1. At what age did your love of music first begin,
and when did you decide that music was something that you wanted to
be a part of?
Toni: "Well shall I start? I was a bit late I think, I was about
13 or 14. But straight away, it was rock 'n' roll music that I was into,
and I wanted to be in a band! So, I put a band together with my brother,
and the first song we wrote was called, I Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll
Matt: "Which Oasis nicked a few years later (laughing)!"
Toni: "Yeah, a few years later (laughing). The lyrics went, "And
now I wanna, now I wanna, now I wanna, now I wanna be, a rock 'n' roll
Matt: "That's excellent (jokingly)!"
Toni: "And we really thought we were fucking brilliant
Matt: "Which you weren't (laughing)."
Toni: "It just went to our heads straight away - from day one (laughing)!"
Maya: "How about you Paul? Oh sorry, I'll stay out of it, I'm being
Paul: "Me, I was on a train and I was listening to the radio on
my Walkman, and Easy Lover by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey came on
Matt: (singing) "She's an easy lover
Matt: "But there's one drum fill in there and I just thought, "I
want to play the drums!"
Weston: "Really (laughing)? Is that really true?"
Paul: "Yeah, it was that."
Matt: "Fucking Hell (laughing)!"
Weston: "That's good, I like it - it's quite touching."
Matt: (singing) "She's the kind of girl you dream of
Maya: "I think I always liked music (smiling)! My parents have
got tape recordings of me singing on top of Blondie music, when I was
about 4 or 5. I used to sing, "I am not the tiny girl," instead
of "I'm not the kind of girl."
Maya: "(laughing) So cute! But, I didn't really choose music as
a career, until I was about 17 I think? I met Alex James from Blur,
and I had a crush on him, and so I thought, "OK, I'm going to impress
this guy, and start putting a little bit of my Classical training to
good use!" So, I started writing songs, and then I discovered Britpop
Weston: "Basically, when I was about 12 or 13, I wanted to learn
how to play the keyboards, and I took organ lessons at a Yamaha Music
School - to learn how to play a big church organ. And then when I was
14, I went for an audition in a Church, but I didn't get it, because
I was too young. So then I wanted to be a DJ, and I was a DJ, and then
I just wanted to do music production, so I did music production. And
then I thought, "Nah, actually, I just want to be in a band,"
and now, I'm in a band (laughing)!"
Matt: "Oh don't worry about me, you've got enough - let's go onto
the next question. Otherwise, you'll have too much - you're going to
be typing this up for years!"
*I say I don't mind, that I'm interested to know*
Matt: "Oh OK, I was 5."
Maya: "And when did you decide to make it as a professional musician
(looking at Matt)?"
Paul: "Was the band Five Star? Or Five?"
Matt: "Five Star, and the rest is history!"
2. Maya, you've spoken of the importance of having "A Provocative
Edge" - do you hope to retain this throughout your career, and
is it fair to say that with Sohodolls, the art and the artists are one
and the same?
Maya: "Um (thinking), I don't think I'm going to carry on the provocative
thing for the sake of it - it depends what songs end up getting written.
Because we just follow the content of the songs really, and build the
art around it. That's all we did with the album, we sort of thought
about the lyrics (pausing), the album has a lot of London references,
and it's dark and edgy, so we had a screwed-up looking London on the
album sleeve. But is the art separate from the artist (thinking)? I
Matt: "Do you live your music Maya?"
Maya: "I didn't really do that kind of Degree (laughing), I don't
know how to answer abstract questions (laughing)."
Matt: "It's a damn good question mate, well done! It's one of the
best questions you've had (looking at Maya)!"
Maya: "I don't know if I live my art (pausing), actually, I do
yeah, because some of the songs are autobiographical - so I suppose
that way around. But, I'm not imitating art, I think art is copying
life, if it's that kind of question (laughing)."
Toni: "I do agree with Maya - it's not separate."
3. What has been the best thing that someone has said about Sohodolls?
Weston: "That it touches them, and it even touches them down below
Toni: "Well quite often on our MySpace page, people say, "Finally,
there's something New & Original!" And, I think that's one
of the big goals and aims that I want to have with the music."
Paul: "Making monks wank."
Weston: "Yeah, that's what the NME said - that was awesome (laughing)!"
Matt: "It was a soundbite from their Sohodolls album review (laughing)."
Maya: "I liked it when someone said (pausing), I think it was part
of a live review in Organ Magazine, they said I was like "A Female
Iggy Pop," which I wasn't expecting - I love that (smiling)!"
4. Historically, males have dominated The Music Industry, with few
female-fronted bands enjoying longevity. Would you like to be one of
the groups that help to change this?
Maya: "Only if the music's as good - because it's all about the
music! But I'm happy to see a lot of contemporary female-fronted bands
out there, like Howling Bells, The Knife, Noisettes (pausing), there's
a few others
Toni: "Ladytron, New Young Pony Club."
Maya: "I'm not really crazy over New Young Pony Club - nothing
personal you know?"
Maya: "Yeah, I like the Gossip!"
Paul: "The Cheeky Girls."
