Interview with Christoffer Lundquist: “Music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes”

We met Christoffer Lundquist in Prague some hours before the concert to talk about his solo album “Through The Window”, the award he received in May and the Roxette tour 2011. Take some time to read it and enjoy!

Judith: We wanted to ask you some questions about the album. First off, congratulations for this masterpiece!

Christoffer: Oh, thank you! This is very nice to hear.

J: The first thing we want to know is: did you really work 12 (!) years on this album?

C: It’s actually a total lie; it was not like that at all. I actually did this album very quickly. They wrote this on the press release because it took me such a long time for me to make a solo album at all, but I wrote all the songs for this album in summer 2008 in Gotland, where my family and I spend the summer. I have a moped so I drove with my guitar on my back to some very remote places with nice nature scenery and took also very long walks. I wrote all the songs in the nature three years ago.

What is true is that it took a long time to get the album released.

J: We thought that 12 years was a very long time…

C: Absolutely, I think music should be done fast, otherwise it gets boring.

J: Do you always write your songs on guitar?

C: Yes, I normally do. I think I only wrote one song for this album on piano,“The Raging hands Of Time”.

J: Looking at the credits in the booklet, we saw that you wrote the music to all songs, but the lyrics were written by Michael Saxell.

C: Yes, indeed. I am a horrible lyric writer; I try every now and then, thinking that I should be able to write some lyrics, but… no, it doesn’t work. I am so bad!

J: Did you also try to write the lyrics for this album, too?

C: Yes, I actually did try to write lyrics with my wife. We sat down together, thinking that we’ve been together all our lives and have lots of things to tell, about the world, experiences, etc. so we should be able to write something good. We did it for a couple of days but then we read what we had written and looked at each other and realized we could not use this at all. No talent.

J: How did you get to work with Michael Saxell?

C: Initially, I was going to work with a French artist; I produced her album for some time ago. I sent her some songs and she promised to send some lyrics back. But the time went by and she never sent anything, after almost six months she said she was sorry but couldn’t do it.

I was devastated because since I can’t write lyrics myself, I really need somebody to do that, and I really believed in the songs I had composed. So I sent some songs to Michael, whom I had just met briefly before when I helped him mix an album in my studio. I sent four of the songs to him, just acoustic guitar demos with some “lalala” melodies which should be the sung part and four lyrics came back the next day.

J: That was fast!

C: Yes! I was very surprised, so I sent him the rest of the songs. He was travelling around in Canada at that time and he left everything he had planned to do aside and sent me one song every day. For me that was a gift. The melodies were all finished, and he managed to write the lyrics to fit the music just perfectly and also to catch the meaning and the mood of the songs I had in mind.

So in a way I feel a bit like I wrote them, because they are very natural to me and what I actually wanted.

J: So you mean that there was no song where you felt like “nah… I actually had something else in mind”?

C: Amazingly no, there wasn’t! I haven’t changed a word in any of the songs. What is even more amazing to me is that both music and lyrics were done separately. I gave him the finished music and melody of the sung parts and he just fit these nice lyrics to the melodies. Perfect.

And I must confess we have already written the next album. I wrote 15 more songs and I am going to record them during the Roxette tour breaks. It worked the same way as with this album: I wrote the songs, sent them to Michael and he added lyrics to them.

J: A new album? Can you tell us more about it?

C: OK, now I really have to tell you about the next album because I believe it’s such a great concept. The lyrics are more in the center; it’s like a song cycle, like Schubert did or a couple of people in the 60ies. There is a thread through the whole album, there are historical situations which happened at a significant place, but the lyrics are about just one person in these situations, from a very human point of view. The stories are quite sad, tragic. A guy does something because that is his job, and it has consequences for some many people. The lyrics are however not condemning, they are beautifully written.

J: Can you explain us some of the stories?

C: Yes, but stop me, because I am so excited about this album, so I might talk and talk and talk…

For example, there is one Russian General who had a personal dream of becoming a hero and getting a medal during the 2nd world war. He never succeeded to get the medal while he was alive, even though he tried really hard. He then became the captain of a ship and sank another one, lots of people died. And he got this medal posthumously.

