The dream life behind the drum set

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

She has traveled the world, is on stage with some of Sweden’s greatest artists and is living her dream. Jonna Löfgren plays drums. That’s her job.

The soon-to-be 7-year-old Jonna Löfgren thought she would get new winter shoes. With three siblings, it was not usual so she was extremely excited when she had to get in the car herself with dad and go to Luleå. But new shoes were nothing compared to what was really going to happen. Because instead of the shoe store, he took her to a basement store, showed her a drum kit and asked if she wanted it.

– Yes!

There and then Jonna’s musical career began. Today she is 30, plays drums in Glasvegas and has been involved in adventures she could not even dream of. She has nailed gigs on “The Late Show”, played on stages around the world for millions of fans where some have become friends, hung backstage with U2 and lived with a tribe in Ecuador’s rainforest to record a documentary. And much more.

– I’m so grateful to have been a part of such crazy things.

Started as a joke

The year was 2010. The band was just about to release a new record and quickly needed a new band member for the upcoming tour.

– It started as a joke. Rab, guitarist in the band, is said to have said “I want a Swedish girl drummer”, but he is such that you never know if he is joking. There was a girl from the record company in the room who took it seriously, says Jonna.

She contacted Sony Sweden, which in turn contacted a guy who was a guest teacher at the Academy of Music in Piteå and asked if he had an idea. He had it.

– I got a shock, became completely shaken and started crying. I was very stressed but I knew I had to do it, there was nothing else. And I’m very happy about that.

She filmed herself behind the drum set with her mobile phone that evening and a month later she lived in a hotel in Glasgow. This spring it is ten years since Glasvegas released their debut album that took the band to the top of the charts. It should of course be celebrated.

– We will play an anniversary gig in Stockholm on 13 June. We long for it!

In recent years, the gigs with the band have become fewer and Jonna also has time to freelance and play in different constellations in Sweden. She has played with Anna Ternheim and The Magnettes, continues to gig with Hurula this spring and this summer there will be 24 gigs in two months with Lars Winnerbäck.

– But every time I play I think: “Shit, I love this!”. The uncertainty of not knowing if the next job is coming has always been worth it.

That she is lucky enough to play music she likes also makes her feel that she is good at what she does.

– There are many I look up to, but I am the best in the world at being part of Glasvegas, she says.

Aiming for the stars

The latest project is a new band with Simon Zion and Olov Domeij. They have recorded a handful of songs in the pop-rock genre with vocals.

– We’ll see what happens to it, but we aim high – at world domination, Jonna says half jokingly.

Jonna lives in Stockholm but she comes home to Boden at regularly to meet the family.

– What I appreciate the most is meeting the family. Now we have had great weather and sat and sunbathed in the snow, it is super exotic in Glasgow. And then the midnight sun. You go home from the pub and then the sun shines in the face, it’s so sick.

She also occasionally returns to Musikgymnasiet, which has meant a lot to her own musical development, now as a lecturer and role model.

– I tell about my path and am actually excited over myself, have I been a part of this saga? It’s totally sick that it even happens

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