If you haven’t heard of SOHODOLLS yet, then here’s your chance to know a bit more about the most exciting electro glam band we’ve heard in 2007. Singer Maya Von Doll answered our questions…
I saw on a few old videos that the line-up was totally different before, can you give us a little history of the band ?
I started the band with a line-up with 2 other girls (keyboards and bass) and Toni joined on guitars soon after but he didn’t want to appear in the photos back then! Over time we lost the 2 girls and replaced them with boys and added a drummer too.
You seem to give a lot of importance to the visual aspect of the band through the way you look, your website, the album art-work, etc. Who is in charge of that and where do you take your ideas from?
We are all in charge of the image of the band. We care a lot about the artwork and presentation because Sohodolls wants to create its own world around the music. We want the art and design to reflect the spirit of the music.
Some of you have haircuts and style reminding a bit of McCoy/Suicide and you recently covered “Dead By Christmas”. Did HANOI ROCKS have a big influence on you?
Hanoi Rocks was introduced to us through Toni who’s a fan of the post-punk bands like Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls, Lords of the New Church etc. I love the witty lyrics of Hanoi Rocks and their funny attitude – how they liked to irritate those who despised them. I admire their confidence in wearing women’s clothes and make-up. They also wrote some top tunes. I always swore I’d never do a cover but when I heard Dead By Christmas I was compelled to break the rule!
You manage to have your own sound and identity while too many bands with 80s synth and guitars just sound the same nowadays, what are the reasons for this according to you?
We are slaves to melody and groove. Bollocks to genres. A good song is a good song no matter what style it is – ancient Ethepian folk music or industrial German techno. There’s good and crap in everything. We recognise this and treat every song as individual – it should survive on its own merits, not just the genre.
How do you usually write songs? Is there any main writer in the band?
I wrote most of the first album but towards the end there was more collaboration from Toni and Weston. Toni is a great drum programmer and producer as well as his unique guitar style. Sometimes the song starts with a drum beat and a bass line then melody following. Other times it’s a keyboard line first. The rule is – there are no rules.
You already played in many different countries, what were the best gigs to you? Have you noticed a lot of differences in the way people react to your music in these countries?
One of our best gigs abroad was a recent one, when we played Trabendo in Paris to 600 people. We were supporting IAMX. The crowd was warm and afterwards we realised we had gained a lot of new fans. Playing in Moscow was brilliant and we also had a fantastic gig in Vienna… they are all mostly very fun and rewarding! There is no pattern to how people react to the music. Sometimes they are silent throughout the whole show, like in Berlin, and we thought they didn’t like us. But when we finished and left the stage they were screaming for an encore. When we didn’t do the encore (we thought they wouldn’t ask for one so played our extra songs already) they began to shout and throw bottles on the stage! So it seems they liked us after all!
Maya, isn’t it too difficult to be the only girl among all these boys?
It’s great! I don’t have to suffer the sight of gossip magazines on the tour bus. The boys have all the hair and make-up equipment so I am never far from a straightening tong or eye-liner. On the downside I might get caught short if I prematurely ‘surf the crimson tide’. In which case a slice of left over pitta bread from the rider will have to suffice.
I think I read that some of you are vegetarian/vegan… What were your main motivations for that?
On tour, Weston is vegan. He is terrified of white bread and cheese. White bread and cheese in England is not as refined as in France you see. The fear has spread to me too. Toni and I are vegan and Fuzzy and Paul are medieval. For Toni it’s always been about limiting cruelty to animals. For me it started as a 3 day detox effort which, after learning of the health, environment and ethical benefits, has now become a lifestyle choice.
Your fan base in France seems to grow bigger and bigger while you don’t really have much promotion here, how come?
The internet! The same with other countries. However, the French do seem particularly interested. It is not surprising considering the impeccable taste the French have for design, food and art. I make an effort to speak/write in French with the French – something I don’t/can’t do with Italians, Russians or Swedes. So perhaps it helps. I must also point out that Superbus are friends of ours and they have been singing our praises to your kin. We are indebted to them.
What are your projects for 2008?
Writing the next album, touring the US and Japan and we would love to release our album on the continent so we can tour France, Italy and Germany again. That would be the icing on the cake!