Kent (band)

Kent (band)

Kent live in Eskilstuna, 2008
Background information
Origin Eskilstuna, Sweden
Genres Alternative rock, indie rock, Electropop
Years active 1990–present
Labels Universal (2011–present)
RCA, Sony (2006–2010)
RCA, BMG (1995–2005)
Joakim Berg
Martin Sköld
Sami Sirviö
Markus Mustonen
Past members
Harri Mänty
Thomas Bergqvist
Martin Roos

Kent is a Swedish alternative rock band founded in Eskilstuna in 1990, with the name Coca-Cola Kids, later Jones & Giftet (Jones & the Poison), and Havsänglar (Angel sharks, literally Sea angels). The band's logo is distinctive, using a lowercase "k" and the ITC Avant Garde Gothic Book typeface.

The band has had several big Swedish radio hits since the breakthrough single "Kräm (så nära får ingen gå)", from their second studio album. They are one of the most popular rock groups in Sweden, and describe themselves as "Sweden's biggest rock band", but are more or less unknown outside Scandinavia. Kent briefly attempted an international career with English versions of the albums Isola and Hagnesta Hill and an accompanying American tour for the former, but they gave up after failing to achieve the breakthrough they had hoped for.

Kent has released nine studio albums, sold over two million records and has won 20 Swedish Grammy Awards. "VinterNoll2" is an unlockable track in Career Mode on Guitar Hero World Tour. Kent recently got their own Singstar called SingStar Kent released on Play Station 2 and 3.

Two of the band's four members (Markus Mustonen and Sami Sirviö) are Sweden Finns.



Jones & Giftet and Havsänglar (1990–1994)

The band Jones & Giftet (Jones & the Poison) is formed. The members are Joakim Berg, Martin Sköld, Markus Mustonen, Sami Sirviö and Thomas Bergqvist (synthesizers). It all started with Jocke going to London and buying two guitars, one for Sami and one for himself. Sami and Jocke had a band that rehearsed at Balsta Musikslott which consisted of three people. To the tones of My Bloody Valentine, Martin and Jocke decided they were going to start a new band. This happened at the school S:t Eskils cafeteria Grönan. Jocke and Martin meet up with a very drunk Markus outside of the Restaurant Vildsvinet in Eskilstuna. Whilst drunk, he promises to join the band and play the drums. Thomas Bergqvist, a friend of Martin Sköld, was invited to come along and play the synth. The first gig was played in Lindesberg in Västmanland. The second gig at Knegoffs in Eskilstuna...

In 1991, Jones & Giftet wins the contest Cult 91 at the Skylight in Eskilstuna. Magnus Nygren from EMI was taken by Jones & Giftet's demo got them a gig at Stockholm venues Daily News and Universitet. Today Kent is very pleased that Magnus chose to pass on the band.

1992 is the year that Martin Roos plays with Jones & Giftet for the first time at Cult 92. Soon thereafter Thomas Bergqvist got sacked and was replaced by Martin Roos. September the 30th, 1991—Jones & Giftet changes their name to Havsänglar (Angelshark lit. Sea angels). Gigs at the "Spaghetti Companiet", Hannas Krog and the Pet Sounds Bar followed.

In 1993 Martin Roos moves up to Stockholm, and soon the rest follow. Jockes brother Adam Berg comes up with the new name Kent. Kent plays at Stockholm venues Tanto, Hyndans Hörna and Uppsala venue Kalmar Nation.

In march of 1994 Kent records a 10-track demo under very simple conditions in an 8-track studio at Nytorpsskolan near Blåsut in Stockholm. The demo was given to Peter Ejheden at pet Sounds who back then was working as a booker for a club (Pet Sounds Bar). In the same chain of events where he got the tape, Peter quit Pet Sounds and started working at BMG. In April Per Lindholm, A&R at RCA/BMG hears Kent for the first time and ignites instantly. On the 26th of June, Kent's first contract is signed. Kent went up to Silence Studios in Koppom, Värmland, to record the debut-album.

Kent and Verkligen (1995–1996)

In 1995 Kent released their eponymous debut Kent. It was distorted and not much reminiscent of what Kent would release in later years. It got almost no commercial reputation at all. Four singles were released, with "Frank" closest to being a hit.

