Natalia Stupnikowa for musik.km.ru: Hello, Per! We know that you are working on a new Roxette album. There is an information that a new single will be released before Christmas this year. Tell us something about work a new album.
Per Gessle: Well, first of all I’m not really sure if we make it to the Christmas with the single, really. As soon as we play Russia next weekend, we’ll go back to the studio. Actually I work at the studio this week as well. So we’re working all through this year and hopefully we’ll have a release in the spring next year with the new album. And of course the new single. But I… you know, in reality I think the new single will come out in January maybe.
It feels very good, it feels very strong, the album. And it’s a very classic sounding Roxette album, lots of great ballads for Marie and lots of up-tempo songs for me. It feels very good.
Natalia: Will new songs be performed at the Russian concerts?
Per Gessle: No, I don’t think so. I think we’re gonna stick with the old songs this time. We’re planning on doing some shows next year as well, if that will happen, we’re gonna play some new songs as well when the album is out. But for now we stick to the old ones.
Natalia: Do you plan some special stage production of your upcoming Moscow gig?
Per Gessle: Well, we’re having a slightly different band than in 2001. And of course everything looks different. But it’s still very much based on the songs. We have a great audience all over the world and everyone knows our songs so well, so the show is very much built on communication with the audience. The audience is singing with us and we’re having lots of fun together. It’s much more than having a huge stage design or something like that. We have a design but we spend more time on the music than on the stage.
Natalia: You said that you have a new band, tell us more about them…
Per Gessle: It’s a mix between the old guys and some new faces for you. We’ve got a new girl called Malin who’s new to us, she’s doing backing vocals. And we’ve got a new bass player called Magnus Börjesson, who’s also a great singer, he’s a really really talanted guy. And then you’ve got Clarence Öfwerman on keyboards who is also our producer on the record. And we have Pelle Alsing on the drums, who’s been with us forever. And on lead guitar we have Christopher Lundquist who used to play bass with us, but now he’s a lead guitar player. So it’s a very energetic band, quite heavy on the guitars, we’re a little bit more guitar-oriented than we used to be. But it feels very good and it’s a great band to hang out with. We have lots of fun being together and that is very important too.
Natalia: Per, you are known as a solo performer. In 2008 you’ve released new solo album. Are you planning to continue your solo career?
Per Gessle: Well, not really, no. I mean I’m very very happy that Marie is back on stage and back working with me, so for now I’m only concentrating on Roxette. Who knows what’s gonna happen in the future, but now it’s basically Roxette, it’s the shows, and hopefully more shows next year, you know, and we’ll take it from there.
Natalia: Many of your songs are featured in the well-known movie soundtracks. “Pretty Woman” featured the hit “It must have been love”. Do you ever write music especially for films?
Per Gessle: Well, most of the time the songs have already been there. “It must have been love” for the Pretty Woman movie for instance was like almost 3 years old when it found up being in Pretty Woman. So it wasn’t written for the film, it was written for something else. I’ve never been writing specifically for a movie. I always took songs that we had.
Natalia: Do you think that Roxette ever reached the success of ABBA?
Per Gessle: I think that the success that we had with Roxette in the 80s and into the 90s was fenomenal and I’m really surprised that people are still playing our songs. We get so many letters and messages on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere, new fans, new generations comming up who love our music. Those shows we’ve been doing on this little tour, we played basically the Scandinavian countries, it’s been fantastic, and I’m just so very greatful and very surprised people are really interested in what we do. We’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s just fantastic that it still works.
Natalia: You are one of the DJs on the U.S. satellite radio SIRIUS XM. Can you name any young talented musicians?
Per Gessle: I don’t hear much good new music out there. There’s a difference from what we had in our heydays. When I grew up pop music was like everything for me, and I have a son who’s 13 and for him pop music is just one thing. He has, you know, computer games, DVD’s, Facebook, you know, the whole internet thing. And pop music is just one little thing out of many. So that’s a very very big difference. And also when you create music today you work very much with computers, it’s a totally different thing. Which it should be. Time goes on, the whole industry has changed. That’s quite natural. But it’s really hard for me to say if pop music is better now or worse, it’s just it’s different. And it means different things for different people.
Natalia: And what can you say about popular stars like Lady GaGa?
Per Gessle: It’s not really made for me. I think Lady Gaga sounds very much like young Madonna. But she’s a great artist and she’s doing great shows, and great videos. I know her video director very well. Jonas Åkerlund. Umm, “Paparazzi”, and the last one with Beyonce, I can’t remember the name of it. He’s a very talented guy and she knows what she’s doing. I can’t say that I’m the biggest Lady Gaga fan in the world but she’s fine.
Natalia: Tell us what guitars do you prefer to use in your work?
Per Gessle: I’m bringing Gibson ES 305’s, and on this tour I have 3 or 4 of those with me. And I use Yamaha acoustics – they sound great on stage as well, I have a couple of those. In the studio I actually use these guitars as well, as well as I have old Rickenbackers and stuff. I really like guitars.
Natalia: What kind of guitars do you have in your collection?
Per Gessle: The most cherished guitars I have are some old Martin acoustic guitars. I have a great guitar from 1968 in Brazilian wood which has a fantastic sound. And I have an old Gibson from the 30’s which is also very nice. I used to sit in front of the TV and play this guitar in the evening, I love that.
We would like to thank Natalia for a kind permission to use this interview on RXB.