We’re heading towards the back end of the year and it’s a hell of a busy time for Mojo20. As well as our monthly sets at events like Back to Mono and Transmission, we’re running a Christmas Eve show, DJing at Moda NYE at Lincolns Engine shed as well as guest slots alongside friends during the Christmas period. So before all that, we’re jumping on a plane and heading over to one of my spiritual homelands, Helsinki. The Finnish capital has been a must visit since I was a child and it’s all down to… you guessed it, the music. I’ve been growing up on Scandinavian rock and metal since the age of about 12, and we’re going to see where it all came from. Ahead of that, here are a selection of our favourite Scandinavian bands and artists that you need to know about, along with why we love them….Nauttia.
Swedish indie rock band Mando Diao have been a favourite for years since discovering them entirely by accident on YouTube. Whilst searching for videos of The Band aka Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson etc, I found Mando Diao’s debut album track named ‘The Band’. As always, the option to give unknown music a chance prevailed as it just so happened that all of their studio albums are fantastic, as is their MTV unplugged special ‘Above & Beyond’. If you haven’t heard of them, do so immediately. You can find our blog article, all about them right here.
HIM are the band that started this Scandinavian obsession for me and I remember discovering them on the CKY videos whilst watching with a room full of friends. I can still see my friends talking and messing around, whilst I was transfixed on the image of Ville Valo On the TV screen performing ‘Right here in my arms’. All these years on I own every single piece of recorded sound available and have the back tattoo to prove how much I love them. They’ve reached legendary status within the goth rock/metal world and with eight studio albums under their belt, with more on the way, it’s easy to see why. See our interview from 2013 with frontman Ville Valo here.
Most of the bands on this list, we’ve mentioned or featured before on Mojo20.com and if you’ve been paying attention recently you’ll have seen our single review of new track ‘Thrill‘ which you can read right here. This is a long time removed from our discovery of this Swedish post-punk juggernaut however, as it’s been around twelve years since I first got a hold of their debut album. Their combination of synths and guitar, blended together with edgy vocals and an almost disco feel has made them a band that never gets boring and always remains fun.
Turbonegro were discovered through the American hit TV show ‘Viva La Bam’ which detailed the day to day life of professional skateboarder and early 2000’s icon Bam Margera. Before even hearing the band play, it was obvious that they were one to look out for as frontman and vocalist Hank Von Helvete, who had since moved on from the band, oozed sex appeal and charisma. Upon listening to albums like ‘Scandinavian Leather’ and ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ it was no surprise that they could back it up too. My first trip to Scandinavia was to Norway and whilst in the train station before heading to Bergen, I went to check out a magazine stall to see if there was truth to what I’d heard about Hank Von Helvete’s iconic status. It was true. At least three magazines had him on the front cover. It’s like a different world.
Tallest Man On Earth
Kristian Matsson is known to many by his pseudonym Tallest Man on Earth, and although you may not have come across him yet, he’s been a household name in our house for over six years, since falling in love with albums such as ‘The Wild Hunt’ and ‘Shallow Grave’ in which he showcases his proficiency on the guitar as well his unique vocal style. The obscure sound and obvious talent of this guy makes him an attention magnet and once you’ve heard him, you’ll want to hear him again and again and again.
Long before Baby Metal were blending genres and taking the world by storm, there was Finnish symphonic metal group, Nightwish. My interest in these was a byproduct of my interest and love for all of the above but that takes nothing away from them. The heavy, gritty guitar and up-tempo drums next to a clear, operatic style vocal make them as unforgettable as the rest.
The newest addition to my Scandinavian love affair has got to be Little Dragon. I’m still to immerse entirely into them but their cool electronic style had me gripped from the first time I heard ‘Klapp Klapp’. I also recently found them on a fake radio station on GTA 5. Look out for these guys because they really should and will be huge.
Honourable mentions: In Flames, The Hives, Abba, , Lordi, Roxette, First Aid Kit, The Cardigand, Peter Bjorn & John, A-ha, Basshunter & Icona Pop
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)