Nov 30, 2007
November: Henrik Jonback, musician and songwriter
Henrik Jonback has made quite a journey: from struggling guitar player in cover bands like Djungelpatrullen to internationally acclaimed studio musician writing songs for artist like Britney Spears and Madonna.
Meet a low profile guitar player from Falun who somehow made it to the major leagues.
Today Henrik is a part of the world famous production and songwriting team headlined by Swedish producers Bloodshy & Avant. The team has worked with a number of todayís top artists, including Britney Spears, Madonna, Kelis, Christina Milian, Ms. Dynamite, Rachel Stevens and Kylie Minogue. Their biggest success so far is the Britney Spears hit single Toxic from 2004.
Henrik describes himself as a classic metalhead musically formed by hard rock icons like Yngwie Malmsteen, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. But his influences also includes artists like Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and Prince.
His musical career started back in the eighties in his hometown of Falun where he played in various bands (according to his friends he consumed a considerable amount of hair spray at the time, and he was often seen wearing a long leather coat). Although his appearance might have been what youíd typically expect from a late eighties wannabe metal hero, he was never very keen on being in the lime light. Heíd always rather be the guy in the background than the centre of attention. As time passed Henrik became more and more focused on his guitar playing and in 1994 he left Sweden for the prestigious music academy GIT in Los Angeles where he graduated as one of the top students of his class. In 1997, after some not so good years due to physical problems with his arm, he moved to Stockholm and 2 years later, in 1999, he teamed up with producers Bloodshy and Avant. Since then the journey has been a much smoother one. And even though glamour is not really Henriks cup of tea, he sometimes has to pinch himself. Hearing your own guitar on Santanaís records or waiting in Ricky Martinís kitchen while the pasta is cooking are experiences that makes a person wonder what-tha-hell is happening - no matter how unpretentious and down-to-earth he is as a person.
What other celebrities have you met during your work?
- Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Kelis, Sugababes, Enrique Iglesias, Bryan Adams, Christina Milian, Samanthe Mumba, Rachel Stevens, Backstreet Boys, Ms Dynamite and others.
Any particular encounter you remember over the others?
- Not really, but I have to say that it was quite an experience to hang out with Britney Spears in her tour bus in Germany during her European tour in 2004. We wrote songs in the bus and in her hotel room between the concerts. I got a good look into the hysterical life of a superstar, and I must say, Iím very happy not to be one myself.
What inspires you when youíre writing music?
- I want to pass on a feeling. Through music you can communicate with people from all over the world, no matter what language they speak. And that is something unique. Iíll never forget the first time I went to Asia. I got into a cab and the radio was playing a song that I had been involved in creating. Thatís when you realize the amplitude of what youíre doing. Hopefully you can make somebody happy through your work and that inspires me.
-How many guitars do you have?
- Around 20. My favourite is a 1968 Fender Telecaster. To be honest Iím a bit obsessed with guitars.
How did it all start?
- Itís been a long journey. Iíve had the privilege to work with two very talented producers, Bloodshy and Avant. Theyíve always tried to find new ways to create music and theyíve kept pushing themselves to explore new realms of sound and to write better songs all the time. We have worked extremely hard and as a result of that weíve had some success. One thing led to another and suddenly we had been working with some of the big guys. But this is not something that you think too much of when itís happening. Maybe itís going to sink in when you get older (laugh).
How does it work when you write a song? - There are no written manuals for creating music. It can go down in a thousand different ways. For example you can sit down with an acoustic guitar and write the whole song directly together with the artist. Or you can start out with a beat, which you later adapt to a melody when you develop the idea together with the songwriter/artist etc. Many times Iíve been in the situation where you just met someone for the first time trying to create great music together. Creating music is kind of an intimate thing, so sometimes it feels a bit weird, but most of the times it works out surprisingly well.
What makes a song great? - Short answer Ö a good song passes on a feeling that you like.
Do you have some advice for a young up-and-coming musician or song writer? - Do your thing and have fun. I guess that applies to most things. It has to be done with passion and it has to be fun, otherwise youíll only grow sick of it in the long run, and itís not going to be good either. And another thing Ö even if it takes a lot of talent and hard work, itís of course also important to be in the right place at the right moment Ö
Recipe for menís man of the month in November
Name: Henrik Jonback.
Family: Girlfriend Ulrika.
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden.
Town of birth: Falun, Sweden.
Enjoys on his spare time: Right now sports betting and buying stuff on Ebay, both are dangerously addictive.
Most beautiful place on earth: Sapa, in Northern Vietnam.
Favourite city: Bangkok, I think I suffer from "the yellow fever".
Worlds best song: Tough one... whatís "best"? Well ... I guess just about anything from Lennon/McCartney.
Looks up to: People who live their passion.
The world's most beautiful man: My good friend Peter LandstrŲm from Falun is very handsome indeed.