Busy-B Productions (AKA Busy Bee Productions/Busy B Productions) is a brand co-founded and co-owned by Isse Samie.
Samie started Busy-B in 2018 following his departure from Woah Dad/Telegram and its related companies amidst the Swedish #MeToo movement. (He officially registered/launched the company in 2019). Samie uses the Busy-B brand to commercially exploit copyrights in his ownership through limited record and merchandise sales (including clothing and special edition skateboards), as well as to resell records. Busy-B is also the publisher of the book Håkan Hellström Street Art, a collection of work by “an anonymous Swedish artist” who creates Håkan Hellström-related street art in the style of Banksy. (The “artist” is also represented by Swedish gallery Galleri Scandinavia). The book was released in collaboration with Dokument Press, a book publisher and self-described “knowledge-providing company with its roots in the Swedish hip-hop movement” whose service offerings include “[setting] up exhibitions, [putting] together books and catalogs, [doing] mural paintings” and “media management.”
Busy-B distributes its inventory exclusively through Hot Stuff, a record webstore founded and owned by Samie’s childhood friend Per Faeltenborg that began in 1986 as a mail-order record seller/distributor (at which time Samie also worked with the company). Samie has worked with Hot Stuff throughout his career as a preferred record distributor for all of his labels and artists.
In early 2020, Busy-B (as "Busy Bee") received a 65,000 SEK (~$7,000 USD) grant from Kultur Rådet [Swedish Arts Council], “a government authority whose principal task is to implement national cultural policy determined by the Parliament.” (Kultur Rådet removed the announcement from their website some time after Sasha Hecht tweeted about the grant and Busy-B’s alleged infringement of Jeb Banashak’s copyright—more on this below).
Although Hellström's label, Woah Dad, removed Samie from all public positions within the company following an internal investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him, Hellström, Woah Dad/Telegram, and Warner Music Sweden continue to employ and work with Samie through Busy-B. A recent example of this is Håkan Hellström’s latest album Rampljus Vol. 1 [Spotlight Vol. 1], released via Woah Dad/Warner Music Sweden in May 2020, which credits "Busy Bee Productions" as "design." However, "Busy Bee" actually took the design for the Håkan Hellström album art—which Hellström/Woah Dad/Warner are also selling on merchandise—directly from Bay Area garage rock artist Tony Molina, who has used the design on the majority of the band’s releases since 2009. "Busy Bee Productions" did not seek permission from Tony Molina or the band’s record labels 650 Tapes, Slumberland Records, and Matador Records to do so.
Busy-B Productions took its name and logo from 1960s New Orleans garage rock label Busy-B, founded and owned by Jeb Banashak as a teenager. Jeb is the son of famed New Orleans music industry entrepreneur Joe Banashak, who is best known as the founder of Minit Records (Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Bobby Womack, Ike & Tina Turner). It is unclear why Samie decided to use the name and logo for his own company, however, according to statements made by Jeb Banashak to Amelia Trask—whose aunt recorded a single with Banashak on Busy-B in the 1960s—Samie never requested permission from Banashak to use his copyrighted material.
Dolores Recordings was a Gothenburg-based record label owned by Isse Samie and Klas Lunding.
Dolores was originally founded in 1976 by Lasse Otterström as a Gothenburg record/comic book store called Dolores Serier. Within a few years, Dolores had also become a boutique record label specializing in metal/punk/hardcore under the name Dolores Recordings. The label remained largely inactive throughout ‘80s until it was purchased by Isse Samie in 1990. Samie’s first release on the label was the 7-inch single Women in Pain by Teddybears Sthlm in 1991. Samie continued to head the imprint alone until 1997, when music industry entrepreneur Klas Lunding left Warner Music Sweden and bought a majority stake in the company, assuming the role of Managing Director/CEO with Samie serving as the label’s A&R. One year later, Lunding led the sale of Dolores Recordings to Virgin Music Sweden (owned by EMI Sweden). Dolores Recordings continued under Samie’s direction for the next decade, releasing regional bands such as Broder Daniel and Caesars in addition to acting as a distributor for “Dolores/Virgin/EMI” pop acts like Håkan Hellström and Paola. In 2010, Lunding and Samie left EMI/Virgin/Dolores Recordings for Universal/Stranded Rekords. Since then, Dolores Recordings has been inactive. Telegram Studios (co-founded/co-owned by Lunding and Samie) maintains ownership of the company Dolores Records Aktiebolag, however the master rights once owned by the label—which had all been absorbed by Virgin/EMI following the label’s acquisition—have since changed hands (though some have been bought back by Telegram).
In the spring of 2005, Dolores Recordings released the Dolores Recordings Spring Sampler, a compilation album featuring songs from Dolores artists including Hellström and Caesars, among others. The cover of the compilation featured a graphic image taken from a low angle of three pre-pubescent girls sitting in the grass nude, with one of the girls’ private parts explicitly shown. This drew criticism from the Swedish press, specifically local newspaper Göteborgs-Posten. Samie defended the image, countering that anyone could go to the newsstand and buy fashion magazines to see pictures of naked young girls. Nevertheless, the distribution of the compilation was eventually stopped by the police and, due to the nature of the image, an investigation was opened into Dolores Recordings by the Gothenburg Prosecutor’s Office under suspicions of child pornography. (No further information about this investigation is available to the public.)
In January 2020, Sasha Hecht and Amelia Trask discovered that record webstore/distributor Hot Stuff (with whom Samie has had a close personal and professional relationship since its founding in 1986) was selling the aforementioned 2005 Dolores Recordings Spring Sampler domestically and internationally online. Hot Stuff boasts of the “controversial mini-CD” in both the title and the description of the listing, which reads:
Sparked A Wave Of Controversey[sp] When It Was Originally Released Because Of The Coverphoto[sp], Where Three Very Young Girls Can Be Found Sitting Naked. A Primal Scream of Outrage From The Music Press Was To Follow, Which Led To The Withdrawel[sp] Of This Mini-Disc. All Where[sp] Later Destroyed, But We’ve Found A Handful In An Old Box.
Hecht and Trask have decided not to link directly to the listing page or publish the image on illbegonefilm.com out of respect to the individuals in the image and refusal to contribute in any way to the purchase/sale of what has been deemed by Swedish authorities as “child pornography.” Furthermore, once Hecht and Trask came across the listing, they immediately reported it to the appropriate Swedish authorities. As of July 2020, the record is still available for sale on the Hot Stuff website. An update will be provided to this index entry if/when the listing is ever removed.
Elit/Elitlist/Elitlistan [Elite/Elite List/The Elite List]
Elit [Elite] is a secret network comprised of hundreds of Swedish public figures, journalists, politicians, CEOs, heads of government institutes, thought-leaders, and otherwise influential or “valuable” people. Elit was founded in the early 1990s by controversial Swedish personality Alexander Bard, who rose to recognition—particularly in Eastern Europe—in the late-80s/early-90s with Eurodance group Army of Lovers and later, in the early 2000s, with electropop group Bodies Without Organs (BWO). The majority of Elit’s members work in media, music, debate, and research, but the group also includes a number of political figures as well as individuals in the legal and tech fields. The name “Elit” is often used interchangeably with “Elitlistan” ["The Elite List"]; however, the latter refers specifically to an email mailing list set up by Bard in 1995 with privacy-oriented Swedish internet service provider Bahnhof (which itself was founded by Elit member Oscar Swartz in 1994 and formerly housed the Wikileaks servers in their ultra-secure Pionen bunker in the White Mountains of Stockholm). It is through this mailing list that the members of Elit communicate, however no one knows exactly who is on the list and receiving the communications other than Bard.
Elit has been characterized by media reports as a “gossip network,” though one might more accurately describe the activities of Elit as intelligence collection, blackmail, and "spin doctoring"/media manipulation. (It is unclear what the members of Elit understand the group’s purpose to be, but a sort of mission statement for Elit reads [translated to English]: “Feel free to talk shit about people who are not members of Elit. Hatred is an amazing feeling. You can count on our full support, because anyone outside Elit is ALWAYS less worthy and a worse person than one who is.”)