Maya: "The Cheeky Girls (laughing)."
Weston: "Yeah Yeah Yeahs."
Weston: "I love them, they're awesome - they're great!"
Matt: "What female-fronted bands have had longevity then? Blondie.
They've had longevity, but they weren't really much without their producer,
do you know what I mean? They were a bit dodgy weren't they, and then
the producer really sorted them out. So maybe it's just getting the
Maya: "Oh, have you heard the before and after of Heart Of Glass?
Oh My God (laughing)! You should hear what Heart Of Glass sounds like
before that Chapman guy, I think, sorted it out. He brought in synths
Paul: "He made it, yeah!"
Maya: "It sounded like a sea-shanty song before (laughing)."
Matt: "Yeah (laughing)."
Maya: "But it became this really sleek, polished, amazing track
I was shocked!"
Matt: "I mean there's been loads of females who have gone down
in history, but female-fronted bands, I've never really thought about
it. I mean in terms of females, you've got Nina Simone
Toni: "Oh yeah!"
Matt: "Billie Holiday
Maya: "Yeah - solo artists!"
Matt: "You've got all these great singers, but as for female-fronted
bands, the only one that pops to mind, is Blondie. There must be more?"
Maya: "Yeah, from the past. But I think it's quite a recent thing
Paul: "I know she's another solo artist, but PJ Harvey's had a
Maya: "Yeah, and she's got a new album as well. But I've been doing
the circuit for like 10 years now, and I remember when I'd turn up at
sound-checks, there'd be like 3 other bands, and there'd be like 20
guys and 1 girl, which I quite liked. But now, it's sort of about 30
/ 70 - there's definitely so many more girls on the scene! Like all
of the support bands on our recent tour, there have been quite a few
Matt: "There's a really good singer called Sister Loretta something,
she's got another name, but she's amazing, you've got to hear her -
she's incredible! She had an acoustic guitar and a great set of lungs,
and she was one of the first females to ever play the blues, and she
had a lot more power than anyone else could muster. She's really good!
Sister Loretta something. Look it up, you won't regret it - you won't
5. What would you say the divide between talent and luck is in The
Toni: "Oh, good one!"
Maya: "There's one more divide missing, which is a fat record label
behind you (laughing)! But I suppose that's luck?"
Toni: "What divides the talented and the lucky?"
Paul: "Definitely luck (pausing), well no, that isn't always true."
Toni: "There's just a few bands that can make it with their luck
I think, but if you've got talent, you've got more chances."
Paul: "It depends what genre of music you're in. If it's jazz
Maya: "Talent is more sort of long-term, and luck will only get
you somewhere I think, in the short-run. But then, there are a lot of
bands out there, that I don't like, and I'd like to put it all under
the luck (laughing)."
Matt: "Put them on the luck pile, yeah!"
Maya: "Yeah (laughing)!"
Matt: "I mean there are so many people who have been struck by
luck recently, they're everywhere aren't they?"
Matt: "But talent - talent is a different thing."
Maya: "I do think there's bands who are unlucky, and bands that
are lucky, but if the unlucky ones are talented, it's just going to
take them a bit longer
or never (laughing)!"
Matt: "It's determination! It's different to luck you know? It's
a different thing
Matt: "So there's a third thing - there's talented, lucky and determined.
Yeah, put that one in!"
Paul and Maya: (both laughing)
6. 2007 is obviously a very exciting time for you all, but if you
could be magically transported back to any other musical year, which
one would it be?
Toni: "Oh, another good one!"
Matt: "1930 for me!"
Maya: "Oh now you've got the double-bass, you're getting all vintage
on us (smiling)!"
Paul: "We were at The Cavern Club earlier today, and I thought
it would be great to go back to that first Beatles gig there
Toni: "When rock 'n' roll came to England in 1961, yeah! Maybe
Weston: "I'd probably say The '70s
Matt: "The '70s? Really (surprised)?"
Weston: "Or it was probably in the mid to late '60s, when Bob Moog
made his first synthesizer - The Modular Synth. I would've liked to
have been one of the first people to have had a go on that (smiling)!"
Toni: "If I look at my record collection, I think 1977 to 1978,
was the best year for music, in terms of how many records I've got in
my collection! But, I mean I've listened to it all my life, so I'd rather
go somewhere else now. So maybe The '20s or '30s, or even thousands
of years ago, back to The Stone Age!"
Maya: "When was Erskine Ramsay Hawkins (jazz musician) around?
Was that The '40s? I would like that! Other than that, I like now, because
it's exciting and we can actually contribute to it. But, I would like
to go back to Ancient Egypt really - it was more civilised than The
'60s and '70s I think."
Toni: "Yeah (laughing)!"
Maya: "Because then, people still got hung in places in Europe,
and there weren't many rights for gays, and also women were still (pausing),
there was the whole feminist thing and equal rights at work. So, I think
we're living in good times in the UK, compared to the last 10 decades,
in terms of individual freedoms. And that's important (laughing)!"
7. What inspires you outside of music?
Toni: "Any other form of art - but mostly performed art I think."
