Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn and John, and more are celebrating the 50th anniversary of INGRD, the legendary recording studio at Södermalm in Stockholm with this coming Friday’s release of the The Golden Jubilee EP via the INGRD studio imprint. The five song EP is a collection of unique recordings of songs spanning over five decades of Swedish music-making that are all tied to what is now the INGRD Studio.
The history of this very special recording space located behind a coffee shop on a regular street in Stockholm, Sweden starts back in 1971 when KMH Studio first opened its doors, fully equipped with a Scully Four-Channel Tape Machine. They became the go to studio for Polygram and Bert Karlsson’s Marianne Records, attracting many of Sweden’s biggest names in the 70s as a place to record their albums. On a good day, the instrumental tracks for eight songs were recorded by musicians at the KMH hit factory, which continued to maintain its ranks as a leading studio on the Swedish scene into the early 80s.
It was in 1983 that KMH had its biggest hit with the song “Främling” aka “Stranger” written by Lasse Holm and Monica Forsberg and recorded at the studio with 16-year-old Carola Häggkvist on lead vocals. The song then went on to win the Swedish Melodifestivalen that same year and finished third at the Eurovision Song Contest. The studio’s incredible output of hits continued throughout the 80s and 90s. In the late 1990s, KMH was sold, and then sold again, and sold a third time to renowned Polar Studios. During those years a few big names recorded there, including Herbie Hancock!
In 2011, Björn Yttling (Peter Bjorn and John) and Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow) got wind of its availability and acquired the space as a way to not only get their hands on a cultural landmark and preserve a piece of the past but as a way to secure a place for them to write, compose and produce with other artists outside of their own bands. They fell in love with this classic 1970s studio that possessed an almost church-like quality. The gorgeous wood paneling along the walls, was still standing strong. There were only so many studios like this left in Stockholm.
They took over the studio and set off installing Pontus’s newly-purchased API mixing board from Trixi Tonstudios in Munich, which had been manned by the likes of Conny Plank (Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Eurythmics, Neu!). INGRD opened its doors in 2011 and over the course of the following decade, a wide range of Sweden’s biggest artists chose to record there including The Hives, Tove Styrke, Shout Out Louds, Zara Larsson, Refused, Lykke Li and more as well as some international acts such as Neko Case, The Killers, Tom Odell, Franz Ferdinand, Charli XCX, Primal Scream and Chrissie Hynde.
Now 50 years since this space first started recording artists and 10 years since INGRD opened its doors, some of the artists that have called this space home have come together to commemorate the occasion with The Golden Jubilee EP.
The Golden Hour
1. “Stranger” – Lasse Holm – The original demo of Carolas “Främling” with lead vocals, piano and drum machine by Lasse Holm, 1983.
2. “Holy Commotion” – Py Bäckman & Esther – Written at INGRD studio by Primal Scream & Björn Yttling. Originally recorded by Pretenders, 2018.
3. “Love Me Tender” – Lykke Li – First recorded in Swedish by Vikingarna, 1976.
4. “Midnight Blue” – Peter Bjorn and John – Originally recorded by world famous guitar group The Spotnicks, 1989.
5. “Främling” – Amason & Olle Jönsson – Originally recorded by Lasse Stefanz, 1994.