The Sounds were formed in 1998 by classmates Flix Rodrguez, Maja Ivarsson, Johan Bengtsson and Fredrik Blond in Helsingborg, Sweden. The group met Jesper Anderberg, the youngest member, by chance at the Hultsfred Festival and was enlisted to play keyboards and guitar. The band's name was decided months later during a trip to London. Before becoming the lead singer of the band, Ivarsson had previously played electric guitar in other local bands.
Their debut album, Living in America, was recorded in Stockholm and produced by Adel Dahdal and Jimmy Monell. It earned them several "Best Newcomer" awards, a Grammis, a #4 position in the Swedish album charts, and established the band not only in Sweden but also in the United States. The band has played over 500 gigs since the album's release including participating in the 2004 Warped Tour. In 2006 they played again at Warped Tour, this time on main stage, and have toured with bands such as Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Morningwood, Angels & Airwaves, +44, Mando Diao, Panic! At The Disco and most recently, No Doubt and Paramore during their last tour in 2009.
In the United States, the band has done several TV appearances and magazine articles and has reportedly built up a celebrity fan base that includes Dave Grohl, Pharrell, Quentin Tarantino, Thomas Johnson and Robin Botten, Bam Margera and his wife Missy Margera, David Desrosiers, Ben Khodadad and Britney Spears. Dave Grohl wore a red "Sounds" T-shirt in the Foo Fighters' "Times Like These" video. The band has stated several times that it relies on word of mouth and concerts to promote its music.
The second album, Dying to Say This to You, was recorded at Studio 880 in Oakland, California, and produced by Jeff Saltzman (producer of The Killers' Hot Fuss). They started the European leg of their tour in September and in October toured with Panic! At The Disco which included dates in London and several other major European cities. Following this tour, The Sounds made another run in the United States, starting with a MySpace secret show in Miami, Florida on Halloween and then stopping at 10 major cities from coast to coast with supporting act Shiny Toy Guns. Altogether, The Sounds played over 200 shows in 2006, over half of which were in the United States.
In early October 2007, The Sounds wrapped up their worldwide tour in Western Europe and Australia.
One of the band's songs, the synth-pop-tinged, "Hurt You", was used in a Geico television commercial that originally aired in September 2008.
Maja Ivarsson was named in Blender Magazine's "Hottest Women of ... Rock" list.
The Sounds released their third studio album Crossing the Rubicon, on June 2, 2009, via Original Signal Recordings (US and Canada) and Arnioki Records, their independent label. They collaborated with Mark Saunders as well as James Iha and Adam Schlesinger on the album. They performed the song "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" on Last Call with Carson Daly on February 12, 2009, and on March 16, the song was announced on their MySpace page as the first single from the album. The song was also included in CW's new show The Vampire Diaries in the "Haunted" episode. The title of the third album was inspired by the Julius Caesar quote and refers to the band's separation from their previous record label and became independent. Their second single, "Beatbox", was featured on American Idol.
As of February 2010, two official videos have been released off of Crossing the Rubicon. They are "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" (directed by Michael Schmelling of A76 Productions) and "Beatbox" (directed by Manuel Concha of Concha Films).
On January 21, 2009, it was announced that The Sounds would be a special guest on the No Doubt Summer Tour 2009, starting in May 2009 in outdoor amphitheaters and arenas across the U.S. and Canada. The Sounds also played a series of headline shows around the U.S. and Canada in late April and early May prior to joining the No Doubt tour. These headlining shows featured Chicago synth-rockers Hey Champ, who created a remix of "Beatbox".
On September 12, 2009, The Sounds embarked on a world tour to promote the new album. Foxy Shazam and Semi Precious Weapons joined them as support in the United States and Matt and Kim supported them in Europe.
On January 6, 2011, the band announced that their next album would be titled Something To Die For, which was released on March 29, 2011.Lead singer Maja Ivarsson also appeared on pop punk band All Time Low's new album Dirty Work as a guest vocalist on the track "Guts".
The first single from their new album, "Better Off Dead", was released on February 1, 2011. The track was promoted on their website with a competition, in which anyone could download the sheet music for the song, and submit their own version, to be voted on by fans (the winner's version will be included as the B-Side on their upcoming 7?). Everyone who downloaded the sheet music also received the track for free 5 days early. The band released their second single, "Something To Die For", on February 22, 2011 and the single was featured on the Scream 4 soundtrack along with "Yeah Yeah Yeah".