Hello Hasse, great that you are taking the time to answer a few questions. First of all, can you tell me how and why you started the band Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion back in 2008?
Hi Winston, great to hear from you, to start with I had all of a sudden started to write again and I had a couple of tunes that I initially meant to present to The Flower Kings, songs like for instance 'Only My Blood' and 'Piece Of The Sky' (that ended up the HFMC debut album 'FuturePast'). However The Flower Kings decided it was time for a break in early 2008 and in fact at that time I wasn't sure when or even if we'll make a comeback someday. That left me with only one alternative, to start a new band and that's how Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion got formed. In October 2008 we started to work on material that later on became the songs on FuturePast.
The new album 'HFMC' is about to be released and as it the third one, are you completely satisfied with it?
I don't think there's such a thing as completely satisfied when it comes to music. I mean we're five guys in the band and to try to keep each and every one of them somewhat happy with the result, it means that you sometimes need to compromise. I can assure you though, I know I speak for the whole band when I say that this is the album we're by far the most satisfied with.
Did you do things different this time? The band is the same so you knew what you could expect from them of course.
Not really but being the third album I know what we're good at. This time I really tried to use the special talents of the members, use their individual assets to its 'full' potential. In fact I tried to keep that in mind already while composing, to make it as smooth as possible in the studio and to get the most out of our ensemble playing.
In comparison to 'Powerplay' I think 'HFMC' is more focused, direct yet has more depth. Can you understand this or am I completely insane?
I think you are totally right sir! Unfortunately 'Powerplay' was made in a rush because of a tight deadline (already booked shows including RoSfest in USA and Night of the Prog in Loreley, Germany). On top of that a couple of weeks into the recording, The Flower Kings all of a sudden emerged from out of nowhere, with the result that me and TFK keyboardist Tomas Bodin who was the sound engineer on 'Powerplay', were recording two albums at the same time (and later on I was more or less touring with two bands at the same time). Of course all of this affected the recording of Powerplay.
It's no wonder that HFMC the band will be compared to The Flower Kings and I won't dwell on that too long but what are the main differences between the two bands, if there are any for you personally.
The way I see it, HFMC's approach is a little bit more Rock`n´Roll than TFK. Our music is also a little bit more focused on the vocals and maybe (just maybe) I'm a bit more careful when it comes to let the melody 'sit in the front seat' if you get what I mean?
Your voice is quite easy to recognize, have you had training or did you just start singing in the early days?
I've heard many times that people hear it's me within a second. I'd say a combination as I was more or less forced to sing in the first band I was in at the age of ten and onward (since I didn't refuse hard enough). When I was something like 23 or 24 years old I took four lessons that really changed my voice dramatically. At first I used my newly learnt technique way too much but after a while I 'found my voice' and I started to sound like I do today.
The band HFMV is coming across as a group of friends who enjoy making music together. Is this factor important for all you?
I played with Thomsson (bass) and Ola Strandberg (drums) in the metalband Spellbound in the eighties so we knew each other since then. In fact we've always felt comfortable in each other's company. The 'new guys' onboard Kjell Haraldsson (keys) and Anton Lindsjö (leadguitar) blends in perfectly with their easy going attitude and approach to things. It's funny though, sometimes they have a hard time understanding what Thomsson, Ola and me are saying since we have almost developed a language of our own.
There are some fabulous songs on 'HFMC', which are your favourites, or is that an impossible question?
I agree with you, there's some really good songs on this album. If I have to choose, I guess I have to say 'In The Warmth Of The Evening'. That was the first one I wrote for the album HFMC and to me it has an aura, an atmosphere that's really something else. I also have to mention 'Genius' and 'Everything Can Change'. In fact I didn't write 'Everything Can Change', it was just there, I just needed to take care of it, if that makes any sense to you. It was much later on I realized that the verse was in 4/4, the bridge in 3/4 and the chorus in 5/4 with some really weird key changes to top it all. It's a miracle the song sounds so 'easy listening' as it actually does. Well I guess I can continue namedropping every song on the album as I also like 'Pages' (music written by our drummer Ola Strandberg) and of course the song we also made a video to, called 'Can't stop the clock'. I guess I'll stop here and state that imho they're all equally good hehehe…
Are there plans to tour again with HFMC? I would love to see you on a live stage.
Definitely, we have five (or six) shows confirmed at the moment in Sweden and Norway. If everything goes as planned we'll play on the continent including Holland, starting early October. I've been in the business for so long that I've learnt to not say anything until it's 100%. I guess this is the best way to put it: Stay tuned for info on a possible European tour together with an American band in October.
I hear some nice references and hints of influence. Queen, Yes, Kansas, Genesis (early), am I leaving a band out?
I'm with you on all those bands and maybe you can add (guess it's like swearing in church considering the genre I'm most connected with) Wilson Picket and Sam Cooke. Over the years I've learnt that a lot of my singing (believe it or not) comes from the old soul legends. I'm not by any means saying I'm as good as them, it's just that some of the melodies, approach and phrasing have things in common with soul and blues singers from the sixties and early seventies.
Your youth was rich of music and influences, do you remember the most important moment? When you heard music that felt as if lightning struck, making you realize that this is the music for you?
Nr. 1 = Seeing Thin Lizzy at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Stockholm, right in front of Phil Lynott sometime in August 1977 (I pretty much immediately understood that nothing was going to top it ever. In fact the world stood still for 90 minutes).
Nr. 2 = Queen in April 1978 at Johanneshovs Isstadion in Stockholm-fantastic show.
Nr. 3 = Rod Stewart sometime 1976 at the Stockholm Konserthus (first gig ever and remember at this time he was still a rock `n roller). I've experienced lots of fantastic concerts later on and even recently but there's something with the combination of youth and music and of course 'experience things for the first time' that's hard to beat.
A question I have to ask, or else I will be dragged off with tar and feathers; when will The Flower Kings climb their thrones again?
To tell you the truth, right now I'm not sure? We had a Skype meeting a couple of months back but since then a lot of things has happened, among them Roine touring with Steve Hackett. I don't know where that leaves us but we're going to play at a festival in Tokyo on the 26th of April, so I guess we'll continue our discussions on the future of TFK then.
Anything else you would like to share with us, about the band(s), yourself or anything else?
Well…I guess that have to be that I really can't wait to play these new songs live. The response from fans have been overwhelming on the new album and I get the feeling that some of them are curious and eager to see (or maybe I should say hear) what we will sound like live, playing the new material. We actually did an acoustic set playing only new songs at the release party for the album. That's when I realized if we play our cards right, those songs can sound magic live.