“The music business is open-minded, you can be yourself and look any way you want as long as you can deliver. It’s fun in general, and you’re involved in products that matter to people and affect people’s lives. What more can you ask for?”
After a short career as an artist, Eric Hasselqvist decided to change to the other side of desk and contacted the two companies he considered the best at the time: EMI and Sonet. To his surprise, they both hired him on the same day. When he turned down EMI that evening, their MD said, “How the hell can you say no to this job? So it’s Sonet? Well then it’s ok, that’s the only competitor I respect.” Indie label Sonet was then bought by Polygram, and Ola Håkansson made Eric the first employee and co-owner at his start-up label Stockholm Records. It was during the time of the 10-year long golden era of Swedish pop in the 90’s, with Cheiron, Stockholm Records, and the music channel ZTV all becoming successful in their own ways, with lots of new writers, artists, and video directors breaking through. Eric is proud to have been a part of that era, as well the Ten Music Group, an independent music company which he’s part of today. “Then it was the Cardigans and A Teens, today it’s Zara Larsson and Icona Pop,” says Eric. “Very much the same actually. But the difference is that we have so many more world-class songwriters and producers today, it’s incredible for such a small country.”
Any advice for others who aspire to do what you do?
-I think the key thing is to find the right people to work with. People you can trust and learn from. The importance of being in the right environment cannot be overstated. Trust your own gut feeling when it comes to other people and companies. Be skeptical towards people who talk too much and claim to know it all. Common sense really.