Mikael Nogueira Svensson is the most well-known member of the crew among fans. Many people know him as Micke N-S, the guy behind the iPhone, taking the panorama pics we can see on Roxette Official and on Gyllene Tider’s Facebook site. We know his face and sometimes fans are chatting with him at the venues, but still, we don’t know too much about Micke, just that he is doing a fantastic job as backline technician.
He took his time between Gyllene Tider’s Örnsköldsvik show and 2nd Halmstad gig and was happy to share some more information about himself & his work and told us some interesting and funny stories, too.
PP: – On a Swedish drum workshop website I read this: ”Workshop leader is Mikael Nogueira Svensson, one of the most experienced and hired drum technicians in Sweden.” When did you start your work as a drum / guitar technician? What came first: drums or guitars?
MNS: – I started around 1997 with some local acts in the middle of Sweden, Dalarna. First it was only drums. The guitar bit of it came in the picture in around 2002, when I ran a rental company in Stockholm and had to go on tour with a band and also help the guitar player. And basically, it’s more common in Sweden that the techs help the guitar player more than the drummer.
PP: – Do you like working with drums or guitars more? Or does it depend on the person whom you are working with?
MNS: – It’s totally up to the artist I work for, so it doesn’t matter at all if it’s drums or guitars. But I toured with Prince between Roxette tour legs, which was more of a challenge, because then I did keyboards and piano for him.
PP: – Even keyboards and piano. Great! By the way, have you ever been studying music? Or you just learned to play the instruments by yourself?
MNS: – I’ve been studying at Stockholm Conservatory of Music for 3 years. But the fun part of it is that I decided to play the drums when I was a child, after meeting Pelle Alsing backstage in Gävle on the Joyride tour. And now I work for them.
PP: – Really? That sounds cool! What was Pelle’s reaction, when you told him you decided to play the drums because of him?
MNS: – Can’t remember. Nothing special I guess.
PP: – Oj, Pelle… Any other instruments you play besides the drums and guitar?
MNS: – I can only play the drums, can’t play the guitar. I only know a few chords. But I guess I can set up a guitar better than most of the guitar players out there…
PP: – You’re kidding! I thought it’s evident that you can play the guitar. Hats off then! Besides Roxette and Per Gessle you worked together with many other artists on tour (e.g. Peter Jöback, Carola) or played the drums for (e.g. Rod Stewart and the producer of U2). Who is the one whom you enjoyed to work together with the most?
MNS: – First, I didn’t play the drums for Peter or Carola. I was a tech for them. I played the bass on a singback performance with Peter Jöback once at the Swedish football gala. I kind of like to work with artists who are very aware of everything. It’s a give and take. I like to make it nice for them and they appreciate it. If it’s an artist who doesn’t care about anything, I don’t like it. You get no positive feedback then.
MNS: – There’s no difference, except that I sleep at home from Sunday till Tuesday. We are the same crew and everything is the same.
PP: -Who is the easiest to work with in GT?
MNS: – I would say it’s equal. Everyone demands a certain kind of professionalism and everyone is just as kind as the other. But I’ve known Micke Syd for the longest time, so he is kind of the same ”father” figure for me as Pelle Alsing.
PP: – You are taking care of Per Gessle’s guitars, Micke Syd’s drums and also Anders Herrlin’s bass guitars, as well as many other things before, during and after the GT concerts. Which is the toughest part of your job now and what do you like the most?
MNS: – I wouldn’t say that I take care of many other things than Per, Micke and Anders. Actually, I only take care of them (their gear). And if you think that something is not connected to them, it is. No one would think about it, but it’s kind of boring to change strings every day.
PP: – Every day??? That must be boring indeed. When do you have to be at the venue on a concert day? What’s the daily routine? What are the first tasks and what is the last thing you do after a gig ends?
MNS: – I’m the last to arrive, at around 11 am. The stage is built the day before by the second unit crew. The riggers and light crew set up everything from 8 am on a concert day. Then I start building the drums, which takes about 1 hour including tuning, head change and miking the drums. After that I set up Per’s VOX rig and Fender amps of Anders. Then it’s lunch. After lunch I set up my tech world [see photo] and connect everything to the sound desk. Around 2 pm we do line check with the crew. Then we remove all the things in front of our risers, so Linnea and her band can set up.
PP: – You do soundchecks in the early afternoon with or without the band, but you are also checking the sounds before the concert starts. Were there any difficulties during this tour that you had to solve very quickly before a concert started to make everything work in the end? Or all is going smoothly during these soundchecks?