There is also a story about this philosopher, Wittgenstein. You should read something by him, he is amazing. When he was young he was a teacher and he was the worst you can imagine, he hit the students, tore out their hair when they didn’t understand, so everybody hated him. Then he became the famous Wittgenstein, and when he was 40 or 50 he thought he had to go and find all those students and apologise for what he had done. He found some of them, he apologized but the rumours say that NONE forgave him.

And then there is also a story about a very early freedom fighter in the UK who died being trampled by a horse. So it’s 15 songs with stories like that.

J: This sounds very interesting. Do you know more or less when the album will be released?

C: No, not yet, I have to find the time and energy to work on it. Who knows, maybe in spring next year.  The good thing is that whenever I am working on a project, I tend to do it quickly, I don’t spend much time thinking if it’s right or wrong, I just do it how it feels “NOW” and then I don’t go back and change it.

J: Another thing which is interesting on the credits is that you played like 20 instruments on the album.

C: Haha! Yes. Well, I actually always play so many instruments on the albums for other artists, but they never want to list ALL the instruments because it looks kind of silly. So now I thought “this is my album, so I am going to show how many instruments I can play” haha!

J: We know you collect instruments and that when you have a new instrument, you like to use it in the albums you are working at the moment, did you buy any instrument just for this album?

C: Let me think… the last instrument I bought was a church organ and you can hear it on the album, so well, in a way yes. You are right, when you buy a new instrument you get inspiration with the new sounds, discovering the instrument, so that’s why I normally play them in the albums I am doing at the moment.

J: Let’s go through some of the instruments. A toy piano?

C: It’s like a toy piano for kids but build professionally, they are quite expensive. I have two of them; they are made by THE toy piano producer: Schoenhut. One is from the 50ies and has a mellow timber and the other one is more modern and has a harder sound. They are beautiful; they look like little grand pianos. They even come with a small chair, so you sit on this little thing, you have to make yourself very small in order to play. They also make a very romantic sound.

J: Celesta?

C: This is like a small piano, inside of it there is a glockenspiel, beneath every plate of the glockenspiel there is a chamber which resonates in that particular frequency, so it sounds heavenly. It was used a lot in Hollywood movies in the 50ies and 60ies and composers like Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies with a celesta. You can hear it on the first track “Green”. It’s pretty quiet but it’s playing along with the melody. There is also the church organ on “Green” too.

And then there is also a celesta on “The raging hands of time”. Listen to it carefully and you’ll hear it.

J: What are instruments to you?

C: For me the important thing is the whole picture instruments create in a song, not the single instruments alone. For me it’s like colours, you have colours for the various sections or parts of a song. Oh, this should be more brownish, or that other song is yellow, and you then blend all instruments you need to get to the certain colour you have in mind.

J: What were your expectations when you got to know your album would be released?

C: Actually not many. I guess the album is selling very little, but I am happy it got released at all. It was so hard to get it released that I was about to give up. I thought I should maybe just make copies myself and give them to my friends. Michael made it happen, he was very enthusiastic about it and he went to some record companies and finally got a deal with Metronome.

This is a very traditional label part of Warner Music. They are very proud to have released many classics, and also lots of Swedish pop. They are rejuvenating that label now and this is the first album on that label for a long time. I am very happy about that. I am actually honoured to be on this label.

And they are very enthusiastic as well, even though it’s very difficult to promote the record. What can you do? Do interviews and try to be on TV, but if you aren’t very famous you don’t get the big TV shows. I was lucky I could be on those morning shows. They are trying to put me on Allsång på Skansen, but I very much doubt TV4 wants to  have me there!

J: Will cross fingers for you. Why did you decide to make an album now?

C: Well, as you know, I am always writing songs. After a long day of work at the studio, maybe 14 hours, I just sit down by myself and write songs and relax this way. I have been doing this since I am like 5 years old. But I am mostly working as producer and musician, so I never really got the chance to release my own music. Of course, I always thought it would be nice to release my own music some day.

The thing that got me going now was that I found these people, Michael Saxel and Hanna Ekström, the (backing vocals) singer on the album.

J: I wanted to ask you about Hanna. Could you tell us more about her?

