Well I have been busy googling away the Sohodolls and I can’t seem to find much about them other than everyone loving their music, loving the band members and raving about Maya Van Doll the sexy vegan lead singer, so let’s chat with the guys and find out more to this exciting band.
Soho Dolls were formed by Maya Von Doll 10 years ago and have some of my favs as influences like Depeche Mode and The Cure. They have toured the UK seven times and they describe their music as a cross between “decaying and desperate glamour” and “savagery and sex”.
So Sohodolls, I understand you liked the name The New York Dolls and hung around Soho and the name Sohodolls was created. But what’s better New York or Soho?
STEVE – Soho in New York…
MAYA – Soho London of course.
Hmmm OK – well I am a huge New York fan I must say lovely veggie restaurants too which leads me to my next question are you guys all veggie and vegan?
MAYA – Maya and Toni are vegan. When we played CMJ conference in NYC last year we made sure that we had a list of all the right placed to eat. The lower east side is amazing for restaurants, we found this wonderful Vegan bakery, it was heaven.
Sounds fab. So can you spill the beans as to why you are vegan and what does being vegan mean to you?
MAYA – I became vegan after enjoying a meat and dairy free detox a couple of years ago. It was primarily a health decision back then. Later I read up on the ethics and environmental issues surrounding veganism and that gave a more holistic approach to what was initially just a great diet.
I think many people go this route too. What’s a typical day of tasty vegan food for you?
MAYA – Lebanese food.
Falafel sandwich, hummous, moutabbal (smoked aubergine puree with olive oil and garlic) and tabbouleh. And I mean PROPER tabbouleh not that bollocks you get at supermarkets or hippy cafes.
Real tabbouleh is made of 1/3 mint, 2/3 parsley, a small amount of chopped tomato, a sprinkling of bulgar wheat and the dressing is olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper. I see blasphemous interpretations of tabbouleh: couscous with a sprinkling of tomatoes and a stingy peppering of parsley. What the hell’s that about? What’s evil couscous got to do with it?!
STEVE – My homemade Vegan Shepherds pie, with lentils and sweet potatoe mash topping… and a cake company called Restoration cakes who make THE BEST Vegan cakes in the world! The cinnamon ones are my fav!
OK Maya we get the point – although I am quite partial to a little couscous from time to time. Now we are talking Steve – vegan cakes – I haven’t had a cinnamon cake in like forever – Shall I give you my home address for samples???
You all look super fit and cool – do you think that being vegan/veggie plays a part in how you look?
MAYA – Nope. It’s more an inner thing – your body feels better when you’re not eating saturated fats all the time.
Well I must say lets agree to disagree – How can a no meat diet not make you feel wonderful??! I do hear that vegans make better lovers too…..
OK do you have any interesting stories about being catered for around the world? I know that you have done a ton of tours to some super places – what places are the best and where are the worst for catering for our non animal eating ways?
MAYA – The best for vegan food is Germany, Italy and Japan. France and Spain being the worst at understanding what a vegetarian is let alone a vegan.
We went to a ‘vegetarian’ restaurant in Madrid and I had the sorriest meal of my touring life there. To begin with, they served chicken and fish. Spaniards don’t think chicken and fish are meat, only red meat is meat.
There was only 1 vegan item on the menu and I got canned red cabbage, canned spinach and hummous that had the texture and flavour of almost dried cement. And it wasn’t cheap!
Rome has got a great vegan/veggie restaurant and I had one of the best meals of my life there. It was a swanky place, a jazz pianist and art on the walls. We had a 5 course meal and it was perfection right from the appetizer, through to the gnocchi main, the amazing colourful salad, a soup and a complex desert. It felt gastronomic.
Italy is a haven for vegetarians because of their vegetation and what they grow locally – tomatoes, basil, beans, parsley – no end of herbs and then there’s the truffles. Oh my God.
