What are your Full names?
Timmy Bjärnebro, Martin Qvarfordt, Björn Fhager, Calle Viman, Rickard Andersson
What is the band called?
THHF (or The Happy Hippo Family)
How old are you?
28 and 29 years old, all of us.
What is your genre of music?
Plain Indie pop/rock
Give us a little bio about the band and you guys as individuals.
To make a long story short – we’re a bunch of childhood friends that hooked up after high school to spend “the last summer of fun” together before we grew up… We lived together for three summer months, started to write some music and became booked to a show… Since then we’ve had that last summer of fun over and over again for the last few years… We’ve pretty much grown up, have had a bunch of different jobs and became a bit older but we still have fun as hell while playing. It was pretty rock’n’roll for the first years – all fun, getting drunk and playing some tunes… Then we had to adapt the lifestyle to be able to hold it together… It’s the classic scenario where you have to choose between partying for a week or playing good shows for a week… We choose to play shows and focus on writing good songs instead of drinking as much free beer as possible and since then we’ve been in both Germany, England, France and Japan! So we’ve grown up but still have fun and are traveling to places we probably wouldn’t have visited unless we took that decision.
How long have you been doing music?
We spent that “last summer of fun” on a Swedish island together back in 2008 and have been doing music together since. So it’s been a while.
What made you go in to music?
We’ve all been in different bands since we were kids… I guess we all started with the dream of becoming rock stars.. But the rock star thoughts change with time… I guess we still want to be rock stars but now the meaning of a rock star is more that we want to be able to make a living on it than just being famous for the sake of being famous – a rock star is a profession, ha ha!
Are you a signed?
We run our own label back in Sweden – at the moment we release everything in Europe from there… Then we work with other companies for PR and stuff, it’s a pretty good solution. Then we’re signed in Japan cause it’s pretty hard to run business ourselves over there.
What instruments do you play?
Timmy Bjärnebro – bass and backing vocals.
Martin Qvarfordt – Lead vocals and synthesizer.
Björn Fhager – Drums/Percussion.
Calle Viman – Guitar, synthesizer and backing vocals.
Rickard Andersson – Guitar and backing vocals.
Who are your influences?
A lot of UK indie bands – The Wombats, The Libertines, The Kooks, well there’s plenty of them… And since we grew up in Sweden there’s plenty of Swedish indie bands as well – the indie genre were great back in the 90’s with bands like Popsicle, This Perfect Day and The Wannadies.. They’re probably overseen in the UK but they’re definitely worth checking out! Then there’s more classic, older influences like Blondie or Springsteen.
Your single has just come our ‘Two Blocks Down’ tell us more about it and the inspiration behind it.
Well, it was the last song to get onto the album. We wrote it while we recorded the other songs and it wasn’t really meant to be on the album at all… It was Björn (drummer) that came with the synth loop in the studio while we tracked some guitars – then we sat down together and came up with the vocal harmonies and lyrics on just a few hours. Then Martin (lead singer) did another verse and a mid8 when he got home later that same day… Then we decided to record it and our producer really liked the song… It turned out to be one of the strongest songs so we decided to put it as the first single.
Will we see an album next year, if so can you say when?
Yes. There will be 2 more single releases in the spring and then the album will be released during the summer. Probably in July or August.
Will you be doing any gigs or a Tour?
Things are getting booked as we speak. We’ll probably do 2 periods in UK – 1 in the spring and 1 in the summer…
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
It’s different every time. Two Blocks Down have its chorus based on youth in our hometown Orebro. Lyrics can come from everything really – real life, movies, documentaries, books, geniuos quotes from our friends like in ‘R U Injured?- … Melodies at the other hand are really hard to point where they arise from… they just come and needs to be saved and stored somewhere so they do not get forgotten. We probably have 1000 melodies ready to be put together to songs just lying around…
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 Years?
Hopefully we can do more touring and playing bigger venues… No – more venues! Small venues are awesome; we love to play the more intimate pubs and home-shows… It would be ideal to have a good old mix between the larger venues and the small intimate ones. We would like to see more of the world as well… US and more of UK and Asia would be amazing. And of course we’ve released a lot of more awesome music in five years time.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Two of us have ended up working with music and other bands because of this band – then we have Carl the CEO, Rickard the Environment fighter and Bjorn the Engineer… So when we’re not out doing shows, recording music or spend our days in the rehearsal, we have our jobs to go to. Which is pretty nice. Our bass player Timmy just got a little kid as well, so he’s home doing his best to raise a child to this cruel and weird world.
If you could collaborate with one UK Artist who would it be?
Pete. Without doubt.
If you could collaborate with one USA Artist who would it be?
The Boss would be pretty freaking awesome. It would shake the world!
Where is your dream venue or festival to perform in UK?
Glastonbury or Leeds… We actually had a dream of playing 93 feet east in London cause we’ve been there watching great bands and know that the Libertines and other bands we like have been playing there… but now we played there when we headed over in November so we can cut that from our bucket list.
Where is your dream venue or festival to perform in USA?
Oh… well, spend some hot days in LA and play Coachella wouldn’t be to bad, would it?
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
That’s a hard one… we all arise from different music genres – pop, metal and punk… But if we need to find that one song that all of us can relate to… we have to say Blondie – Heart Of Glass. Just pure brilliance!
What was the first song you wrote?
The first song we wrote together was called The Happy Hippo Family song… It’s obviously unreleased but it might be found on a mp3 site somewhere… And it will be given to a bunch of people together with the release of the new album as well – we did a crowdfunding campaign on Kick starter for the new album, and the hardcore fans that pledged enormous amounts of money will get our whole catalogue – pretty much every single demo that we’ve done.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“Don’t sign this”… Probably… or it could have been worst advice, no one knows. But let us believe it was the best advice we’ve ever received.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Have fun…basically! If a band is going to stick together for plenty of years it needs a good fundament… to have fun together is probably the best fundament you can have. If you play together for other reasons it probably wont last as long…
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Not really a quote or a saying but we’ve had the same routine before every single show since we started out. We stand in a circle, lay our hands in the middle and scream the lamest word in the world… its too lame to name in an interview… It’s pretty embarrassing – but a good tradition that still makes us all laugh out loud before every show
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
1) Don’t drink too much. Early in our career it happened quite frequently that we had a bit too much – we started to play on different songs and stuff like that…In one word: Embarrasing.
2) Bring 1 track list each. This is still a problem for us.
3) Remember the bass. This goes for Timmy, our bass player. It has happened quite a few times that he has arrived to a show without a bass so nowadays everyone double check that we always carry a spare bass for him
4) The cliché of having fun – its why we’re doing it!
5) Someone might have to drive home if we do not have a driver with us… Can be tricky sometimes! Arguments and fists can be thrown at each other.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?http://www.facebook.com/thehappyhippofamily