According to statements made by former members and prospective recruits of Elit to Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht, membership works as follows:
A prospective recruit is strategically selected and nominated by members of Elit based on the recruit’s position in his/her industry and his/her ability to access information and intelligence in areas relevant to Elit’s interests. The recruit is then notified of his/her nomination and asked if he/she would like to join the group. If the recruit expresses interest, a final vote is conducted where members have the opportunity to contest the nomination. (This being said, Bard has also recruited members to Elit without the knowledge of other members or, in some cases, even the knowledge of the recruit him/herself.) Once a recruit’s membership is accepted, he/she is expected to contribute to Elitlistan by sharing “gossip”/blackmail with the mailing list and/or by engaging in vitriolic discourse about non-members. According to the rules of Elit, if a member does not actively engage in these activities, he/she is removed from group, but this might not be entirely the case as the mailing list does contain at least a handful of "lurkers." As a benefit of membership, a member is able to call on the group at large to retaliate against non-members with whom he/she may take issue. Retaliation may include blacklisting and threats to expose blackmail, but other methods are also employed.
Although knowledge of and rumors about Elit’s existence have circulated since its inception, Elitlistan was first publicly confirmed and exposed in 2006 when Dagens Nyheter revealed the names of almost 100 Elit members as well as quotes from obtained Elitlist emails containing vicious personal attacks against non-members. The article's writer, Mustafa Can, allegedly received a text message in the middle of the night after publishing the article which read: "You will have to pay for this for the rest of your life." As a result of the controversy, Dagens Nyheter suspended (and eventually declined to renew the contract of) journalist and Elit member Anna Björkman.
Two years later, in 2008, Expressen sports writer, former Marketing Director of Offside Press (parent company of Magasinet Filter), and Elit member Hermann Dill published a cryptic threat on his Expressen blog. The post, which was quickly deleted by Expressen, allegedly read [translated to English]:
Read in today's newspaper about Anja Pärsson[sp]. It's not going so well for her anymore.
She’s looking for reasons.
She looks under the carpet.
She misses daddy.
Analyzing everything possible, apparently—except the truth?
We are the ones who know the secret.
The secret the whole of Blecktornskällaren [Stockholm bar] witnessed last fall.
Dill admitted on his personal blog that the information alluded to in the post originated from Elitlistan and was subsequently fired from Expressen. (Four years later, in 2012, Swedish Olympic gold medal skier Anja Pärson came out on a Swedish radio program, revealing that she had been in a relationship with a woman for the past five years.)
In the Spring of 2011, Nyheter24 accused Bard of supporting child pornography, citing a leaked Elitlistan email thread in which Bard attempted to goad artist and Elit member Christian Saldert (who has directed music videos for Joel Alme and Hästpojken) into exhibiting the child pornography manga drawings at the center of Mangamålet [Manga Case]. In an excerpt from the email, Bard wrote [translated to English]: “The Liberal Democrats (L) [Bard’s party] have taken a stand…against the criminalization of child pornography overall… So go for it, Saldert!” In a statement to Nyheter24, Bard clarified his views on child pornography, stating that he “[hates] child porn” but that he believes that criminalizing the possession of child pornography “can even make it worse.” (He refused to elaborate.) Two days later, the same publication reported that Alexander Bard had called upon Elit to take revenge on and share gossip about the sex life of Jenny Strömstedt (then Östergren), a journalist who had recently published an opinion article about drug policy with which Bard disagreed. Bard responded to Nyheter24 by accusing the publication of data breach, illegal interception of private conversation, and copyright infringement.
Some time also that year, in 2011, Swedish media personality Cissi Wallin (not an Elit member) reported a man to authorities for allegedly drugging and raping her in 2006. Later in the year, Dagens Media reported that Wallin—following a Facebook argument with colleague and Elit member Stefan Malmqvist—had been smeared in an Elitlist thread with ad hominem attacks calling her sociopathic, a “mythomaniac,” and a “borderline witch.” Six years later, in a 2017 Instagram post, Wallin identified journalist, media personality, and Elit member Fredrik Virtanen as the man whom she had reported for the alleged rape. This resulted in Wallin becoming a figurehead of Sweden’s #MeToo movement. Virtanen subsequently sued Wallin for gross defamation in early 2018, resulting in the suspension or cancellation of many of Wallin’s professional engagements. In December 2019, the verdict came back in Virtanen’s favor, with the court ordering Wallin to pay Virtanen 90,000 SEK [~$9,600 USD] in damages. Both parties are appealing the decision.
At the time of the original publication of illbegonefilm.com (December 2019), almost 10 years had passed since Elit’s activities were last reported in the media, and many in Sweden believed that Elitlistan had been dismantled and/or was no longer operating. However, in April 2020, an Elit email leaked to the investigative podcast Haveristerna containing a screed by culture journalist/podcast host and Elit member Anna Björklund against her former Della Q podcast co-host/business partner Moa Wallin (no relation to Cissi). In the email, Björklund called on Elit members to blacklist Moa, calling her sociopathic and a “disgusting whore.” Although the leaked email did not result in professional repercussions for Björklund—who maintained regular writing positions with Expressen and Göteborgs-Posten—it effectively confirmed Elit’s continued existence and activity.
Current/former known members of Elit who are relevant to this website are:
Carl Reinholdtzon Belfrage - music editor/journalist, former editor of Nöjesguiden
Daniel Sparr - music editor/journalist, former Editor-in-Chief of Nöjesguiden
Per Sinding-Larsen - music journalist/host (SVT)
Fredrik Virtanen - former music journalist (Aftonbladet) and host (Sveriges [Sweden] Radio P4, TV8)
Carl M. Sundevall - former culture writer (Nöjesguiden, Aftonbladet), “ran” Stockholm nightclub Spy Bar/Spybar (2006-2012)
Jan Axelsson - founder of Flashback Forum
NOTE: Alexander Bard, who is best known in Sweden today as a provocateur personality and the “Simon Cowell” judge on Swedish TV talent shows Idol and Talang [Talent], came under harsh criticism in June 2020 when, in the midst of the global social unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, Bard tweeted:
If black lives want to matter, then black lives get their fucking shit together, study hard, go to work, make their own money instead of depend on welfare, stop lying, get out of prison, and become heroes instead of self-appointed victims for the world to laughs at. That matters!
Amid the ensuing backlash, Bard was removed from the Liberal Democrat political party (which he helped form in 2010 and had rejoined in May 2020) as well as his role as a Talang judge. Culture journalist/podcast host and Elit member Anna Björklund addressed the controversy with an op-ed in Göteborgs-Posten wherein she argued that the Bard spectacle was a sort of kayfabe meant to distract the public so that “the really dangerous decisions can be made,” writing “…Somewhere out there, the real politics are going on. Where billions are moved here and there and the real holders of power stroll around unattended.”
Gothenburg Film Studios
Gothenburg Film Studios is a creative compound located on Hisingen in Gothenburg which features film/TV equipment rentals, production services, studio/live event space, and offices.
The chain of ownership of the actual facilities is unclear, however the company Gothenburg Film Studios was founded in 2009 and co-owned/co-founded by Paul Blomgren DoVan until 2016, at which point it was acquired by Swedish production company GötaFilm. Blomgren DoVan has continued to work with the company under the title “producer.”
In 2018, after the municipality of Gothenburg decided to withdraw their financial support of Western Sweden’s most prominent film financing entity, Film i Väst, FiV responded by calling on production companies filming in Sweden to work in places other than Gothenburg and to not work with Gothenburg Film Studios, specifically. Blomgren DoVan, representing GFS (which works closely with city government) responded in the media, claiming that Film i Väst was effectively killng the film industry in Gothenburg. This ultimately led to a public debate between Blomgren DoVan and a representative of Film i Väst at Göteborg International Film Festival in 2019, however none of these efforts appear to have resulted in any kind of effect on the decisions made by either the city of Gothenburg or Film i Väst.
