South African press: Roxette still dressed for success

Roxette’s Per Gessle opens up about the band’s past, his life-long love of music, singer Marie Fredriksson’s near-fatal brain tumour, and writing hit records.

People love our songs, they seem to be part of people’s lives – which is just amazing. The songs I write are based on the music I listened to when I was very young – music from the ’60s, ’70s – so everything I do is basically melody oriented. I think also it has helped that we’re not American, we’re not English so we’ve always been a little bit offside. We’re a Swedish band with a Swedish manager, a Swedish producer, so we’ve done everything outside the global music industry and I think that’s really helped us out. There have been times when people have said: ‘You have to move to New York or LA, or at least move to London’, but we’ve never wanted to do that.

We always listen to our gut feeling. It was the same when I wrote the new album, ‘Charm School’. My ambition was not to write a best-selling album. I just wanted to write a great album for Marie – these are the songs I want her to sing. If it works commercially, then hallelujah. If it doesn’t, we’ve still done a great album.

When we perform, we’re one of those bands who don’t use computers, vocals on tape, or click tracks or whatever – it’s just 100 percent live, like when we started out. For us that’s so much more fun – sometimes a song goes too fast, sometimes it goes too slow – and every show is unique. We try to make it interesting and enjoyable for ourselves.

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