C: She has a lovely voice, she is really great. It is very hard for me to imagine myself singing on a full record, it’s boring, you know, so I never found this other voice to sing with me until I met Hanna. It was unbelievable.

In the small small village where I live, the kids between 12 and 15 can choose between sports and music at school. Those who choose music have lessons like twice a week and learn to play some instruments. Then they come to my studio for a week in fall and spring every year and they do some recordings, which is a great experience for them and also for me. Some kids can play, some can’t. Most of the girls want to sing, and some of them aren’t that great, but it’s a great feeling anyway.

Hanna was actually one of the girls who were supposed to sing, even though she was only going to sing one verse, and when she opened her mouth and sang I was like “Oh yes! Finally! There she is, the voice I had been looking for!”

And she was just 15 back then, she had turned 16 when we recorded the album. She is also on Helena’s (Josefsson) album singing backing vocals.

J: Wow, so she is going to become a singer?

C: The funny thing is she is not a singer and she doesn’t want to become one at all. But she has a total natural music ear, I can give her anything, she just listens to it once and she just does it, she can sing loud and strong but also whisper, it’s great.

J: Are you planning any concerts with the album?

C: It would be great but right now I have no time. The Roxette tour seems to go on and on forever. Besides that, it is expensive. I would have to hire a band and I would need to sell lots of tickets to cover for this, so I guess it won’t happen.

J: Why not just you and Hanna?

C: That would be an option, just the two of us and maybe the guitar player we had on a Swedish TV show, acoustic… that could be nice, have to think of it! I will tell you if I am doing that.

J: Well you might need a bigger place in the end… you know, many Roxette (and Brainpool) fans bought the album and loved it!

C: I read about that and I am very amazed and happy about this! It makes me feel very special to know that my album is being played in South America, other parts of Europe and who knows where else!

J: Well it’s not only Roxette fans who listen to it. I sent the YouTube snippet video to some friends and some asked me to have the album. I sent them the link to buy it, of course.

C: Haha! Thanks for spreading my music. I actually got a message from someone who said he tried to find the record on Pirate Bay, but couldn’t find it, and asked me how he could get it. I was like “what???” and then I sent him a long essay explaining him why he shouldn’t use sites like Pirate Bay. I think he got a bit scared and apologised and then explained he had no money to buy it, so I just sent it to him. I thought it was better this way, rather than using pirate bay!

And people can also listen to it on Spotify. Do you have Spotify?

J: Unfortunately not in Austria, where I live! But when I am home in Spain I use it since it’s available there.

C: It’s a great thing, too bad it’s not available everywhere. I think it’s such a great platform to spread music and get people interested in your music, come to the concerts and maybe even buy the album.

J: Yes, it is a really great idea. I inquired about the possibility to make it available in Austria and they told me that it’s actually an issue with copyrights and record companies not supporting it. But at least there is another service which is called Simfy, which is similar to Spotify but for Germany and Austria.

C: I know, and I think that’s a bit mistake, working to prevent people from listening to music… Spotify pays the artists a little bit, if it would spread even more they could pay the artists a lot more, so in the end record companies would benefit from it too.

J: If you need a big record company nowadays at all. There are many bands who sell their mp3s themselves, and do promotion by themselves using MySpace, Spotify, Facebook…

C: Yes, and this is brilliant. There are a lot of unnecessary steps you don’t have to do anymore to bring your music to your fans. It also gets cheaper.

J: Getting back to the album, I saw that you’ve written a song with David, are you still working with him?

C: Yes, the 3 of us [David, Jens and Christoffer] are like brothers, we always try to make a new Brainpool album but then we don’t have the time. That song was actually written for a Brainpool album which never was recorded. But now we are working a bit harder on a Brainpool album.

J: Oh, this is great to hear! Tell, tell!

C: Yeah, it is a very special feeling. There is however not much more to tell besides that we are working on it. I have done music with great bands and musicians, everything I did with Per is fantastic, but still, the stuff I did with Jens and David is the closest to my heart. It’s like being with your family and just play.

J: How is the rock opera doing?

C: The rock opera is still doing well in America, the director, Shakina Nayfack has more or less devoted his life to make it happen, he has a great team of producers and actors around him and they are continuously working on it. They have done more than 40 shows in Los Angeles where they staged it. In the beginning, the opera was exactly like we had written it, but then he came to Sweden last year with some additional dialog and we wrote 30 more minutes of music for it.

