of dark
eye make up.
I put the latest issue of DIVA on the table in front of me as I
sit down and she immediately grabs the magazine.
"I have that
cardigan," she says, pointing at Uh Huh Her Camilla Grey's jacket.
"I got it at H&M, of course" she adds, laughing at the cliché
of her wardrobe being bought at our very own high street
Maja and her four male band mates have flown in for a quick
promo trip for their fourth album "Dying To Tell You So". In 2002
debut album "Living In America" took the singer from a life on
benefits to one where she could afford her own flat and tour the
world, still the 32-year-old is surprisingly down to earth.
her name today and you'll find yourself looking at pictures of her
crotch. The bendy singer has an acrobatic way of moving on stage,
something photographers love, and which has made the spread-eagle
look "her thing", she admits. Lately however, she says, she has
been figuring out the techniques to avoid what she refers to as
She stands up to demonstrate the well known pose, crouching
down with her legs wide apart, pretending to hold a mic with one
hand and letting the other arm drop between her legs, covering her
"It's a shame because it's funny too… I remember when we
played at the Polar Prize [ceremony in Stockholm] and the day after
the papers were filled with reports of a "panty shock" because I'd
shown my knickers to the king. [The Swedish queen] Silvia gave me
murderous looks and I thought 'fuck, I've got the best job in the
world'", she says and bursts out laughing.
The best job in the
world, however, comes at a price.
It's a year since Maja split up with her girlfriend of seven
years after their long distance relationship had taken one too many
knocks. She was Maja's first female love and it hit her hard.
remember when I met her. She was the most beautiful woman I had
ever seen, she was like Bridget Bardot beautiful and I just
couldn't take my eyes off her… I fell in love instantly. But
eventually… lesbian bed death kicked in," she says and sighs.
the beginning everything was so damn exciting because I had never
been with a girl before... But the less sex we had it died out, we
hardly had sex for the last four years… That's what made it so hard
to break up too because you are such close friends, we were like
one, but you need that final piece to make it a relationship
Maja admits she doesn't know a cure for bed death but that she
can understand why things happened the way they did between her and
her ex. And she blames her own lack of romantic input.
"Girls are so good at saying 'we need to discuss and analyze
that' and now my boyfriend is more girly than me… He's like super
romantic, saying 'we have to talk every day' and I'm the opposite
saying 'let's speak tomorrow, I don't give a shit, I won't buy you
Maja still keeps in touch with her ex, though.
"It was the sex
bit that didn't work," she says, "but the you and me, what was
between us, did work. We had so much fun together but then she
cheated on me so many times that eventually I couldn't be with her.
I didn't give her the attention she needed so I don't blame
She says she would probably label herself a bisexual although
she is unsure she would date a woman again. And she doesn't feel
part of a gay community.
"But I really give it to the young girls
and boys in school who are uncertain of their sexuality and who are
scared to death of coming out. For them I thinking it is super
important for people like you and me and other public figures to
come out and say that it will be ok, the world won't come to an end
because you say it how it is."
Maja herself had no problem coming out, playing in a band she
never felt like an outsider and so "it just happened", she says.
She told her mum straight away and never had any problems but she
still says she understands how hard it can be for others.
encounter a lot of homophobia in the music world?
"No, I think
it's worse being a politician. The music, theatre and art world is
probably the most open minded place when it comes to
Does the average heavy metal guy feel that way too?
noticed how there is a difference between gays and lesbians," she
asks. "For guys it's like 'oh she's with a girl? That's just
because she hasn't met the right guy yet. If she had tasted my cock
then she would have changed her mind.' It's a bit like that, as if
having a girlfriend doesn't count," she adds and recalls how
annoying it could be when she went out with her ex.
"Men would hit on my girlfriend when I was stood right in front
of them and they would have no respect for the fact that we were a
couple. They just thought 'yeah, yeah but you just haven't met the
right man yet'. That attitude exists and I think there is a
difference when it comes to gay men."
The band is often referred to as "the Swedish band with the
bisexual singer", shifting the focus from their music to her
sexuality, but she doesn't mind.
"It's just a bit weird. It's not
like they say 'In Flames, heterosexual men who play metal,'" she
Maybe this is why the band always attracts such a large
"I remember one gig we played and there was a lot
of butch lesbians there and I don't know what it is, maybe because
I've got more of a femme look going than most butch dykes, but I
think they thought I was really interested in them. But I wasn't.
I'm into girls who look like girls and boys who look like boys,"
she says, blushing a little as she giggles.
"I think it is good to
have a gay audience because if you look at Madonna and Lady Gaga…
they have massive gay followings. A lot of the time the gay scene
picks up on new music earlier than the straight masses...They are
outsiders but they are more in on the latest music and stuff. So
really it's a compliment, if you have a gay following then you know
you make good music."
It's clear the topic is important to her but after ignoring the
PR girl for what she seems to think is an age, we eventually break
up our chat. Half an hour has flown past in what feels like a
We get up to leave and Maja once again grabs my
well-thumbed DIVA magazine; she asks if she can have it.
nothing to read on my room," she says as if to explain herself,
although it is obvious she has had her eyes on it from the first
And of course she can. As we leave, she pulls back a chair
to make sure I can get past, despite there being plenty of room
already, and she makes me promise to keep her updated on my own
lesbian long-distance relationship.
I realise I have never met a more affectionate rock star and I
find myself smiling foolishly the whole journey home.
The next day
The Sounds play to a packed KOKO in Camden and a fierce looking
Maja has every person in there, gay or straight, absolutely
hypnotised. We are under her spell and, of course, we all get the
well-anticipated pussy picture.
With The Sounds, the Swedish
invasion is here to stay.
Check back on Monday 4 July for our review of The Sounds gig at
the Barclay's Wireless Festival (Sunday 3 July). Buy music on itunes