*Hellsingland Underground Biography* The band started long ago up in Charlie Granberg's head. After having had some really bad experiences from playing in bands in general, and the record industry in particular, he decided to never put his foot in a studio or tourbus ever again.
"I've been fully concentrated on my art & film projects since the last band I was in imploded on the night of the millenium shift. But I've always missed writing songs and playing live, and I thought that if I ever would be in a band again, it would have to be a band like this, with friends that I really like, and enjoy hanging with not only at rehearsals, playing this kind of 70's jam band, free flowing, Allman Brothers kinda thing".
As he sort of had it with Stockholm a few years back, Charlie and his long therm girlfriend Lisa bought a small summerhouse on the shores of the Ljusnan River, in their common hometown Ljusdal, Hellsingland. A small town with about 8000 citizens in the north of Sweden, which they both had fled many years earlier. "Right after we had bought the house, we found out that she was pregnant."
So as summer came along and they moved in with their new born daughter, Charlie started hearing all these songs in his head again. "I told them to go away, but they just wouldn't" he laughs. So he wrote about 20 songs that summer. Most of them influenced by his childhood friends, dead or living, about people in the city and the countryside, about life, love and death. "I think I just got so inspired by those 2 events, becoming a father for the first time, and moving up to the place I was born and raised, it was surreal and weird, but at the same time it felt like I started to breath again after holding my breath for too long."
As they moved back for the winter in October 2006, Charlie called up his friend Mats Olsson, singer and guitarist of Maryslim, and asked him if he knew any great bluesy guitarist that could play on some of his songs. He didn't even consider Mats at first, since he thought he would be "too metal" for this kind of music. But as Mats asked him to play some of the songs over the phone, he picked up his guitar on his end, and started improvising the most beautiful melodies and solos on top of Charlie's songs. "I'm the man for it", Mats said, very confident. "Blues stuff is the only thing I play when I'm at home. Seriously, I'm the man." "It's strange, but it was exactly the kind of sound I had dreamt about when I wrote them. A sort of carefree, moody and melodic back-to-basics feeling. It was one of those rare magic moments when you feel that you're just clicking with someone musically. We've been friends for years but never really made music together more than maybe jamming out at home after too much booze" Charlie explains. A few years back, backstage after a Maryslim gig, Charlie had already talked with Patrik Jansson, their drummer, about the kind of band he "might wanna form one day". Patrik told him that "If you ever form that band, I have to be the drummer in it". So he was already in, before Mats even. Now all they needed was a bass player. Charlie met Martin Karlsson at a party and just went up to him and asked him if he was a bass player. A little surprised, he answered that he was. "He just looked like a guy that would be into this kind of music, and if he was a bass player it would be too good to be true. Sometimes I just get a good feeling about someone, and most of the times it proves I'm right. I met my girlfriend the same way."
At one of the first rehearsals, Patrik brought along his friend Mathias Stenson with his keyboard for a jam, and he also got the job on the spot. "He is a fantastic musician, just like the rest of the guys, and I'm glad they liked my songs and wanted to be a part of this band." Charlie says. They reharsed and jammed out for a couple of months before they entered the studio of Martin Karlegård, known for his work with The Sounds, Bob Clearmountain e.t.c. "I've known Martin for 17 years" Charlie says, "and I knew he would be the perfect man for this kind of music." They recorded six songs, of which one of them, "Ljusnan Riverside Jam", Mats had written just a week before, and rehearsed it once before entering the studio. "So the song is actually what the title points out, a jam. Though I wrote all the parts before, inspired by the view I woke up to every morning, when I visited Charlie's house in Ljusdal". Mats explains.
In the summer of 2007 they were starting to feel a hunger for playing live, but thought that they needed an extra guitarists first. So Mats called up his childhood friend Peter Henriksson and asked him if he would like to join this band, which he gladly accepted. "Those two guys have played together a lot since they were really young, so they almost got some kind of psychic thing going on between them - one knowing what the other will play next kinda thing. It's pretty amazing to see actually" Charlie says.
In the autumn of 2007, the band went into the studio once more to record six more songs for their upcoming debut album, to be released on the 7th of March 2008. Charlie and his family is now living in Ljusdal permanently.
For press info, please contact Big Is Promotion, +46 739 84 77 86 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUY THE ALBUM & T-SHIRTS DIRECTLY FROM THE BAND (SWEDEN ONLY): GO TO: http://shop.textalk.se/se/shop.php?id=3724
Things you think you know about Sweden: In Sweden you can zig zag between the polar bears and all the suicidal swedes into the closest IKEA (located in every street corner in all cities of Sweden), ask the big breasted (drunk) blonde in the counter about the beds in store, and she will seductively ask you to come and try some of them out with her in a back room.
Things you know about Sweden: IKEA, Big breasted blondes, Volvo , ABBA,The Stockholm Syndrome, Meatballs, Smorgasbord and the murder of their prime minister Olof Palme. Maybe you have even heard of Roxette and Ace Of Bace.
