It’s Maja Ivarsson like you’ve never seen her before.
Signed to a two-year contract for hair care company Sebastian Professional, the frontwoman for Sweden’s new wave-ish The Sounds is now the face for the Color Ignite collection, in a striking print ad.
In it, the black-vinyl-clad singer has her brow furrowed and her dukes up, and her long blond locks are a swirl of cotton-candy-ish colors.
“It is something maybe I wouldn’t do at home, putting pink and blue highlights in my bangs,” says Ivarsson, who plays Popscene in The City tonight. “But they put me in a supernice photo shoot in Paris for four days, so hell yeah! I went for it! It was a win-win situation for me, I think.”
Besides, as the music business implodes, “If you don’t sell records anymore, you’ve got to pay the bills somehow,” she says.
When Sebastian contacted Ivarsson about becoming their new “visionary,” it was a no-brainer.
“I’m a girl, hair products are something that I’ve always been using, and Sebastian is a great brand,” she says. “And I’m not going to lie, the money was good. So it was a very flattering offer, a very cool thing to do, and it gave us, as a band, a lot of opportunities.”
Now it’s all about cross-promotion for The Sounds, whom Sebastian recently flew to Berlin for fashion week — and not just for chic photo ops.
“Instead of having a DJ spinning music, we were playing there at the catwalk while the models were out walking,” Ivarsson says. “They’re totally different worlds, fashion and music, but there were a lot of fashion blogs afterwards that really loved our band, which made the show that much more special. Then we played a regular concert while we were in Berlin for all the fans.”
But this kitten’s claws have always been sharp. Tired of major labels, The Sounds formed their own Swedish imprint, Arnioki Records, and licensed their new fourth salvo, “Something to Die For,” to SideOneDummy in the U.S.
Once they penned the electronic-edged title track, they happily delved deeper into early-’90s techno, Ivarsson says, “because we were producing and recording it ourselves in our own studio — nobody was going to come in and tell us, ‘This won’t work for radio!’”
Ivarsson thanks Lady Gaga for bringing edgy beauty back to rock.
“And maybe because I’m 31 now, I’m feeling even more confident,” Ivarsson says. “So maybe I should stop being modest and just ask the Sebastian people for a framed print of my ad next time I see them!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Popscene, Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., San Francisco
When: 10 p.m. today
Tickets: $15 at door (limited availability, arrive by 8:45 p.m.)