Magasinet Filter is a bimonthly magazine owned by Offside Press known for long-form reportage in the style of narrative fiction.
Filter was founded in 2008 by Tobias Regnéll (co-owner of Offside Press, co-founder/editor-in-chief of Offside) and Mattias Göransson (co-editor-in-chief/publisher of Filter, co-founder of Offside) nine years after launching their award-winning sports magazine, Offside. Many of Filter's most popular articles have also been their most controversial; notably, in May 2018, Filter claimed to have conclusively solved the mysterious 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme based on circumstantial evidence (a theory expanded upon in the Spring 2018 book The Unlikely Assassin, published by Offside Press). More recently, a September 2019 cover story calling the Swedish phenomenon of "resignation syndrome" among refugee children a hoax sparked fierce backlash.
Nevertheless, Filter is regarded within Sweden as one of the country's most respected publications and has won a number of awards, including Sveriges Tidskrifter’s Magazine of the Year at Tidskriftsgalan in the Fall of 2018. Filter's owners include Regnéll, Göransson, Swedish politician/economist/diplomat and Swedish performing rights society STIM board member Leif Pagrotsky (Consul General of Sweden in New York City, 2016-2018), among others.
STIM (Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbryå) [Swedish Performing Rights Society] is a non-profit Swedish collecting society and “copyright organization with 90,000 members, both music creators and publishers,” on whose behalf “STIM administers and licenses performing and mechanical rights to music and lyrics.”
Registration and documentation of musical works and their ownership shares so that financial renumeration can be claimed
Licensing musical works (often in the form of blanket licenses covering all STIM members), collecting financial renumeration, and distributing royalties to the songwriter or publisher
Collecting data and reports on what music has been played on TV/radio, performed live, or downloaded/streamed; paying out songwriters and publishers accordingly
Coordinating with international collecting agencies to track royalties owed to STIM members from other countries, collecting and disbursing renumeration to songwriters and publishers
TV: 45.58 SEK [~$4.91 USD] per minute
Radio: 40.60 SEK [~$4.38 USD] per minute
For Spotify, songwriters/publishers are paid a fixed amount (specific to the subscription tier of the listener) when a song has been played for at least 30 seconds. As of February 21, 2019, the Spotify streaming rates are:
Spotify Premium: 1.36 öre [~$0.0015 USD] per stream
Spotify Family: 0.91 öre [~$0.00098 USD] per stream
Spotify Student: 0.51 öre [~$0.00055 USD] per stream
Spotify Free: 0.26 öre [~$0.00028 USD] per stream
Spotify Unlimited: 1.09 öre [~$0.0012 ] per stream
Leif Pagrotsky—Swedish politician, former chairman of Business Region Gothenburg and Business Sweden, former Consul General of Sweden in New York City, and co-owner of Magasinet Filter—served as a board member for STIM from 2007 to 2015.
Telegram Studios is an entertainment company co-founded/co-owned by Klas Lunding and Isse Samie whose current active subsidiaries include, among others: Telegram Music (owner of Woah Dad trademark), Telegram Publishing (publishing rights holding company, previously Telegram Musikförlaget [Telegram Music Publishing] and Telegram Bokförlaget [Telegram Book Publishing], and Dolores Recordings.
Telegram Records Stockholm
Telegram Records Stockholm was founded in 1987 as a joint venture between Klas Lunding and Mistlur Records. In 1992, after filing for bankruptcy, Mistlur Records was acquired by Peter Almberg; included was the company’s stake in Telegram Records Stockholm. The next year, following the expiration of Telegram Records Stockholm’s three-year distribution deal with independent label distribution network MNW, Lunding and Almberg sold the label to Warner Music Group, with Lunding moving into the position of A&R for both Telegram Records Stockholm as well as Warner Music Sweden. Lunding ultimately left Warner Music Group and Telegram Records Stockholm in 1997, at which time he became a majority owner in Isse Samie’s label, Dolores Recordings.
Telegram Publishing was founded in 1987 by Klas Lunding, Willard Ahdritz, and Gustav Hybbinette. In 1990, Ahdritz left Telegram Publishing after receiving a scholarship to study at NYU’s Stern School of Business (today, he is the founder and CEO of rights management and publishing company Kobalt Music Group and is frequently listed as one of the most powerful people in music globally).
In 1996, MCA Music Publishing Sweden (led by Fredrik Ekander, Director of A&R) acquired a 51% majority stake in Telegram Publishing, leaving Lunding with a minority 49% stake. Two years later, MCA’s parent company Seagrams acquired the label PolyGram from Philips and merged PolyGram with MCA to form Universal Music Group. As a result, both Telegram Publishing and Lunding’s first label, Stranded Rekords (which had been acquired by Stikkan Anderson’s Polar Music, which itself was later acquired by PolyGram) came under the ownership of Universal Music Group, with Lunding maintaining a minority stake in the former.
In 2009, Lunding and Isse Samie joined together with Schibsted Publishing CEO Sanji Tandan (formerly CEO of Warner Music Sweden) and digital marketing entrepreneur Par Näsholm to purchase Norwegian media group Schibsted’s Swedish book publishing division. The acquisition resulted in the creation of Telegram Bokförlaget [Telegram Book Publishing], through which Telegram published the Broder Daniel book When We Were Winning, as well as books about Hellström. The next year, in 2010, following Håkan Hellström’s buy-out of Universal Music Group’s stake in Telegram Publishing, Lunding, Isse Samie, and Hellström formed Telegram Musikförlaget [Telegram Music Publishing]. Telegram Bokförlaget and Telegram Musikförlaget were later re-merged under the name Telegram Publishing.
Telegram Studios AB/Ltd.
Telegram Studios AB was co-founded by Lunding and Samie and first registered in 2008 as a parent company to Telegram’s various other companies (Telegram Bokförlaget, Telegram Musikförlaget, et cetera). Telegram Studios’ “aktiebolag” status allows its shares to be publicly issued and/or traded on the stock market.
In 2012, Telegram Studios’ major owners—Lunding, Samie, Näsholm, Tandan, and Annika Seward Jensen (formerly of Bonnier Publishing)—officially launched the company publicly, positioning it as “a new kind of publishing house” focused on digital media, with Näsholm serving as CEO. Along with creation of the “Telegram Studios” brand, the group also announced the establishment of Telegram Studios Ltd., a company registered in the UK so that its shares—which had been issued to 40 “power players” across Sweden’s music/entertainment/media/publishing industries—could be traded publicly on the GXG Markets micro stock exchange in London.* One year later, Näsholm left the company (retaining his shares), citing “burnout.”
In 2014, Telegram Studios launched Woah Dad, a trademarked name registered under Telegram Studios subsidiary Telegram Music through which Telegram Studios could operate as a record label (also known as a “doing business as” name). Joel Borg and Niklas Lundell were brought on to run the label.
In 2017, Telegram Studios Ltd. filed for solvency and was dissolved.
In 2018, Woah Dad Live AB was created under Telegram Studios AB to handle booking, production, and promotions of live events and tours, with Borg and Lundell heading the company. Less than a year later, the company was sold to German booking/events company FKP Scorpio; Borg and Lundell went with it and became board members of FKP Scorpio Sweden.
GXG Markets was a micro stock exchange originally founded by Danish company Dansk Autoriset Markedsplads in 1998 and purchased by Swedish GXG Global Exchange Group in 2010. In the year that followed, GXG Markets faced severe funding issues, leading the owner to liquidate the company’s regulatory working capital to buy out the initial shareholders. By the end of 2011, GXG Markets was sold to a new group of Swedish investors, who retained the company’s CEO, Peter Almberg (previously co-owner of Telegram Records Stockholm with Lunding). At the time Telegram Studios Ltd. was registered and listed on the GXG Markets, Almberg was attempting to grow the working capital of the company by pushing for new listings to be made “with a basic ignorance of compliance screening.” GXG Markets was eventually shut down in 2014 and litigation is ongoing.
