Hoven Droven Biography
The original line-up of Hoven Droven was formed at Birka Folk High School, Östersund in 1989. The members were Pedro Blom, Kjell-Erik Eriksson, Jens Comén, Björn Höglund, Martin Andersson, Annika Holmer and Sven Olofsson. The band spent their first year indulging in various acoustic experiments based on Swedish folk music, with no other thought in mind than to have fun and learn from each other.
"Certainly not the only Scandinavian folk rockers still standing, but probably the best: "
- Folkworld, 2012
The following year involved considerable changes: Annika and Sven quit to continue their music studies in other parts of the country and Martin’s assiduous touring with his other band, Lars Vegas Trio, finally paved way for Bo Lindberg who replaced Martin in 1990. Gustav Hylén joined the band in 1991.
During the period 1991-94 the characteristic sound that today is Hoven Droven's most distinctive feature came in to shape – the contagious mix of traditional Swedish folk, percussive excess and fierce guitars. The band also managed to get invited to every single Swedish radio and TV-channel, that without having released a record! A cassette ”Modern Musik Från Förr” was recorded though, and sold at the band’s shows.
On the band’s first CD ”Hia Hia”, released in 1994, there are clear traces of their acoustic background, although newer and tougher tracks like ”Köttpolska” blended in well. Around this time the band started to tour diligently and before it was time to record the second album ”Grov”, released in 1996, the band had given approximately 100 concerts in, among other places Norway, Denmark, Belgium and The Faroe Islands.
The extensive touring helped cultivate the band’s sound and ”Grov” turned out much heavier than its predecessor, and closer to the bands live sound. Sometime during this period the band also started to discuss the possibility of involving vocals in their – up to this point – entirely instrumental repertoire. But the never lasting tour duties kept postponing their next release...
In May 1997 the American record company Northside released ”Groove”, a compilation with material from ”Hia Hia” and ”Groove”. As a result the band made their first visit to the U.S.A. that same month.
In the fall of 1997 Gustav Hylén announced that he wished to leave the band. Out of consideration to his family he wanted to cut down on the touring, and spend more time establishing his newly built recording studio in Revsund, Jämtland. However, he continued to tour until December -97, which gave the band time enough to rehearse with Gustav's replacement Jan Strömstedt. Jan, who also plays with Kjell-Erik in Triakel, was an easy choice for the band. He had known the member’s of the group for a long time and his organ playing became a way to revitalize and broaden the band’s sound.
After a spring and summer filled with touring in, among other places Canada, The United States and England, the band headed for Gustav's ”Home Studio”
to initiate work with their third album ”More Happy Moments With Hoven Droven”. In order to live up to their ambition of using vocal elements they re-established contact with Sofia Sandén and Ulrika Bodén who had toured with the band the previous year. The band also convinced Stefan Sundström (one of Sweden’s better-known singer/songwriters) to join in, which he happily did since he and the band share a mutual love and respect for legendary Swedish actor/singer Allan Edwall. One of Ewall´s songs also ended up on the album. ”More Happy Moments With Hoven Droven” was recorded during five different periods between September –98 and June -99, all while the band kept touring.
In the beginning of 2000 when the band was facing the most intense touring summer of their career Janne leaves the band. He finds it hard to combine Hoven Droven with Triakel, plus that he runs his own business, so he decides to quit. Hoven Droven does not want to look for replacement, and tours for the whole summer as a five-piece band.
In Januari 2001 the band recorded their new album "Hippa". This was the first time they decided to turn off the electric guitars and opt for a more organic sound. The change resulted in an acoustic and much more laid back record that probably surprised some of the hard core fans. Although going for a "softer" approach they managed to maintain their characteristic sound and groove a lot of people were pleasently surprised when faced with the, up till then somewhat concealed, versatilty of the band. The album was also released on the german label Westpark, and on the American label Northside.
The touring continued with a second visit to the Nordic Roots Fesival in Minneapolis, among many other events. In July 2001 the band celebrated their 10th anniversery by throwing a big concert for 8.000 of their closest friends at the town square in their hometown of Östersund. The year then came to an end with SVT, The Swedish National Broadcasting Company aired a whole hour featuring the band at legendary Nalen in Stockholm.
During the following years it was touring buisness as usual, and in the fall of 2003 The Hovens made yet another trip to The US and Canada. In the spring of 2004 the band started colaboration with Dalasinfoniettan, one of Swedens finest symphony orchestras. Their work resulted in one tour, and two performances at Swedens coolest outdoor venue;Dalhalla.
In the fall of 2004 Hoven Droven recorded their fifth cd "TURBO".
"Turbo" became a comeback for the more rock influenced sound from the bands first three albums, and "Turbo" was also released on the german label Westpark. More touring followed, and at a show in Minneapolis the band recorded their live CD "Jumping At The Cedar".
In the spring of 2006 Hoven Droven participated in the Swedish TV show "Musikministeriet" together with Swedish techno artist E-Type. The show was a musical experiment regarding music in different work out programs.
In September the live album "Jumping At The Cedar" was released as a part of Hoven Drovens 15 year anniversary, and shortly thereafter the album was nominated for a Swedish Grammy.
The bands 7:th album "ROST" was released in 2011 to critical acclaim.
In 2014 the band released a complete live version of their debut album named "HIA HIA LIVE 2014"
Kjell-Erik Eriksson; fiddle
Bo Lindberg; guitar
Jens Comén; saxophones
Björn Höglund; drums and percussion
Pedro Blom; bass
Hoven Droven has...
.. been Grammy nominated in Sweden for their live CD "Jumping At The Cedar".
...since the start they have toured Sweden, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands, The Faroe Islands, England, U.S.A., Canada, Estonia, Bosnia, Kroatia, Austria, Montenegro, Serbia & Slovenia and elsewhere.
...played in front of nearly 10 000 people as opening act to Ani DeFranco at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in Canada 1998. (The day after they played in front of ten persons at a pub in Sudbury....) In the summer of 2000 the band returned to once again play in front of 10.000 people.
...released eight songs to the American TV-documentary ”To Build a Tall Ship”.
...managed to get one concert broadcast nationally almost every year since 1994. The band has also played live on American, Danish, Belgian, Estonian and Canadian radio and television.
...released their first album ”Hia Hia” on cassette in Poland.
...received the 1999 Cultural Prize from Ländstidningen in Östersund.
...has ever since 1993 received a government grant for tour support.
...toured with a symphony orchestra !