The German promoters are great because they consistently get the rider (food we get in our dressing room) right. Our tour manager is Veggie and always makes sure that the promoters understand our dietary needs and it’s not easy to get them to understand what we want other than a bag of crisps and warm larger, which they mostly get us or we’re often greeted by nasty hummous, some fruit and nuts, if we are lucky.
One guy in Newcastle sent his girlfriend to the local health food store and we ate nuts all the way down the M1 home the day after. In Germany, they lay it on: a variety of vegan cheese, sausages, yoghurts, freshly baked bread and a lot of fruit.
Sounds like Germany is the place to go -and I think I know the restaurant you mean in Rome too – we found a lovely place out there and its where we discovered Polenta. Yum.
In the celeb world is being vegan acceptable? Any other celebs that are veggie n vegan?
MAYA – I think I read that Joaquin Phoenix is vegan. Also Alexandra Burke, Chrissie Hynde and Richard Gere. Being vegan in the celeb world is like being a papal envoy among the English clergy and royalty in early the 1500s – you’re the holy grail, nice and pious.
Hmmm – I will Google later! Maya I don’t think you have always wanted to be a singer? Did you do it to impress a guy? Did it work??!
MAYA – Yes I did it originally to impress a guy. Through myself into rock n roll, and tried to catch up on a lot of reading! Well, I just started buying music mags. It didn’t impress the guy but I’ve picked up a few fans along the way!
Never mind I bet you are having the last laugh now!! Now did I read somewhere that many moons ago you were chums with the Blur guys? I think some of them were veggie too?
MAYA – Not quite chums no. Alex tried it on when I was 16 and then I had a crush on him and I started a band.
OK. So what’s happening with Sohodolls at the moment – I hear you are working on the next album? What will we expect?
MAYA – It’s gonna be harder darker faster! We have recorded a lot of album number two and we will be releasing a single in the summer, followed by a UK our to promote it.
Fantastic I bet you are really excited and I have to say I am so loving Stripper and I’m Not Cool at the moment – Can you tell us what’s behind your track Prince Harry though? Do you really want to marry him??!!
MAYA – No, it’s ‘Prince Harry, Girl like to marry’. Everyone thinks I’m saying ‘I want to marry’ cos that’s what they expect. It’s about American socialites who have a rose-tinted view of the UK. It’s us being sarcastic and saying ‘Wake up, UK’s a bit of a shit-hole, but it’s our shit hole. And don’t diss it when your illusion’s broken.’
I wonder what he thinks? So who else influences you musically?
MAYA – Joy Division/New Order, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Daft Punk, Nirvana, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Manson, Hanoi Rocks, Lords of the New Church.
Many of my favs too Maya. I am such a huge 80’s fan. Fantastic music. My claim to fame is that I have kissed Dave Gahan too from Depeche Mode – Just a peck on the cheek mind – Yep when I was 15 I saw him at Billericay Train station. My mother in Law has dinner with Martin Gores mum every Tuesday evening too. It’s true!
So after doing so many tours and concerts do you still feel really excited to perform? I used to get terrible stage fright when I was acting – do any of the band feel nervous before appearing?
STEVE – It’s what I live for! Playing live is amazing… it’s the best part, for me anyway, of the job. It can be in front of 10,000 people or 100 people but it’s always a great feeling… to perform. I don’t get nervous really… excited more than anything.
MAYA – If I am nervous it’s a good sign. The rare occasion when I’m not nervous foretells a bad show.
What advice would you give to aspiring bands setting out?
STEVE – Do it yourself!
MAYA – Always agree a fixed price for whatever contract with the lawyer. Get in writing too. They are generally parasitic. Only had 2 good lawyers out of 8.
What would you like to say to the VeggieVision viewer who is thinking about going veggie but who isn’t sure what to do first?
MAYA – Take it one meal at a time. Don’t set yourself targets. Start now. Digestion is much better without meat and you never have that ‘Oh I shouldn’t have eaten that’ feeling. Read up on the environmental, health and ethical reasons to go veggie.
Will do Soho Dolls! See you at a Veg Fest soon – and remember those vegan cakes Steve.by