Dear readers, we have the honor and pleasure of having a chat with Hasse Fröberg, addressing various issues including his project Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion, fresh from the publication of a video, also sponsored through our webzine.
– First of all how are you?
Hi there and thank you for asking. I’m fine despite the trying times we’re living in at the moment.
– You have been on the scene for a long time, going from Heavy Rock by Spellbound to a refined Prog Rock with Flower Kings and your recent project, where does your passion for these two genres come from and which do you feel most yours?
Yes I’ve been doing this for a long time now if you consider that I released the Spellbound debut album ‘Breaking The Spell’ back in 1984. I also participated on a single with the Blues Rock band Barrelhouse as far back as in 1978, believe it or not. (I don’t think anyone would recognise my voice if they heard my singing on those two songs hehehe…). A lot of shows and some albums later I hooked up with Roine in 1994, for his solo album ‘The Flower King’. Then it took three years before I joined TFK on a regular basis back in 1997. 23 years later I can declare I first and foremost feel like a Prog musician/fan. The reason is freedom. In my version of Prog you’re free to integrate both rock, pop and jazz, which to me is fantastic because I get to play everything I like.
– Your country, Sweden has always had a good musical culture in the Prog field, what was it like to emerge and what difficulties did you have, if there were any?
I seldom analyze things. I just do what I like and I try to do it to the best of my ability. I guess that’s all that there is to it, no matter if Sweden has a good culture of Prog or not, which I of course think we have, including many good bands.
– Unfortunately, the Corona-Virus has had a very heavy impact on many activities of daily life, how do you think the music scene can be expected in the immediate future following this pandemic?
Oooh that’s a tough one! To start with, let’s say all the venues are still out there when the pandemic is over. If that’s the case, I bet the audience is just as hungry for music as us musicians. I mean playing live and experiencing live music is the soul, the essence of music me thinks, so in that aspect I believe it looks rather good after all.
– Last year, 2019, you released two excellent albums, one with Flower “Waiting for miracles” and one as H.F. & The Musical Companion “Parallel Life” much appreciated by the public and by Prog experts, tell us a little about these two albums.
Thank you again. Yes they turned out good I think. Lucky for me, both fans and critics seems to like the albums as well. ‘Parallel Life’ took forever to record for different reasons, so for me personally it was very rewarding to get that kind of response the album got. I have to confess the band was a little nervous before our premiere gig. The reason for it was that we wanted to reproduce as much of the album production as possible in a live setting. According to the smiling faces of the audience and the cheering after the songs, I believe we did good. For me the process of recording “Waiting For Miracles’ was a LOT quicker than the one of ‘Parallel Life’. I really like the album though and the tour afterwards was a whole lot of fun to do, even though Roine had to sit on a chair during the concerts because of a broken collar bone (he managed to break it the day before the tour started, poor lad).
– Two apparently similar projects, but actually different, what stylistic differences are there between the two Prog bands in which you work?
When it comes to the music, HFMC is more of a Rock band than TFK, which is a true Prog band (if you ask me). Maybe I can put it like this. HFMC is a Prog band inspired by Rock and Pop, while TFK is a Prog band inspired by Prog. When it comes to the visual side of the different bands, on photos, videos and when we’re performing, HFMC is more outgoing and extrovert, while TFK is a bit more quiet and introvert, me thinks.
– As we know from your single “all those faces” you take great care of your fans, how did the video come about and how did you develop it in a period of lockdown?
We came up with the idea of making a video to ‘All Those Faces’ because we were starting to miss our audience because of cancelled concerts and the fact that we’re between albums right now. The actual recording of the video was very simple with just our mobile phones and then we asked our fans to send us some selfies. It took something like 12 hours and then we had 35 photos, which was more or less what we needed. We sent the material to Johnny Taxén who edited the video. I think he did a good job as the video turned out warm, uplifting and a little funny, which is just what we need in this dreadful time. ‘All Those Faces’ is our tribute to all the Prog and Rock fans out there, who’s keeping the world of music alive!
– In a historical period where music is closely linked to the image and the primary interest is to sell, often at the expense of musical quality, how difficult is it to establish yourself and continue to offer a certain type of music?
The way I see it is that you have to be true to yourself. That’s the key if you want to survive in the long run in this business.
– Many of our readers and your fans will wonder if there are any live dates or tours scheduled, always Covid permitting, do you have any news about it?
As for now we have two shows confirmed. The first one is the festival We Låve Rock in Hurum (Norway) in May. We’re also performing at the Crescendo Festival outside Bourdeaux (France) in August. Of course I would love to add some more festivals for next summer. I also hope we’re able to hook up with another band for a tour next autumn, to support our next album.
– Another curiosity that intrigues both us and the public, you have recently released two albums with both groups so maybe it’s a bit early to talk about it, but do you have any plans for the future?
Early? Are you kidding me? The next TFK album is already ready for release on the 30th of October. That’s the same month as HFMC will enter the studio to start the recording of our next album. In other words we haven’t been lazy during the pandemic!
– As usual, we leave the last question free, in the sense that if there is any particular topic or something you want to say, feel free to express it.
Well it’s hard to not mention Corona (again). I know we’ve all been struggling for the last 6 months or so, as we’ve all been affected by the pandemic one way or the other. However, when all this is blown over, I hope we can build a new, better, stronger and more sustainable world, for all living species and planet earth.
We thank Hasse for his availability, wishing him the best for the continuation of his career to him and all the other artists involved in his projects, a warm greeting. See you soon for updates and news, the editors of Progressive Rock Journal.
Thanks for having me Progressive Rock Journal It was a pleasure.
Watch the official video for “All Those Faces” below: