In preparation and anticipation of the upcoming DeLuna Fest in Pensacola, Florida, I got Felix Rodriguez of The Sounds on the phone last Thursday, and we both took time off of work to have a little chat.
Ready to embark on the first chunk of their billionth American tour, the interview began with a rather bumbling and perhaps overexcited (I really like The Sounds) “Hey dude! So…where are you?”
Felix: I’m in LA doing some writing.
(Oh well, that’s good because I’m sitting in my office in Midtown Manhattan, furiously typing transcribing every word on a centuries-old MacBook while I avoid questions from visitors and answering the company phone – both of which I am contractually obligated to do. So I know what he means.)
Cool, cool! I’m from LA (lie – I’m from a half hour East of Los Angeles, raised in a town famous for its state prison and being Ryan from The OC’s hometown).
I then proceed to ask him if he is working on new material for the band and if he is responsible for producing the bulk of new material, receiving answers in the affirmative to both queries, although he graciously acknowledges the collaboration with other band members in the songwriting process.
Are you living in LA now?
Felix: No. I live in Sweden.
(I know they’re from Sweden, I did look into their Wikipedia page in preparation for this interview, after all. It’s just that, well, people move. But apparently not ever from Sweden.)
Since my focus is mainly on the Pensacola extravaganza, I look into his preference of music festivals versus touring with a regular line up. I’ve always thought festivals seems like a major pain the in the ass to play, but Rodriguez is a sweet, Swedish boy who seems pretty cool with everything life throws him.
Felix: We are used to playing big festivals. We play many in Europe and it’s awesome because you gain so many fans. There are always people there who would never before see you play.
That’s so true, it’s like, lots of people who show up are probably there by accident or unprompted curiosity and then they leave fans.
Good point, me.
Is there anyone scheduled for De Luna that you’re really excited to play with or to see?
Felix: (Under obvious pressure from interviewer who clearly wants him to say…) Matt & Kim. It’s always fun to run into old friends at festivals, to have friends along.
I thought so. I’m pretty sure I struck a nerve when I delved into their past, asking questions about touring with No Doubt. In a typically male dominated industry, as most industries are, the music world doesn’t spend a lot of time focusing on female success, unless you’re Beyonce. This tour enlisted No Doubt, The Sounds, Paramore and Katy Perry, an undeniable nod to the power of women in a setting normally owned by men.
Felix: That wasn’t for the ladies. I mean, Marja’s a girl, but all the rest of us are guys. We were a combination of three different acts, all with a very powerful female singer. Why is that weird?”
(Oh…well…um…good) That’s good then! (Although methinks you doth protest too much, Felix old boy…)
Sweden is noted for having a huge death metal scene, and more recently a huge influence on folk music what with The Tallest Man on Earth and First Aid Kit. Has this affected your music at all?
Felix: We’ve always been doing our own thing. I haven’t been really inspired by Swedish music like that. When I was a kid like, 8 years old I was listening to just random people from Sweden, but I’m pretty bad at listening to new music.
People must compare you to Blondie all the time. Are there other bands that come up often?
Felix: Blondie’s a good band too!
I know, they’re awesome, I would just think it gets a little old.
Felix: Everyone, every band, wants to be original, you want to be your own band. But that’s how it is sometimes in the beginning, with the comparisons. Everyone is trying to find your own sound.
I just overheard someone talking about us and The Naked and the Famous – I was like, who? And then I looked them up, They’re good too.
There it is. Felix Rodriguez doesn’t exactly have a lot of time or energy to devote to new music, but that is no reason to ignore his. In fact, if anything, it’ll keep The Sounds sounding like The Sounds we know and love. Eventually I feel as though I’ve neglected my job enough to warrant a stern crack down, and I’ve pulled Felix away from his creative process for a guilty length of time, so I bid him farewell.