The Beginning

The Cardigans originate from the town of Jönköping in central Sweden. The band was formed there in October 1992, when the guitarist Peter Svensson and bassist Magnus Sveningsson aborted their heavy metal phase and made it their new mission in life to be "as good as The Beatles." The instrumental lineup was formed by guitar Peter Svensson, bassist Magnus Sveningsson, guitarist Matthias Alfheim and drummer Bengt Lagerberg. Soon the guitarist/keyboardist Lasse-Olaf Johansson replaced Alfheim and a female vocal singer was to join them, Nina Persson. "I knew Magnus from high school, and the band needed a girl," Persson once explained People Magazine in an interview. "They didn't have anyone else so I agreed, even though I was basically a novice as a singer. I never expected to achieve any success at all."

The Cardigans consist of:
Peter Svensson who plays the guitar,
Magnus Sveningsson on bass,
Bengt Lagerberg on drums and flutes,
Lars-Olaf Johansson on guitar and the keyboards,
Nina Persson on lead vocals and finger snapping.

Peter composes music, while Magnus and Nina wrote nearly all lyrics.

First Album, "Emmerdale"

The Cardigans signed with Stockholm Records in the spring of 1994. The fivesome cohabited in a house big enough for their eclectic interests, and were soon collaborating on the material that would wind up on their Swedish debut, "Emmerdale". The album was recorded by producer Doc-Tore Johansson, who helped mold the Cardigans' sound in his studio in the town of Malmö.

"We didn't consider ourselves very '60s until we started recording at Tambourine Studios with Tore," Sveningsson told Rolling Stone. "He brought this view of music to us because he felt we had good songs, but we had to add something to be complete. So he started to teach us about '60s music, and we adopted his theories." Mixing pop and jazz with a distinctive 60s feel, the band created a unique style of their own. A specific originality of The Cardigans' music and the fact that they clearly differ from the, at the time, mainstay of dance and R & B releases from Stockholm Records.

Svensson and Sveningsson had been in heavy metal bands together, but Persson speculated in Option that even in their headbanging days they were better suited for pop. "Even when they were playing angry music, I don't think they were very angry," she mused. "We were all instantly comfortable making Cardigans music."

The Cardigans' debut album "Emmerdale" was released in May 1994. The first single "Rise & Shine" instantly became a radio favorite and rewarded the band with a devoted and loyal fan base. "Emmerdale" placed the band on Sweden's music map and was eventually voted Best Album of 1994 by the readers of Sweden's leading music magazine "Slitz". The Cardigans clearly became the darlings of the quickly growing Swedish Indie pop scene.

Second Album, "Life"

Following their 1995 summer tour of Europe, which included several successful festival appearances, The Cardigans began writing and recording their second album, "Life". Until 1996 the band's penetration in the U.S. was largely underground, but they sound found themselves with numerous yank fans thanks to college radio airplay of the American version of Life, which combined material from the first two Swedish releases and appeared on the respected independent label Minty Fresh in 1996, resulting in The Cardigans first domestic release and an eight city, sold out tour of the US.

The band's playful pop recalled everything from the newly resurrected "lounge" and "exotica" recordings of the 60s to the sophisticated pop of Burt Bacharach. Sveningsson, however, insisted he was the only Bacharach fan in the group. The Cardigans also put their delicate spin on a Black Sabbath song, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". Declared BAM magazine, "The band's generous borrowings from the palette of 1960s pop are the perfect vehicles for fluffy romanticism."

The Life album bloomed into an international success, with worldwide sales exceeding 1.5 million. It put the band on the charts in Japan, the US, and the United Kingdom. Every single reached the Top-40 in the UK while the single "Carnival" went to No. 1 in such unlike countries as Japan, Iceland, and Mexico.

Third Album, "First Band on the Moon"

The promise shown by Life led to a deal with the American label Mercury, which released the Cardigans' next effort, "First Band on the Moon". This third album was released over Europe, Asia, and Japan in September 1996. This time the band toughened up its sound a bit, and explored some darker lyrical territory.

"Life's lyrics were very shallow -- stories about nothing, really,"
Sveningsson insisted in Rolling Stone. "I think at least 10 out of 11 songs on the new album are about really deep, serious shit." Addicted to Noise reviewer Gil Kaufman proclaimed that with FBOM, the Cardigans "provide a blast of fresh, spearminted air to the moribund alternative nation."

In addition to melodic rockers like "Been It" and "Losers" and another Black Sabbath cover, "Iron Man", "First Band On The Moon" features "Lovefool", a song of romantic masochism placed in a sunny, upbeat musical setting. The song ended up on the soundtrack for director Baz Luhrmann's hit film version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmann "asked us if he could use a Cardigans song," recollected Persson in People.

"We gave him a slow ballad, but Baz asked for something 'jollier'. I like almost all of our other songs better than 'Lovefool.' " said Persson. Even so, "Lovefool" received massive airplay and ranked high on the charts across the globe and taking them to prestigious talk shows like The Late Show with David Letterman (Mar 1997), The Jenny McCarthy Show (May 21, 1997) and Beverly Hills 90210. The album sold 300,000 copies after only seven days in Japan, making them the best selling international artist.

The Cardigans were rock stars in America. As a result, they found themselves confronting a lot of myths, not only about Swedish pop, but about them personally. "A lot of people thought we were very glamorous, fashionable people, but we aren't," Sveningsson explained in Rolling Stone. Perhaps most important for Persson was dispelling the idea that the Cardigans were purveyors of joke-pop or camp. "We're not being ironical," she asserted in Addicted to Noise. "We're taking this thing seriously and some people want to call it kitsch, but I think it's rude to our music. I feel very strongly about it. Tell [Americans] to go out and buy the album," she advised the publication. "And ... tell them not to laugh!" In the summer of 1997 the band played European festivals as well as yet another US tour.

Fourth Album, "Gran Turismo"

In the six years since The Cardigans were formed they have taken gradual steps towards international recognition. Musically The Cardigans continue with their characteristic and convincing pop with twisted sounds. They make music that stretch the limits. In the summer of 1997 they all Cardigans-members decided to move to a more central location and chose Malmö in southern Sweden where they now reside.

The Cardigans released their fourth full-length studio album, "Gran Turismo", in November 98. The 11-track album showcases a mix of the group's signature power-pop sound and more atmospheric trip-hop textures. The first single was "My Favourite Game". The band also released "Erase/Rewind" and "Hanging Around" as singles.

The Cardigans has sold about 5 millions CD's worldwide and the demand and interest for the new album is enormous. The band did media for a while and then toured immensely with their new album.

Fifth Album, "Long Gone Before Daylight"

Over four years after the album "Gran Turismo", The Cardigans are back with a new studio album entitled "Long Gone Before Daylight" which will be released end March 2003. The first single from the album will be "For What It's Worth".

Still in their twenties, Sweden's most popular woollies have already released four albums to date and won themselves global fame. Previously, and somewhat naively, described as "space-age bachelor pad music" their songs appear to be catchy and simple. The true underbelly is, however, astonishingly complex and sincere. If "Gran Turismo" flaunted a seductive maturity not fully developed on their previous recordings, "Long Gone Before Daylight" further proves that they still have more surprises in store! The new album consists of eleven great songs recorded in a more back to basics style - it's a real performance album and it has a warm organic flavour to it.