Paul: "I love food (laughing)!"
Toni: "Food - definitely food! We're food freaks in this band!"
Maya: "I don't know if life is that inspiring (laughing)?"
Toni: "Well, life brings along situations you know, all sorts of
Maya: "Yeah - that's quite general though isn't it?"
Toni: "Yeah, I suppose. For me though, food and any other form
of art (smiling)!"
Maya: "But is food inspiring, or is it satisfying?"
Toni: "It's inspiring, I think!"
Maya: "But I don't think it's ever made me want to write a song
Matt: "No, I've never been inspired by a plate of food (laughing)."
Toni: "Yeah, but it doesn't have to inspire you to write a song."
Maya: "I don't know? I've got no life outside of music (laughing).
I like Tintin comic-books in French, and Ancient Egypt
Paul: "Stories are inspiring."
Toni: "I love Latin America, food, travelling
Weston: "I suppose maybe people as well - people fascinate me!
Even if I'm just sat there, just watching them do normal, everyday stuff.
I find it quite fascinating, and, I tend to go into a bit of a trance
kind of thing, and I don't quite realise that I'm just staring
Maya: "Yeah, you're really observant."
Weston: "Not that I go round just staring at people (laughing),
or sit by the front window of a coffee shop, just staring out. But,
if I'm with someone, like with some friends or something, I'll end up
sitting there for like 10 minutes, just watching them to see what they
do, taking it all in!"
Maya: "Yeah, you're really quite friendly when you meet people
for the first time, and you have a genuine excitement from discovering
Maya: "And I admire you for that!"
Toni: "Which is different to Maya
Maya: "Yeah, which is quite different to me! I think it's a really
good quality. Yeah (laughing)!"
Toni: "The world and different cultures you know? I'm fascinated
by different parts of the world and peoples' lifestyles!"
Weston: "Your shirt's quite inspiring as well (looking at me)."
Maya: "Yeah (laughing)!"
*When I first met the Sohodolls after their sound-check, both Maya and
Weston kindly remarked how much they liked my shirt* [We want a photo!
8. If you could be anybody for a day, dead or alive, who would it
be and why?
Toni: "Oh right
Maya: "Oh My God (thinking), would you still know that you're yourself,
while you're in the other person?"
*I say yes, as that would make it more fun*
Maya: "OK, I would be (pausing), who's like the biggest male star
Paul: "Jean-Claude Van Damme (laughing)."
Weston: "Sylvester Stallone."
Matt: "He's on the comeback!"
Weston: "Bruce Springsteen."
Maya: "No, I'd probably be (pausing), who's really cool? Johnny
Depp! I'd be Johnny Depp for a day, and for the whole day, I would call
up all of the press agencies, and tell them what an amazing band Sohodolls
Matt: (laughs heartily)
Toni: "I'd be
Paul: "You'd be JFK for a day, and find out what happened on The
Toni: "No, no, I'd be the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong
Matt: "He never went on the moon!"
Weston: "He was never on the moon (laughing), it was a hoax!"
Maya: "Yeah, yeah, I know."
Toni: "It wasn't a hoax
Matt: "Why didn't they go back there again then?"
Toni: "On that day, but not any other day, I would have been him,
yeah! I would love to see the moon, and to have been the first one to
see that, would have been amazing (smiling)! Or Elvis Presley!"
Paul: "Yeah, I'd go for Elvis!"
Maya: "Elvis' wife
Toni: "Priscilla Presley."
Weston: "I don't think you need me to say anyone, you've got enough
Maya: "Actually, I've got a good one, I would be Priscilla the
first time that she had sex with Elvis! Yeah, I'd be her!"
Matt: "But Elvis wasn't at his best then."
Maya: "Was he not? OK, fuck that - someone else then."
Matt: "Stuff Elvis!"
Maya: "Yeah exactly, screw him (laughing)! Not that I fancy him
9. Maya, when writing your lyrics, what is the ratio between inside
/ outside influences on your words, i.e. personal vs. observational?
Maya: "Oh, it's a mix of both actually. I mean like every song
is different, some songs are based on observation, and other ones, there's
a mix of observation and projecting your own imagination onto how you
want the ending to be. Other times, I look for rhymes on the Internet
Paul: (laughs heartily)
Weston: "What's that, Rhyming Dictionary.Com?
Maya: "Yeah (laughing), it's cool - I love it!"
Weston: "I've been on that loads of times! How many words can you
get to rhyme with shop (laughing)?"
Maya: "Yeah (laughing)
Weston: "Or, disintegrate / plate (laughing)!"
*Matt has to leave the interview*
10. Do you have any interesting tales from your time on the road,
and what has been your most rock 'n' roll moment to date?
Toni: "Interesting stories did you say?"
Paul: "Well on this tour, we threw Toni on top of a bush!"
Maya: (laughs hysterically)
Toni: "That's not rock 'n' roll is it?"
Maya: "We caught it on camera (laughing)!"
Toni: "We've had a lot of fun on this tour so far!"
