The National Anthems

Robert Stålbro: Vocals & Guitars
Joakim Johansson: Guitars
Fredrik Nilsson: Bass
Henrik Gillgren: Drums


Joakim Johansson
Vasavägen 5B

Photo by: Olle Nilsson


The story of The National Anthems begins in early 2000 in Karlstad, Sweden as Robert Stålbro (vocals/guitar) alone records a two song demo. A full year passed before Stålbro played the tracks for Joakim Johansson (guitar) and the two saw great potential laying within this mere demo; something more had to be done with these songs. The idea was planted and they knew it was time to form a band. Having been in contact with two extremely talented musicians, Christian Jernbro (drums) and Fredrik Nilsson (bass), the two didn't have to think very long over who would fill in the gaps in their emerging ensemble. With that, The National Anthems was born in August 2001.

After a couple of shows in Karlstad, The National Anthems in May 2002 recorded their first demo as a band. This demo resulted in a show at one of Sweden's most popular music festivals, the Arvika festival, which draws about 15 000 visitors. Overwhelming reviews poured in and in September 2002 Deep Elm records (USA) contacted The National Anthems to offer the four-piece a chance to contribute a song to their Emo Diaries Compilation series. Without hesitation The Anthems accepted and the song "My Picture" was featured on "Sad Songs Remind Me" (Emo Diaries #9).
A couple of months later the band signed a record deal with the German label Defiance records and in September 2003 the debut album “Before the storm” saw the light of day. Right after the release Christian Jernbro chose to leave the band but he was quickly replaced by the also very talanted Henrik Gillgren, a long time friend of the band and former drummer of other local bands.

Since “Before the storm” a lot of water has passed under the bridges of Karlstad. The National Anthems have during the past two years made five European tours (nearly 100 shows) together with bands like Embrace, The Weakerthans, Miracle of 86 and the successful German band Sportfreunde Stiller. It was Sportfreunde Stiller’s own wish that The National Anthems should come with them on tour and other bands who have opened for the Germans are Franz Ferdinand, The Crash and Nada Surf.

The live experience from these tours is of course something that has affected the material on the new album “Paradoxical”. The band is tighter and the sound is more intense and alive. Inspiration comes from everything from Deep Purple and Pink Floyd to modern pop music like U2 and Radiohead. To sum up one can say the character of the songs are more varying on this album. Four of the songs also are co-written by an old friend of the band, Bo Thörnqvist from the band Stoned. The fans who liked “Before the storm” will of course recognize The National Anthems on “Paradoxical” as well.

When it comes to the recording of “Paradoxical” the band chose to do almost everything on their own, something that gave them more time and a bigger space to work with the songs in the studio. The vocal recording and the mixing is made by Robin Larsson-Asp and Rikard Löfgren from Tigra Music.

With “Before the storm” The National Anthems showed that they carry a lot of potential, now it’s time to take a step to the next level.