The five-piece met as teenagers in Jonkoping, a small Swedish town in which the only distinguishing feature is its fifty-two churches. In October 1992, bonded by their mutual love of hard rock music, guitarist Peter Svensson and bassist Magnus Sveningsson conceived The Cardigans. As their hometown was hardly a Mecca of musical enterprise, the group packed up and moved to the somewhat more central fishing port of Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, to seek their fortune. With Peter writing most of the music and the band as a whole composing the lyrics, the quintet set out to find a deal.
After an early recording of “Rise & Shine” appeared on a local independent label in 1994, The Cardigans were swiftly signed to Stockholm Records. The same year the band made their debut for the label with Emmerdale and later won the accolade of “Best Album of 1994” from Slitz, at the time Sweden’s leading music magazine. The rise of The Cardigans has since been gradual, allowing them the time to develop naturally as their sales and positive exposure grew with each release. Their second long-player, Life, which followed in 1995, featured the hit singles “Carnival” and the re-recorded “Rise & Shine”, and witnessed the band’s first international chart success. Prior to the First Band On The Moon album in September 1996, The Cardigans released “Lovefool”. Although the first response to the single was very positive and landed them in the Top 40, it achieved nowhere near the impact that awaited it the following Spring.
It was in 1997 that The Cardigans were first catapulted towards international
superstardom. “Lovefool’s” inclusion on the blockbuster Romeo & Juliet film soundtrack that Spring pushed them past the boiling point. The single not only reached No. 1 in both the UK and US airplay charts but also debuted at No. 2 in the UK national chart, where it
remained top five for five weeks. All in all, the album reached more than 2.5 million sales worldwide, achieving Platinum status in the US and Japan and Gold in the UK. The promotional activities supporting the worldwide success of “Lovefool” and First Band On The Moon were never ending. The band not only performed a yearlong world tour complete with endless radio sessions and press and television interviews, but even ended up making guest appearances on Beverley Hills 90210 and the David Letterman Show.
It was because of the sheer exhaustion resulting from such a schedule, that The Cardigans since took some well deserved time off at home in Malmo to recuperate their artistic juices and write new material. During their time off, however, the band was by no means dormant. In the beginning of 1999 they contributed a new track, “War”, to the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack, a live recording of “Been It” to the Lilith Fair compilation and “Deuce”, featured on the new album, to the X-Files soundtrack. Their break also included experimentation with various solo projects.
In June 1998, the group, who are very loyal to their roots, once again joined long-time producer Tore Johansson at his studio, Country Hell, located beside the picturesque Svaneholm Castle in Malmo and recorded the album, “Gran Turismo”.
The first single, “My Favourite Game” was a major hit in many territories. The video for “My Favourite Game” was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The second single “Erase/Rewind” was released in January 1999, and this single also turned out to be a major hit around the world.
“Gran Turismo” reached more than 2.5 million sales worldwide.
The album “Long Gone Before Daylight” was released in February 2003 and from the album the singles “For What It’s Worth” and “You’re The Storm” were taken. The album received great reviews and the band spent most of 2003 touring Europe and North America. Long gone before daylight was awarded a Swedish Grammy for album of the year.
If “Long Gone Before Daylight” was majestic and mature, “Super Extra Gravity” (released in 2005) was an unruly and spectacular album. Still, there are similarities. The band succeeds in retaining everything that was good about ”Long Gone Before Daylight” while, at the same time, rebelling against it. Continuity and reaction in one.
That “Long Gone…” marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Swedish band’s history was obvious. However, as their composer/guitarist Peter Svensson put it, ”it just wouldn’t be The Cardigans if we went in and made the same album again”.
“Super Extra Gravity” was made after a period of extensive touring in Europe and the USA. A lot of the things that were good about “Long Gone…” can be found on this album: the interplay between members, Nina’s vocal presence, the strong melodies. But the strife for perfection and making a ”well-produced” album of a timeless quality have been exchanged for a, wilder, less predictable sound. The songs are shorter and more to the point.“Super Extra Gravity” also received really good reviews and took the band, once again, touring Europe.
A Greatest Hits album was put together and released in early 2008. Beside the standard 22 song single cd, there was a double cd version full of B sides and bonus tracks from all studio albums.
In the last decade, the band members have released solo records and side projects. Nina as herself Nina Persson. Bengt and Lasse as The Brothers of End and Magnus as Råå. Peter on the other hand moved part-time to LA to become a professional songsmith. He’s had major success writing hit songs for artists like Ariana Grande and The Weeknd. In 2012 The Cardigans made their live comeback for a summer full of music festivals. The show was based on the Gran Turismo album as well as hit singles from their five other albums. Since then the band has performed live every year and in many new markets. Jakarta, Seoul, Taipei, Santiago de Chile were all visited for the first time. It is with great pleasure the band chooses to perform the songs of Gran Turismo once again. And for the first time in over a decade, they visit UK. The show will be a two act, where first GT will be played in its regular order. After a short break, the band will continue to play song from before and after 1998.
Peter Svensson has not been playing live with the band since 2012 and is replaced by Oskar Humlebo AKA Motoboy.