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Ray Wonder - JPop.com
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Ray Wonder

Ray Wonder

Ray Wonder


Once up on a time in a small town called Umeå in the very north of the Kingdom of Sweden there were some songs written by Henrik Andersson, a former member of the group Komeda. In the same town at the same time there was a rehearsal place called "PING" were most of the bands in Umeå rehearsed at that time. One day when Henrik was down in the rehearsal place he bumped into Toft Stade, at this time bass player in the very fine band Shredhead, and Per Helin, at this time singer and guitarist in another very fine band called Puffin. Read more on Last.fm
Once up on a time in a small town called Umeå in the very north of the Kingdom of Sweden there were some songs written by Henrik Andersson, a former member of the group Komeda. In the same town at the same time there was a rehearsal place called "PING" were most of the bands in Umeå rehearsed at that time. One day when Henrik was down in the rehearsal place he bumped into Toft Stade, at this time bass player in the very fine band Shredhead, and Per Helin, at this time singer and guitarist in another very fine band called Puffin. Henrik told Toft and Per about the songs and asked them if they wanted to play them together with him. Toft and Per looked at each other and said; OK, but what instruments are we going to play? Play what ever you want to play, Henrik said.

"I want to play the drums", Per said. "And I want to play the bass", Toft said. "Then I will sing and play the guitar" Henrik said, and then they started to play. After a while they all stopped playing and said to each other; "There's something missing!" A couple of days later Per sat in a cafe in Umeå.

A tall man came to him and said; "I just moved to town and I wonder if you know anything about the music scene here in Umeå?". "You bet!" Per replied. And then he realized that The tall man was the missing piece. "Whatever your name is, tall man, I want you to come and play with some good friends of mine, at once!".

"My name is Ludvig", said the tall man, "and I would love to come and play with you and your friends". Said and done. The very same day they rehearsed for hours. Some weeks later when they all sat down after rehearsal they realized that they had formed a band. Now the question was; what were they going to call their band? Lets just call the band; Ray Wonder, they all said.

But why Ray Wonder you might wonder? The truth is that they didn't know themselves. And Then what happened? When we had rehearsed for a couple of months we started to think about playing the songs live. The idea then was to do one show only and then quit. We did the show as support band for Per's "real" band, Puffin at a venue called "Scharinska Villan" i Umeå. We played all the thirteen songs we had at this time and the success was a fact.

After the show we started to discuss the possibility of recording the thirteen songs. We decided to record them in a studio owned by Tofts stepfather; Pelle Henricsson. The thing was, though, that none of us had any money. We earned some from the gig but we did need more. Some one came up with the brilliant idea to buy lottery tickets for our money to earn some more.

We lost everything. OK, no money, no recording. Toft told his stepfather about the lotteries and he felt so sorry for us that he offered us one day in the studio for the price of forty lottery tickets. We recorded all thirteen songs on that one day.

At night when Pelle wanted to go home he decided to give us one day for free to mix the songs. We mixed the songs the day after and that was it. A couple of days later Per played the recording for His mates Robert and Helena at NONS Records. They went crazy and asked if they could release it. Since we were about to quit we got a bit confused.

We decided to go on for a couple of more months and to release the record. We talked to a good friend of ours who is an artist. He helped us with the sleeve and he also made our first poster. On the front cover there is a painting by this very fine artist.

The guy´s name is Ludvig Franzén. During the spring we also recorded thirteen super8 short-movies, one to each song. Unfortunately we lost the movies, but before we lost them we showed them at our release party. We can ensure you that they were more strange than good. Spring came and the record "hurray " was released and it was a minor success, we played at the biggest festival in Sweden called Hultsfredsfestivalen and we thought everything was just great and we decided to stay together and record some more stuff. We recorded a six track ep four days in September the same year called Superwonder which were released in December the same year. Since this record was the first one we recorded "for real" it was very tricky to be as spontaneous as on the Hurray session.

