The Cheiron All Stars

Inside the hit factory

Sharing with you another vignette about Denniz Pop – an excerpt from Journalist and Author John Seabrook’s book “The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory”. Find the first part, “Ah, Mr Pop”, here.

By 1995 Denniz had recruited a number of young Swedish writers and producers to the Cheiron hit-making team. They included Kristian “Krille” Lundin, who had taught himself how to be a producer by reverse-engineering songs he liked. He joined the rest of the core group: Andreas Carlsson, Herbie Crichlow, Jake Schultz, David Kreuger, Per Magnusson, Jörgen Elofsson, John Amatiello, and Martin Sandberg.

A strong part of Denniz’s vision for the studio was that songwriting should be a collaborative effort; no one was supposed to be proprietary about his work. Songwriters would be assigned different parts of a song to work on; choruses would be taken from one song and tried in another; a bridge might be swapped out, or a hook. Songs were written more like television shows, by teams of writers who willingly shared credit with one another.

The Swedish artist E-Type (Bo Martin Erik Eriksson) recalled, “I get this feeling of a big painter’s studio in Italy back in the 1400s or 1500s.” In a STV documentary, The Nineties, he told producer Jens von Reis, “One assistant does the hands, another does the feet, and another does something else, and then Michelangelo walks in and says, ‘That’s really great, just turn it slightly. Now it’s good, put it in a golden frame and out with it. Next!’ ”

In assembling his team, Denniz PoP sought out proteges with different skill sets. E-Type said, “I mean, I had been around to a bunch of different record studios and everyone said, ‘You’re nuts, what would we do with you . . . ? You’re not good-looking, you can’t sing, and you write really strange songs.’ Dagge told me the opposite: ‘How fun that you look so odd, and sound so strange, and make music that I believe could become something in the future.’”

Andreas Carlsson was a gifted lyricist. Lundin had excellent technical skills. Jörgen Elofsson was adept at flowing melodies, while Rami Yacoub, a later Cheiron recruit, made sick beats. But of all the talents Denniz gathered around him, no one could match the genius for crafting melodies that fit both dance tracks and ballads possessed by the babyfaced, long-haired metalhead named Karl Martin Sandberg.

John Seabrook

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