About Mando Diao
Mixing garage rock sneer and Brit-pop sass -- along with a truckload of other influences -- Borlange, Sweden's Mando Diao formed in the late-'90s when its members were all still in their teens and over the next decade became one of their homeland's biggest rock bands. Following the 2004 release of their breakthrough second album, Hurricane Bar, their international success continued to increase with albums like 2009's hip-hop-influenced Give Me Fire and 2012's chart-topping Swedish-language set, Infruset. Mando Diao continued to explore new sonic elements, dipping into electronic rock and vintage soul over subsequent releases. They ended the decade with the explosive straight-ahead rock & roll of 2019's Bang.
The group's beginnings date back to 1995, when singer/songwriter/keyboardist Daniel Häglund and singer/songwriter/guitarist Björn Dixgärd were in a band called Butler. After that group broke up, the pair continued playing and writing together, eventually bringing bassist Fredrik Nilsson, guitarist Gustaf Noren, and drummer Anton Grahnstrom into the fold; Nilsson and Grahnstrom were replaced by Carl Johan Fogelklou and Samuel Giers. By 1999, they were known as Mando Diao, having taken their name from one of Dixgärd's dreams. Mando Diao continued to hone their sound, blending pop, mod, soul, R&B, and Brit-pop elements into a style that was quirky yet timeless. In 2002 they released their first EP, Motown Blood, through the Majesty and Capitol imprints; the acclaim for the EP and the similarities in their sound to the Strokes and the Hives raised Mando Diao's profile considerably, and the band went on tours of Sweden with the Hellacopters and Kent. Later that year they released the singles "Mr. Moon" and "The Band" to stoke anticipation for their full-length debut album, Bring 'Em In, which was largely recorded in their basement practice space. The following year, Mute Records released Bring 'Em In in the United States.
The sophomore effort Hurricane Bar was released in the band's native Sweden in 2004; a stateside release followed in 2005, and Ode to Ochrasy was issued the next year. While touring in support of the album, Mando Diao found time to record their fourth studio effort, Never Seen the Light of Day. The record was released internationally in late 2007, coinciding with a solo tour by Björn Dixgärd. Two years later, the album Give Me Fire -- which featured percussion-heavy production by the Salazar Brothers -- arrived, debuting at the top of the charts in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and entering the Swedish charts at number two. In 2010, a deluxe version of the album was released, along with an MTV Unplugged album.
Give Me Fire was released in the U.S. in mid-2011. That year, Giers left Mando Diao, with drummer Patrik Heikinpieti joining the group. For 2012's Infruset, Noren and Dixgard took inspiration from the poems of Gustaf Froding, turning them into the band's first album in Swedish. The album went quadruple platinum in Sweden, won a Grammy Award, and inspired a spin-off album, 2013's Infruset Guld. The group continued to expand their horizons with 2014's Ælita, which was named after a Russian synthesizer and delved into electronic rock. In 2015, guitarist Jens Siverstedt replaced Noren, and the band began crafting their next album at Siverstedt's summer house on the island of Gotland in early 2016. The result was Good Times, which arrived in May 2017 and built on the group's '60s-inspired rock and soul foundations. Mando Diao's explosive ninth album, Bang, appeared in 2019 and was entirely produced, recorded, and mixed by the band. ~ Heather Phares