My name is Johannes Norneby, mostly called johno, and I'm a musician / songwriter / producer who currently lives in Goteborg, Sweden.
I was born near Ulricehamn, Sweden in 1975, but emigrated to Alberta, Canada in 1977. Musically I started out at around the age of 11 when my dad (a slide guitarist / harmonica player / singer) bought a Yamaha electric piano.
My approach to piano to was completely by ear, I think I was mostly trying to emulate music from computer games, much to my mother's chagrin. My parents eventually sent me to a tiny local school (in Leduc, Alberta) called Lo-Kno-Pla (Love-Knowledge-Play) which utilized a very ear-centric approach with custom musical notation. I never really learned how to read sheet music, but I think Lo-Kno-Pla was really conducive to my interest in writing.
My family returned to Sweden again in 1989, and I immediately found that the whole "growing up abroad thing" had already really defined me as a person. There was a a lot of small town mentality / "you think you're so cool because you lived in the USA...?" going on (in Stenungsund), but I found that I didn't really care about that. I found that I was very able mentally and socially to just go off in my own direction. I was totally committed to exploring my own thing, and that was very pivotal when it came to music.
I tried to take lessons at "kommunala musikskolan" which was a total catastrophe. The teacher immediately figured out that I didn't have any real training, criticized my fingering and had me playing really basic classical stuff. It didn't interest me at all, and I completely stuck to my guns and my instinctive feeling that my playing and my music was indeed MINE.
Absolutely critical to my development as a musician and songwriter was my meeting (around Christmas of 1989) with Jonas Hornqvist and his brother Magnus (who was in my year at school) who had a local band (in Stenungsund) called Calilio. I landed the keyboardist spot in that band, and I remember the first few weeks as a completely crazy crash course in music theory, harmony, and scales. Jonas would literally rattle off all the chords, in order, in a given song right before we would play it, and my brain would totally overload trying to remember it all.
That situation just completely jump-started my awareness of "how music works". I remember coming home from one of the first rehearsals with the band and sitting for hours playing the sequence F#m/D, E/C# over and over again on my keyboard, completely blown away by the fact that you could CHANGE THE BASS underneath a chord...
1990 Simultaneously to my playing in Calilio my brother Valdemar started a punk band called Assmud together with a friend Adam. My brother was the singer, solely based on the fact that "he couldn't sing". I had by that time started playing guitar as well, and I begged and pleaded to be allowed to join the band. I was so completely provoked by the "serious musician" aspect of Calilio that I couldn't fathom the idea of being "allowed" to have your own band, but Assmud got me out of that mentality and my writing just completely exploded. I think it was very important to have a "fun" project where any kind of music was "allowed"; I started breaking all the rules of harmony and scales that I had learned in Calilio.
1991 I joined ThunderHoney, a hard rock band, as a bass player. I wrote some more. My parents wouldn't let me go to a musical highschool so I ended up going to a technical one instead. I revolted by joining more bands.
1992 I got a 4-track Fostex porta-studio and started recording my own songs like crazy. Awesome. I was so religiously committed to upkeep of this magical piece of equipment that I actually demagnetized the tape heads EVERY TIME I USED IT!
1993 Adam (the drummer from Assmud) and I started Heart Killer Team, a "techno band" that ended up playing funk-rock. I started singing lead. I wrote some more. We won the Rock of Bohuslan amateur category in early 1993.
1994 I got my heart broken and started writing pop and ballads. There was this whole "sappy songs that don't fit in a band context" thing going on.
1996 My brother Valdemar had started to play bass and write, while continuing to evolve as a singer, and started his own band Bullmoose. I was so inspired by being around another writer that I joined the band on the premise that I would be "just the guitarist". Of course I ended up writing as well, but the experience of having several writers in the same band was very inspiring.
I also sang on a demo of a friends grunge band Jolly Green Giant. At this point I had started being bothered by my apparent "lack of vocal range", and began experimenting with different ways of singing. I discovered what I called "the poop voice" which allowed me to increase my range, but it really didn't feel like a good idea in the long term.