MNS: – There was no problem so far. Knock on wood.
PP: – I remember there was a moment in Karlstad, when Per looked at you and showed he has problems with his guitar. They were just coming back to the stage for the 2nd extra with Sommartider. You had to come up the stage and change the guitar settings from silent mode to normal, while Per was playing the guitar. It was hilarious. Are you and Micke Syd teasing him a lot with this since then? (At least in Örebro I saw you and Micke Syd were teasing him and showing the guitar was then set to normal mode.)
MNS: – Hahaha! Shit happens to everyone. And actually Syd is not talking about the guitar, he is just teasing me, because Per makes fun of me holding the guitars for so long. He’s fooling me and decides to wipe his face once again and have another drink. So I have to stand there and look like a fool. Sometimes I walk back before he can take the new guitar.
PP: – Now that’s too funny. Anyway, which is your personal favourite among Per’s actual guitars – Cherry Gibson, Blonde Gibson, Black Gibson or the Black Acoustic – and why?
MNS: – I like the Black Gibson, because it’s the easiest to work with. But I bought the Blonde for Per during the Roxette tour and that one has grown in my mind and feelings. (Also in Per’s, I guess, since it’s used for more songs now.)
PP: – Between the support act, Linnea Henriksson and the GT gig we see you on stage with a red plec saying ”Tänk att få sätta på” (part of the lyrics of Flickorna på TV2). Lookin’ good. Is it your personal plec? Is it an own design?
MNS: – It’s my personal tuning pick. It’s one gauge thicker than what Per plays with. It’s more comfortable and more accurate to tune with. I have had own tuning picks since Roxette started the tour. Purple ones.
PP: – We know that for the Roxette tour you had many ideas regarding plecs and Pelle’s drumkit with the star was absolutely your idea. How much have you been involved in designing this year’s plec collection and drumkit?
MNS: – I have designed all of them. Per gave me a few lines he wanted to see on them and I did the rest. The drumkit setup is designed by me. The front head design is Gyllene Tider’s official tour shield, not my design, but I made a few changes to it. It’s 3D, if you look closely at it. Peter, who printed and helped out with the Roxette drumkit, also did the graphic work and printing for this and the Leif on the small kickdrum.
PP: – Talking about ideas, we could see one of your greatest in the Roxette live concert film, namely the small cam on Per’s guitar. Awesome camera angle. Can we expect anything like this in the coming GT live film?
MNS: – No, but I pitched the idea for the show designer to add the GoPro wide angle cameras in the production inside the drumkit. But that is shown every night, so it’s nothing new.
PP: – Back to your past. Have you ever played in any band? Are there any plans that you want to leave backstage and come into the spotlight one day or it’s not your cup of tea at all?
MNS: – I was playing in a band during my years at the Conservatory of Music. We did a reunion in 2009 and played for 2 weeks in St. Anton ski resort. But there are no other plans and it’s nothing I want to do.
PP: – Do you already know what’s next, whose backline are you going to be after the tour ends? Or do you take a good rest and have some free weeks?
MNS: – I do all the pre-work for the Swedish / Norwegian talk show, Skavlan at our national TV station (SVT). I take care of the acts playing there when it comes to all backline work and logistics. It can be any artist: Foo Fighters, Take That, Alicia Keys or a local act. Funny thing is that Sinéad O’Connor asked me if I could get her a guitar for her performance. The only one who I knew he had a guitar Sinéad wanted was Per. So I called him and borrowed his guitar for that show. He told me to say hello to her, since earlier they met in another TV show (where she ripped a photo of the Pope).
You can watch Sinéad O’Connor’s performance in Skavlan show here. She was playing Per’s Gibson Les Paul Jr. /PP/
PP: – One last question came into my mind when I looked at your cover picture on Facebook – Bruce Springsteen throwing the guitar to his technician. Cool one! Who is the artist you would love to work with if you had one wish and why?
MNS: – Foo Fighters, because it’s good music and they are nice guys.
PP: – Fingers crossed for you to work with Foo Fighters then. Thank you for your time and for the fun stories. See you on a next Gessle-related tour!
MNS: – Thank you for coming to the shows. We are nothing without you. And who knows. There might be something in the future, or not…
Pics with PP watermark are © Patrícia Peres, pic w/o PP is © Mikael Nogueira Svensson