Maya: "Yeah, the keyboard stands went flying into the bush when
we were parking at the Travelodge, so Steve (Weston) was then running
through the bush trying to extract them, but it was this big monstrous
bush and you couldn't see anything - it just swallowed everything up!
And then our Tour Manager, threw Toni into the bush and he disappeared
Paul: "It's alright, we're not a motley crew
Toni: "Yeah, we're quite sensible - we don't destroy things."
(inaudible, but laughs hysterically)!"
Paul: "Oh yeah, that's a good one (laughing)!"
Toni: "I remember once - when I was in a different band I should
mention - I was staying in a hotel and it was quite a high-rise building,
and I looked out of the window, and saw this private swimming pool.
It was part of some rich peoples' house, and there were big fences.
It was quite late in the year (pausing), I think it was October or November,
because it was quite cold, and we climbed over the fence with all of
our clothes on, then jumped into the swimming pool and it was freezing!
It was quite funny, but I don't know if it's rock 'n' roll?"
Maya: "That is rock 'n' roll actually!"
Toni: "Also, I threw a guitar through (pausing), we played in this
huge cinema, and the screen was really wide and about 6 to 10 meters
high. We played in front of the screen, and I threw my Les Paul all
the way, about 7 to 10 feet, and it went through the screen and landed
on the other side, and I got a £30,000 bill for it! So that was
quite rock 'n' roll (laughing)!"
Paul: "I once had about 10 girls back in a hotel room (laughing)!"
Toni: (laughs heartily)
Paul: "That was in Slovakia."
Maya: "Was that with IAMX?"
Maya: "Oh cool! Paul used to drum for them (looking at me)."
Paul: "That was a good night! Happy Days (laughs heartily)
Weston: "On this tour, I went back and watched TV and had a cup
of tea, while everyone else went out. Me and Maya stayed in - Maya went
to her room and I went to my room. I thought that was quite rock 'n'
*I say to Weston, that that's probably more subversive*
Maya: "Yeah, it's the new century rock 'n' roll - drugs are so
last century (laughing)!"
Toni: "We usually leave through the back door, order a pizza, and
then go to our hotel room and watch TV. Yeah, that's what we've been
doing on this tour (laughing)!"
11. What is your biggest extravagance?
Maya: "Um (thinking), I'm actually quite anti-spending, like I'm
not into designer stuff really, unless it's like a really good keyboard.
So instruments really."
Paul: "Yeah, the most money I've ever spent, is on instruments."
Weston: "My hair!"
Weston: "It's not really mine."
12. Sohodolls are a very stylish band - was it important to you to
create a strong visual identity?
Maya: "I don't think we arrived at the studio in tracksuits and
baggy trousers, thinking, "OK, let's get an image!"
Weston: "We pretty much wear what we've got on."
Maya: "Yeah, the boys especially! But, we do sort of tart it up
a bit on stage, because it's so much fun you know? It's part of the
whole experience (smiling)!"
Toni: "I've brought a little bit from my everyday normal life,
but sometimes, I go out exactly the same way that I dress on stage!
But I mean, I've been like this since I was aged 14, when I first picked
up the guitar. Some days it'll be a little bit less, but I never go
out in trainers and tracksuits. I do go out without make-up on - I don't
have any on today - but it's part of me you know? It's always been there,
with all of the bands I've been a member of!"
Maya: "You're due for a haircut tomorrow actually. Ahh (laughing)."
13. Which relatively unknown artist or band, would you like to see a
music magazine run a feature on / put on their front cover?
Toni: "You've got some brilliant questions - they're really, really
making us think! Which relatively unknown artist or band did you say?
I mean The Knife have made it now, but a few years back, I was really
into The Knife and nobody knew them."
Paul: "I'd say a band called Weird Love - they're quite experimental."
Maya: "I don't know? I like Trash Fashion, because they're lots
Weston: "Any of the local Portsmouth bands really, because there's
a few (pausing), well 6 months ago there were more, but yeah, maybe
a Portsmouth band to break through. Like The Strange Death Of Liberal
England - they've been touring around the UK (pausing), have you heard
*I say I have, because they supported the Manics who I absolutely adore*
Weston: "Yeah they did (smiling)! So maybe for them to get recognised
a bit more, or maybe even another local band that I'm good friends with.
Why not support where you're from (laughing)?"
Toni: "There are some bands who I discovered through Maya
Toni: "They're relatively unknown, but Paul used to drum for them."
Maya: "You'd like them (looking at me)!"
Toni: "It's not that far away from Sohodolls is it (looking at
Paul: "It's a bit harder
Weston: "I think it's a slightly more electro, darker version of
Muse I would say."
Toni: "But a bit more humorous and funny!"
Weston: "A lot more extravagant than Muse, definitely!"
Maya: "It's quite dramatic."
Weston: "They're big in Germany."
14. As the NME sometimes asks, Who Is 'The Coolest Rock Star Of All-Time'?
Paul: "For me, it's Mike Patton! He's best known as the frontman
of Faith No More, but he's done loads since then."
Toni: "I think it's got to be Keith Richards - it's got to be!"