Just one year later, in 1996, Kent released Verkligen (Really). Guitarist Martin Roos had left the band for his career at Kent's record company BMG, but has since become the band's manager. The pre-release single "Kräm (Så nära får ingen gå)" immediately became a radio hit and gained Kent some serious fame for the first time. Two more singles were issued, "Gravitation" and "Halka" - The latter one later to be hated with a passion by the group. Musically, the album was slower with less distortion and more emotion. A Japanese release of "Verkligen" featured the group's first English-language song, an altered version of "Kräm (Så nära får ingen gå)" entitled "What It Feels Like".

Isola (1997–1998)

In 1997 Kent released Isola. Guitarist Harri Mänty had joined the group since Verkligen. Verkligen had been heavily toured, gaining some reputation for Kent. The pre-release single, "Om du var här" (If You Were Here), became a hit as would the second single, "Saker man ser" (Things You See). Musically the album changed a lot from Verkligen, going a lot in the direction of slower, more thoughtful songs with more emotion. The last song on the album, the 7 minute, 47 second-long "747", with a characteristic keyboard riff and a long instrumental outro, became the band's closer for every show for the next 8 years, and won numerous best-song polls on Kent's website.[citation needed] It was also released as a single, cut down to four minutes and with an added short chorus.

In 1998, what many in Sweden had been asking for became reality when Kent released an English version of Isola, featuring an extra song only available on the English version, "Velvet". Kent embarked on two accompanying US tours to promote the album. The first was in support of fellow Swedes, The Cardigans, during which they highlighted new song, "Protection", and the second was a double-bill with American band, Papa Vegas. The band would close the shows for the second leg of the tour with what they described as their "only cover song", a version of Depeche Mode's classic single, "Stripped". Singles were released in various territories for three of the album's songs, "If You Were Here", "Things She Said" and "747" (featuring the English version of "Kräm", entitled "What It Feels Like"). The English version of the album was initially not meant to be released in Sweden, but public demand was too great.[citation needed] The English version sold poorly outside of Scandinavia.

Hagnesta Hill and B-sidor 95-00 (1999–2000)

In 1999, Kent released Hagnesta Hill, named after Hagnestahill, a part of Eskilstuna where the band had had their first studio. The first, pre-release single, "Musik non stop" (Music Non Stop), a disco-rock song, became a huge radio hit and helped bring recognition for this album. The album was, for the most part, faster and less ballad-focused than Isola, and also mildly experimental with drum-machines and electronics. The singer and songwriter of Kent, Jocke Berg, later complained that he thought the album was too long (thirteen songs spread over one hour).[citation needed] Two more singles were released, the industrial-esque "En himmelsk drog" (Heavenly Junkies) and the power-poppy "Kevlarsjäl" (Kevlar Soul).

In 2000, an English version of Hagnesta Hill was released, featuring two songs from the Swedish version replaced with two new English tracks ("Just Like Money" and "Quiet Heart"). The album was also released in a limited digipack with one of the excluded songs, "A Timekill to Die For", included as a hidden bonus track. The album was accompanied by the release of the single, "Music Non Stop", featuring the other omitted song, "Insects", as a b-side. A single show, played in front of a tiny crowd at London's Scala Club, was recorded for Japanese TV and has been widely bootlegged.[citation needed] A Japanese edition was released, featuring fourteen songs, one of them being the bonus track "Time Kill To Die For". A planned US release of the album was shelved, resulting in only "cut-out" promo copies floating around. Likewise, a US tour never materialized, as there was officially no album to promote.

Since their debut, Kent had recorded a large number of b-sides, usually exceptional in quality. Since most of these singles had long gone out of print, it was very hard to get these legally, so in 2000, Kent released the 2CD B-side collection B-sidor 95–00 (B-Sides 95–00). It featured 21 b-sides, re-recorded versions of two of these and two totally new songs. One of them, "Chans" (Chance), was also released as a single. A hidden bonus track, featuring Finnish vocals, was also featured.

Vapen & ammunition and the White Concert (2002–2003)

After a long break, Kent started to work on their next full-length album in 2002. They reported from the studio that they tried to make an album consisting of ten singles. The first single "Dom andra" ("The Others") became a huge hit on Swedish radio. When the album Vapen & ammunition (Weapon(s) & Ammunition) came out, the next two singles "Kärleken väntar" ("Love Awaits") and "FF" (from the double A-side FF / VinterNoll2), plus the album track "Pärlor" ("Pearls") became huge radio hits, resulting in album sales over 600,000, more than twice as many as any other Kent album to date. The definite proof of the album's success was evident when the band received seven Swedish Grammy Awards in 2003.

