The Sounds: Lessons learned, rubicons crossed

Robert Checkal

A new album, tour and outlook on the industry

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … but only because you had such a good time you can’t even remember your last adventure there. At least that’s how Felix Rodriguez, the guitarist for Swedish import The Sounds said he feels. He and the band join up with No Doubt and Paramore in Las Vegas to kick off No Doubt’s summer tour on May 16.

Just before, the band is headlining in Cleveland on May 5. The reminiscent Rodriguez talked about the past, present and future of one of the most forward-thinking bands of our time.

Real quick:



Grog Shop


10 p.m. Monday, May 5



Rodriguez formed The Sounds in Helsingborg, Sweden, in 1998. He said the band’s name came from a poster he saw for a club in London called “The Sounds.” Ironically, Helsingborg is a key location at the narrowest point of a strait called “The Sound.”

He and lead singer Maja Ivarsson met in high school in an art class. They were into the “same stuff” and started hanging out after class. Once Rodriguez decided to start the band, he immediately recruited Ivarsson.

“I could tell from the beginning she had something special,” Rodriguez said.

That something special propelled The Sounds to super stardom after it released “Living in America” in 2003 on New Line Records. New Line released “Dying to Say This to You” in 2006. Rodriguez said conforming to the label got to be too much to handle, and following an intense battle over the last two years, The Sounds emerged victorious, label-less and content.

“When it initially happened, we thought, ‘How are we going to do this? Do we sign to another label?’ We broke free of our other label … it felt natural,” Rodriguez said with a sense of relief in his voice.

The Sounds are known for a certain sense of anti-establishment and doing things its own way. So it created its own label called Arnioki Records and recorded a new album “Crossing the Rubicon” – on its own. They sought a record label to assist them in the release and signed with independent Original Signal Recordings in a move placing The Sounds in control of everything it does.

The new business model introduced by The Sounds is yet another aspect of the world The Sounds has influenced. From fashion to its music, to a massive fan-base formed by word-of-mouth, The Sounds personify a unique edginess that the future of the entertainment business is surely watching.

Crossing the rubicon is an expression meaning “past the point of no return,” and the aptly titled album is set to drop June 2.

“When you make that decision you can’t go back, and that’s what the title is all about,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been waiting for this album; it’s the best we’ve ever done. It’ll blow you away. It has an epic feeling and new dynamics spliced with the classic ‘Sounds’ sounds. You’re going to be surprised, but in a good way.”

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal at [email protected].