Maya: "Ozzy Osbourne, because I like him, and I really like Black
Weston: "I don't really know? Somebody with bigger hair than me!"
Paul: "Rod Stewart (laughing)!"
Maya: "Slash (laughing)!"
Weston: "No, Bowie's pretty cool I think."
Maya: "Ah yeah! Oh you bastard (laughing)."
Weston: "Yeah, David Bowie - he's a legend!"
15. Do you think the music press is still an accurate barometer of
youth culture and pop culture?
Maya: "The mainstream music press (pausing), there isn't really
enough of it. You only have the NME
Toni: "Who feature 4 bands for 4 months, and then they choose another
4 bands for 4 months. But they slate loads of new bands, and they haven't
done anything for us
Maya: "Yeah, and I think there needs to be another weekly one,
that covers music which doesn't get catered for by other music magazines
or the NME. I find the NME quite narrow, so I think there should be
something in-between. Because there's so much new music coming out,
especially electro, there's electro this, electro that - loads of different
things! And because of the technology, everyone can now make music themselves!
I think the NME is like a bottleneck you know?"
Toni: "Luckily, there's The Fly Magazine, which supports new alternative
music. But the NME is all about Pete Doherty really."
Weston: "I think big music publications, like the NME, should maybe
have a little page at the back of the magazine, that lists all of the
really wicked webzines, because it's quite hard to find a decent webzine
Weston: "The only webzines that I know of, are the ones that people
have recommended to me (pausing), I know some of them link to others,
but perhaps not everybody realises that. So, I think it would be cool
if big music publications helped webzines in that way."
Maya: "That would be cool!"
*At 10.15pm, Sohodolls' Tour Manager, Mikko, knocks on the dressing
room door, to see if the band are ready to go into Oxford to find somewhere
to eat, as they are due on stage as part of Oxford Academy's Transformation
Club Night, at 12.15am. Weston and Paul decide to go, but Maya and Toni
very kindly offer to stay and finish our interview, saying that they
will eat later. Before Weston leaves however, he looks through my remaining
questions and gives a few answers, which I will add accordingly. I then
thank Maya and Toni for staying
Toni: "That's no problem.
When it comes to food, when we're on tour, me and Maya - because we're
the biggest food fanatics - it can take 4 hours to find a nice place
or whatever. You know, sometimes when people get hungry, they lower
their standards, but we don't like to, and because the interview is
going so well, we can eat a bit later." Maya: "Yeah, I don't
eat before a show anyway (smiling)."*
16. What would be your dream gig, if you could choose 1 headline band
and 2 support acts?
Toni: "To go and watch?"
Maya: "Oh My God (thinking)."
Toni: "OK, it would be Elza Soares, who's a Brazilian lady (pausing),
I've seen her once before actually, but she would be part of the line-up!
She's a bit like Tina Turner - an old black woman (pausing + thinking).
Do you want to say yours Maya, while I think more about it?"
Maya: "Um (thinking), I think I would like to see Nirvana support
The Beatles, at one of their early gigs, and I'd like to stick another
good band in there as well, so I'll say (long pause + thinking)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yeah (laughing)!"
Toni: "Mine is going to be a very strange line-up (smiling). Elza
Soares, The Clash
Toni: "And it would be nice for us to play there, because then
we would get to meet those people personally
Maya: "Yeah, we've organised it (laughing)!"
Toni: "Yeah! I'll just come up with one more name (thinking). I
really like The Rolling Stones - I've seen them about 6 times!"
Maya: "Led Zeppelin?"
Toni: "Um (long pause + thinking), The Beatles!"
17. Your live performances have been described as "Fiery,"
"Narcotic" and "Sassy." Do you feel a freedom comes
to the surface when you're on stage, and what is it ideally, that you
would most like people to take away with them after having witnessed
one of your shows?
Maya: "Well freedom definitely does come on stage, because that's
what we're working towards the whole time - because we're definitely
a live band, as opposed to a studio band! So freedom comes, but sometimes
it doesn't - like if you're really ill (laughing), which I have been
on this tour. With some gigs, you feel a lot freer than with others,
but it's kind of like a freedom of expression as opposed to a physical
freedom, if you know what I mean (laughing)? Just to be specific (smiling)!
What I would like people to take away from the gig, is just that they've
been entertained, that they've had a sense fun, and that they've got
our sense of humour. That we like to play with being sexy, and that
we can then switch to being angry, or to being vulnerable. So, just
the idea of a show, without it being too theatrical."
Toni: "And also (pausing), I mean you say (looking at Maya), "We
beg, steal and borrow from different genres of music." It's not
just electro and rock 'n' roll, there's hip-hop and jazz in there. We
try to mix and combine all sorts of things! I mean we wrote a song called
My Vampire, which is quiet, dark and hypnotic, and we also have a jazzy
number called I'm Not Cool. So when people listen to our songs, they
will hear all of our different influences, and will hopefully go home
after a show having really enjoyed it, wanting to relive those memories
through our album (smiling)!"
