Hey my dear friends :) I do not normally make posts with huge monologues, but this specific one is going to have a lot of writing because I have been feeling for quite some time now that I want to write something regarding a band that used to be my favorite of all times. I didn’t do it all this time because I preferred to read people’s comments on their social media just to see if there is anyone else on the planet who feels the same way that I do. And it turns out there is actually a lot of people who understood that there is something going on for some time now, but didn’t really figure out what, until a couple of days ago, when me myself, I turned on the Swedish msn and found a breaking news article that Gustaf Norén and Mando Diao are going separate ways from now on. I actually did see that coming. It wasn’t anything too weird to me to be honest.
If you haven’t checked out any of my posts within these three years that I have my blog, let me explain to you why Mando Diao used to be my favorite band of all times. I come from Greece and had been living there for 21 years. I have always had the desire and passion in me to work with music management as music has always been the one thing that I breathe for. When I was 15, I found out on German MTV about a band from Sweden called Mando Diao. Their song “God knows” played all day long again and again and again. To me, there was something special about their sound. Something sophisticated and classic yet something mysterious and edgy. Except from their music, I found interesting the way they dressed and presented themselves in the different interviews on radio stations, on MTV, on the media. Something elegant , I would say, a sense of fashion that you couldn’t find where I come from. That, in combination with their raw guitar sound, was something that caught instantly my attention and so I decided to follow their journey in music and in life. I had all of their work in physical records and also followed their latest news, challenges and competitions on their website when I was a teenager.
In December 2009, on the 12th to be exact, I was there in Thessaloniki, for their second show at that time in Greece (their first one was in Athens the day before). That night was a night that I would never forget, because that was the night that I fell in love with music, the real deal. And that was the night that I decided that I will move one day to Scandinavia no matter what. Except though from my personal decisions that night, it was actually the first time that I saw Mando Diao live. And let me just put it that way, that up until that day, you can say that I was dead and I came back to life. I will never forget the chills that I got when I heard live for the first time “Never seen the light of day” , or “Gold” or “All my senses” . I felt that this band knows exactly how to make music, how to stand on a scene and support their art and just pick up basic instruments and sing songs that make sense of your whole world. These dudes from Sweden dressed in black, not saying too much and yet manage to captivate you with their melodic guitar playing and their deep, strong voices. That was the night that I cried my heart out and promised to myself that no matter where life takes me, I will move to Scandinavia and I will see them again.
Maybe you have noticed it, or maybe not, I moved to Sweden in summer 2011. Almost two years after that live show. As a lot of people seem to find the fact “moving away from your country” as a hard or unpleasant thing, I consider myself super lucky, because now that I am here, except from my personal life, my studies or my work, I now understand clearly the influences that Mando Diao had and they made this music the way they did, so that I could love it when I lived in Greece. I now understand why there was this heavy guitar sound and the melodic voices in their songs, this certain touch of maybe melancholy in some of their tunes, or this certain sense of fashion that you could barely see in Greece. Maybe I was actually a bit late, or for some maybe not, but after I moved here, Mando Diao as you may know , changed the style that they had before and decided to do something a little bit more “folk” and “Swedish”. They released their album “Infruset”, which barely made any sense to the rest of their international fans, but the Swedish. I was actually lucky for being here when they did that, and for speaking swedish, so that I could understand their decision to do so, and also recognize the fact that it needs big balls to be able to do such a thing with such elegance and success. And of course to recognize the fact that this album of theirs had and will have a huge impact in the Swedish culture.
But what about their “old” style? How about the facts that the rest of the world’s Mando fans were waiting for a new international release? I am using a lot of “…” because I have seen this stuff already written down in their social media, questions that were never answered, and fans that just walked away from them calling them ” big flop” . Mando Diao released a new record after ” Infruset” , an international one called ” Aelita” . Do not ask what it means, do not ask about the art cover, do not ask about their totally new style. I did ask though, along with their endless facebook fans. I did wonder what is all of this new Japan- chinese – inspired-by style. I did wonder why their music was nothing like before. And by before I don’t mean to make an album like the ones they had before, I mean to give a hint that this is indeed a Mando Diao sound. A sound that you could close your eyes and turn on the volume on the radio and feel the rush into you because this is your favorite band, and you recognized it from the very first second that the song started playing.
I haven’t seen all these questions being answered by anyone, not them, not fans, not any support group, nor their management team. I have seen instead, a bunch of guys, being up on a scene dressed in their underwear, literally their boxers, in bathroom towels, and football socks. Apart from that I never really understood the fact that their gigs for the last couple of years had a touch of “secrecy” . They had these concepts, that you have to take part in this competition that is too exclusive, only for 15 people, or the fact that they would perform for the Volvo gala, or the football gala, or for a radio station and only 10 people would be able to see them…. Was this a management trick? A marketing trick? Because to be honest, I know nothing about managing a band, but I have been reading all my life marketing and management books, and the last three years music business books, and one thing that I can tell for sure is that you should give your people easy access to your music. That’s the real thing. And let’s say that I am totally wrong about my sayings, and if that’s so, then why their latest videos have so many less views on youtube comparing with the old ones? Is it true what they say that a manager can either bring out the best in an artist or ruin totally their carrier for a lifetime?
I wish I could get an answer to all of this. And I also wish that I could walk one day in one of these huge and endless parks here in Stockholm and see Gustaf Norén playing his guitar like it is 2004 again and just fall in love with music all over again. Even though I am 24 years old and I have so many other things to take care of and worry about in my life, I cannot help myself but feel sad about this turn of things. I know that people change, I know that bands come and go and I know that music has to be adjusted with the imperatives of time. But I also know that people, management teams and artists should not forget the reason why they make music. Should not forget that without people’s support they are literally nothing and without love and interaction with their supporters they are never even gonna get far in life. “Gustaf is really creative as an artist and it would be really exciting to see where his art will get him” is not a press message for a band who has 350, 000 followers nor a band who has sold so many hits and records all across the world. Not even a personal message from him, saying even the tiniest thing to the people who have supported him for so many years now.
I have followed Mando Diao here in Sweden whether it was with Caligola, or their Infruset tour. I haven’t seen them live on their Aelita Tour though. To be honest, I would not know how much my heart would take with the thought that once upon a time this band changed my life and now they are dressed in silver boxers and perform when you can almost see their nuts in your face up on the scene. I don’t know if I would want to cry for the 2015 music in general or break down in laughters. I just don’t know what to believe. No matter what it is, I know that at the end of the day we are not the ones who will decide what Gustaf Norén or Björn Dixgård are going to do with their music. I hope they are happy whatever they choose to do in their music carrier and hope they won’t forget the reason why they make music.
I keep these pictures in my room as a reminder that I am in Scandinavia, I am alive and happy and once upon a time , that band sparkled a flame in me to push myself and believe in the power of music and life. :) I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and please feel free to comment anything you want about them, because I would be really interested in reading and replying to anything you have to say!
Have a great weekend friends with lots of music! :D <3