United Stage is a Swedish entertainment company co-founded by Anders Larsson (CEO) in 1984.
Although the company’s function is presented differently on the Swedish and English-language versions of their website, United Stage is somewhere between an artist booking agency/corporate events production company with limited artist management (Swedish-language version) and “one of Scandinavia’s leading” artist management companies as well as an artist booking agency/corporate event producer (English-language version). In the winter of 2018, a merger between Norwegian management company JS Artist and booking agency Amber Booking formed United Stage Norway, operating under its Swedish parent company. United Stage’s website also states that it has “representation in London.”
As compared with their main competitor, Luger (a subsidiary of Live Nation), the majority of artists on United Stage’s roster operate exclusively within the domestic/Scandinavian market. Among these are Ebbot Lundberg (The Soundtrack of Our Lives), Hästpojken, Joel Alme, Kent, Little Jinder, The Plan, Union Carbide Productions, and Wilmer X. United Stage also represented Henrik Berggren for booking and management from 2016 to 2019, during which time he was co-managed by publicist Ebba Lindqvist and booker Pontus Sillrén.
Woah Dad is brand and trademark registered under Telegram Studios. The brand name has been used as a record label, a live events/booking company, and a branding/marketing agency.
Woah Dad Records
Woah Dad was launched in 2014 as a record label under Telegram Studios subsidiary Telegram Music by Klas Lunding and Isse Samie in collaboration with Joel Borg and Niklas Lundell, who fronted the label and handled the bulk of its operations. While not a company itself, Woah Dad was the trademarked name under which Telegram Music operated in conjunction with Warner Music Sweden, the label’s exclusive distributor. According to sources who allege inside knowledge of the arrangement, the backend split was 95% Warner Music Sweden, 5% Telegram Music.
Woah Dad’s first release was Håkan Boma Ye!, a live album of Håkan Hellström’s first Ullevi concert, at the end of 2014. The next year, Hellström officially announced that he was leaving Universal to join the “upstart” indie label, though he did not reveal that he was a silent owner through his stake in Telegram Studios. From 2015 to 2017, Woah Dad’s releases included Håkan Hellström, Henrik Berggren’s solo debut, Bob Hund, and a handful of others. In 2017—as the result of lobbying efforts and a subsequent 2013 divestment agreement between Warner Music Group, independent record label association IMPALA (whose board includes Fredrik Ekander, a former colleague of Lunding and Samie’s), and digital rights association Merlin—Telegram Music (through the Woah Dad “record label”) acquired the catalogs of Broder Daniel, Hellström, and Caesars, among a few others.
In November 2017, Göteborgs-Posten reported that a Gothenburg-based music industry executive had been reported for sexual assault. Although no name was released, Borg and Lundell posted a statement to Woah Dad’s Instagram stating that the individual had been suspended and that the company would conduct a full investigation into the allegations, effectively confirming Samie as being the individual in question due to his reputation within the industry. Though Samie was eventually removed from all official roles within the label and Telegrams Studios’ other companies, the “Woah Dad Records” brand has been phased out, with many of the label’s artists instead releasing music through the “Warner Music Sweden” brand (ex. Hellström’s 2018 album, Illusioner). Today, Woah Dad positions itself as a digital marketing/branding/advertising agency.
Woah Dad Live
Following the 2017 #MeToo scandal that resulted in the ousting of Isse Samie from the label, Woah Dad shifted its focus to live event promotion. In March 2018, Telegram Studios registered the trademark for “SMASH FEST,” a music festival whose inaugural 2018 event was headlined by Lil Pump and Post Malone, attracting 18,500 attendees. That fall, Woah Dad Live AB was registered under Telegram Studios as a booking/events/promotion agency headed by Borg and Lundell. Less than a year later, in the fall of 2019, Telegram Studios sold Woah Dad Live to German booking/events/promotion company FKP Scorpio under their newly-established branch FKP Scorpio Sweden; as a result, Borg and Lundell were transferred from Telegram Studios to FKP Scorpio and appointed to the board of FKP Scorpio Sweden. Borg and Lundell in fact had a pre-existing professional relationship with FKP Scorpio; in 2015, after leaving Live Nation-owned booking agency Luger, Borg and Lundell took Hellström—who had been booked by Luger/Live Nation for virtually his entire career—with them, instead signing him to FKP Scorpio, the company’s biggest competitor in Europe.
NOTE: Within its first year, Woah Dad Live was involved in two major scandals:
1. SMASH x Stadion was a two-day hip-hop festival on July 2nd and 3rd, 2019 that featured headliners A$AP Rocky and Migos. Rocky and some members of his entourage had been involved in an altercation on June 30th, a few days before, but it was not until after his performance on July 2nd that he was taken into custody (in fact, Rocky went straight from the festival to the police station as he was told he was needed for an interview/statement). By the time the arrest was reported by the media, Woah Dad Live had already put up professionally-printed posters around Stockholm; they read “FREE A$AP ROCKY ASAP #JUSTICEFORROCKY” as well as “WOAH DAD! AND MALONEY CONCERTS PRESENTS SMASH x STADION™.” This was regarded by many (including the press) as distasteful self-promotion at best, and at worst, raised questions surrounding what/when Woah Dad knew about the arrest and whether or not they could have had something to do with the timing. The arrest and subsequent month-long detention became international news, leading hip-hop artists to boycott Sweden and eventually prompting intervention attempts by US President Donald Trump and the Department of State. Rocky was released on August 2nd at the end of the trial and ultimately convicted on August 14th, though he received credit for time served. He will return to Sweden on December 11th for a concert organized by Live Nation, Borg and Lundell’s scorned former employer and FKP Scorpio’s main competitor in Europe.
2. SMASH x Robyn, the popstar’s only Swedish show that summer, was a one-day event held on August 17, 2019 that attracted 22,000 attendees at 900 SEK (~$95 USD) per ticket. The event was a “total disaster,” with attendees complaining of three-hour-long lines for over-priced and under-portioned food (until the food ran out), price hikes on water (as the water became more scarce), dangerous overcrowding, and no information from organizers about schedules or set times. As many visitors were forced to leave the all-day festival (with no re-entry) before Robyn’s performance due to hunger/dehydration concerns, some attendees demanded a refund on their tickets. Woah Dad Live refused to reimburse the costs and responded to media outreach by email stating: “The event was not the worst, but rather world-class. An event is a whole, and we did everything right.” Incensed by the company’s flippant response, as well as their alleged deletion of negative social media comments, in October 2019, 10 people reported Woah Dad Live to complaints board ARN. As of November 2019, Woah Dad Live has allegedly reimbursed nine out of the 10 complainants, although it is unclear if the financial liability falls on Telegram Studios, the company’s owner at the time of the event, or FKP Scorpio, their current parent company.
Amelia Trask is the Director of I'll Be Gone, which she co-wrote and co-edited with creative partner Sasha Hecht. It is the duo’s first feature-length film.
Trask is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
While in school, Trask worked as an editorial intern at CMJ. After graduating in 2010, Trask moved to Brooklyn and began working at a boutique indie booking agency. In 2011, the company moved its operations to manage the now-defunct DIY venue Glasslands. Trask left the venue in 2013 and co-founded indie PR firm ILIUM MEDIA, where she and her partner represented an international roster of independant bands and artists including Swedish artists Makthaverskan, Westkust, Agent blå, School ’94, El Perro Del Mar, and The Deer Tracks.
Trask officially folded ILIUM MEDIA in 2016 in order to pursue audio/video production full-time. She currently co-owns No Plus Ones Productions with Hecht, through which they self-produced and self-funded I'll Be Gone.
Anders Larsson is a co-founder/co-owner/CEO of Swedish entertainment company United Stage.
