FormationIn 1990 Joakim Berg and Martin Sköld met at school in Eskilstuna and decided they wanted to make a band together. Shortly after, friend Sami Sirviö (guitar), who had previously made up a band with Joakim called "Coca Cola Kids", joined, followed by Markus Mustonen (drums) and Thomas Bergqvist (keyboards).
At first calling themselves Jones & Giftet (translates to Jones and poison), the band started playing gigs together and in 1991 won the prestigious contest Cult 91 at the Skylight in Eskilstuna. The band later fired Thomas Bergqvist and was joined by Martin Roos (guitar).
In late 1992 the band changed their name to Havsänglar which means sea angels in English. But in 1993, after the band members all moved to Stockholm to be closer to the heart of the Swedish music scene, the band eventually settled on the name Kent, an out of fashion male name in Sweden. The quintet created a 10 track demo and after the demo was heard by BMG, the company signed a record deal with Kent on 26 June 1994.
KentKent began work on their debut album and on 15 March 1995, the album "Kent" was released. The album was distorted and not very similar to the sound Kent would later evolve. "Kent" did not find much popularity. Although four singles were released, none were particularly successful with "Frank" being the nearest to a hit. After touring heavily in support of the album, Martin Roos left the band and was replaced, at first temporarily, by Harri Mänty. Harry would soon become an official member and Martin Roos became the band's manager.
VerkligenExactly one year after their first album, on 15 March 1996 the band released their follow up Verkligen (Really). This time the album was spearheaded by the hit single Kräm (Cream) and Verkligen topped the Swedish album charts for weeks. Also the album had taken on a somewhat different musical direction to their last. Some songs were more slow and melancholic, with less distortion. Following the success of Verkligen, Kent toured to sold out concerts and in early 1997 they won awards including a Rockbjörnen award for Swedish album of the year.
IsolaOn 1997 Kent released their third album, entitled Isola (meaning island in Italian) and again Kent had a number one album on the Swedish charts. Isola followed the musical direction begun by Verkligen with more melancholic ballads, including the epic album closer "747", now widely regarded as one of Kent's greatest songs. This style of slow guitar rock drew the band many comparisons to Radiohead. Again, the album won Kent a string of awards and Isola became even more of a success than Verkligen, gaining them some recognition in surrounding countries.
Deciding to further push for recognition abroad, the band released an English version of Isola on 27 April 1998. After US radio stations began playing the first single "If You Were Here", the English version of Isola was also released in the USA and Kent toured the USA with The Cardigans. Initially the english version was not going to be released in Sweden but public demand was too great. However the English version ended up selling poorly outside of Scandinavia.
Hagnesta HillIn November 1999 the new single "Musik Non Stop" from the band's upcoming album was released and went straight to number one. Kent had again made changes to their musical style, with Musik Non Stop being a radio friendly disco-pop song for which comparisons to Radiohead could just no longer be made. The fourth album, Hagnesta Hill, was released 6 December 1999 and of course went straight to number one in Sweden, and of course won Kent many more awards. The electronica musical direction of Music Non Stop was continued on some songs with the album being a balance of slow ballads and faster pop songs.
Again Kent released an English version of Hagnesta Hill to Europe in 2000. But a lack of interest in the USA led Kent to cancel plans to release the album there.
B-Sidor 95-00Over the course of the last four albums, Kent had created a great number of B-Sides and the band wanted to make these songs easily accessible to their fans. This led to the release of B-Sidor 95-00 on 29 November 2000, a compilation of the B-Sides from the band's past singles. Also featured were two new recordings of previous songs, Rödljus and En Helt Ny Karriär, and two new songs, Spökstad and Chans. The latter song was released as the single for the compilation. The production on the two new songs leaned more towards pop than melancholic rock and this was to be a telling sign for the direction of the band's next album.
Vapen Och AmmunitionThe band took most of 2001 off and then on 15 April 2002 the fifth album, "Vapen Och Ammunition" (Guns and ammunition) was released. Kent had stated that they tried to make it an album of ten potential hit singles and this effort was evident in the finished product, with their sound even further evolved towards commercial pop. No doubt helped by this new musical style, the album's three singles all went to number one and Vapen Och Ammunition sold over 500 000 copies, becoming Kent's most successful album so far and earning the band a slew of awards, including seven Swedish grammies, a new record.
However, although there had been plans to again release an English version, the band scrapped the idea and decided to give up on their international push and instead focus on the Nordic countries. In August 2003, Kent signed a contract with their record company to record four more albums.
Du Och Jag DödenAgain the band took an extended break and then returned on March 15 2005 with the album Du Och Jag Döden (You and I Death). Wrapped in an overall darker atmosphere, this time the album's sound was a balance of the pop production from Vapen Och Ammunition, heavier rock songs from earlier in their career (eg 400 Slag), and ballads from their mid years, notably "Mannen I Den Vita Hatten (16 Ar Senare)", an epic creation of such brilliance as to rival 747. Once more, the singles were very well received and of course awards again rained down on Kent for the album.
The Hjärta Och Smärta EPKent surprised fans with the announcement of an EP which was released November 2005 and was called The Hjärta Och Smärta EP. The EP contained five songs and became another success for Kent, going to number one in the Swedish charts.
On 21 June 2006 the band released a single "Nålens öga" (Needle's eye) which was recorded for a documentary on child abuse.
Tillbaka Till SamtidenIn late 2006, Kent announced that they had been working on an album for release in late 2007.
About two weeks after this it was announced that Harri Mänty had left the band due to lack of motivation. Kent and Harry remained friends, and Joakim and the band put on a brave face:
"The rest of us are back where we started...Before the first record, before Martin Roos joined. Before Verkligen. We are even tighter now. The songs me and Martin have written are definitely the best we have ever done. The band is more important to us than it has ever been. There are NO excuses to do something half hearted. There are NO excuses to do bad music. There are NO excuses not to do the best album ever."
On 18 July 2007 a release date of 17 October and an album title of "Tillbaka Till Samtiden" (Back to contemporary) was announced by the band and Joakim stated that the album contained their best material yet. They also announced the dates of a November/December Nordic tour.
Then on 16 August 2007 it was revealed that the new single would be released exactly one month before the album on 17 September and would be called "Ingenting" (Nothing).