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The Sounds' Jesper Anderberg on 'The Office', Tinted Windows and touring with No Doubt


The video for No Doubt’s Don’t Speak famously portrayed a band rendered tense by overwhelming attention on the pretty female lead singer. At a magazine photo shoot, for example, the photographer wants Gwen Stefani front and center; everyone else gets cropped out.

This is a scenario to which Jesper Anderberg can relate.

"I totally recognize that feeling,” said Anderberg, keyboardist and songwriter for the Sounds, who, like No Doubt, are fronted by a striking blond force-of-nature singer, Maja Ivarsson.

"Sometimes it can be difficult. But we know exactly what we’re doing in the band. Maybe some people that look at our band only see Maja, but me, I know what I’m doing in the band. I know I’m one of the main songwriters. I love writing songs.”

No Doubt may have seen some of themselves in the Sounds when they picked the Swedish band to open their current comeback tour — certainly, Ivarsson fits right in alongside Gwen and Hayley Williams of fellow opener Paramore as stage-dominating frontwomen.

But the Swedish rockers are recognized for more than just Maja. Their ballsy, flashy pop has earned them fans on both sides of the Atlantic, including famous ones like the Strokes and Foo Fighters. Their songs have been popular picks for TV shows and commercials (you might recognize their track Hurt You from a Geico caveman ad). And with the release this week of their big-sounding third studio album, Crossing the Rubicon, they‚Äôre poised to earn plenty of new American fans.

The Sounds will play the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa with No Doubt and Paramore on Tuesday. Anderberg called tbt* from a tour stop in Denver to discuss the return of No Doubt, his new The Office collection and the vocal prowess of Taylor Hanson.

This is No Doubt’s big splash back into the fray. What kind of reaction have you been seeing to them?

It’s great, actually. I’ve never seen them live before, and I was really surprised by what good musicians they are, and what awesome songs they have. Of course, you’re kind of brought up with their songs on the radio, but when they play live, there’s much more coolness than you hear on the recording. I’m actually excited every time they play.

You haven’t gotten into the pit and started dancing with all the ska kids, have you?

(laughs) No, not really. I didn’t really know No Doubt was a ska band. I’d heard it, but I didn’t realize it until this tour, with all the trumpets and all the crazy beats. It’s pretty fun, like a mashup. I guess No Doubt has something that we have as well, which is, they’re not afraid of combining different genres into their own. Like, they have that song Hella Good, which is very electronic, they have a ballad with Don’t Speak, more ska songs, some punk songs. I can see why we got picked for the tour, because we have those different kind of combinations of rock, electronic and pop music as well.

You’ve played so many shows with so many different artists over the past 7, 8 years. What are some of the things you’ve learned from artists that you’ve toured with?

I remember touring with the Strokes in 2004. They were more standing still onstage, and letting the music speak for itself, and I think we were completely the opposite back then. Now we’re trying to play a little bit better, rather than just jumping around onstage. Already on this tour, I feel an urge to get into the studio and start writing some songs, because I think No Doubt’s whole show is very strong. It’s a weird feeling, when you want to be in the studio when you see a band playing because you get so many ideas from that band.

Have you gotten to hang out with the guys in No Doubt on this tour so far?

Yeah, you chat a little bit in the catering line. They’re pretty busy with their families and stuff. But they’re nice. They came in the first day of the tour and gave us a welcome present.

What was the welcome present?

It was a package of DVDs for the tour. The Office.

The British one or the American one? Is there an Office in Sweden now?

Actually, yes, they’re going to do an Office in Sweden. I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. Probably really bad. But we were brought up with the British one, and I actually started watching the American one now, and it’s really good. It’s more like a TV series. (The British) one was more like a really, really awkward documentary.

Were you skeptical of the American one at first? A lot of people have a very strong attachment to the British version.

Yeah. And I gotta admit, I was very skeptical in the beginning. Then I gave it a chance, and I was like, “F---, this is almost better!”

I know that Adam Schlesinger and James Iha produced some songs on Crossing the Rubicon. And I’m sure you know that they’re currently in the world’s weirdest supergroup, Tinted Windows.

(laughs) Yes.

Do you have any thoughts on Tinted Windows? Taylor Hanson as a singer? That project as a whole?

(pause) I don‚Äôt know. Someone told me once, if you don‚Äôt have anything good to say, you shouldn‚Äôt say anything at all. (laughs) I don‚Äôt know what they‚Äôre doing, to be honest. But they‚Äôre all talented in their own ways. That singer ‚Äî Taylor? ‚Äî he‚Äôs got a good voice. James is an awesome guitar player, and Adam is a great songwriter. But ... you know, I also want to eat candy every meal, but I don‚Äôt think it‚Äôs always that good. (laughs).

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo by Birte Filmer.

[Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 10:30am]


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