Ever since we connected with Swedish powerhouse composer Sven Wunder and his label Piano Piano Records, our understanding of the Swedish music scene has expanded exponentially, revealing a vibrant community of Swedish talented musicians that we had yet to discover. Among them is the Swedish group Dina Ögon, whose members have collaborated with Sven and who’s music we featured on our 2023 compilation 'Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Six'.
During a trip to Sweden, we witnessed Dina Ögon's captivating live performance, including a solo act by member Daniel Ögren. This extraordinary performance prompted discussions about releasing his now out-of-print 2020 album 'Fastingen-92' on the Mr Bongo label. Daniel's music spans genres yet remains familiar, drawing from influences stemming from South American folk, soul, Nordic folk, and film soundtracks. It possesses a unique, dreamlike, and transformative quality, so we’re thrilled to have a part to play in making this album more widely available. We sat down with Daniel to talk all things ‘Fastingen-92’ ahead of its release in September.
Why did you call the album ‘Fastingen-92’?
In the summers during my childhood there was a yearly carnival in my hometown (a small town called Kristinehamn, in Wermland, Sweden) called ‘Fastingen’. During the 1992 carnival (I was five years old then) a band played the song ‘Llorando se Fue’, an instrumental by the Bolivian band, Los Kjarkas. This song was a huge hit at the time but with the title ‘Lambada, although that’s another story. Anyway, I was blown away by this melody and by the groove that the local band had. There I was, holding my mother’s hand while listening to this music, not being aware that this moment would have a huge effect on me later on...
Which musicians/records most inspired you when you were writing ‘Fastingen-92’?
Two albums with music of Peru called ‘Huayno - Music of Peru volume 1 and 2’.
Pat Metheny Group - Still (life) Talking.
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions.
Vincent Gallo - Recordings of music for film.
Ennio Morricone - Cinema Paradiso.
You can feel a Latin American influence on certain tracks on the record, which countries are these influences from?
I would say Colombia, Bolivia, Peru. I truly love Cumbia and Huayno.
You mention that 'Idag' was the song that gave birth to the Dina Ögon band. How did this collaboration happen?
I have always loved playing together with Anna and Christopher and when this tune came up, I was like “this has to continue!”. So, I asked Anna if she wanted to write some more lyrics and melodies to some other chord changes I could come up with. Both Christopher and Anna wanted to do this so then we asked Love Örsan, whom we played with during recordings of Sven Wunder’s music, to join us. Everyone felt like doing this and we had a lot of fun making the first songs.
For those that do not speak Swedish, what are the 'Idag' lyrics about?
Started in the corners
Moved along the wall all the way out
Allting måste synas
(“synas” has two meanings, in this sentence: “Everything has to be inspected”)
Ingenting får synas och bli kvar
(in this second sentence: “Nothing can be visible and linger”)
Nothing can be forgotten
Or be hidden under the lids
Or be handed over to someone else
Ink from old battles has dried up on the table and on the walls, over the backs and the legs.
Left-over light has been tattooed over the benches and the wooden planks have been bleached, the angry ones have weakened, and they lay down on the beds, and they open up their faces and rest their hands.
If it will be revealed, it will be revealed today
What is the story behind 'Kristinehamn by Night (for Christopher)'? When I first heard this song, I felt it sounded like an electronic dance music style that I had not heard before.
This is a direct result of my listening experience during that carnival (Fastingen) 1992. Those rhythms stayed in me. When I later heard Pat Metheny’s album ‘Still (life) Talking’ sometime around 1999 I was blown away again, and some of those rhythms were there too! When I named the song, I wanted it to be a tribute to my old friend and long-time collaborating drummer Christopher Cantillo. I also wanted to play with the idea of Kristinehamn being a real party-town (which it truly isn’t, at least not in that ‘carnival spirit’).
Listening to Fastingen-92, it is hard to simply categorize the music (genres) on the record. How would you describe it?
It’s what I wanted to do at that time. I never think of genres when I write, I just compose whatever I feel like composing. But I guess it is some sort of jazz for open minded people, haha. Or pop for open minded people…
How was the album recorded, was it recorded live in a studio space or a home studio product?
Most parts are recorded at home while the drums (which is suuuuuuper important for me) are recorded in a good studio environment.
The album was originally released as the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, what was the reaction to the record at the time?
I remember people was really happy about it! It is music that gives the listeners an alternative to other releases because it’s somehow hard to define genre wise. You don’t have to choose because of the “labeling”, it’s just music. During this Covid period I experienced that people were open and thirsty for any kind of art and they seemed to enjoy this album, for which I’m truly grateful:)
How does the writing on your solo tracks differ (if at all) from the process of writing for Dina Ögon?
In many ways it’s the same. I always improvise when I try to write a melody or chords. Only difference is that when I write for Dina Ögon I sometimes write a small part of the melody, but in most cases I leave that part to Anna who does it so good and she really makes melodies that I never could have come up with.
Which other musicians worked on the record?
Anna Ahnlund -vocals
Christopher Cantillo - drums
Josefin Runsteen - drums
Ulrik Ording - drums
Edvin Nahlin - additional synths
Some of the tracks on Fastingen-92 are very cinematic. Which films would you most love to write a film score for?
I love drama and old thrillers like ‘The Shining’. Films that allow the music to be different and experimental. I do love movies that are silent too, haha, like the series ‘Marriage’ from the UK. The music supervisor there did a splendid job:) I would really love writing for film.
Which musicians/vocalists would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love playing with Bill Frisell. But, honestly, any musicians that are open and a good listener would work any time.
Are there any Swedish producers/musicians (new or old) that you would like to turn us on to?
One must love Jan Johansson.
How is the Stockholm music scene?
I think its fun playing here. It’s small though…
Listen to the full album 'Fastingen-92' by Daniel Ögren, and pre-order the release on vinyl LP or CD here.