Things you don't know about Sweden: Up in the north of Sweden, in a county called Hälsingland, there is a small town with 8000 citizens called Ljusdal (The Valley Of Light), known for it's beautiful landscapes, deep Bauer-like forests, blue mountains and satanic folk songs. But also for their unemployment, low education and high crime rate. It is also the hometown of Charlie Granberg, the founder, singer and major songwriter of Hellsingland Underground. A majority of all rock band biographies tell the tale of the young rebel escaping from the narrow minded small town - moves to the city where he finally feels at home and makes it. This story could have been quite similar. If only things had gone according to plan… When Charlie was 18, he and two of his best friends escaped Ljusdal for Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. They had a plan. Being the losers they thought they were, they would move to the city and re-invent themselves by forming the most bad ass rock 'n' roll band the world had ever seen after their biggest idols Aerosmith and Guns 'N' Roses. But like most teenage dreams goes - their band eventually split up, they went separate ways and their brotherhood faded - while finding new friends and girlfriends in the Stockholm rock scene and moving on with their lives. Charlie became a pretty successful artist, illustrating record sleeves, posters and merch for various rock bands. The first time he met guitarist Mats Olsson and drummer Patrik Jansson was actually at a record company meeting with Wild Kingdom/Sound Pollution, where they discussed the cover for Mats & Patriks previous band Maryslims next album. "It's kinda funny, looking back, that I didn't like Mats at all that first time. I found him quite obnoxious to tell you the truth" Charlie laughs at the memory. They had no idea that some years later, the three of them would be the best of friends and form a new band together. It wasn't until the summer of 2006 where Charlie once again felt the urge to make music and be in a band again. And the reason for that, according to himself, was moving back to Ljusdal and becoming a father. "I used to hate my hometown like the plague, and thought I would never go back there, but I guess after a while I started to hate Stockholm even more, haha…" Charlie stated in an interview after the release of Hellsingland Underground's highly acclaimed and self titled debut in 2008. "I just don't know where I belong… or where I will live until I die". He had met Lisa (that he sings about in Stickin' With You & Poor Boy) at the Ljusdal Stadt Hotel, as early as Christmas Day 2001. When she got pregnant in 2005, they left their Stockholm suburb and moved into a small house on the shores of the Ljusnan River, that runs through the valley of Ljusdal, their common hometown. "It was both a relief and a shock to move back there" Charlie says. "A relief to live the country life, be close to my family and let go of all the anxiety, nihilism and darkness of Stockholm. And a shock to see what had become of my childhood friends. Many of them had died or moved away, others had become heavy drug addicts or just plain unrecognizable."Lost friendship, drug addiction and paranoia -those were some of the lyrical themes on their first album. Let's fast forward the tape to the summer of 2007: Hellsingland Underground is about to go onstage for the first time ever as a band, headlining a small outlawish festival in the middle of the forest in Bergesbo, Hälsingland. They have only released a couple of tracks on their homepage 2 months earlier, but have already a fanatic following travelling with the band in a big bus. The band had printed 100 Hellsingland Underground t-shirts, that they had hoped to sell about 10 of. Within 30 minutes after arriving at Bergesbo, all of them are sold out. "That's when we understood that we were reaching out to more people than just ourselves, it was a fantastic feeling" Charlie told the press afterwards. After their custom made intro, containing a freight train, a crying wolf, rolling thunder and the Horga song (a classic folk song about Satan coming to Horga in Hälsingland, playing the violin so good that people dance until they die), the band enters the stage and the crowd just explodes. "People knew every word of the 6 songs we had had up on our MySpace, absolutely amazing". Patrik says. The last member to having joined the band was Mats childhood friend, guitarist Peter Henriksson, who had met up with the rest of the guys only one day before the Bergesbo festival for rehearsal. Previously, Patrik had brought his friend, keyboard player Mathias Stenson, to their first rehearsal. Charlie had seen bass player Martin Karlsson at a party, and just walked up to him and asked if he played the bass. "I don't believe in destiny at all, but with this band, it feels like it was almost meant to happen. Everything just fell into place so quickly and it felt immediately like we had known each other for our whole lives. Well, some of us actually have, but anyway." Mats says. They released their self titled debut album "Hellsingland Underground" in march 2008, followed by a Swedish tour that culminated in a sold out gig at Tantogården in Stockholm. Charlie explained later how "It felt really ironic that I had once moved to Stockholm to try and make it as a musician, having failed hard in doing so, moving back to my hometown, starting a new band, and then all of a sudden play in front of hundreds of people dressed in Hellsingland t-shirts, singing along to all our songs. In Stockholm! A city that I had almost come to despise…" The song "Slipping Through The Hands Of Time" became the 1 most played songs on IAC, a list that counts millions of internet radio stations and podcasts all over the world. The video for their song "Northern Country Boy" played several times on MTV and became a minor hit for the band. Without any promotion money (they released the album on their own label Killed By Records) the album managed to sell over 3000 copies, pretty much on it's own. Reviewers all around the world dubbed them as worthy successors of Southern Rock giants such as The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker band. While the band persistently kept calling their music NORTHERN Rock. "We're from northern Sweden, not southern America, and we sound thereafter." "Madness & Grace" takes off where the debut ended, but is also a giant leap forward, both lyric - songwriting - and production wise. You can hear echoes of both above mentioned bands, but also classic American songwriters like Springsteen, Dylan and Neil Young. Some country, and even some Swedish folk music (especially in the Jan Johansson influenced instrumental "Diabolic Greetings From The Woods"), mixed with neckbreaking twin guitar solos and an overall musicianship at it's very best. "Our goal was to make a classic rock album with longevity and depth. We believe and hope we have managed to do so."Charlie said in a press release right after the finishing of the album. "Madness & Grace" is available all across Europe on April 16, 2010. Label: Killed By Records Distribution: Sound Pollution AB Publishing: Sony/ATV - Bolero Publishing Press: Big Is Promotion
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