J: Did you think of using the songs from “Through My Window” for Brainpool? Some of the songs in the last albums of the band sound a bit like the songs on your album…

C: I know, it’s after all my music, but it’s not as good as when we get together. That’s actually the reason why this is not a Brainpool album. If we would have used these songs for a Brainpool album, the album wouldn’t have been as good as the others. No, Brainpool deserves better music, haha!

J: I also realised that there is a lot of your music and style on “Son Of A Plumber” and I somehow realized how important a producer really is.

C: I guess SOAP would be the Per Gessle album which is the closest to mine, stylistically speaking. Of course, when you are working on an album with other people, it’s difficult for the person who listens to the album to tell who influenced what. Maybe more producers should release their own music, haha!

J: Can you tell us something about the songs on the album? What is your favourite, or some anecdotes?

C: “Tiny Penelope” became my favourite song of the album. I think the lyrics are beautiful. I remember this one very clearly. It wasn’t written walking around in the country side but when we were going to mix Party Crasher. I was preparing everything for the mixing session and this means a lot of work with the computer, transferring files etc. Computers, of course, never work, and that day they were working even less, so I was like “oh please, give me a break!” We were supposed to start mixing the next day in the morning, it was in the middle of the night and nothing was working. So I just gave up, got the guitar and wrote this song.

And also “Through the window”, which is going to be the 2nd single. I am a bit scared about this one becoming a single, imagine I have to go to a morning TV show and sing the song in this high falsetto voice! You know, normally you are there at 4 am or so, trying to wake up, and by the time you are supposed to sing you are half dead, no voice anymore… I will let Hanna sing the chorus and shut up myself, haha!

“Clearing in the forest” was the first song I wrote, it’s not one of my favourites though. I am writing songs all the time, but I hadn’t really tried to write short pop songs, so I suddenly I felt like doing one, and this is the result.

A small anecdote about “Showtime”, this one was not written in the countryside but in Per’s apartment in Stockholm. He has a spare apartment for staff and where I can stay at when I am working with him in Stockholm.

The lyrics to “Everybody (Prop. 8 Breakdown)” are very special to me too, it’s about intolerance. It’s about the voting for the proposition 8 in California, about religious intolerance and religious preachers who say you should be kind and compassionate and then they condemn everyone who isn’t exactly like them, which is a very bad thing for me.

The director of our opera is gay and when this with Prop 8 was happening he was devastated. He felt like he could not live there anymore, he thought is a nice person, he is working, earning his money, doing good stuff and that they didn’t want him in California. So he was considering applying to become a political refugee in Sweden to make a statement.

The amazing thing is that Michael wrote the song and added the words “Prop. 8 Breakdown” into brackets without knowing about the director’s story. I didn’t know what this Prop 8 was when he showed the lyrics to me. And then the director was in Sweden and told us about what was happening in California, it was an interesting coincidence, sometimes things like this happen.

J: I think it’s good that artists and actors, homosexual or not, show their tolerance and support this cause.  They normally have a lot of influence and they reach many people with their music or films, interviews…

C: Yes, I completely agree. I think this intolerance and oppression is horrible, and there are many countries in Europe in this situation as well. Unbelievable. I guess it’s only fear, intolerant people are aggressive and cause a lot of harm, but the only reason is fear. They are afraid and unsure of themselves and that’s the reaction. I am still hopeful, even though this is bad and the change is far too slow, I think it will happen, because this fear has no sound basis at all, people will see, sooner or later, that there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s ridiculous, let people be!

J: What I think is bad is the influence of religion in the laws of a country, specially because what they are preaching has nothing to do with being kind but just about oppression, control and forbidding others to live their life as they want to. And all this money they keep in, for example, the Vatican and all the expensive stuff they wear made of gold and other precious stones?

C: Indeed, I read a lot of books about Jesus, and the first thing I thought was that you can’t be rich and be a Christian. It’s impossible. But it is incredible how they have managed to be rich and convince everybody this is just right. It’s just the opposite of what Jesus was fighting for.