In 1984, Larsson founded United Stage in Malmö with three others as a booking agency/tour promotion company. Today, he is the last remaining of the original owners and United Stage’s largest shareholder (as of 2015). The company has also since moved its headquarters to Stockholm and expanded into other areas including artist management and corporate events.
In addition to CEO, Larsson also lists his role in the company as “agent/tour producer, manager, sales.” Larsson has worked closely with the band Kent over the course of their career.
Ben Malén (sometimes spelled Ben Marlene) is a Swedish-Finnish music industry professional who is currently founder/owner of publishing/management company Stereoscope Music Scandinavia and co-founder of digital singles-only label 100 SONGS.
Malén started his career as a musician in platinum-selling Swedish pop ground Trance Dance, active from the mid-80s to the early '90s. Following the breakup of Trance Dance, Malén served as the creative director of music publisher Jimmy Fun Music (owned by Gyllen Tider/Roxette’s Per Gessle) from 1993 to 1999, during which time he signed Broder Daniel to their first publishing deal. In 1999, Malén and Gessle started a new publishing company, Tom Bone Music, in which Malén was an owner and where he continued in his role as creative director. Malén left Tom Bone in 2003 to become CEO of Air Chrysalis Scandinavia (a subsidiary of major London-based publishing company Chrysalis Music), also serving for a time as the CEO of the company’s German arm, Global Chrysalis Germany.
After parting ways with Chrysalis in 2011, Malén started Stereoscope Music Scandinavia, which includes label Stereo Recordings, Telescope Music Publishing, and Stereoscope Management. The following year, in 2012, Malén started 100 SONGS with Klas Lunding (formerly: Stranded Rekords, Telegram Records Stockholm, Dolores Recordings, Woah Dad; currently: Telegram Studios, Telegram Publishing) and Ola Håkansson (formerly: Stockholm Records; currently: TEN Music Group, Artist House Stockholm).
Christopher Friman is a journalist and co-editor-in-chief of Magasinet Filter.
Friman studied journalism at Gothenburg University and joined Filter in 2008 as the magazine’s first intern. He soon became their first hired reporter and has been with the publication ever since. In 2009, Friman won Sveriges Tidskrifter’s award for Breakthrough of the Year at a Tidskriftsgala where Filter and its staff also took home Journal of the Year, Journalist of the Year, and Art Director of the Year.
In January of 2018, after then-co-editor-in-chief Erik Almqvist relocated to Copenhagen and left the magazine, Friman was promoted as his replacement and given a spot on the editorial board. Today, he shares the responsibility of the role of editor-in-chief with Filter’s co-founder/publisher Mattias Göransson.
Ebba Lindqvist is a publicist and founder/owner of Ebba Lindqvist PR, a boutique culture and live events publicity firm with a specialization in the domestic Swedish music industry and media. She is also the wife of musician Joel Alme, with whom she has children.
Lindqvist’s specific work history prior to founding Ebba Lindqvist PR in 2006 is unclear, however her website states that she has worked in music/media/communications for almost 20 years “at major companies, smaller record companies, music studios, and PR agencies.” Lindqvist’s website also states that she is a co-founder of Art Makes a Stand, “a network of artists who engage in various social issues and who use social platforms to spread important messages,” however it is unclear if this organization is still active as it has no online presence and its website does not work.
Lindqvist previously worked for an indeterminate period as a press agent for Broder Daniel, around which time she and drummer Lars Malmros had a child. After the band’s breakup, Lindqvist worked with Henrik Berggren again briefly in 2015 when she arranged an appearance by Berggren, Malmros, and Theodor Jensen at the Gothenburg Book Fair to promote a yet-to-be-released Broder Daniel biography. Soon thereafter, Lindqvist ventured into artist management; in a joint agreement with United Stage, Lindqvist signed Henrik Berggren as her first management client—a contract which also committed Berggren to United Stage for booking and Ebba Lindvqist PR for publicity. She served in this role until the fall of 2018 (although she officially maintained the titles until August the following year).
Lindqvist’s current clients include Avicii (Nordic/Europe, beginning eight months before his death), Joel Alme, El Perro Del Mar (Nordic/Europe), The Plan, Hästpojken (Tamiami Records), Makthaverskan (Nordic/Europe, Luxury Records), Ebbot Lundberg (The Soundtrack of Our Lives), and Alice b (Luxury Records). She also worked the March 2018 release of the Swedish #MeToo song “Vad Dom Än Säger” [“What They Say”] by Vo PAM, a “supergroup” of 56 female Swedish musicians. Her past clients include Agent Blå (Nordic/Europe, Luxury Records), however Lindqvist severed ties with the band in 2019 due to member Tobias Bauer’s involvement with the production of I’ll Be Gone.
Håkan Hellström is a Swedish-language popstar and former drummer/bassist of Broder Daniel.
Hellström began playing music in his high school Jimi Hendrix cover band Little Wing with other future Broder Daniel members Theo Jensen and Johan Neckvall. He first joined Broder Daniel on drums in1988 but quit the band just before they were signed following an altercation with Daniel Gilbert. Hellström quickly started his own band, Broder Påvel (aka Påvels), which briefly included Jensen and also played in Karin Dreijer’s (currently The Knife/Fever Ray) band Honey is Cool before ultimately rejoining Broder Daniel in 1997 on bass, just in time for the band’s breakthrough album (and their first on Dolores Recordings), 1998’s Broder Daniel Forever. The following year, while Broder Daniel was on hiatus following extensive Forever touring, Hellström began recording a solo demo with Oscar Wallblom and others. The demo was initially rejected by Samie at Dolores Recordings but was later picked up by Klas Lunding, Deputy Managing Director and Head of A&R at Virgin Music Sweden (Dolores’ parent company), who signed Hellström to Virgin and appointed Samie as A&R. Upon the release of his debut album in 2000, Hellström quickly became a pop phenomenon, and although he was eventually dismissed from Broder Daniel in 2003, he has since become one of the highest-selling pop acts in Swedish music history, at times comprising 75% of Sweden’s total domestic music sales.
Presently, Hellström is still actively releasing and playing music; his last album was 2018’s Illusioner, released by Warner Music Sweden, with another slated for 2020. He has also announced four sold-out shows at Ullevi Stadium in the summer of 2020 which, if true, would be a first for the popstar. He owns two businesses of his own, Tro och Tvivel AB and Bohus Dreamin’ AB, which are managed by his father and brother and collect compensation from his various activities. He is also a shareholder in Telegram Studios and some of its various companies. His booking is handled by FKP Scorpio (since 2016; he was previously booked by Luger/Live Nation) and his PR is handled either by Joel Borg or a representative of Warner Music Group (conflicting available information). Hellström has been more or less “managed” by Borg since 2017; he was previously “managed” by Samie, though since the #MeToo movement, Samie has served in a more covert “shadow manager/A&R” role.
Although Hellström has enjoyed nearly unfettered media and industry praise throughout his 20-year career, there were, however, two early blights on his otherwise pristine public image which surrounded his alleged practice of copyright infringement:
1. In 2001, gaming magazine Super PLAY published an article calling attention to the similarities between the chorus melody of Hellström’s debut breakthrough single, “Känn Ingen Sorg För Mig Göteborg” [“Feel No Sorrow for Me, Gothenburg”], and the melody to the Bridge Zone theme from Sonic the Hedgehog. Hellström batted down the accusation by releasing a statement in which he claimed to not be interested in video games and that he had never played Sonic. (Note: for a defendant to be convicted for a copyright infringement charge in music, the plaintiff must prove that 1. an average listener could identify the similarities in the song and 2. it is reasonable to believe that the defendant/alleged plagiarist could have heard the original/plagiarized work.)
