Meet Hawk Björn:  lover of vocal harmonies and catchy melodies

Happy in the studio

Hawk Björn

Lead vocalist and keyboard player for bounce the ocean

Passionate about negi miso ramen, sunshine, hefeweizen, hummingbirds, kimchee, the ocean, generosity and laughter. 

Unabashedly enthusiastic about kindness, empathy, understanding other perspectives, giving the benefit of the doubt, looking for the light in every situation.

Lover of harmonies like ELO, Jellyfish, 10cc, ABBA, BeeGees, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Eagles.  Ah and Arvo  Pärt!!

1965:  Growing up in the plateau-heeled shadows of ABBA in the land of birch trees and pickled herring, I listened to a lot of “European pop” like Motors, the Korgis, XTC, Alphaville, Elvis Costello, and many other great artists. I always loved harmony-laden pop music so 10cc and ELO were major favorites. I don’t think I could ever tire of listening to 10cc’s “Feel the Benefit” or Jeff Lynne’s “Twilight”’.  In addition to all that pop, I’ve always loved choral music and still to this day, have a major crush on reggae (Cedric Myton & the Congos, Bobby of course but also Burning Spear, Culture, the Gladiators, The Abyssinians, Jacob Miller – oh Jacob!!) and world music (Manu Chao).   

1980

Formed my first band, Stupid Enough, in Grillby (literally BBQ village) with my classmate Jocke Gunnarsson. We both sang lead vocals and played keyboards.  Jocke had a Korg electric piano and I had, even at that time, an ancient somewhat out of tune Hohner piano.  We wrote the songs together or individually. You could say we were a synth band without actual synths. We soon recruited Tobbe Andersson on bass guitar and Peter “Mattan” Mattsson on drums.   We rehearsed loud and proud at Mattan’s spare storage veranda with his mom providing snacks and compliments in between massive drums solos and long screechy vocal ad libs.  

Fun times with song titles like “How Come No One likes Our Songs” and Jocke’s sarcastic but earnest “Jag vill ha mindre reggae i radion” (“I want less reggae on the radio”). Of course I wanted more reggae on the radio. Jocke didn’t.  And as those ‘creative differences’ grew and festered :), coupled with the fact that we never did find a proper guitarist, our band sadly went separate ways in 1982.  Just in time for new adventures.  

1982: When I was seventeen, my life changed dramatically with the unexpected opportunity to study abroad in the USA.  So, in a blink of an eye, I went from a comfy “cradle-to-grave” egalitarian Swedish society to the unknown wild west, open skies and vast flowing wheat fields.  And boy was that exciting and liberating!

So this is where I began to write songs in earnest.  My host family had a grand piano (man, was I lucky) and I plucked away at it all the time. 

1984:  University.  So, Iver Iversen, god bless that man and his name!  Iver was a visiting Psychology Professor from Denmark who, I swear, owned the world’s first Dr. Rhythm drum machine.  Man, it was crappy and awesome, all at the same time.  We spent Christmas 1985 stuck up in the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla (a town so nice they named it twice)  in a snowed-in cabin, eating unfamiliar Japanese foods with chopsticks (which neither of us had ever used before), writing and recording music – songs with names like “Funky Angel” and “Children of Zion”.  Magical times!

1986.  Met my musical soul brother John Utter at the Fine Arts House at Whitman College because, well, he played electric guitar and had a very cool “echo box” and I impressed him simply because I owned a keyboard (Korg Poly-800).  We formed “4 Tomorrow”, played throughout our university years with TJ on bass (John Land) and Marc Pitre on drums. Lovely, beautiful people.  Most memorable?  Well, it has to be the Prom we played at the Catholic All-Girl High School and one of our very few cover songs:  George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex!”   The nuns chaperoning from the back walls were absolutely stunned and the girls were completely in giddy disbelief  (the song was banned on many radio stations in the US at the time).  What a glorious moment.

1988:  A phone call.  “Hi, I’m Rick Stevenson, a Hollywood movie producer working on a Robert Redford movie with Patrick Dempsey and Jennifer Connoly.  I heard your demo and I’d really like to include a few of your songs on the soundtrack!”   Eeeeeh…… I think we were floating for several weeks before realizing what this meant for our musical future.  “It Just Gets Better” and “Tonight Tonight” made it into the movie and changed the trajectory of our music career.

1990:  The record deal.  So many stories.   I’ll tell the long ones under Reflections.  For now, here’s the succinct version.  John and I created “bounce the ocean”, worked with some very talented producers and musicians, recorded our self-titled debut album, sold a bunch of albums, got a decent amount of radio airplay, landed a single on the Billboard chart, and spent most of the early 1990s worrying about being tanned, wearing record company approved clothing and hair-styles.  It was more than surreal.  But also a blast!  Unbeknownst to us, music lovers around the world fell in love with our songs.  Especially in Argentina where bounce the ocean still today is legendary and “Wasting My Time” is an anthem for millions.  How cool is that?

2011:  After a long break from music, I began writing again.  Life Insurance emerged.  The lyrics to this song happened in one go, in 5 minutes.  A year later, I sat down at the keyboard and the song played itself.  I realized then, that this is what I need to do.  And the full album came together including “All of My Life” which describes the contradiction of living my life away from my birthplace and family.  I wanted somehow to explain that, despite the distance, my dad and I were still growing closer.  “You belong to all of my life”.  

2022Oceans Together has arrived.  More songs, more heartfelt lyrics.  More popilious groove.  I’m immersed again. Listening.  Smiling.  It’s good! I have returned to my songs, pure and simple pop.  Harmonies and catchy melodies, passionate words. So glad you’ve come along for the ride!

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