But sorry, I am talking so much again. Let’s go back to the album.

J: Haha, OK. I actually could also talk without end and ask you about every little detail on the album, but the clock is ticking. I just have two more questions about the album. Who came up with the cover?

C: David and his girlfriend made the cover of the album (Mammon Design). He always did the covers for the Brainpool albums; he is very good at it, so I asked him to help me with it. I just told him “do what you want” and he came back with this amazing cover, my studio turned into a forest! I couldn’t believe when I saw it! And when you see the cover on a computer screen with all the details, it was a lot of fun.

J: Indeed, the cover is original! And last but not least, did you write the titles of the songs?

C: Actually Michael wrote them, and then David did some changes in a couple of them when he did the cover. e is very good at this stylistic things. Michael got a bit upset, but I felt like David’s were better, so in the end it was fine for him too.

J: Let’s talk about what you are doing at the moment: tour with Roxette. You’ve been on tour with Roxette since February, how is it going? I must say I was very surprised in Graz, my first concert of this year. I saw you live last time in August last year and when you all stepped on stage I was “WOW, what happened here? This is totally different to last year”

C: And we love it, it’s really great to be on tthis tour. But what you say is interesting, how different?

 J: You sound more powerful, the band seems to be tighter and have more fun. When you came on stage and started with “Dressed For Success”, it felt like an explosion of music, happiness, fun which lasted for 2 hours. And the feeling stayed in me for many days. It was also very inspiring in a way.

C: This is great to hear, because this is exactly how it feels for us too. And, of course, it’s mostly because Marie is getting stronger and stronger and everyone else is just enjoying this and is positively affected by this.

J: She is really amazing, I realized she is now improvising when she is singing as she used to. She didn’t do this last year.

C: Right, in the old days she never sang the normal melody, it was sometimes too much I think, haha! Now she is starting to go that direction again, which is great. And she is running all around on the stage, have you seen that? After two weeks out on the road we were all starting to feel tired, and she was like “oh, let’s go!! More more gigs! Let’s party” She has this sort of source of energy which is beyond belief.

J: How was it to be in South America? As far as I remember, you were never there with Roxette.

C: Oh, that was a real experience. The others tried to explain me what craziness to expect in South America, but the reality was simply madness.  Total craziness everywhere. The 2 gigs at Luna Park in Buenos Aires were mind-blowing. We went on stage and it felt like a huge wave hitting us. Even though we have those ear plugs which are supposed to isolate us from any sound from the audience, so that we can hear ourselves play, I couldn’t hear what I was playing because the audience was simply so loud. It was massively intense.

J: You can hear a bit of that on the YouTube videos of “It Must Have Been Love”, “Spending My Time”…

C: “Spending my time” was incredible. You know, we let the audience sing the verse and then we take over. But they sang the first chorus, we thought “maybe now it’s time for us to sing”, but noooo, the audience went on singing, they went on singing until the end of the second verse, when we thought “ok, NOW it’s our turn!” and finally managed to sing. Haha! It was really great, we had so much fun.

J: And how about the concerts in Middle East and Europe?

C: Now it feels a bit more like home, we are seeing a lot of familiar faces, it’s nice. The shows in Istanbul and Athens were different, not as intense as the others as there weren’t many “hard-core” fans.

Dubai was a different experience, lots of sky scrapers, indoor malls, it’s so hot outside you can’t actually go out. It’s lots about money and flashing this money. Magnus and Clarence went skiing in the desert! They have built this huge fridge in the middle of the desert. Great for the environment…

We actually only left the hotel once, we went to what they say is the biggest shopping mall in the world. I don’t really like shopping, but well, it felt like one has to see this mall once. But it was only full of luxury stores, what should I buy there? But then we realized there was an ice-skating rink in the middle of the mall, so we rented some skates.

Connie: will you change anything for the tour in autumn?

C: We may add or replace some songs, to avoid getting bored playing always the same, haha! We have been rehearsing some songs like “Crash! Boom! Bang!”, I would love to play this one live. I always loved this song, it’s so powerful, and the guitar parts are great. We also rehearsed “Speak to me”, “No one makes it on her own” and “Queen Of Rain”, but we don’t know when we will play them, we have to feel it’s the right moment for them.

