Moahni Moahna - Why

Moahni Moahna Why cover
Moahni Moahna
Rising Sun Records
Let’s go back in 1997 when an unknown group with a really strange name, releases an album with the simple title “Why”. This group had released only one more CD (“Temple of Life”) but almost nobody paid the appropriate attention to the group. Their “Why” album almost had the same luck, because few people did understand the meaning of this CD.
Anyone of you, who is reading this review and has listened to this album, knows that I am in a very difficult situation because this record cannot be described at all! The group’s main influences are: power metal, classical music, pop rhythms, rock ‘n’ roll (because of the piano rhythms) and even musical/theater in the way the vocalist sings and the other instruments follow! All tracks give  the listener a feeling of joy and you will catch yourself smiling after some songs without knowing… “Why”. The lyrics are very smart and have a great sense of humor. Read some titles to understand what I’m talking about: “Radio’s To Blame”, “They Were Never Even Meant to Be” and “Don’t Try This at Home”! (an incredible instrumental song)
The group is extremely open minded and if you are not convinced, let me tell you that they have made a cover of the famous track “King Kong Song” by Abba in this album. Do you know many groups who would dare do something like that? And if I haven’t convinced you yet, I must tell you that these guys were planning to release, a Frank’s Sinatra cover for the song “Love And Marriage” on their upcoming album! (Yes, the soundtrack of the legendary TV series starring Al Bundy the great!).
Let’s return to present time, where this special group does not exist anymore, since no one has heard anything from the band for many years. I don’t think that we will ever hear something new from the group as I think that they came from another star system just to offer us this perfect and weird album… “Why” did you have to go so early?
Reading the above review that my pal & former GR editor Velis had written for Grande Rock version 1 back in the day, I think he wasn’t exaggerating at all. Almost 15 years have passed since the day this album saw the light of day and I still can listen to it like it was released yesterday. It’s fresh, innovative, progressive (with the actual meaning of the term), original, creative & inspired! Surely, way ahead its age & time… quite complex, sophisticated, stylish and non-ordinary for the average listener. Well, factors such as these might make an album a best seller, but it’s the music quality & its sophisticated side that lend a hand so as to make it through the time and become a classic eventually.
Some are still trying to get this album nowadays, but I do not know how easy that is any more… or how much it costs if you find it on eBay for instance. What I do know, is that you should grab it whenever and wherever you find it without any second thoughts. It may have been a strange & bizarre release but its musical depth, its complexity & its peculiar melodies will reward you at long last. A band with a very eccentric name gave us a “challenging” but refined album to grasp at it… Do you dare?  
We caught up with the guitarist/composer/producer Henrik Flyman so as to ask him about Moahni Moahna and learn how things were back in the day… 
Hi Henrik… what a “weird coincidence” to find you in the studio working with Martin Haggstrom, the singer of Moahni Moahna. What are you up to?
H: Yeah, that’s quite a coincidence indeed. It’s not often we make music together these days. To make a long story short; this is a song that was originally written for the second ZooL album. Unfortunately, it was never released before the band was put to sleep. We recently decided to re-record it and put it out as a digital single on Dark Minstrel Music. We thought it was too good not to be heard. It’s been described as a movie hard rock sound track with a touch of Beatles. (i.n.: I can’t wait to hear it…)
Will there be any new Moahni Moahna out or are you preparing a new project?
H: There are no plans for more Moahni Moahna. We are all busy with other stuff these days. I have my own band, Evil Masquerade, since 9 years and 5 albums out. Many of the old Moahni Moahna fans are following us and of course a whole bunch of newcomers. Just as with Moahni Moahna we are doing whatever we feel like and all albums are unique in their own way. Tommy has joined the band Corroded and Martin has his focus set on a solo career as singer, entertainer and vaudeville artist.
As I have told you we have chosen “Why” for the Hall of Fame. So, I’d like to know a few things about that “strange” last Moahni Moahna album. Firstly, how did you decide to change your style in comparison to your debut album?
H: Hall of Fame, wow, that’s quite an honor. Thanks. We never decided to change style. We just followed our hearts and wrote the music we felt like doing at the time. In my opinion that’s how music should be created. Nothing wrong with trying to follow trends as some people do, but I never felt comfortable doing that. (i.n.: You’re welcome dude… you totally deserve it!)
What music direction did you have in mind to go to while you were writing songs for “Why”? Did you accomplish what you had in mind in the end?