An English version of the album was planned—as can be seen on the tape titled "Guns & Ammunition" in the "Dom andra" music video—but was cancelled, according to lead singer Joakim Berg: "We decided it was not worth it (releasing the album in English) when we realized we had sat in a tour bus for two long US-tours, and nothing had happened."

Kent hadn't toured for several months when it was announced that they would only do one single performance in Sweden in 2003, on June 6, the Swedish national day, in Stockholms Stadion which holds a crowd of 30,000. As the band told the crowd to come there dressed in white, it was nicknamed "The White Concert". The concert received mixed reviews and critics claimed that the band should have done something extraordinary at the concert, instead of playing more or less the same setlist as in the 2002 tour.

The band also played at the less known Parkfestivalen in Moss, Norway on June 14, 2003.[1]

Du & jag döden and The Hjärta & Smärta EP (2005)

After taking a one-year timeout, Kent returned to the studio to record their sixth album in 2005. Studio reports said it would be "a very dark album". The first single released, Max 500, was well-received by both fans and critics and became, as the last three singles had, a radio hit. When the album Du & jag döden (You & me, Death) was released, it was very well received and was considered by most fans to be one of their best albums. Two more singles were released, "Palace & Main" and "Den döda vinkeln" (The blind spot) – the last one stirring up some controversy among Kent fans because Kent didn't release any b-sides along with it (but still the single has a shorter version of the song). The last track on the album, "Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare)" (The Man in the White Hat (16 Years Later)) was very well received and is seen by many fans as Kent's best effort. It also became the first song ever to replace "747" as the finale of a Kent concert.

During 2005 they embarked on "Turné 19" (Tour 19), doing 12 gigs in Sweden, one in Norway and one in Finland. The concerts took place in huge tents with a capacity of up to 18,000. This was the only tour that followed the release of "Du & jag döden".

There were rumours about Kent releasing an EP, as they had been spotted in studio and guitarist Sami had said, "We might release an EP, but if we do it will only be digitally released." Just one month before the November 2005 release, the The Hjärta & Smärta EP (The Heart & Pain EP) was confirmed, as a CD as well as a digital release. It was well received and contained five tracks, "Dom som försvann" (Those Who Disappeared) becoming the radio single and having a video recorded. The single EP made #1 in Sweden.

During 2006, the band has played only once in Sweden on the Hultsfred Festival and on two festivals in Norway. They've also released the single “Nålens öga” for Swedish Save the children. It is their longest single to date, at a time of over six minutes.

Tillbaka till samtiden, Box 1991–2008 and Röd (2007-2009)

Kent during a concert in Halmstad 2008.

During December 2006–2007 the band announced—on two different occasions—that they had started recording their seventh Swedish studio album, and that guitarist Harri Mänty had decided to leave the band.

On July 18, 2007, the band announced the title and release date of their new album, Tillbaka till samtiden (Swedish for "Back to the Present"). Its official release was on October 17, 2007, but many stores began selling it five days in advance due to an internet leak of the album. The album was met with mixed, but mostly positive, reviews.[citation needed] The first single of the album was released on September 17, 2007 with the title "Ingenting" (Swedish for "Nothing"). The band played four songs at a private gig in Denmark where their new album premiered. The sound of the album has been described as more electro based rock similar to Depeche Mode. Due to the speed in which the tour's concerts were sold out, the band have added seven extra concerts to their Scandinavian tour.

As well, lead singer Joakim Berg has remarked that Tillbaka till Samtiden contains some of his favourite material he has recorded. They were also presented with Album of the Year and Group of the Year at the 2008 Swedish Grammy Awards. They went on to win a Rockbjörnen (Swedish for "The rock bear") award for Swedish Album of the Year and a P3 Guld award for Swedish Group of the Year. Kent released the compilation Box 1991–2008, featuring all their previous studio albums and previously unreleased material, in all Nordic countries on October 29, 2008.

On October 4, 2009 Kent announced their eighth studio album Röd and the first single Töntarna was released on October 5 as digital download.

On November 2, 2009 Kent auctioned off 100 limited physical copies of the song "2000" for charity. The song was also released as digital download. "2000" was used as the theme song to the Swedish documentary Hemlösa, covering the homeless problem in Stockholm. On the same date the song "Tuna 350" was released. It was written by Martin Sköld and Markus Mustonen to celebrate the 350 year jubilee of the Swedish city Eskilstuna where Kent was founded.