Ludvig Franzén helped with the cover again this time together with Magnus Åström. During this time another Swedish band called Eggstone started to get a lot of interest from Japan. Since Ray Wonder thought Eggstone was one of the finest bands in all time we sent our records to them. It turned out that they liked what we were doing as well, so they helped us out getting or records released in Japan. Before they even knew about us being released in Japan Eggstone were touring there.

When we did our first tour in Japan six months later we found notes written on the wall in all the dressing rooms we came to saying things like; "have a good one tonight Ray Wonder", "welcome to Osaka Ray Wonder and good luck". All the notes were signed by Eggstone. Guess if we were surprised? Before this tour in Japan we recorded another ep. It was recorded in February -95 and was called "Get Back Inside".

It contained seven songs and was released in June the same year. This recording were the first one were we really started to use other instruments than the one we played in the group. On some of the songs we might have overdone it... Anyway, we learned a lot from this recording.

This time Magnus Åsröm did the cover design and he used a painting by Ludvig Franzén on the back of sleeve. We did some touring after this record. The one we will remember most is the Icelandic tour together with The Cardigans. We did three shows in Reykavik and one show in a small town up north called "Akurejri". It was very fantastic, beautiful, dramatic.

The fantastic and beautiful things were "The Blue Lagoon", "The huge ice waterfall", "The Geishirs", "The Crater", "The Mountains" and of course, The people. The dramatic part was when we were going to leave for Akureiri by bus. The first attempt failed. We were caught by the worst snow storm we´d ever experienced.

The whole buss was shaking and you could hardly see anything except for snow. Since we're from the very north of Sweden we are used to such things as snowstorms but this was way over the top. We had to go back to the hotel. We slept for a couple of hours and then we were woken up by the promoter.

He told us that we had to go there because it was sold out. He told us that he had hired another, much stronger buss and the best driver in Iceland. Said and done, some hours later we all sat in the bus. It looked like a giant monster truck with a ordinary tourist bus put on top of it.

The driver wasn't a man of many words, but of many pounds. We still can't understand how he managed to get us there. Imagine driving through a snowstorm in 70kmh (50mph) for nine hours without seeing a thing. After getting there we had a memorable evening, but that's another story. After being busy doing other projects we all got together again for the recordings of our second album "Good Music".

This time we worked with Per Sunding from Eggstone as producer. We recorded at Tambourine Studios during spring and summer -96. The recordings were very chaotic in many aspects. You could say that the four strong wills of Ray Wonder wasn't synchronized to 100% this time.

We almost spent as much time arguing about what to record as we did on the actual recordings. In the end we managed to get the recordings together, with a lot of help from Per Sunding and a really good work by Pelle Henricsson who did the mixing part. We took a break after the recordings and the record were released in November that year. This record was growing slowly both on us and on the crowd.

Slowly more and more people got to hear about it and after a year it had reached all the way to the USA. One man that got hold of it was Beck Hansen who became a fan of the record. When we in springtime -98 played our first show in the states (L.A), Beck was one of the twenty-five persons in the audience, which was really great. Two years later we did tour the UK with him which was very honorable. In the Autumn of '97 we started to work on our third album.

An album that almost never were finished. We started the recording in Umeå spring -98 together with Henric Oja and Eskil Lövström as producers. We mixed it once but we all felt the lack of something. We wrote more songs and in February -99 we all moved from Umeå in the north to Malmö in the south.

We all felt for changing something in our lives and that it was time for something new to happen. The move became very important to us as a band. We all came together as a band, and without it we don't know if we still would have exsisted. It became clear to us that we really wanted to go on as a band and finish what was once started.

We finished the recordings together with Batti and Mopeds in Gula Studion (a part of Tambourine). In October the recordings were done and Eskil Lövström came down from Umeå to do the last mixing parts. At that time we had recorded twenty-five songs and been in the studio back and forwards for two years. The rest is about to be history... Read more on Last.fm.

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