The German Abendzeitung München interviewed Per Gessle about “Travelling” – not the album, but indeed travelling. The questions are quite interesting (and so are his answers) so we decided to give you a short translation.
Per Gessle, you are in sunny Stockholm right now. How long?
Per: Not very long. Very soon I leave to my other house on the west coast of Sweden and meet my mother and my brother. We will be together during Easter. Then I am off to South America. For five weeks.
And where have you been the first three months of 2012?
Per: It was an exciting year until now. We have been to Australia. In Southeast Asia. In China. We have never played in Shanghai before. Now I also look forward to South America, although we have been there last year already. But this time we are going to different places. Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Brasil.
How do you cope with a jetlag?
Per: Good question! You never really get used to the different time zones. It’s not a problem to perform, that’s not exhausting. It’s the opposite. It gives me a lot of energy. It’s travelling, that’s exhausting. The airports, waiting all the time, the long flights and that your inner clock is confused all the time. Australia is 10 hours ahead, in Southeast Asia it’s still seven. That’s much. You need several weeks to get used to that. And now it’s the opposite direction. But hey – that’s life. And it’s fantastic. I can’t really complain.
So you don’t know any tricks to cope with tiredness?
Per: You have to listen to your body. You need your sleep. Especially, when you have to go on stage. Then you really have to be in good shape. I hate medicine. That’s why I never take any sleeping pills on long flights. During the last tour I just slept and ignored all those tips, that you have to stay awake until a certain moment.
What’s happening with you when you’re travelling? How does it change you as a human being?
Per: The world ist damn huge and there’s a variety out there which is just unbelievable. If you come from Shanghai to Stockholm you wonder where all the people are. But if you come from a small town like Halmstad, where I was born, to Stockholm, this town feels too big. Travelling changes your perspective. People around the world have different attitudes and opinions. In China and Scandinavia the politics are completely different. Or compare Lima in Peru with Hongkong? You have to learn how big the world is. And when I travel a lot I really appreciate Sweden a lot more. It’s very clean here, the air isn’t polluted. And then there’s the climate. Well, yes. Not really. Only from May to October. These months are really wonderful. Then there’s a west wind in my hometown, you feel the salt of the sea. Winter is big joke here. So I don’t really care when I am travelling in January.
You like the weather in Sweden?
Per: Not really. Only from May to October. These months are really wonderful. Then there’s a west wind in my hometown, you feel the salt of the sea. Winter is big joke here. So I don’t really care when I am travelling in January.
Where do you sleep best?
Per: At home, of course. We always sleep in great hotels. But they are never as good as the bed at home. In hotels you sometimes wake up and ask yourself where you are, where the bathroom is. I can’t sleep in planes. I don’t really like flying. It’s not that I am afraid, but I don’t feel very well being up in the air.
What do you do in the plane when you can’t sleep?
Per: The plane is a good place to read. At home I barely have time for that. But in the plane I always have books with me. At the moment I read the biography of Bernie Ecclestone. I am a huge fan of Formula 1. On flights I also hear a lot of music. It’s cool that you can take so much of your favourite music with you on an iPod.
Is there anything you always have to have with you?
Per: Nowadays it’s of course a computer that you always carry around. And I actually always have an instrument with me. Mostly a guitar. But I am guy who always starts packing very late. A few hours before I have to go. Even when I am away for a month. My wife always does that one month in advance. I don’t. I have my favourite jeans, my favourite shoes..
You are kind of a hotel expert and own a hotel on your own in Tylösand. When is a hotel a good hotel?
Per: It depends on what you want. For me the first impression is important. The people who work there have to be very friendly. You should feel welcome from the beginning. If you like Spas, that’s important. If you like good food, then the restaurant is important.
Per: My wife likes Spas. I prefer the studio to work out. I think the staff is important. And a non-smoking room. It’s horrible to come into a room where people have smoked. If that happens I always change the room. I don’t need a big suite. I hate it, when they upgrade me to the “Präsidentensuite” (I really don’t know the English word right since I am in a hurry, it’s the biggest suite in a hotel). I don’t want to play tennis in my hotel room. I always close all the doors and stay in my bedroom. If you’re alone you really don’t need more than one room.