I moved to Ronneby to become a software engineer, probably a very pivotal decision which led me slightly away from music (at least away from playing in bands). However I focused more and more on my singer-songwriter and pop writing. More frustration concerning my voice and my range.
1997 I quit school and took a job as a professional video game developer at Massive Entertainment. I did some of the very early sound design (SoundForge!) on the early prototypes before Ola Strandh took over.
1998 I collaborated with my colleague Orhan Karagoz on a "techno-meets-metal" song that was featured in the magazine Tekno. I wrote some more. I started to transition to using a computer for recording.
I moved to Lund and got involved with a bunch of political-ballad typ musicians. More pop writing. More frustration concerning my voice.
1999 I recorded, played guitar on, sang on, and produced Lina Ehn's album "Written In The Stars". Cakewalk 8!
I got involved in Teater Lukkan, an amateur musical crew, and played lead guitar in the orchestra. Fantastic fun!
2000 I co-wrote, recorded and produced "Basta Vanner", a musical for Teater Lukkans summer camp.
2001 I co-wrote, recorded and produced "Varje Drom", a musical for Teater Lukkans summer camp.
2002 I developed an indie computer game UfoPilot 2 : The Phadt Menace, and wrote a bunch of music for it.
2005 I recorded Funk Revival, a dust-off of a bunch of old Heart Killer Team stuff. Produced by Daniel Olsen and Tobias Carlsson.
I moved to Goteborg and decided it was time for a band again; I started the band UP based on the Funk Revival stuff.
2006 I discovered Ableton Live, the best music software ever created. I started getting serious about being able to actually mix and produce my own projects. I recorded "It's All Wrong" (yes I was sad).
2007 UP finally got to play at Sticky Fingers in Goteborg! Johnny Steel! Right after that the band fell apart and I got kind of discouraged with the whole concept of trying to keep a band together. My vocal limitations were completely bothering me again.
2008 Some friends and I happened to start Whiskey Sessions, a project that has gradually involved into a creative maelstrom. Still going strong after 5 years. The best thing that ever happened to me as a producer.
2009 I recorded and produced Bars e Livet with Per Stenbeck. Henrik Horlin did the awesome video. This is probably the most "successful" musical endeavour ever; we put it on Record Union and are still making money.I discovered Speech Level Singing, which in hindsight was actually kind of terrible, because it effectively killed my desire to sing. I discovered that my perceived "range limitations" were supposedly a function of bad technique and not a function of physical limitations.
I took lessons for almost a year before my teacher admitted that he didn't understand why I wasn't making progress and dumped me. I have bounced around from teacher to teacher since then, about once a year trying to muster the energy to try to "fix" my voice. Sadly this has really affected me VERY negatively, and I rarely sing at all anymore. I'm "stuck in chest voice". Work in progress...
I developed UfoPilot : Astro-Creeps Elite, writing and producing all the music (no singing) and doing all the sound design.
2012 nornware AB re-released Bloom, touching up some of the original music. No singing.
2015 I have been doing some special case writing for my game Space Beast Terror Fright (a procedural music system), but basically no singing going on. I got wind of Complete Vocal Institute, and have been to the institute as a "test singer" on two separate occasions. It is completely obvious that it is technically possible to sing the things that I want, and I am hoping that CVT might help me overcome my problems. I have found a teacher and will be going for my second lesson soon, but I probably ultimately want to attend the CVI Vocal Academy as soon as possible.
I obviously need to start singing again. I need help with that.
Since working at NTI-Gymnasiet in Goteborg I found that I really enjoy teaching, and have started thinking a lot about somehow getting into some kind of music-related teaching. I'm thinking one or more of the following:
Seriously, disregarding the intake of alcohol, I think that the Whiskey Sessions creative format would be very interesting to do with students. Write, record and (perhaps) produce a song within a time limit. We have found it to be EXTREMELY conducive to musical development.