hammarin & robin ~ lingering regret/ hell knows i'm in love (mad for it, 2008)
this is a special post because there's not only music for you... there's also an interview. for this first interview i spoke with hammarin, the nice guy behind the voice of the swedish act hammarin & robin. hope you enjoy...
first we'll talk about the duo's release:
this is pop music in its purest state with beautiful arrangements, uplifting melodies and witty, clever lyrics that could've been very well written by someone as honest as morrissey. hammarin's voice is powerfull and dramatic. (unfortunately this release has only two songs).
so there's 'lingering regret'... a funny/sad song with hammarin screaming 'does the world need another lover?'. i really got hooked by this song because it is so honest... its lyrics are among the best i've heard in some time.
'hell knows i'm in love' is a love song that i think that's perfect to the dancefloor with everyone jumping and singing to the top of their lungs. it's more atmospheric than 'lingering regret' with some airy sounds and the awesome line "heaven knows i'm in love but i'm afraid hell knows as well".
both are brilliant magical pop songs with inspiring lyrics! great when you're feeling down and want to go out with your head held high; to clean the house; dinner parties; picnic in the park with your best friends.
01. lingering regret
02. hell knows i'm in love
Q: this was how I got to know you: “… hammarin would be this guy putting on a club in örebro. a lot of people did it, nobody did it the way he did. they didn’t even come close. he ran around dressed up in a costume telling everyone about the club and about his band performing at that club (which quite naturally was the pretext for doing the club in the first place). his band at the time was pointing in seventeen directions, all at the same time(…) hammarin was so loveable, so honest and so pure in his belief in pop music you’d still be swept away, completely knocked out just by the mere power of it…” you might recognize it: it’s a review by joakim Johansson presenting you on mad for it website… the quote may be too long but I think that’s a great story and a lovely way to get to know your work. how this passion for pop music began?
A: i didn’t listen to pop music until i was around 20 actually. before that I hardly bought any records or looked for new interesting bands at all. i was a huge fan of u2 during that time and I guess that’s where my musical endeavor began. there was one song in particular that set me ablaze; u2’s cover of “unchained melody”. i had this searing fire inside of me, and it wasn’t until i heard bono screaming the words ‘i need your love’ on top of massive guitars and lots of reverb that i realized what I had to do; i simply had to become a singer.
Q: how did you and robin got together?
A: robin and i go back a long time. we grew up in the same town; kumla, sweden. a small place which was known to outsiders only for having sweden’s most famous prison located just a few hundred meters from where i lived. i guess it’s inevitable that two young boys who shared the same interests in music would eventually team up. we first met at a local talent show and since then we’ve been the best of friends.
Q: before the hammarin & robin project what you were up to?
A: during my late teens and early twenties i had several bands where i wrote the music and was lead singer. i nowadays consider all of these projects as practice though, since i really didn’t have the talent, nor the skills to pull it off. robin however has always been a great producer and has released several tracks on various dance/club-labels. he was involved in all my bands, trying to save my lousy productions and help me out. but it wasn’t until early 2008 that i finally caught up with him and we could start cooperating on the same level.
Q: influences in music? movies? cartoons? fashion? writers?
A: anything that’s passionate or comical really. there are a lot of references to pop culture in everything we do, so i encourage anyone who listens to us to find them!
Q: last year hammarin & robin released a wonderful 2-track single(?) ep(?) on ‘mad for it’. is that your discography so far? how the label got to know you and invited to release something?
A: yes, the 2-track single is the only thing we’ve released so far. but there’s a bonus track for the single and a remix of “lingering regret” too, though not released. the story about how mad for it found us is already out there. just read the press release for the first single on madforit.se! ;)
Q: i have to say that i really like your songwriting because is wise and playful at the same time… for example: ‘heaven knows I’m in love but I’m afraid hell knows as well…’. and particularly this part of ‘lingering regret’ is amazing: "unless i construct a time machine come back in time to young hammarin... god was trying to make somebody out of me but i just couldn't leave the path of apathy".. what makes you want to write music? and what you had in mind writing ‘lingering regret’ specifically?
A:why i write music is a mystery even to me. the thing is; i haven’t always been able to sing and i still don’t master any instrument. on top of that i’m a real quitter. if I’m not good at something at my first attempt I usually put it away, cursing and swearing ‘never again’. but when it comes to music i simply haven’t been able to quit. I wrote “lingering regret” about a year ago during a time when i questioned my entire life. i had spent most of my time studying, trying to save bad relationships and going from one part time job to another, but in the back of my head was this dream i just had to realize and now it seemed like it was too late. it’s really ironic that a song about failure and broken dreams ends up as the first hit song!
Q: new songs in a near future? what are your plans for 2009?
A: 2009 will be packed full of h&r stuff. right now we’re working on an epP that will be the first of a trilogy called “superlove” and an album is also on the way. i’m happy to tell you that there’s a huge array of songs just waiting to get produced so we are relieved of the stress of writing new pieces to complete our future releases.
Q: name three songs you’d like to make a cover and why.
A: i have actually been asked by fans and friends to do some covers so i’ll name two of those and finally a choice of my own:
“jefferson airplane - somebody to love” (in the style of jim carrey of course!)
“david bowie – heroes” (robin’s favourite!)
“daniel johnston – peek a boo” (‘you can listen to these songs, have a good time and walk away. But for me it’s not that easy. i have to live these songs forever’)
Q: the perfect place/time of the year to listen to your songs is…
A: that depends on the songs. but i think most of the songs i’ve written are made for times when you need a kick. so turn up that volume!
Q: and finally, recommend something that you’ve been listening lately.
A: “billy ocean – red light spells danger”, and also check out den harrow’s live performance of “a taste of love” on the legendary 80’s tv-show discoring. you’ll find it on youtube!
here's the video for 'hell know i'm in love'
and a live performance for 'lingering regret'