skip to Main Content

Mando Diao is known for its classic rock and roll sound. For them music is a craftwork as they each play several instruments, are producers and song writers. They started their career drawing heavy influences from rhythm and blues, the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Kinks. As they developed their own music they took in more pop and dance themes, but have always maintained the energetic and attitude of early rock and roll paired with Björn’s unmistakingly soulful voice. Their live shows are highly regarded by the audience because they are an explosion of energy and offer a diverse catalogue of hits as well as unexpected musicianship gems.

Mando Diao have always gone their own way following their artistic vision and interests. The road for them has never been straight and narrow but they continually test new territory. This is how “Stop The Train” was recently presented to us, the first volume of a trilogy, which will be completed in a single project. Spontaneous, dynamic and definitely just as uplifting as their previous hits like the unforgettable “Dance With Somebody” and “Gloria”.

We talked to their singer Björn Dixgård and drummer Patrik Heikinpieti, about everything! For their new project, their success, their memories from Greece but also about their future plans in an exclusive interview they gave to!

In your new single “Stop The Train” there’s the lyric: “We ain’t never going back again”. What are you trying to run away from?

B: Τhis is short of the mentality in our group. This year, it’s 20 years since we released our first album and people always ask us “what are you going to do to celebrate?” and we answer that we’re not going to celebrate something from the past. We’re going forward to the future and we focus on that. That’s also an interesting aspect in life for us. It’s nice to look back in time for moments with your kids and family, that’s nice nostalgia but for music and for creativity I guess that what we meant. Move forward!

Your next studio album is going to be released in three parts. What’s the concept behind it?

P: The album was recorded really fast in just eleven days and we didn’t have anything with us when we went to the studio, so we took one song to write the lyrics and then we recorded it the same day. When we started the album we didn’t have a plan at all. We searched for inspiration or distortion pedals and stuff. “Stop The Train” was the first song we did. We found this cool base sound and it all started from there. For this album we travelled fast without thinking. It’s very spontaneous!

B: We’ve never done an album like that. We always had songs that we’ve written, but this was very different. It came out very nice without any plans! We wanted to make action music. We didn’t have any reference or any goal for this record.

Why did you chose to release it as a trilogy?

P: The last night that we did all the tracks and we listened to the album, it was short of intense and so we thought that we had to give people time to breathe than to release all the songs in a raw… it would fuck their minds up!

B: It was too intense! It fucked us up! After the seventh song we were like “Oh shit! We can’t release this as an album. We have to divide it!”. Plus it’s also fun to make something different than ten songs in a raw. It’s also about taking care of the songs! So… four at a time!

What should we expect the next two volumes and when exactly?

B: It’s not exactly set yet. The second one is called “Primal Call” and it’s coming in late August, and it’s the same short of vibe but with different songs. That’s how the cover looks…

we found this great guy, CJ our bass players is friends with him, he’s called Frederick and he’s such a great artist.

P: The third volume is going to be released around Christmas. It’s not scheduled yet.

“Stop The Train” is also the title of the first volume from this project and it’s already released, containing 4 brand new songs. Are you satisfied with the audience’s reaction to it so far?

B: Oh yes! We never expect anything. We’re being successful and we’re grateful for that but you never know what’s gonna happen with your music. A lot of people think that you can plan your success but there ain’t such a thing.

P: For us who make the music is like “whatever happens, happens”.

B: We have to believe in this and have the courage to do our “follow-our-hearts”, we always had this integrity.

P: Also, the songs are going to be performed live this summer and we’ll see if it’s going to work or not in what the live audience thinks of our songs. We really don’t know!

Is there one song among these four, that holds a special place in your hearts or that has a funny story behind its writing?

B: “Stop The Train” is so cool for me, and I know you (pointing to Patrick) for 20 years and you have developed into such a good song writer. “Stop The Train” is mainly Patrick’s song, we’re all involved but it’s mainly your song and for some reason you had a big period and you still have it, where you came up with this weird base bounce which is really cool.

“Loner”, the fourth song, is the best lingering that we had. What was your favourite?

For me it was definitely “Frustration”.

P: Yeah it’s the most straight forward one

B: That’s also the only song that we wrote before the sessions. CJ, our bass player wrote it, that was the only one that we had when we went in the studio. It’s a cool song!

How was your collaboration with Charlie Storm for the production of this project? What new did he bring to the table for Mando Diao?

P: He’s the guy that never says “no”. We came up with the most ideas of the songs it was like we were five producers in them, so we had the plans to make them.

B: He’s the co-producer and the engineer basically. He’s a really good friend. He has the same mentality as us and he doesn’t want to plan before he records, he just wanna try out stuff and he never say “no” to an idea until he tries it and that’s how we want to work, so he’s perfect for us. He’s a good mixer too!

Your biggest hit so far is “Dance with Somebody” which was released back in 2009. How do you feel about its success 13 years later?

B: We’re grateful!

P: We’re blessed for that!

B: It did a lot of great things to us! It’s crazy we came up with that song. I was alone sitting in my living room, really hang over, and this fucking song just came to me. It took me ten minutes to write it. That’s the thing with music… you never know and things like that just turn up.

P: And it’s also so fun to play it live! The audience’s reactions are crazy!

Even here guys it was huge! That summer we would listen to it literally everywhere!

B: What’s funny is that when we did the “Give Me Fire!” album, everyone in the band said “we’re not gonna have this song on the album”, but everybody else said “that’s the best song”… it’s hard to be an expert!

How easy is it to repeat the same success?

P: We try not to think about it! You can’t write music like that, with the thought of making hits! It’s impossible! We can only do what we’re doing! We can never know what the audience thinks when we’re writing! We did a Swedish record, the first one… we have done two Swedish records and in “Infruset” the first one we have this song called “Strövtåg i hembygden” and we didn’t think that was a good song either and it’s our best-selling album in Sweden for 10 years… four times platinum!

B: It’s so hard to know what’s gonna work or not. You can only stick to your heart! If it feels good for us then we can hope for the best with our audience! We’ve been spoiled! We have a great audience that’s been following us and all our changes, cause we’ve been changing all the time, and that’s music to us… where there’s change, there’s more music!

P: Maybe a jazz record the next one!

B: It might be! Or Greek music… bouzouki, Theodorakis, we’ll see!

P: Thankfully we have a band which can do all these things!

B: If we don’t have the courage to do that, who’s gonna have it? No one’s gonna get that courage for us!

The same year you performed live the song at MAD VMA’s and you also had a concert in our country. What are your most vivid memories from Greece and the Greek audience?

B: There are a lot of beautiful people in Greece, women and men (laughs), a lot of great food…

P: The audience is not like the one in Sweden! It’s not that uptight or introvert! In Greece the audience is more direct, welcome and open, maybe it’s the weather; I don’t know (laughs).

B: It’s the mentality! Swedish people are more close you know!

P: We’d love to come in Greece and play again!

B: It’s more fun there in Greece than in Sweden you know! OPEN ARMS! Compliments my friend!

Clearly the world is changing in weird ways. Do you think that your music is changing also? Do you have this need to talk about “difficult” matters through your music as a means of redemption?

B: Music is always going to have a very important role in the world because it’s supposed to be a positive thing always! Wherever there’s a soul full of negative stuff like greed and hate, music is going to have a great power in that! The music climate is changing but we can’t sit and analyze it too much!

P: Also the ways people are listening to music is always different! For us music is like a small break from all the shit that happens! You can give people a concert for one and a half hours and think only about the music and not the war or stuff like that!

B: Hopefully it brings back faith! We try to do that in the best possible way and that’s why we did three volumes.

Apart from your upcoming LP, what are your future professional plans?

P: Do we have another two hours? (Laughs)

B: We’re not going to stop! As long as we think it’s this fun, there’s no chance! We take a day at time but we also have concerts, all over Europe during the summer!

P: We have a Swedish tour, 25 dates in Sweden!

B: We’ve been talking about Greece too! We have to come back to you! I think our booking agent is looking over that! Of course we’d love to come again!

What’s your motto in life?

Back To Top