*Ribbed Music For The Numb Generation, was recorded in Cornwall and
London between Summer / Autumn 2006. The LP was produced by Robert Harder
(Babyshambles and The Sunshine Underground) + mixed by Steve Lyon (Depeche
Mode and The Cure). Often, these two sessions ran concurrently, with
Maya and Toni skipping to-and-fro between studios*
18. You've talked of creating "A Fantasy World," and judging
by your MySpace page, you seem to have already attracted a devoted cult
following. Does this please you?
Maya: "Yeah, if it's cult (laughing)! I don't know the difference
between a following and a cult following though (laughing)?"
*I say that bands like Depeche Mode, Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead,
have a devoted cult following - people who are extremely passionate
about their music*
Maya: "Like a cool following? Oh yeah (smiling)!"
Maya: "I mean we haven't got hundreds-of-thousands of fans, or
that kind of thing yet. But, having just been up-and-down the country
for the first time in like a year, there are some really passionate
individuals that we've met, and they're all really different, which
is nice! It's a bit sort of scary sometimes, because you think, "Oh
no, I've got to keep delivering." Maybe they don't really know
who we are, but you are your music you know? But we're quite dedicated,
so really, there's not much fear of that. But yeah, it's really great
to be in a band (smiling)!"
Toni: "Yeah, there are some people who come to gig after gig, and
they spend a lot of time and money, travelling between different places.
It should all be really positive, but it kind of gives you a bit of
concern, "Are we giving them enough?"
Toni: "I hope it's worth it - it's all extra pressure - but so
far, it's all working out (smiling)!"
Maya: "We have a big following in Europe, because we've toured
there a few times. We've done Germany twice and Italy four times, and
we've done the odd gig in Spain, France and Istanbul. But it's really
sort of galvanised by MySpace, which is good, and we're gaining a lot
of people electronically, who have never even met us before (laughing)!"
Toni: "We've done a lot of gigs in (pausing), mostly in Italy and
Germany I believe, and also in Istanbul, Moscow and Belgium. But, we've
only done 1 gig in France, and it was a small place, but already, it
was a full-house! And the people who knew about us, were very interested!
But recently, over the last year, there's a French band called Superbus
- they're kind of a # 1 band in France - and they love us, and they
even come over to England to watch our gigs and stuff! So it's quite
interesting on MySpace, because everyday, we get loads of messages from
France - there's really a lot of hardcore fans there! Just because Superbus
have promoted us
Maya: "Yeah, they're a cool, sexy band - really good looking guys!"
Toni: "They've been doing a lot of good for us! Sometimes I get
the feeling that they're like a French Sohodolls, not musically, because
they're a bit more Emo. But for some reason, they've started wearing
the clothes that we're wearing
Maya: "No (laughing)!"
Maya: "They tend to wear waist-coats, but it's strange, because
she's been wearing black shorts and I've been wearing black shorts.
But Jenn's so stylish - because she's French - so I don't think she
would take any notice of me."
Toni: "Yeah, they just happen to be in the same outfits as us,
Maya: "But I'm getting inspired by them as well (laughing)!"
*I ask about Sohodolls being invited by Playboy Russia, to exclusively
perform at their annual Playmate Of The Year Party, in July 2006*
Maya: "Yeah, we played in Moscow! When we finally met Playboy,
they said that they wanted Dita Von Teese - but then they were told
about Sohodolls. But, I think maybe she just couldn't do it. So their
first choice was Dita Von Teese, and then it became us. They just wanted
a sexy band from The West, that could play live. So we went and did
that, and it was really good! We were there for like 3 days - they paid
for us to stay there, they took us round Moscow and showed us a good
time! And then, we played at the Party - there were Bunny Girls in the
front row, and we had to share a dressing room with them
Toni: "We got to share a dressing room with them (smiling)!"
Maya: "Yeah, we had to! We were like, "We haven't got a dressing
room - we'll dress with you (laughing)!" It was funny, because
they didn't want to give me any alcohol before I went on stage. It was
like an amazing Villa just outside of Moscow, and it was full of the
fastest, most expensive cars
Maya: "Yeah, and the food, and the champagne and vodka was on silver
trays! But, they wouldn't give me any alcohol! They were like, "You
can't drink before you go on stage." And I was like, "Yeah
I can!" And then they said, "No, you'll ruin the show,"
and I just laughed. So they brought me a little glass of sweet wine,
and I was like, "Get me some frigging vodka (laughing)!" Because
it's quite daunting playing for Bunny Girls and men in suits really,
it wasn't your average gig (laughing)! And your imagination runs wild,
you just think, "They're all baddies," like in James Bond
films - really sexy, powerful men you know (giggling)? I needed a couple
of vodkas (laughing)!"
19. There are strong dance elements evident in your music, but which
song would you call 'An Ultimate Dancefloor Filler'?
Weston: "I would say Justice vs. Simian - We Are Your Friends."
Maya: "Um (thinking), there are songs that I like to hear on the
dancefloor, like The Knife's Heartbeats, and one of my all-time favourites
is Soft Cell's Tainted Love - there would not have been the Sohodolls
sound without that! SERIOUSLY! It's my # 1 favourite song of all-time
(smiling)! I love it! In 15 years, I heard the song loads of times,
and when I finally saw the video, it was nothing like I expected it
to be at all, because you build up your own thing you know? It's so
wrong (laughing), in a good way! It's so weird! So Dancefloor Fillers
(pausing), what gets us on the dancefloor these days (looking at Toni)?"