J: The “intro” before Joyride has become a classic now, how did you get that idea?

C: I don’t know, it just happened. During the Party Crasher tour, when Per was introducing the band, I was just doing some short guitar jamming solo intro before “Joyride”. Somewhere I started to play a Gyllene Tider song, which also ended up on the DVD. So after that I thought I should go on doing this with songs which are well-known where we play. I always try to find songs which are well-known and funny and not offending anyone. For example in Graz I played “Steirermen san very good”, the silliest song ever but it felt funny because of all the stuff going on with Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know, they made him such a role model but maybe he isn’t that great of a model after all. And I was told that it was a very well-known Schlager song so it just felt right.

J: So how do you find the songs then?

C: I ask the locals normally, the staff at the venue or so. Or sometimes fans organize themselves and pick up a song for me. For example, some German fans have collected tips for all the concerts in Germany, so that I can play a different song in each city. In Brazil, when we got to the airport, there were lots of fans waiting for Per and Marie, and suddenly I got a CD in my hands, “this are the songs you should play”. It was funny.

Sometimes it doesn’t work though. The tips are bad and I stand in front of thousands of people and they all look at me like “hm? Why is he playing that?” – it’s an interesting situation, help!

So I try to research the songs a bit to make sure that they are popular and, specially, that it’s not a tune which would offend a certain group of people or something. That’s the reason why I didn’t play any song during the first songs in South Africa, then I found a children’s tune so I played that one in the end.

Or here in Prague, I was told maybe I could play the anthem, but.. nah.. might get too political, it will be a beer song in the end.

J: Are you doing tourism in the cities you visit?

C: Yes, I normally do if I have the time, we go for a walk for a couple of hours. Sometimes we also meet fans who do some sort of “guided tour” for us.

J: We are actually also doing that, we combine the concerts with a longer stay in the city and take the chance to do some tourism.

C: That’s nice! But I still wonder how you all pay that! I have seen some fans in MANY cities… But going back to the intro for Joyride, what should I play in Spain?

J: Ha! Good question. I wouldn’t play the national anthem either, haha.

C: I know, at least not in Barcelona, unless I want to be booh-ed!

J: Give me some time and will get back to you with some ideas.

C: Thanks that would be great. What about flamenco?  Or the FC Barcelona tune?

J: Sure, there are some famous flamenco tunes, but you should play that maybe only in Madrid and the Barça tune only in Barcelona, specially after the whole mess this year with the four “classicos” (Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona).

C: Haha! See, that’s why I am asking! One has to be careful in any game (view this site to know about horseshoe rules to avoid injuries). Just let me know some weeks before the show so I can prepare myself. It’s funny to see all this patriotic feelings which people show when watching football or any sport but specially football. Pelle and Clarence are huge football fans and follow everything, so when we go off stage in the middle of the show, what do they do? they talk about football! And try to check the status of the matches.

J: Haha, well there were some interesting matches lately, like the Champions league..

C: There is ALWAYS an interesting match going on, I tell you! And if it’s not football it’s hockey… But I have to confess that I wasn’t so happy that Sweden lost against Finland! Swedes hate being beaten by the Finns… I don’t really care about sports but in this case… It’s just all about emotions after all, and people are not made to control emotions.

J: Oh, sorry, I almost forgot to ask you about something very important. You received the “Sir George Martin Music Award” about a month ago, how was the event?

C: Right, I was really surprised when they called me to tell me, “the Beatles producer has a new prize and we are going to give it to YOU”. I couldn’t believe it. And also meeting George Martin was a great experience. He listened to a lot of stuff that I have done before he gave his OK for the prize, so I felt very honoured.

He doesn’t hear very well unfortunately. I prepared myself very carefully, I hate speaking in front of an audience, I was totally nervous for weeks before the event, I think I have never been so nervous in my life. I had never held a speech before, I always kind of avoided it. So I prepared myself and in the end I wrote a very long speech. I wanted to thank so many people that I’ve worked with, helped me, and couldn’t live without, so it felt like this was the perfect opportunity. It felt good to do it. Oh my, I was sitting in the flights in South America thinking “what am I going to say?”

