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Broder Daniel doc announced, Kickstarter launched (watch the trailer)

Broder Daniel I'll Be Gone
Henrik Berggren with filmmakers Amelia Trash & Sasha Hecht (photo by Martin Norberg)

Swedish alt-rockers Broder Daniel were around from 1989 to 2008 — their career was cut short by the death of guitarist Anders Göthberg — and though they never got big in the U.S., they were basically stars in their home country. (Former bassist/drummer Håkan Hellström also went on to be a still-active pop star as a solo artist.) They influenced lots of Swedish bands to come (like Makthaverskan), and while they also often wore their own influences on their sleeves (like The Smiths), they were a little ahead of their time. You could’ve imagined songs like 1998 single “I’ll Be Gone” getting huge in the U.S. during the post-punk revival that happened a few years later.

At the forefront of the group was now-elusive frontman Henrik Berggren, whose unhinged performances and passionate lyrics are what most of the band’s huge fans latched on to (and they have very huge fans — a whole subculture of them — called Pandas). Henrik and Broder Daniel in general are subject of a new documentary, I’ll Be Gone: The True Story of Broder Daniel, made by American filmmakers Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht, who both started out in the music industry (Amelia had her own music publicity firm, which used to work with Makthaverskan, and Sasha wrote for Noisey). They traveled to Sweden multiple times and conducted interviews with Henrik, other members of Broder Daniel, other members of the ’90s Swedish indie rock scene, Makthaverskan, Pandas, and more. They’re currently raising money on Kickstarter to help fund the film, and here’s an excerpt from the synopsis and more on Henrik:

Blurred by decades of public controversy and media hype, an underground music community in Sweden attempts to unravel the legend of local rock band Broder Daniel through first-hand accounts of fans, artists, friends, and the elusive man at the center of the phenomenon, Henrik Berggren. As the community’s own version of events begins to diverge from the public story, the line between fact and legend becomes increasingly unreliable.

Henrik Berggren is Sweden’s most controversial rockstar. An iconic cultural figure in the vein of Kurt Cobain or Morrissey, Henrik rose to prominence as a teenager in the early 1990’s when, following the commercial success of Nirvana and similar artists overseas, his band, Broder Daniel, was signed to a major label and became Sweden’s first indie-to-mainstream rock act.

Over their almost 20-year career, Broder Daniel’s public image was marred by substance abuse, brushes with the law, and a mutually hostile relationship with the media establishment. In spite of this (or, perhaps, as a result of this), the band found a vast and devoted fanbase in Sweden’s youth counterculture, which developed into a subculture of its own: “pandapoppare.”

Broder Daniel played their farewell show in 2008, five years after the release of their final album and three months after the shocking suicide of the band’s long-time guitarist.

At the time of this production, little had been seen or heard from Henrik, and his whereabouts were unknown.

You can watch the trailer below, and you can donate to the project and read more about it here.

Also fun fact: members of Broder Daniel (including Anders and Håkan) also played in ’90s band Honey Is Cool, which was fronted by Karin Dreijer, who went on to form The Knife and Fever Ray.

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