Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mini-Interview: Mando Diao

Our smarter, better-looking sister site Radio Free Chicago recently interviewed Swedish indie rock act Mando Diao to discuss their new album, the story behind the name, the draw of Swedish rock, and their favorite bands.

And since the group recently played Coachella and are headed back here to The Troubadour on Tuesday, May 22nd, we thought we'd wholesale steal ... uh, "reprint" ... the article.

Can you guys introduce yourself? Where are you guys at right now?

OK, we have Gustaf Norén (lead vocal/guitar), Björn Dixgård (lead vocal/guitar), Mats Björke (Organ/Piano), Samuel Giers (drums) and CJ Fogelklou (bass) and we're pretty spread out right now on a conference call. First vacation in 5 years. It's crowd free. Strange feeling.

I've heard that the name Mando Diao came to Bjorn in a dream, what was that dream like? Do you find alot of inspirations in dreams?

Either it was a dream or Björn dreamt it was a dream. In any case, as the story goes, it was a goblin who popped up saying his name was Mando Diao. At the time it didn't mean anything, but now it means a lot, to a lot of people. In UK one reviewer said that in despite of Mando Diao, she loved Mando Diao. Maybe she had had the dream too. Generally our inspirations from dreams comes from dreams we dreamt when we were like ten.

Your music is fairly diverse and accessible, I feel you could be transplanted in the NY scene or anywhere in the UK and enjoy overwhelming success. What would you say your major influences are? Is there a certain period of music that you look to for inspiration?

Our influences right now is not music, but rather the world we live in and the people we meet. So many interesting and amazing stories. We come from pretty diverse music experiences but in school we found out that we all had the Beatles in common, as opposed to all the rest that were in to metal. That's how we begun creating our own universe. We only had each other and got very close. We're still very close and sometimes we feel that it's just us against all of them. Then we had a lot of mainstream influences like Nirvana, Motown music and country music.

How do you go about the song creating process?

Our writing process is like first comes the music, then the lyrics, and then more lyrics, and then some more music. The songs are just sketches until we record. We need to keep it fresh until then. We need to keep part of the fun and the unexpected to occur during recording.

If there was one band in history that you could do a show with, who would it be?

Apart from The Beatles, it has to be The Funk Brothers.

There are so many great bands to come out of Sweden, i.e. The Hellacopters, Teddybears, TSOOL, Hives, Dungen, I'm From Barcelona, the list goes on... What do you think it is about Sweden that produces such great creative output?

We're a removed country with lots of musicians. It's good to have some distance, keeps you different. And the government pays people not to work in factories in order for them to play music. At least it used to be that way, this is changing now. So most people play music and from there you get a lot of bands, more per capita than in other countries. Plus the fact that not everyone knows: we're build slightly different in Sweden, to fit in to instruments and mikes. The genes started to mutate with ABBA back in 1974 and now we're not fit to work in factories anymore. They shut them down everywhere, and we get the export awards instead.

Who's your favorite Swedish band that we should be listening to?

Favourite Swedish band right now? Perhaps Johnossi.

I've enjoyed listening to Ode to Ochrasy, I really love the mix of songs; there's a variety of high-energy rock and lulling orchestral pop which makes for a great listening experience. What's your favorite track from the new album?

Thank you, that's wonderful to hear. Favourite tracks are perhaps Ochrasy, Wildfire, Killer Kazcynski, Tony Zoulias, Herr Horst – we can't pick one.

We're always fighting about which is the favourite track. Could be one of the others too. What do you think?

I'm a bit partial to Ochrasy, it has a soulful spirit. It's been said that your live shows are like going to Church for fans, why do you think that is?

Because we preach some kind of gospel. You can come as you are, dead or alive. If you're dead you will rise up, and if you're alive you will fall in love, and then eventually die of course, until the next set. But you know, we just give it all, all we got. We play every gig as it's our last, or our first, as if we have to get the brother who hates us, to go: OK, I give up. No sisters hates us though… But still, every show, every single time, we go in and we start from scratch.

Wanna a little taste of the live show? Check out their set at this year's SXSW.

Last question, What are you guys currently listening to right now?

Björn Olsson – find that if you can.

Thanks for your time, guys!

- Long Before Rock 'n' Roll MP3


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