I met Daniel Bellqvist and Frederik Zäll from Eskobar in a café at Mariatorget, Stockholm, a few days ago to talk about the upcoming tour as guest artist during Roxette’s XXX Anniversary tour in Europe, the band in general, creativity, upcoming projects and more. To find out more about the band and follow them on tour check their Facebook page. I have also prepared a playlist on Spotify (check at the end of the interview) with some of their hits so you can start learning the lyrics. First stop will be Madrid.
Judith (J): Thank you very much for taking some time for this interview. I know you are quite busy. So how are you?
Daniel (D): Lots of preparations before the tour, finishing up some things. We did a small tour in Denmark in March, we were just three of us, Frederik – who plays about 1000 intruments – , a drummer and me. We liked the setting so much, we decided to record an album in that setting to sell during the tour. So we recorded it some days ago, now we are finishing it. And we are trying to find something to travel in during the tour where we can all fit in.
J: That sounds like a lot of planning. Let’s start from the beginning in order to present the band to the Roxette fans. When did you start as Eskobar?
D: We released our first album in 2000, but we had played together many years before, six maybe?
Frederik (F): Yes, at least 6 years. I had a strange grunge band back then, and I needed a bass player for one show, I knew Daniel could play the bass, so I asked him to play in my band. And in return Daniel asked me to play guitar in his band, so we started helping each other, and one day we just decided to work in a band together. We have been brothers in arms since then.
D: Yeah! We went to the same music class in school, that’s how we knew each other in first place.
J: How did you choose your band name? Some Spanish fans have been wondering if it is related to the Spanish singer Manolo Escobar.
D: When we got our first record deal with V2 records we didn’t have a name for the band. We were so focused on music that we didn’t care that much about the name. Our first record deal doesn’t even mention the name of the band but just the names of the three of us who formed the band back then, Frederik, Robert and me. So we asked around for suggestions for the name, and the manager of another American band suggested Eskobar, we liked it and we said ok.
F: I think it was a few days before the first single was about to be printed, so the record company told us we really have to put a band name on it, and we were like “but it’s just about the music!” but well, in the end we found a name that we love.
J: So no connection to Manolo Escobar…
D: No, not directly at least.
F: We don’t know where the American guy got it from, I think it’s a typical surname.
D: We know Manolo Escobar, and he has this one song “Porompompero” that was translated into Swedish and sung by the Dutch-Swedish singer Cornelis Vreeswijk, it’s an amazing song and we had listened to it a lot, but we didn’t know it wasn’t his original song. So when we found out that it was Manolo Escobar’s song, we thought it was funny, like there is a connection between our name and the song that we like so much.
F: Indeed, I remember we used to sing this song on the tour bus even, so it’s a fun connection.
J: How did you start making music?
F: I started playing classical piano when I was five or so, I think I read music sheets before I could read, so I was really early in that, then I learnt to play saxophone, guitar, everything felt easy to learn and it was fun. I also didn’t think of starting a band back then, I just wanted to play. It was when we started high school that I thought, hey, we could actually start a band!.
D: Sort of the same for me, my grandfather was a folk musician, he always had lots of instruments around, he could play everything, like him (pointing at Frederik). The first instrument I started to play was drums, then bass, guitar.