While we are still in the middle of these terribly uncertain times, it’s always good to see musicians staying positive, keeping their audience together and of course keeping up with making music. The thousand-faced Hasse Fröberg belongs to this club, and we had the chance to interview him about his recent endeavors. There was a lot to talk about. Not only The Flower Kings is about to come out with a new album, but in addition Hasse’s own band Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion have surprised us with a new video clip. Hasse was kind enough to answer our questions.
Hard Rock Magazin: You may remember: 14 years ago, you already gave an interview to our magazine, when our colleague asked you what the latest album was you bought. How about it now, 14 years later?
Hasse Fröberg: Wow, that’s really cool! Well the album might not be that new, but I have bought it recently. The record I’m talking about is ’The Unbendable Sleep’ by Rikard Sjöblom. While we’re talking about records, I have to confess I’m really excited about the upcoming Wobbler album. That one will most definitely end up in my record collection.
HRM: Your new album, ’Parallel Life’ has been out for a while now. How were the receptions of the material?
HF: Surprisingly good I must say, both among fans and critics. Before the premiere gig we were a bit nervous about how the new songs would come across in a live setting. The reason for it was the detailed production that we wanted to reproduce as much as possible live. According to the response from the audience, it both looked and sounded like we did a good job.
HRM: Let’s talk about All Those Faces! After all those gloomy, quarantine-inspired clips and music it was very nice to see some positive vibes! Could you tell us about the idea, the background of the song and the video clip?
HF: Right now we’re between albums so to speak, we came up with the idea of making this video to keep in touch with our audience. We have no gigs apart from two festivals confirmed next summer. One of them is We Låve Rock in Hurum, Norway in May and the Crescendo Festival outside Bourdeaux, in France in August. This is of course the reason we invited fans to be part of the video with the help of their selfies. The video was made in a very simple way with just our mobile phones and when we thought we had what we needed, we sent all the material to Johnny Taxén who edited the video. In my humble opinion it turned out to be warm, uplifting and a little funny, which I think is just what we need in these trying times. The song ’All Those Faces’ is our tribute to all the Prog and Rock fans out there who keep the world of music going.
HRM: During these demanding times how do you manage to keep the band together and guard the flame?
HF: It’s always about having goals. Right now the goal is to prepare for the recording of our next album. At the moment we’re in the most creative part of the process as we’re working with the music, trying to improve the songs and make them as good as they possibly can get, before we enter the studio.
HRM: News is, you’re planning to go back to the studio with HFMC in October. What can we expect from the new material?
HF: News travels fast! Anyway, pretty early on after ’Parallel Life’ was released, I’d get this vision of HFMC going back to their roots. When I say this I mostly mean the music, as I still want a more modern production. However I want to get a little bit of feel and sound that many bands and artists had in the first half of the seventies, integrated into our music and the overall sound of the album…if that makes any sense.
HRM: Do you have any plans to when the world opens up again? Are you planning on bigger or smaller tours with HFMC?
HF: In the best of worlds I would love if we could add some more festivals during the summer of 2021. I also hope we will be able to hook up with another band and do a European tour in the autumn, to support the album we’re about to start recording.
HRM: We can’t just walk by the fact, that there’s a new The Flower Kings album out soon! Did the pandemic have any effect on the recordings? Could you tell us a little bit about the ideas, the musical and lyrical concept behind the album?
HF: I think it had a major impact on our recording. ”Thanks to the pandemic” there were no distractions. We’ve never had so much interaction between the bandmembers, even though we were recording in 4 different countries. We’ve never spent so much time on a recording as this one. To me all this has resulted in a multifaceted but still focused album. I’d go as far as to say that for me, our new album ’Islands’ is the best TFK has done for a very long time. I think both the music and the lyrics reflect the last six months as it deals with frustration, sadness, grief but also a little bit of hope for a bettter world, once the pandemic is over.
HRM: In your opinion where does the true, classical line of progressive rock stand in today’s often oversaturated music market? Does this kind of -let’s say – heavily sophisticated music have a big enough audience in these times, when the simpler music you play, the more success you can expect?
HF: Ooooh that’s a tricky question. To start with, progressive rock is not even close to as popular as the genre was in the seventies, or maybe I would say the first half of that decade. That doesn’t mean it’s dead though. There will always be people who aren’t interested in mainstream music, heavy riffs, or jazz, but they like good melodies, thoughtful arrangements, intelligent riffs and emotional solos. I think prog is for those people.
(Thanks to Eszter Anna Baumann (IDVI Agency) for organizing the conversation!)