2. That same year, Hellström released his single “Kom Igen Lena” [“Come Again, Lena”] as a limited-run 7-inch through Dolores’ “Dolores Singles Club.” The single’s B-side was “När Jag Set Framåt” [“When I Look Forward”]. The following year, in 2002, the single was officially released by Virgin Music Sweden. Two days later, Aftonbladet published a story in which a musicologist analyzed the two songs contained on the single and found striking similarities between the lyrics of “Kom Igen Lena” and the lyrics of Dutch/Swedish singer-songwriter Cornelius Vreeswijk’s “En Visa Till Veronica” [“A Show For Veronica”], as well as the melody of “När Jag Set Framåt” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.” The next day, Aftonbladet reported that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company Really Useful Group (which controls his rights) had hired a Swedish lawyer to investigate the alleged copyright infringement. Within a week, Virgin pulled the single and later re-released it with a different B-side.
According to a source close to both Samie and Hellström, it is Samie who is responsible for selecting many of the songs which Hellström has been accused of plagiarizing. However, there are others who have relayed first-hand accounts of being told by frequent Hellström producer/co-writer Björn Olsson, as well as Hellström himself, that it is they who are behind many of the counts of the alleged copyright infringement.
Henrik Berggren is a solo artist, former frontman of Broder Daniel, and the main subject of I’ll Be Gone.
Berggren founded Broder Daniel with some high school peers in 1988. Over the years, the band’s lineup included Daniel Gilbert, Theo Jensen, Anders Gothberg, Lars Malmros, Johan Neckvall, and Håkan Hellström. Broder Daniel was first signed to Jimmy Fun Music in 1994 by Ben Malén, who represented the band’s publishing and assisted them in ultimately signing to EMI Sweden later that year. After two commercially-unsuccessful albums, Broder Daniel left EMI and were signed to Dolores Recordings by Isse Samie, through which they released their breakthrough, 1998’s Broder Daniel Forever, as well as their final album, 2005’s Cruel Town (Dolores Recordings/Virgin Music Sweden/EMI Sweden). The band’s career was marked with numerous lengthy hiatuses, the longest being after extensive touring supporting Forever, at which time Berggren became incapacitated for a number of years due to both a thyroid illness and substance abuse issues. Broder Daniel officially disbanded in 2008 following the sudden suicide of guitarist and Berggren’s long-time best friend Gothberg; in fact, just months before his death, Berggren and Gothberg discussed getting the band back together. Remaining Broder Daniel members Berggren, Jensen, and Malmros performed a farewell show at Way Out West in 2008, and a documentary of the concert, Broder Daniel Forever, was released in 2009, as well as a book, When We Were Winning, featuring photos by Martin Norberg and released by Telegram Bokförlaget [Telegram Book Publishing].
Around 2012, Berggren became sick with a flu. Though he eventually recovered from the virus, many of its most debilitating symptoms remained, and he was ultimately diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME. also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/CFS), a little-understood chronic illness with no cure and few effective treatment options. As a result of his CFS, Berggren became an involuntarily recluse, bound to his home with little hope of returning to his prior life as a working musician. In 2015, Berggren met Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht, who presented him with their idea of making a documentary that would introduce Broder Daniel and Berggren to the US audience—a prospect that Berggren had both always dreamed of and also had evaded him his entire life. Inspired by the opportunity, Berggren decided to finish and release his long-mythologized solo album Wolf’s Heart (2017), which he released via Woah Dad Records in a deal negotiated by first-time co-managers Ebba Lindqvist and Pontus Sillrén (United Stage). Jensen and Malmros also played on the album. He then toured through the summer, winter, and fall backed by a “supergroup” live band that included Jensen and Lindqvist’s husband, Joel Alme.
Berggren has since continued to write music and has produced more than 50 new demos in his home. However, due to obstruction by his now-former management and PR, he has been unable to take any tangible steps towards a release, nor to make money (the only options offered to him being a “Broder Daniel reunion” show or a guest appearance at Hellström’s Ullevi dates). Today, Berggren is attempting to acquire funding to finish his home studio, which would allow him to continue recording and releasing his music while accommodating his CFS.
Joel Alme is a musician and husband of Ebba Lindqvist, with whom he has children.
Before the release of his debut solo album in 2008, Alme was, for a brief time, an early member of Hästpojken (Lars Malmros and Oscar Wallblom also played with the band during this period).
In addition to his career as a solo artist, Alme was contracted by United Stage to play guitar in Henrik Berggren’s touring band during Berggren’s 2017/2018 dates supporting Wolf’s Heart. Alme is signed to United Stage (Pontus Sillrén) for booking and Ebba Lindqvist PR (Ebba Lindqvist) for publicity.
Joel Borg is a promotions and marketing professional who specializes in live events. He currently heads Woah Dad Live (owned by FKP Scorpio), serves on the board of FKP Scorpio Sweden, and “manages” Håkan Hellström.
Borg started making a name for himself in 1998 as a teen when he and a friend started garage rock zine/blog Denimzine. After moving to Gothenburg from his hometown and throwing club nights, Borg was hired by Swedish booking/events agency Luger as “Press Manager/Marketing” in 2006, the same year that his future business partner Niklas Lundell was hired in the role of “Sponsorship/Marketing.” The following year, Luger launched Gothenburg music festival Way Out West, with Borg acting as “press chief” (although according to Borg, he was “one of the festival’s founders"). In 2014, Borg and Lundell parted ways with Luger (at the time owned by Live Nation, who bought the company in 2008) and joined Klas Lunding and Isse Samie in launching the new label Woah Dad Records; however, the circumstances under which they left are disputed. According to Borg, he and Niklas had decided it was time to move on from the company. According to sources with inside knowledge of the situation, they were allegedly fired after it was discovered that they had been embezzling money from the company, a matter made worse when, in 2016, Borg and Lundell (acting as Hellström’s de-facto management) pulled Hellström from Luger/Live Nation and signed him to Live Nation’s biggest European competitor, German booking/events company FKP Scorpio.
Although Borg and Lundell became de-facto label heads after Samie’s ousting from Woah Dad during Sweden’s #MeToo movement, with the reputation of the “Woah Dad Records” brand sullied in the indie rock industry, label operations ceased and Woah Dad instead pivoted towards the hip-hop market with live events. Woah Dad Live AB was founded in November 2018 by Borg, Lundell, and Lunding under Telegram Studios as an events promotion agency, and less than a year later, following a number of scandals, the company was sold to FKP Scorpio. Today, Borg continues his work with Woah Dad Live under FKP Scorpio, where he is also a board member of FKP Scorpio Sweden. Additionally, Borg is the co-founder/co-owner of Borg & Lundell, a PR agency he and Lundell founded in 2014 upon their split from Luger/Live Nation. He also continues to “manage” Hellström.
Isse Samie holds no official roles publicly; however, he is currently a co-founder/co-owner of the Busy-B Productions, a company launched in 2019 to sell records and merch, as well as the “unofficial” A&R behind Håkan Hellström.
As a teenager growing up in Småland Älmhult, Samie played in band The Backdoor Men and ran mail-order record seller/distributor Hot Stuff with a friend (Hot Stuff is still the record seller/distributor of choice for all of Samie’s labels). In 1986, Samie moved to Stockholm, ending The Backdoor Men (whose remaining members went on to form The Creeps). Over the following year, Samie started fanzine Where The Action Is and played in short-lived band The Livingstones before eventually moving to Gothenburg. In 1990, Samie purchased inactive local 60s/70s metal/punk/hardcore label Dolores Recordings and released his first single with the label, Teddybears Sthlm’s 7-inch Women in Pain, the following year. In 1997, Klas Lunding bought a majority share of Dolores Recordings from Samie and became the label’s CEO, with Samie heading the label’s A&R. That same year, Samie signed Broder Daniel to Dolores Recordings who, in 1998, released the band’s breakthrough album, Broder Daniel Forever. Also that year, Samie co-founded weekly club night Lolita, which he ran with popular college radio host Ola Borgström and Karin Dreijer (at the time: Honey is Cool; currently: The Knife, Fever Ray).