I also had a part in English for George Martin, the rest was in Swedish. So since he cannot hear very well, I printed out the English part and gave it to him before the event. I wrote about my ideas, what’s important for me in music, what one should try to avoid, what is ruining music, what is working, etc. He read it and then he came over to me, held my hand, and said “YES, I agree, this is exactly how it is! It’s so important!”

For me one of the most important things is that music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes. One should keep some mistakes, not tune everything perfect or always be on time. One should listen to the feeling and not care so much about details. That is exactly how he feels, it turned out. And I actually asked him about the mistakes in the Beatles albums. They are really full of mistakes, incredible mistakes, if you listen closely from a more analytical point of you, you will laugh and shake your head, since sometimes the mistakes aver very obvious. Like singing out of tune in the background, or laughing, guitar strings are breaking etc. So I asked him if he kept those mistakes on purpose. And he said “OF COURSE, that’s the most important thing”. It was great to hear that, because sometimes I feel a little bit lonely with these ideas, not many people agree, most want to make music perfect.

J: Too perfect I am afraid. That’s what you listen on the radio non-stop nowadays. I think all these artists sound all the same, you could replace the singers and have the same song and be successful just the same. The feeling is missing.

C: Exactly, it sounds like robots, the most important thing, feeling, the human touch, is missing. This is what music is about. Feelings.  You don’t hear anybody playing with emotion anymore, it’s very sad. And the concerts? They think it’s so important that everything is synchronised, the videos in the background, the lights and the singing. How can you do that and keep the emotions? Impossible. But for me the most important is that the people on stage have fun and are actually enjoying themselves and into it. I am very happy that Roxette’s tour right now is the opposite of the current trend.

J: And we are too! At least I am. There were some complaints about the stage, without video walls or effects and such, but then I thought that the concerts I had enjoyed the most in my life were exactly that, just the band on stage and the music. It is great to see Roxette like this, finally. Anything can happen on stage. There aren’t many artists who can do that and dare to do something like this.

C: This is great to hear, that you like this too. It’s true that there are only a few artists who can perform like that, and many don’t dare to, fearing “what will they say” and not to have the control over what is happening. That’s what I think. Imagine an artist does something which isn’t perfect, and it fails, then people will come and say “that was because it was not perfect”.

I really admire Per and Marie for doing the tour like this, this is the real thing.

J: Not only on the tour, I think the album is not “perfect” either…

C: Yes, it’s true that it was a bit less of perfect than previous albums, there is a bit more of “mistakes”. Of course, not to the extent of “Son of a plumber”, I don’t think it would be good if a new Roxette album would sound like SOAP, that’d be too much for a Roxette album. It has to be a bit more perfect, but not too perfect. It’s difficult to reach this balance, but I think it worked with “Charm School”.

J: Talking about the tour, I think we should get going. You are going to be late to the rehearsals!

C: Wow, it’s that late. Thank you for this interesting talk. Take care and enjoy the concert tonight!

J: Thank you very much for your time. We wish you all the best with your solo album and with all your projects and the tour.

4 thoughts on “Interview with Christoffer Lundquist: “Music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes””

  1. Nice long interview thanks! Pity the South African concerts were skipped in the questions to Christoffer about the concerts in May! Would have loved to hear what he thought about yet another country he has never played in with Roxette.

  2. Great interview! It was a very nice gesture playing familiar songs before Joyride on each concert. Here in Argentina he played “La Cumparsita” which is from Uruguay indeed, but it was ok anyway. He had been in Argentina for the HAND promotion with Roxette but they didn’t play live on that occasion.

    It is interesting to know his perspective of music, I didn’t know he doesn’t write the lyrics, perhaps Per can provide some stuff to his music. I had the pleasure to chat with Christopher and he’s a very nice person.

  3. Well, the “Cumparsita” case is very special. It was composed as an instrumental tune to be used as a carnival march by an Uruguayan composer in 1916. It was a few year later, when lyrics were writen by Pascual Contursi (argentinian), that it was turned into a tango and made famous by the great voices of that era, like Gardel. A long legal battle followed… Now we can say that is part of the “Rio de la Plata” heritage, shared by both countries. The same way, Argentinian tangos are played in Uruguay, I don’t see an issue there.

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