Sweden’s capitol Stockholm is known for a vivid music scene with many well-sounding names when it comes to rock and metal. It seems that there is an endless flow of creativity that constantly brings new bands to the forefront and one of these band is Freedom.
Freedom, that is Magnus Berglund (vocals & guitar), Janne Ruuska (drums & percussion) and Magnus Lavér (bass). A while ago the trio released the self-titled debut album with nine stellar songs, all rooted in the sound of the ‘70s. The band started somewhere in early summer 2020 and Magnus Berglund describes the beginning of the band like this: “I had some songs that I thought were pretty good and I wanted to make a band of. I tried playing with some different people but ended up recording them mostly myself and releasing them early spring 2020. Janne played drums on “on the wire” and that sounded cool. He has a good energy in his playing, kind of punk but unlike punk drummers he doesn’t hit so hard. Hitting hard is really only cool if you’re in Led Zeppelin. Which you are not.
Mangel and I had a band around 2015. That band didn’t amount to much but him and I kept hanging out and talking about playing together again some day, and here we are. He’s a great player and a total gear nerd. He probably knows more about my stuff than I do. Haha.“
Also, in this case the pandemic provided some extra time and supported the creative flow. “When the pandemic happened I stayed home and wrote songs and by the end of summer I had more than enough for an album. Amazing what you can do when your not out burning brain cells right?
We rehearsed the songs like crazy for 2-3 months and recorded the album in December. We recorded the whole album live in a day, spent another day doing vocals and some guitar stuff. All of the songs are first or second takes except ‘Time of my Life” which is a third or fourth take. That was the last song I wrote for the album so we only rehearsed it a few times.“, Magnus says.
After having had the album ready it was important for the band to get the songs out to fans as soon as possible. To not lose any time, the trio managed all by themselves, a debut that is available digitally as well as there 200 copies in vinyl have been pressed, the latter having been sold out in now time. Magnus describes the process like this: „We decided to release the album ourselves mostly because it seemed practical. We just wanted to get it out and releasing it on a label meant longer waiting times. We thought 200 copies were a lot for a new band unable to play any shows but from the time we ordered them to when they actually arrived, we started realizing we may had underestimated it. It sold out in less than a week. There’s a repress coming but unfortunately the waiting time for vinyl is now around 8 months which puts the release around next summer.” And he continues: “The DIY thing definitely comes with its good and bad sides. There’s a lot of work but there’s a sense of pride and ownership in it that is priceless to us. We want the business side of the band to grow organically and so we will keep doing it this way with the help of our fans until hopefully one day it grows out of our hands, you know? Thankfully we have a manager to help us stay on track.”
The sound of Freedom is based on the ‘70s and features a wider range of influences with songs like ‘Leather Jacket’ reminding of Bruce Springsteen while The Hellacopters are a source of inspiration for many Swedish rock bands anyhow. The greatness of this debut are the various influences that lead to an own and authentic sound. Lt’s listen to Magnus and how he describes the musical foundation of Freedom. “As far as the Springsteen reference go? Sure, he’s in there. But so is the Ramones and Prince. And of course, being from Sweden The Hellacopters are always there you know? But we don’t want to do their thing when they already do it so well. I think with time people will see we have more layers, like an onion of rock, if you will.“
A question that remains is if there is a special meaning behind the moniker Freedom. How did the trio come up with Freedom being the band name? Magnus describes it like this: “The name Freedom came before the band. I was playing around with a few versions containing the word, but it just looked so good on its own. Simple and it kind of tells you what the music sound like before you hear it. Also it looks cool on a T-shirt.“
Freedom ist certainly one of the most exciting newcomers in 2021 and it feels like their journey just started. Without getting ahead of things it is interesting to hear from the band what the future plans are. Magnus comments: “The next album is not due in maybe two years and I have plenty of songs written so I’m not worried. Right now we’re looking forward to playing as many shows as possible and becoming a really good live band. We did three shows in Stockholm which is kinda crazy. People said we were making a mistake and that there wouldn’t be any people at the shows but all three were packed pretty much. We played with Second Sund and Underground Fire which helped of course. Hopefully we can go to Germany and Spain next year and play shows in Sweden too. Stockholm will have to wait a year or so.“
As mentioned, Freedom is an exciting newcomer and fans of well-crafted rock music with a slightly retro touch shouldn’t miss the album. These nine songs are a treat for your ears and as Magnus mentioned it is like an onion. With every time spinning the album it unveils some new little details. It will be exciting to follow the coming steps of Freedom while listening to the debut.
Previous photos: Freedom
Photo: Markus Wiedenmann Photography