In 1999, Lunding led the acquisition of Dolores Recordings by Virgin Music Sweden/EMI Sweden, with Samie remaining in his role as Dolores’ A&R. Later that year, Samie joined Virgin Music Sweden officially when he was tapped by Lunding as A&R for Hellström’s debut album. The success of the album raised Samie’s profile to that of one of the most powerful people in the Swedish music industry. Over the next decade, Samie continued to A&R for Dolores Recordings, working with bands like Broder Daniel, Caesars, and The Soundtrack of Our Lives as well as pop acts like Paola and Hellström. In 2009, Samie and Lunding teamed up with digital advertising entrepreneur Par Näsholm and Sanji Tandan (CEO of Schibsted Publishing; formerly CEO of Warner Music Sweden) to acquire Norwegian media group Schibsted’s Swedish book publishing arm; as a result, Telegram Bokförlaget [Telegram Book Publishing] was formed.
The following year, in 2010, Samie, Lunding, and Hellström left Virgin Music Sweden/EMI Sweden for Universal Music Sweden. Samie was appointed A&R of recently-resurrected imprint Stranded Rekords (originally founded by Lunding but, through a series of sales and acquisitions, now owned by Universal) while also handling A&R for Hellström’s releases through Universal Music Sweden. The same year, Hellström bought out Universal’s stake in Telegram Publishing (founded/co-owned by Samie and Lunding), and the three together formed Telegram Musikförlaget [Telegram Music Publishing]. In 2012, Telegram Studios (of which Samie was a co-owner) was launched as a “new kind of publishing house,” bringing together Telegram Bokförlaget, Telegram Musikförlaget, and Stranded Rekords. Two years later, Samie, Lunding, and Hellström left Universal and founded Woah Dad Records, an “independent” label under the Telegram Studios umbrella co-owned by three men as well as Joel Borg and Niklas Lundell. Samie headed Woah Dad Records for three years, releasing artists such as Hellström, Henrik Berggren, and Bob Hund, until he was ousted in 2017 during Sweden’s #MeToo movement, though he remained a major shareholder in the label and its parent company until he was allegedly bought out of his stake the following year. Samie then founded Busy-B Productions, which he currently uses to sell merchandise and special edition skateboards, as well as resell records. He also continues to A&R Hellström, although due to his persona non grata status, this is kept from public knowledge.
In the fall of 2017, Göteborgs-Posten reported that a local music industry executive had been reported for sexual assault. Though no name was given, Borg and Lundell posted a statement to Woah Dad’s Instagram saying that the individual in question had been suspended and that the company would be launching a full investigation into the claims. This, combined with Samie’s allegedly well-known reputation within the Swedish music industry as a sexual predator, effectively confirmed his identity as the man referred to in GP. Two weeks later, Aftonbladet published a feature in which number of women detailed the alleged abuse they had suffered at the hands of Samie (name withheld). That same day, Göteborgs-Posten broke the news that reports had been filed with the police department accusing Samie of three counts of sexual assault including rape (again, name withheld). As a result, Samie was removed of all official titles and positions within Woah Dad and Telegram Studios’ other companies. As the statute of limitations on the allegations reported to authorities had passed, the cases were dropped. Since then, nothing has been reported about Samie in the media, either implicitly or explicitly.
Klas Lunding is a music industry entrepreneur and co-founder/co-owner of Telegram Studios AB as well as its subsidiaries Telegram Publishing and Telegram Music (Woah Dad Records), among others. He is also the co-founder and former owner of Stranded Rekords, Telegram Records Stockholm, Woah Dad Live, and Musikindustrin.
Lunding started his career in the music industry in the late 1970s when, at 17/18, he founded Stranded Zine and Stockholm-based independent label Stranded Rekords with a friend. In 1981, Lunding caught the attention of Swedish music industry mogul Stikkan Anderson (the manager/songwriter/mastermind behind ABBA), who bought into label and signed a licensing agreement between Stranded and his own label, Polar Music. The following years were tumultuous for Anderson; ABBA officially dissolved in 1982, and in 1983, the elaborate and outrageously lucrative constellation of companies headed by Anderson, which he co-owned with the members of ABBA, was investigated for illegal activities including trafficking/selling oil on the black market and using ABBA records as currency with which to trade with the Soviet Union. By 1984, all members of ABBA had sold their shares in the companies to Anderson, making him the sole owner of what’s known as the “Polar Music Empire.” With his ABBA years now definitively behind him, Anderson went all-in on Stranded Rekords, buying the remaining share from Lunding and becoming sole owner of the company; Lunding stayed with the label as head of A&R and worked under Anderson for another year.
In 1985, after leaving Stranded/Polar Music, Lunding founded Mekano Records with friend Willard Ahdritz. Lunding shut down the label a year later to complete his mandatory military service, but he and Ahdritz teamed up together again in 1987 when Lunding, Ahdritz, and Gustav Hybbinette started Telegram Publishing. That same year, Lunding co-founded Telegram Records Stockholm as a joint venture with independent label Mistlur Records. In 1993, after Mistlur Records filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Peter Almberg, Lunding and Almberg sold the label to Warner Music Sweden; as a result of the sale, Lunding became A&R at Warner as well as continued to head A&R for the Telegram Records Stockholm. Three years later, MCA Music Publishing Sweden (led by Fredrik Ekander) acquired a 51% majority stake in in Telegram Publishing, leaving Lunding with a 49% stake. (MCA would later become Universal Music Group.)
Lunding ultimately left Telegram Records Stockholm/Warner Music Sweden in 1997, at which time he bought the majority stake in Isse Samie’s Gothenburg-based independent label Dolores Recordings and became the labels CEO. Lunding and Samie operated the label independently for two years—during which time they signed Broder Daniel and released their breakthrough album, Broder Daniel Forever—until 1999, when Lunding sold Dolores Recordings to Virgin Music Sweden/EMI Sweden and became the major label’s Deputy Managing Director. That same year, Lunding signed Håkan Hellström’s solo debut to Virgin/EMI, and following the album’s unprecedented success upon its release the following year in 2000, Lunding was promoted to Vice President and Head of A&R at Virgin Music Sweden. Lunding remained with Virgin Music Sweden through the end of the 2000s, ultimately rising to the position of General Manager.
In 2009, Lunding began building a media empire of his own under the name Telegram Studios. To begin with, Lunding, Samie, digital advertising entrepreneur Par Näsholm, and Schibsted CEO Sanji Tandan (formerly CEO of Warner Music Sweden) teamed up to purchase the Sweden book publishing arm of Norwegian media group Schibsted; the result is the formation of Telegram Bokförlaget [Telegram Book Publishing]. The following year, upon leaving Virgin/EMI and moving to Universal Music Sweden, Lunding, Samie, and Hellström formed Telegram Musikförlaget [Telegram Music Publishing] after Hellström bought out Universal’s stake in the company. In 2012, Telegram officially announced the formation of Telegram Studios, a “new kind of publishing house” led by Näsholm as CEO which would bring together Telegram Bokförlaget, Telegram Musikförlaget, and Stranded Rekords under one umbrella. They also announced the formation of Telegram Studios Ltd., a UK-based business that would be traded on the GXG Markets micro stock exchange.*
Two years later, Lunding, Samie, and Hellström left Universal and founded Woah Dad Records, an “independent” label under the Telegram Studios umbrella co-owned by the three men as well as Joel Borg and Niklas Lundell. The label was operational for three years, releasing artists such as Hellström, Henrik Berggren, and Bob Hund. More importantly, however, Woah Dad Records allowed Lunding and Telegram to acquire the catalogs of Broder Daniel and Hellström, which were being divested by Warner Music Group per an agreement between Warner and independent music companies association IMPALA (on which Ekander sits on the board). After Samie was ousted from the label during the #MeToo movement in 2017, Telegram pivoted the “Woah Dad” brand towards live events promotion, specifically in the hip-hop/pop sphere. The next year, in 2018, Lunding, Borg, and Lundell co-founded Woah Dad Live, an events promotion agency, under Telegram Studios. However, after a number of high-profile scandals, Lunding ended up selling Woah Dad Live (Borg and Lundell along with it) to German events/booking/promotion agency FKP Scorpio less than a year later. It is unclear what Lunding’s future plans with Telegram Studios are.