H: We wrote completely aimlessly. No restrictions, no rules. It’s much more fun that way. Yes, we were happy about the outcome and I’m still pleased with it. It’s a very entertaining little affair.
What was the label’s reaction when they listened to “Why”? Were they scared to put it out?
H: Actually we didn’t get much reaction to it at all from the labels. They just released it. I have no idea how well it did, because most sales reports and royalties were kept from us by the labels.
I remember that most of the press-fans actions about the album were positive back in the day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the album’s sales were satisfactory. Probably, “Why” was ahead of its age, huh? I do not know if, even today, people would keep up with such music work.
H: I think “Why” is such an album that is appreciated by a limited group of dedicated music lovers, but is very unlikely to catch on to a broader audience because of its experimental nature. People like to label music and this album is pretty hard to do that with. I don’t think it would have made a big difference if it was released today instead of 1996. The music is timeless and the reactions would probably have been very similar. (i.n.: More or less that’s a fair point of view… although I need to believe otherwise…)
Why did Moahni Moahna’s career end after the release of “Why”? What things led to that ending?
H: We had experienced too many business related problems which made it very difficult to continue and be happy about it. At this time we were also growing apart as a band and personal priorities made us follow different paths.
Do you believe that you should have gone further with Moahni Moahna and disbanding was a mistake?
H: Moahni Moahna could have gone really far if circumstances beyond our control had been better. But as reality presented itself at the time, I don’t think it was a mistake to abandon the band. It wasn’t fun anymore.
Did Tommy, Martin & you know what you had been holding in your hands? Had you thought that “Why” could have become a future classic under the tag “strange/madcap/prog-metal/theatrical/hard rock/symphonic music”?
H: Yes, we knew it was a great album. One thing we still have in common is that we always pour all our heart and soul into the stuff we do. I am convinced that every album I have done is really good. You can never predict if an album is going to be a future classic when you make it, but experience tells me that the chances for artistic success are much greater if you ignore what’s going on around you at the moment. Trends have a tradition of dying eventually. (i.n.: That’s so true…)
What do you three think about “Why” now?
H: Somewhat nostalgic and a lot of fun.
Were you to describe “Why” in a few words what would you say?
H: This is how music sounds if you don’t give a damn, before the internet existed and in the middle of the grunge-era. (i.n.: Spot-on dude! Hehe!)
Are there any regrets about that era? Were you wrong in taking some decisions that affected your course afterwards?
H: No regrets. It’s of course easy to be wiser after the event, but that’s not how reality works. When we were in the middle of it all, and with the knowledge and experience we had at the time – I don’t think we could have done it much differently. It was very educational. To learn by doing is the only way to go. I choose to be happy for the knowledge I gain along the way instead of being disappointed that I didn’t know it before.
Finally, I’ve written: …“Why” is fresh, innovative, progressive (with the actual meaning of the term), original, creative & inspired! Surely, way ahead its age & time… quite complex, sophisticated, stylish and non-ordinary for the average listener…”. What do you think about it?
H: Spot on.
Are there any fans (like myself) talking about Moahni Moahna today? Are there any thoughts of re-uniting with the guys?
H: Yes, there are quite a few fans still following the music I do today that have been around since the early Moahni Moahna days. They still seem to enjoy not knowing what will happen next - and yes, we are occasionally compared to my old band. I’m still in touch with the other two, but as I said... there are no plans of uniting the band. My band today is Evil Masquerade and I’m very happy for that.
I think we’re done Henrik. Please tell us what your next steps are and close this interview the way you want… Thx you for the music! Take care!
H: Thank you for doing me the honor. Next on the agenda is to make the 6th Evil Masquerade album and to play more live. Right now I’m writing aimlessly and I won’t start sorting the material until I have much more, so at the moment it can go anywhere it wants. I hope to see you around. (i.n.: Wish you the best for the future Henrik…)

Henrik Flyman - Guitar, Bass, Keys
Tommy Rehn - Guitar, Bass, Keys
Martin Haggstrom - Vocals


01. Tales of Xet Sof (3:12)
02. They Were Never Even Meant to Be (4:02)
03. King Kong Song (2:53)
04. The Melter of Ice (4:12)
05. Radio’s to Blame (3:31)
06. Don’t Try This at Home! (4:27)
07. The Past (4:05)
08. Bring Us Back (2:53)
09. I Lost It All (3:01)
10. Angtoria (9:08)
11. Why (0:42)