Toni: Well personally, I get excited when I hear the riff from a classic
song, like Paint It Black by The Stones. And Steve (Weston) also mentioned
Justice vs. Simian - that's great!"
Maya: "Oh yeah, fantastic!"
*I ask Maya and Toni, if they saw The 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards,
where Justice vs. Simian won the award for Best Video. And how afterwards,
Kanye West embarrassingly stormed the stage, causing a real commotion,
by saying that if he wasn't declared the rightful winner for his Touch
The Sky video, "The awards show loses credibility."*
Toni: "I didn't, because I haven't had a TV for a couple of years
- I gave up TV and all that a while ago."
Maya: "That's really cool that Justice vs. Simian won it (smiling)
- we'll have to YouTube it! I think fame has gone to Kanye West's head
(laughing). Ooh, another Dancefloor Filler that I just thought of (excitedly),
is Blur's Girls & Boys - that is proper dancefloor, definitely!"
*I mention the Pet Shop Boys remix*
Maya: "Of that? I think I have heard it actually, in a club, and
I liked it! But I haven't got it at home though."
Toni: "What's the Rage Against The Machine song (looking at Maya)?"
Maya: "Oh yeah (smiling)! That makes me mosh - "FUCK YOU,
I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!" (Killing In The Name). Amazing! It
came on just after we'd played at Stafford University last Saturday,
and I was moshing with all of these Metal teenagers (giggling)!"
Toni: "I think that's our Dancefloor Fillers for now."
20. If you were granted one wish, what would you use it for?
Weston: "More Wishes (laughing)!"
Toni: "Oh My God (thinking)."
Maya: "No more cruelty in the world
against children or animals!"
Toni: "Yeah, and I would say that everybody in the whole planet,
would be Vegan! Because that's another way of reducing all of the cruelty
Maya: "Yeah, and it's better for the environment!"
Toni: "It would probably involve organic farming and all of that
sort of thing (pausing), it's a bigger thing than we think. I'm not
going to go into it now, but I'll just say that I think everybody should
be a Vegan."
21. Have you had any personal highlights / spine-tingling moments
on your journey so far?
Toni: "Well, definitely the O2 Wireless Festival, which we played
this Summer - we played on The Second Stage and there were 3,500 people
watching us! It was absolutely rammed, and I think somebody said that
the tent almost collapsed (smiling)! The gig was great, people loved
it - we got a lot of good feedback - and lots of people were saying
that the 2 best bands were Daft Punk and Sohodolls!"
Maya: "I like that Robert Smith from The Cure, likes the Sohodolls
(smiling)! I've never met him, but we know someone in common, but it
was really nice to hear! Also, the O2 thing, and we also like that Kasabian
like us (laughing)!"
Toni: "Anytime we play at King Tut's for some reason - I mean I'm
a fan of Scotland anyway, so going there is a highlight in itself -
but playing at the King Tut's, has always been good! I really enjoyed
Istanbul as well! So going to different towns is always a highlight,
especially abroad! We're all like, "Let's go see this, let's go
eat there" you know (smiling)?"
Maya: "Yeah (laughing)!"
22. Are there any musicians, producers, photographers or video directors,
who you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Weston: "Dr. Dre, Timbaland and Daft Punk - all in one big mess!"
Maya: "Yeah, definitely! I would love to work with Dr. Dre - I
really want to work with him! Oh My God (excitedly), photographers -
Toni: "David LaChapelle, yeah!"
Maya: "If he could shoot Sohodolls, that would be amazing (smiling)!
He's such an amazing photographer!"
Toni: "I saw an exhibition of his work in the Barbican Centre,
about a year-and-a-half ago, and they also had a really big, heavy book
that you could buy."
Maya: "His stuff is mad, it's so artistic and the colours are so
Toni: "He claims that his photographs are all real as well (pausing),
well in that exhibition anyway. But because they're so surreal (pausing),
the whole point is that they look very unreal, but I think he claims
that as you see them, is exactly how they were taken, and no digital
manipulation is involved. But, they do look like they've been digitally
manipulated. I mean there was a woman, who was obviously made-up and
looked amazing - it was just, "Wow!" And then she's holding
her breast, and milk is squirting from her breast onto a spoon, and
from the spoon it bounces onto another girl's hand, who's holding a
bowl of cereal! I mean that can't be real? But still, his photographs
*I highly recommend Anton Corbijn's work to Maya and Toni as well*
Maya: "OK, Anton Corbijn."
Toni: "Cool, we shall check him out!"
23. What are your biggest hopes for your debut album, and for Sohodolls
Maya: "We want the album to sort of spread the word, to show that
we're more than just a band who puts out cool titled songs, like Stripper
and Prince Harry. I would also like the album to demonstrate that the
band's got depth, a sense of humour
Toni: "That we're versatile!"
