Paul O'Mahony · 29 Jan 2007, 18:37
Published: 29 Jan 2007 18:37 GMT+01:00
Who is he and why is he famous?
E-type is the Viking chief of Swedish Eurodance. Ever since his career took off in the early 1990s his name has been synonymous with the genre.
What on earth is Eurodance?
Eurodance is the musical style that gave us tasteful modern classics such as 2 Unlimited's 'No limits', Vengaboys' 'Boom Boom Boom Boom' and Haddaway's 'What is Love'. Remember them?
Will I ever forget!?
Anyway, E-type belongs to that fine school. His music follows the typical Eurodance formula of synthesizer music built up to a dancefloor crescendo, accompanied by his own voice, half man half machine, and a chorus sung by a soulful female.
Who's the woman?
Her name is Nana Hedin and she has a powerful voice. But much of E-type's success in the 1990s was built on Hedin's on-stage stand-in, indefatigable dancer Dilnarin "Dee" Demirbag.
What was so great about Dee? Did she have a fantastic voice too?
No, Dee just mimed the bits where Nana used to be.
So why did E-type hire her?
Coming as he does from a heavy metal background, E-type has always been fond of pyrotechnics and high energy live performances. And there can be few people in the known universe to match Dee in the energy department.
Often clad in little more than a push-up bra and a loincloth, her flamboyant contortions and gyrations were a recipe for cardiac arrest - at least among members of the audience. She on the other hand hardly felt the need to draw breath, a bit like a Duracell bunny in female form.
Right, duly filed. But what about the name E-type? Where did that come from? Is he keen on amphetamines? Or a big fan of Jaguars maybe?
Well, he did have a single called 'The Predator'?
No no, the car I mean, not the animal.
Oh right. No, his name has nothing to do with cars or cats. Or pills for that matter. It comes from his time in compulsory military service. His real name is Martin Eriksson and, Sweden being what it is, there were tons of other little Erikssons running around with guns.
For the sake of differentiation, somebody referred to Martin as "den där e-typen" (that e-fellow). One rough translation later and an artist name was born.
It's hardly a name that has echoed around the world though. How well known is he in Sweden?
Everybody knows E-type. He is as much a part of the culture as flat-pack furniture and liquorice ice-cream. With Max Martin as one of his producers he was bound to make a splash.
Max Martin? Isn't that he of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Ace of Base fame?
Yes, the very chap.
Oh dear. Seldom has there existed an arbiter of such poor taste. If E-type belongs to that stable I hope they bolt the door and never let him back into the paddock.
That's your opinion.
Shared by millions of others I would imagine.
Well, the mayor of Stockholm isn't one of them. She has just appointed E-type to the city's 'Beauty Council', a body charged with preserving the unique aesthetic profile of the nation's capital.
And what, pray tell, would anybody who measures time in terms of beats per minute know about aesthetic matters?
That is precisely the question on the lips of the city's intelligentsia. After much initial laughter, stroking of beards and scratching of heads the cold hard fact remains: Martin 'E-type' Eriksson is a man whose taste now counts.
So can we expect the facades of all public buildings to soon sport the sort of green glowsticks waved about by feckless ravers? Are all unused warehouses to be commandeered for raves? Where is it all going to end?
Vikings and skyscrapers is the short answer. E-Type is fond of both. He wants to create some sort of Viking village in the heart of Stockholm, and he wants to build upwards rather than outwards. The Beauty Council has traditionally opposed skyscrapers but the dashing dance guru with the flowing mane would like to be an agent of change.
What gives him any authority to make these kind of decisions anyway?
His dad, Bo Eriksson, presented 'World of Science'. They're no dunces, the Erikssons. And E-type really knows his onions when it comes to the Vikings. He has even written a kids' book set in the Viking era. It's probably a good thing he wasn't inclined to stay with the army come to think of it. Otherwise Britain and Ireland might need to get worried all over again.
Oh absolutely, keep him to beauty. Wars waged by old headbangers can tend to get ugly.
Yes, if he hadn't let himself be distracted by Dee the dancer he could be prime minister by now and then we'd be in real trouble.
When Dee came along with her awe-inspiring dance performances E-type's success was more or less assured. Had things turned out differently he might have tried to rekindle the flame he is once said to have held for 'first lady' Filippa Reinfeldt.
What? Were they an item?
E-type claims that he and the woman now married to Sweden's head honcho only held hands on the way to a school dance. But who knows what might have happened if Martin and Filippa had really hit it off? Perhaps Prime Minister E-type would now be standing at the docks, sending Sweden's party people off across the North Sea in fleets of longships to reconquer the island lands of western Europe. From Lindisfarne to Land's End the loved-up neo-Vikings would rave, pillage and wave glowsticks at the terrified natives.
Wait a second. Isn't Sweden neutral?
It is. But objective neutrality would go the way of the dodo with E-type in charge. Consider the words of his hit song 'Campione 2000': "We're going all the way now. Full attack, no turning back". Fighting words, I think you'll agree.
Goodness, yes. So that song was all about Viking warfare?
No, it was a football song, but still...