We got hold of Per Gessle during the rehearsals for the coming Roxette performance at Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling’s wedding this Friday and Saturday and asked him about the new Roxette album, the upcoming tour and Per’s online activity. Here is the interview!
RoxetteBlog.com: We would like to start with questions about the recordings. How does the production of a Roxette album compare to an English solo album – apart from Marie’s input? Does it take longer to record and prepare? Do you have a bigger focus on commerciality? Do you get special requests from EMI or do you only show the finished product?
Per Gessle: Every record I’m involved with gets basically the same preparation. I’m sure it has a lot to do with me writing most of the stuff. I’ve always loved top-40 pop and great rock music, so being “commercial” has never been a big issue for me. If a song is good, it tends to be “commercial” in my book. I love a somewhat intelligent lyric, a brilliant melody line, exciting chord-progressions and a fitting production. If you can achieve all of that, you’re most likely to wind up with a “commercial” record.
EMI? I usually (not always) discuss my demos with Kjell Andersson at EMI Sweden. He signed me to EMI back in 1979 (!) and he’s a good sport, he knows when I’m getting lazy… but we always deliver the finished “product” to EMI and get no artistic input from them whatsoever.
RXB: Did the sound change – with new ideas – during the recording sessions this year, compared to the sound you originally planned/recorded during NOTP?
PG: No, not really. When Marie and I decided to make a new Rox-album last year, we inmediatelly went for a “classic” one. We haven’t worked together for many years, so musically the main thing we have in common is the love of the old Roxette-sound… that’s where we came from. Hopefully, I can write some decent songs, Clarence & Chris can provide superb production as always and Miss F. will deliver her beautiful voice. You’ll be the judge if it worked out!
RXB: OK, we will let you know if it worked out, but we are sure of that! Let’s move on to the tour and Roxette live. You are going to play for Princess Victoria and Daniel’s Wedding, how did it happen?
PG: Åsa and me have been friends with them for many years. They’re very nice people.
RXB: The six tour dates for Roxette in 2010 promise to be the first round of something bigger, maybe the “never ending tour”. In the past you said a Roxette tour needs a certain number of dates to be lucrative – which won’t work with a few dates here and then. How do you handle that now?
PG: Nobody knows if it’s possible for Marie to do a two-hour show, so we’ll do something like 70 minutes this summer. It’s all a test.
If you told me 18 months ago that these upcoming shows were gonna happen, I wouldn’t have believed you! It’s unbelievable that Marie is back on track. And she sounds terrific!!! So… if things go well, it might lead to a “proper” tour next year when the new album is released. I, for one, would love that. But it’s really up to Marie to decide.
RXB: Could you tell us about the rehearsals? Have you looked at the list of song suggestions from fans for the summer tour? Could you tell us if you already tried any of the Top-10 songs or if we can expect some of them? (Let’s help Roxette to make their playlist! or Facebook)
PG: Of course, we checked that list out. It’s really exciting!!! Quite surprising choices, I must say. We’re rehearsing right now and have tried a few of them, let’s see what happens down the road…
RXB: Are there finally plans for some live DVD release(s) and to record this summer tour? It’s a pity Roxette shows can only be found on the dead VHS format!
PG: I know, it’s such a shame. We have to work on that! Yeah, we’re talking about recording some upcoming shows for a DVD-release. Maybe something more, private pics, docu-stuff… Time will tell.
RXB: You spoilt us with entertaining videos from NOTP and the studio – of course without showing any song fragments, yet. In what form could we expect to see these making-of videos when the album is out? Deluxe album edition, future DVD release or just on the web…?
PG: I don’t know, I like the idea of communicating regularly with people who are interested in what I do, that’s basically it. There are so much more material lying around that hasn’t been shown yet. Eventually it will be released… One way or another. I’ve toyed with the idea of releasing 500 demos on the net!
RXB: Do you have plans to re-launch www.roxette.se with more content and multimedia (e.g. videos, song streaming, tour agenda/history…) with the tour/ new album? As much as we enjoy your activity on services like Snowfish or Facebook, one would expect Roxette content at the one and only official site…
PG: I guess so, but I like the Snowfish-idea so I’ll stick to that for a while.
RXB: Why do you think we – the fans – are still longing for new Roxette songs after all these years?
PG: I don’t know. Like I said earlier, I’ve been doing this professionally for 31 years. I’m very grateful someone is still interested in my humble work. I’ve been very lucky to run into the talents of lots of people… Marie, Clarence, MP, etc…. It’s been a great trip. A great trip indeed.
RXB: Per, thanks a lot for your time!
PG: My pleasure.
Judith, Kirsten, Tomasz and Sascha @ RoxetteBlog.com
Pictures taken from Snowfish.com