Hot off the Press

Hasse Fröberg of The Flower Kings

by Christophe Pauly
– Photojournalist –

Hasse Fröberg from The Flower Kings talks about the new album, the past tour with Neal Morse, his project and the next tour …

Hasse Fröberg Photos by Erika ForsénHardrock Haven: Thank you very much for this interview! It’s a real honor for me as a long time fan and I really liked your new album. I was very impressed by the diversity of styles and atmospheres this album proposes. How do you see it? Is it the suite of something you previously began or another start for the band since its hiatus?

Hasse Fröberg: Most of the material were actually written in the studio and we really worked on the songs together. Since Paradox Hotel back in 2006 we’ve recorded all the albums live in the studio with overdubs of course but there’s never been so much of a band effort as this time. On previous recordings we’d always entered the studio with finished material. This time we had maybe 20 minutes of written music, the rest was done like a collaboration by all of us. I think that might be one of the reasons for the “diversity of styles” you just mentioned. There was more people involved in the writing and arranging of the songs.

Hardrock Haven: It’s your 12th album (which is quite impressive!) what do you think when you look back at your debuts and your progression over the years?

Hasse Fröberg: Most of the material were actually written in the studio and we really worked on the songs together. Since Paradox Hotel back in 2006 we’ve recorded all the albums live in the studio with overdubs of course but there’s never been so much of a band effort as this time. On previous recordings we’d always entered the studio with finished material. This time we had maybe 20 minutes of written music, the rest was done like a collaboration by all of us. I think that might be one of the reasons for the “diversity of styles” you just mentioned. There was more people involved in the writing and arranging of the songs.

Hardrock Haven: Could you explain why you chose to make a pause of several years before Banks of Eden? And what élément made your décision of coming back?

Hasse Fröberg: Frankly, we were kind of running on empty. Don’t get me wrong, I really like “Sum of no evil”. There’s some really nice songs there and the production is just fine but when it came to once again do a tour, to me during the shows it felt like we were exhausted. I guess album – tour- album – tour….took it’s toll in the end so we decided to take a break. For us it was no big deal, even if I wasn’t sure that we would play again. That was actually the reason I started The Musical Companion. At the moment I didn’t know if I was in a band or not. The reason for the comeback hmmm…I’m not sure? I guess you need to talk to Roine about that. I was in the middle of recording the second HFMC album “Powerplay” when I got the phonecall. Two weeks later we had a meeting and one month after that we entered the Varispeed studio to cut the backing tracks to “Banks of Eden”, with a drummer that we’d never met – Felix Lehrmann.

Hardrock Haven: Bank of Éden was really à good return musically. It’s like thé band was even more inspired than before isn’t it? Where do you find your inspiration?

Hasse Fröberg: I agree, the hunger was back and at that point it felt almost more important than the songs and the playing itself. Yes I think you’re right “BoE” turned out to be a good record with two new live favorites (I dare to say) “Numbers” and “Rising the imperial”. What’s inspiring us? Can’t really tell? I think that’s different from each and everyone of us.

Hardrock Haven: You seem to push your musical travel further and explore even more new territories with Desolation Rose. I know that you recorded it just after the European tour. So,were those songs writen a long time before? Or did you write them on tour?

Hasse Fröberg: We wrote most of them in the studio.

Hardrock Haven: You used many great keyboards on this new album which is very interesting. But did you experiment too some new sounds on your guitar?

Hasse Fröberg: Yes, for instance on “White tuxedos” I play with a kind of “twangy” sound on my Telecaster with Roine on his knees tweaking the nobs on a new delay pedal he’d just received. I think that tiny detail started the whole idea of the production of that song.

Hardrock Haven: You did some dates last December. How was the audience reaction to the new songs?

Hasse Fröberg: They worked out great. I won’t give away the songs, in case I spoil the fun for some poor guys out there. I think we will improve the set-list a little before we head out on the tour in April.

Hardrock Haven: I saw that you asked to some of your friends to sing on some songs. So Edgel Groves Sr. (Who we recently interviewed too) sang on it with his son Jr. How did you know him?

Hasse Fröberg: In fact Edgel has been our tour manager for the last two tours. He’s a hell of a guy, well organized, he gets things done and he’s fun as hell too!

Hardrock Haven: I saw you in Zoetermeer with Neal Morse Band. And it was a great moment to see both bands on stage to play some Transatlantic songs ;-)

Flower Kings 2012Hasse Fröberg: I think that tour was the best thing that could happen for all involved. It was good for TFK, good for NMB and good for the audience as well. To me it felt like the audience really took this show to their hearts and do I need to say it was killer to do the Transatlantic encore, even if I just played a small part of it.

Hardrock Haven: Roine will play with Transatlantic to promote Kaléidoscope, their new album. But you seem to be very busy too. Could you tell us about your other project?

Hasse Fröberg: I started my own band Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion during TFK:s 5 year hiatus. The reason was what I just mentioned, I couldn’t picture myself not playing in a band. I started to write what eventually became “FuturePast” (2010) in late 2008. As soon as I felt I had some music to present to a possible band I started to check out musicians and I ended with two guys I’d played with before in Spellbound, Thomsson on bass and Ola Strandberg on drums. I also hired two new faces to the band, Anton Lindsjö on guitar and Kjell Haraldsson on keyboards. Our first album got very good reviews and we did a short tour of 10 gigs to promote it in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and Belgium. After that we started to record the follow up album “Powerplay” (2012). “Powerplay” was released in the last days of April, just six weeks prior to the release of TFK:s “Banks of Eden”. We had a hard time to promote
the album properly with loads of TFK gigs coming up for me. In fact I played at the Night of the Prog festival in Loreley with both HFMC and TFK. At some point I could play with HFMC on the Friday and then fly to another city to play with TFK on the saturday…I mean it was weird and unfortunately HFMC took a beating of all this. Looking back at it, I really had no choice. I had festivals (Rosfest in USA and Night of the Prog Germany) booked as well as 7 other gigs when it was decided that TFK would make a comeback. Hey there you go! At least we did our best and I think we managed to establish HFMC a little bit more and now we’re in the studio working on our third still untitled album. So I guess it’s all good after all.

Hardrock Haven: What kind is it? Do you plan any release soon or any concert?

Hasse Fröberg: The plan is to release it in the early summer and yes we plan to do gigs on this album too. Right now it’s not much I can tell you about it all since it depends on so many different things. Some of them are even out of our control but in the best of worlds, I would love to have the album out by late May/early
June and then head out on a tour in September.

Hardrock Haven: Between TFK and your personal project, what’s the priority for you?

Hasse Fröberg: I’ve already managed to record and more or less tour at the same time with both bands, so I think I can handle it without making any priorities. It’s nothing I recommend though, so in the future I’ll try to plan stuff as careful as possible.

Hardrock Haven: Do TFK plan to tour for Desolation Rose too?

Hasse Fröberg: The Desolation Rose tour starts in April (see TFK official website) but before that we’re going to play on the “Progressive Nation at Sea 2014″ cruize in the Caribbean with lots of other great bands. We’re also going to play on a festival in Wales before the tour. By the way, it’s most possible that new dates will be added later on (Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Japan) and who knows what more is in store?

Hardrock Haven: I hope to see you soon and hear your new songs soon! Thank you for your kindness and those magical moments we live every time we see or hear The Flower Kings!

Visit the Flower Kings Online: www.flowerkings.se/

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