Lunding’s name appears on a leaked list of Elitlistan members from 2000. Elitlistan is a secret mailing list started by Alexander Bard in the early 1990s through which its members—powerful individuals in the media/entertainment/arts industries of Sweden (as well as politics, law, research, etc.)—exchange gossip, blackmail, and favors.
*GXG Markets was a micro stock exchange originally founded by Danish company Dansk Autoriset Markedsplads in 1998 and purchased by Swedish GXG Global Exchange Group in 2010. In the year that followed, GXG Markets faced severe funding issues, leading the owner to liquidate the company’s regulatory working capital to buy out the initial shareholders, and by the end of 2011, GXG Markets was sold to a new group of Swedish investors. The new investors retained the company’s CEO, Peter Almberg (previously co-owner of Telegram Records Stockholm with Lunding). At the time Telegram Studios Ltd. was registered and listed on the GXG Markets, Almberg was attempting to grow the working capital of the company by pushing for new listings to be made “with a basic ignorance of compliance screening.” GXG Markets was eventually shut down in 2014 and litigation is ongoing.
Lars Malmros is the former drummer of Broder Daniel and the trademark owner for the both the Broder Daniel logo and and the band’s name. He also has a child with Ebba Lindqvist.
Before joining Broder Daniel in 1994, Malmros was a member of short-lived Gothenburg band Planet Caravan, and following Broder Daniel’s disbandment in 2008, played briefly in Hästpojken (along with Joel Alme and Oscar Wallblom). Most recently, Malmros founded From the Belvedeer, a company through which he sells Broder Daniel merchandise. He also works as a teacher in music production at a high school in Borås.
Mattias Göransson is a journalist and publisher/co-founder/co-editor-in-chief of Magasinet Filter. He is also the co-founder of Filter’s sister and predecessor magazine, Offside, as well as a co-founder/co-owner of the company that owns the two publications, Offside Press.
Göransson has received numerous awards throughout his career, including Stora Journalistpriset, awarded by The Bonnier Group, in 2002 for his work with Offside. His reporting has, however, also faced grave criticism. For example, in 2015, Göransson published a piece in Filter which dismissed the Russian threat to Sweden as a “collective delusion” promulgated largely by DN Security Policy Reporter Mikael Holmström. After Göransson was nominated for Journalist of the Year by Sveriges Tidskrifter in 2016 (which he ended up winning), Holmström, incensed by the nomination, fired back at Göransson’s claims, which led to further back-and-forths between the two journalists with Göransson eventually conceding that there were some errors in his reporting. DN’s publisher/editor-in-chief responded with a piece in which he wrote: “Obvious facts are distorted, facts are selectively reported to fit Göransson’s theses, and anyone criticized is not given a chance to present their best arguments… This is a compromising error for Göransson, who raises questions about the credibility of his journalism as a whole.”
Norberg is a photographer and teacher based in Gothenburg.
Norberg first met Henrik Berggren and the other members of Broder Daniel when he was approached by Berggren to take the band’s first press photos; he was in photography school at the time. Since then, Norberg has been the closest and most consistent photographer of the band, documenting them from the beginning of their career through to their farewell show at Way Out West in 2008. His photos of Broder Daniel have been featured in numerous publications, the book When We Were Winning (released by Telegram Book Publishing in 2010 and again in 2015), Broder Daniel album art (most notably the cover of Broder Daniel Forever), and museums and galleries (including Gothenburg City Museum).
Norberg also documented the making of I’ll Be Gone beginning with the filmmakers’ first trip to Sweden in 2015.
Oscar Wallblom is a musician and founder/owner of Tamiami Records.
Wallblom began his music career in his teens as a self-appointed “volunteer roadie” for Broder Daniel before playing bass on Håkan Hellström’s solo demo in 1999. Since then, Wallblom has continued to play in Hellström’s band, as well as in side projects The Junior and Augustifamilijen (with other members of Hellström’s band).
In 2019, Wallblom founded Tamiami Records, an label—according to Wallblom—through which he could release his friends’ music. Their first release was Hästpojken’s Hästpojken är död [Hästpojken is Dead], for which Ebba Lindqvist handled PR and Pontus Sillrén (United Stage) handled booking. Wallblom is also on the board of his family business, Wallblomgruppen [The Wallblom Group], which owns, among other things, Mary Kay Cosmetics in the Nordic territories.
Paul Blomgren DoVan is a producer, cinematographer, and co-founder/former owner of Gothenburg Film Studios.
Blomgren DoVan and his co-owners sold GFS to Göta Film in 2016, however Blomgren DoVan has remained with the company under the title “producer.”
On September 3rd, 2020, Håkan Hellström releases a documentary about himself directed by Blomgren DoVan on P4 (Swedish TV) featuring footage from Hellström's 2016 NYC concerts, which was directed and produced by Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht and originally intended for I'll Be Gone.
Pontus Sillrén is a tour booker currently working part-time with United Stage.
Sillrén’s current artist roster includes Hästpojken and Bob Hund. Previously, he served as the booker and co-manager for Henrik Berggren from 2016 to 2019.
Sasha Hecht is a journalist, editor, and co-founder/co-owner of No Plus Ones Productions, as well as its parent company, The Monster Group. Hecht is also the producer/co-writer/co-editor of I’ll Be Gone, her first film.
Hecht was born and raised in New York City, where she attended The Dalton School and began working in music/media in her late teens. After spending a year at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, she dropped out of college at 19 and returned to New York in order to pursue an opportunity with VICE. During her years with VICE, Hecht served as the co-founding/managing editor of the media company’s music vertical Noisey, where, in addition to writing and editing, she helped develop a number of the brand’s tentpole video series and special projects. By the end of her tenure, she was also the music editor of VICE Magazine. Hecht left VICE in 2013 to join Complex Music as managing editor and later The Verge.
Hecht co-founded The Monster Group/No Plus Ones Productions with creative/business partner Amelia Trask in 2015 and worked in Artist/Entertainment Relations for Gibson Brands before devoting herself to I’ll Be Gone full-time in 2016.
Theodor “Theo” Jensen is musician, former member of Broder Daniel, tennis coach, and subject of I’ll Be Gone.
A classically-trained award-winning guitarist, Jensen first played in Jimi Hendrix cover band Little Wing with other future Broder Daniel members Håkan Hellström and Johan Neckvall while attending the same Gothenburg high school. Jensen later briefly played in the band Hellström started after leaving Broder Daniel the first time, Broder Påvel (aka Påvels), before replacing Daniel Gilbert in Broder Daniel on guitar in 1995.
In addition to, and on the side of, playing in Broder Daniel, Jensen has released music under his own name and with his band, The Plan. He has also been featured on Hellström and Berggren’s solo efforts and has played with both artists live, including as lead guitarist on Berggren’s solo tour.
Tobias Bauer is a musician, producer, sound engineer, photographer, graphic designer, Associate Producer of I’ll Be Gone, and Creative Director of The Monster Group.
Bauer previously worked in various creative capacities with a number of Luxury Records artists, including recording/producing Agent Blå’s releases before eventually joining the band himself in 2018 (prompting Ebba Lindqvist to resign from her role as the band’s publicist).
Bauer met I’ll Be Gone filmmakers Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht briefly in 2015 and again, more substantially, during their summer/fall 2016 production, at which point Trask and Hecht brought Bauer onto the project as Associate Producer. In addition to his work in film and music, Bauer is also a photographer and photojournalist and has had his work published in a variety of international publications. In 2019, Trask and Hecht named Bauer Creative Director of The Monster Group, the parent company of No Plus Ones Productions.