Maya: "Yeah, and that we're a band that's here to stay! We've got
a good bunch of musicians now - after the different line-ups - Matt
plays the double-bass, and he's the best bass-player any of us have
ever heard! Paul is an amazing drummer, and Steve (Weston) is an excellent
keyboardist, and we've all got so much to give now in this band! We've
begged, stolen and borrowed from different genres, so the future for
the Sohodolls (pausing), I don't know? Just onwards and upwards! And,
we're desperate to get out of the UK, and start spreading the word across
Europe and The World. Because we get so many people contacting us from
France, Italy, Germany, the USA, Japan and beyond! So, it would just
be good to (pausing), especially now as we're doing a UK Tour, there's
like 34 dates, and I'm getting a little bit tired of
Toni: "Travelodges and service stations (laughing)!"
Maya: "Yeah (laughing), Travelodges and Moto service stations!"
Toni: "There is a lot of interest in Europe, and it would be nice
if the machine behind us, could actually capitalise on that, or make
it happen you know? I don't have any doubts, but that's in the short-term.
But in general, continuity! I want to make music, I want to be on the
road touring, and earn some sort of living from it
Maya: "Yeah, that would be nice (smiling)!"
Toni: "So continuity! And if that happens, after that, World Domination
*I say to Maya and Toni, that when I looked at Sohodolls' MySpace page
last Summer, I couldn't believe how many UK Tour Dates were listed for
Maya: "I know (laughing)! Scrolling down, it was a bit like, "When's
it all ending (laughing)?" But, we were all really excited and
looking forward to the tour as it approached (smiling)!"
Toni: "I hate the fact that on Monday, we're halfway through. I
mean if we had a few days off - because we don't really have any days
off - we've only got a couple of Sundays off. So say if we do a 3-week
tour, we have one day off here and there. But if we had 3 or 4 days
off, I could do this for 10 months in a row you know? I'd love too (smiling)!
So unfortunately, we're halfway through the tour
Maya: "On Tuesday we're halfway through - we have 17 dates left!"
Toni: "Yeah, only selected dates left, but we are hoping to go
to France. Superbus really want us to play a few shows, so if the machine
behind us can make that happen, then we'll be playing in France. And
we're also talking about Japan and America at the moment, so if that
happens (pausing), we haven't been to Japan, but we've been to America
Toni: "In Japan, we'll see a sea of short people all with black
hair! So I'm going to dye my hair blonde!"
Maya and Toni: (both laughing)
*I ask Maya and Toni if they've seen Lost In Translation*
Maya: "Yeah, I have - it's fun! I liked her pink wig (laughing)!"
24. 'Be Reasonable, Demand The Impossible!' was a Situationist slogan
famously used on a poster during The 1968 Paris Uprising, which also
later found its way into Punk. Is there anything similar to this that
you believe in?
Maya: "Yeah, I think that rings true to the Sohodolls' philosophy
- especially to Toni, when he's trying to force people to do the sound-check
properly (laughing)! Yeah, that is our attitude! Even though we know
that we're up against a lot of opposition to that. But it's the spirit!
And it's sort of like an amalgam of what Jarvis Cocker said recently,
that "if you look at The Charts these days, you wouldn't know that
there was a War going on." So it kind of sounds similar to that,
because there's just so much conformity now in music. There are so many
bands who have got a ridiculous amount of push behind them, like My
Chemical Romance. It's always been like that (pausing), it was a shame
when XFM lost its independence, because they started the station by
playing a Sex Pistols song
Toni: "Yeah, it was the first track that they played!"
Maya: "But now, you just hear the same bands every hour! So, it
would be nice again, for someone to be a little bit more daring. I'm
not for one minute thinking that they might play Sohodolls more, but
there's just so much going on out there. Like if you go to clubs, they're
rammed with people watching a band that you've never even heard of you
know? And then you go and look at an NME 'darling band' - when they
do a gig in Bedford, and there's like 8 people there. So it's a bit
disproportionate isn't it?"
Maya: "It just seems that it's quite hard to get through to the
mainstream. But I suppose that's what's good about the Internet - you
can contact people directly, without having to go through an agent,
or waiting for coverage from newspapers or magazines. So fragmentation
of the market is welcome! Sorry, I went on a bit then (laughing)."
25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Weston: "Cream buns, just because I don't really like chips (laughing)!"
Maya: "Chips (without any hesitation)!"
Toni: "Chips, yeah!"
*I say that chips are usually the winner*
Maya: "Really (laughing)? Steve's (Weston) got a serious sweet-tooth!"
Toni: "Yeah, but for me, rather salty and sour stuff, than sweet
Maya: "Yeah, salty and sour stuff (laughing)!"
A very special thanks to Maya, Toni, Weston, Matt and Paul, to Sohodolls'
Tour Manager Mikko, and to Junior @ Emms Publicity, for all of their
time and help.
Oxford Set List
Trash The Rental
I'm Not Cool
Right And Right Again
The Rest For The Wicked
"I know I can be forward, but you are way too awkward
If I can't convince, I will confuse"