En plats i solen and signing with Universal (2010-present)

On June 14, 2010 Kent announced their ninth studio album, En plats i solen (Swedish for "A Place in the Sun") due for release on June 30, only seven months after the release of their previous studio album, Röd. Unlike the two previous albums, which were produced with Danish producer Joshua, En plats i solen is produced with Swedish producer Stefan Boman who worked with the band on Du & jag döden (2005). The band also released the first single from the forthcoming album, featuring the two A-sides "Gamla Ullevi" and "Skisser för sommaren".[2]

Kent will embark on a summer tour in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, starting on July 1 at the Peace & Love festival in Borlänge and finishing on August 8 at the Skanderborg Festival in Denmark.[3]

On June 22, 2011 Kent signed a recording contract with Universal Music in Sweden, after sixteen years with BMG and later Sony Music. The band's manager, Martin Roos, said in a press release: "After sixteen years with BMG/Sony Music it feels great with a new beginning, and Universal Music gave us the best offer."[4]


Band members

Current members
Former members

Live members



Kent first received a Swedish Grammy Award for "Best Pop/rock Group of the Year" in 1995, and have won 19 in total since, which makes Kent the most Swedish Grammy Award-winning artist or band in Sweden. These include seven awards for, or in relation to, the six times platinum-selling fourth album Vapen & ammunition from 2002. The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet has awarded Kent with 11 Rockbjörnen awards, including the prestigious "Award for best effort in Sweden for Swedish music" in 1997.

Year Award Category
1997 Eskilstunas Musikpris
(Music Award of Eskilstuna)
1998 Expressen Guldgadden (The Expressen Golden Stinger) Best Live Act
2002 MTG Radio Airplay Award (Most played Swedish artist on RiX FM (1800 times))
2002 MTV Europe Music Award Best Nordic Act
2005 Nordic Music Award Best Nordic Artist
2003 NRJ Radio Award Best Swedish Group
Best Swedish Song – "Dom andra"
1996 Nöjesguiden (The Entertainment Guide) Best Band
2003 P3 Guld Group of the Year
Song of the Year – "Dom andra"
2006 Group of the Year
2008 Group of the Year
2010 Group of the Year
2007 P3 Populär Svenska Popcupen
(The P3 Popular Swedish Pop Cup)
Best Swedish Artist/group
2003 P5 Radio Stockholm Stockholmsmärket
(The P5 Radio Stockholm Award)
Stockholm Group of the Year
Stockholm Song of the Year – "Dom andra"
1996 Rockbjörnen (The rock bear) Swedish Album of the Year – Verkligen
1997 Swedish Group of the Year
Swedish Album of the Year – Isola
Award for best effort in Sweden for Swedish music
1999 Swedish Group of the Year
Swedish Song of the Year – "Musik non stop"
2002 Swedish Group of the Year
Swedish Album of the Year – Vapen & ammunition
2003 Swedish Group of the Year
2005 Swedish Album of the Year – Du & jag döden
2007 Swedish Album of the Year – Tillbaka till samtiden
2003 Svenska Musikförläggarnas Pris
(The Swedish Music Publisher's Award)
Composer/songwriter of the Year (awarded to Joakim Berg)
2003 Sweden's best websites Best Fansite –
1995 Grammis
(Swedish Grammy Award)
Best Pop/rock Group of the Year
1996 Music Video of the Year – "Gravitation"
Producer of the Year (awarded to Nille Perned)
1997 Album of the Year – Isola
Pop/rock Group of the Year
1999 Pop/rock Group of the Year
2002 Song of the Year – "Dom andra"
Artist of the Year
Group of the Year
Album of the Year – Vapen & ammunition
Songwriter of the Year (awarded to Joakim Berg)
Composer of the Year (awarded to Joakim Berg)
Producer of the Year (awarded to Kent, Martin von Schmalensee and Zed)
2005 Rock Group of the Year
Music Video of the Year – "Dom som försvann" (awarded to Adam Berg)
2007 Group of the Year
Album of the Year – Tillbaka till samtiden
2009 Rock Group of the Year
Producer of the Year (awarded to Kent and Joshua)
2002 ZTV Swedish Hit Music Award Swedish Artist/group of the Year
Swedish Song of the Year – "Dom andra"
Swedish Rock Act of the Year

See also


External links

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