Per Gessle on Musikplats

Per Gessle visited Swedish Radio P4’s studio in Stockholm last Friday and was a guest on Musikplats. Host Fredrik Eliasson tells Per had big success this autumn on the program. 3 of his songs were ”song of the week” on Musikplats which is exceptional, it never happened before during one season and it’s the 30th season. The 3 songs were:

20-09-18 Per Gessle – Nypon och ljung
20-10-02 Roxette – Let Your Heart Dance With Me
20-10-30 Per Gessle & Helena Josefsson – Ömhet

Per is very happy about it. Fredrik thinks Per is in constant harmony with the audience and asks if it was always like that. Per smiles and says not always, but the finest rating one can get is that people appreciate what he is doing.

The guys talk about Per’s new solo album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. Per says it’s a result of the pandemic. He was isolated and spent a lot of time in Halmstad and thought he would record something. He went to the studio and wanted to try and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t really have new material to record though, so he started digging in his archives. It was exciting. He went through maybe 60-70-80 songs from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. He got stuck with appr. 10 which he thought are still relevant, but maybe had a lousy recording earlier, so he gave them a new chance now.

Fredrik asks how Per can decide whether a song is relevant or not. Mr. G says when he wrote the songs in the 80’s, he was a young guy. When you sing or read the lyrics of those today, you see them from another perspective. Tända en sticka till was for example released on his first solo album in 1983. It has a warm text, but it gets another meaning when you are 61 and you sing it today. There is the feeling of nostalgia, sentimentality, looking back on the time passed. That gives another angle. Fredrik agrees that this can change a song. Per tells when he wrote songs for Roxette, he wrote them for Marie and when a girl sings the song it has another meaning when it’s a guy singing it.

Fredrik mentions there is Segla på ett moln on the new album, a hit first released by Anne-Lie Rydé in 1983 and there is also a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Per says Uno came to Halmstad in summer and called him if they could have dinner together. Mr. G said of course, but first he has to sing on a song on Per’s new album. Uno accepted the request and in a rush, Per changed the keys to match Uno’s and Per’s voices. Mr. G adds Uno is a lovely person. When Fredrik asks which song it is, Per wants to tell the title, Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig), but the part in brackets doesn’t come out correctly. Haha. He says he can’t remember and Fredrik says it’s an old song. They both laugh and then they play the song.

After that, Fredrik adds that Helena Josefsson is also singing on DKSN, she is doing vocals on the whole album. Per tells his voice blends quite well with female voices and it sounds fine.

Fredrik congratulates Per on his Billboard record. On the list published a week ago there are 18 sole songwriters who have more than two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 songs. Per says it was a shock to the system. When he read the article about it, it felt very flattering to be on the same list as Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Lionel Richie. A tough list. Today songwriting doesn’t work like before. Now almost everyone works in a team and writes songs in a team. Per has always been a lone wolf. He is extremely proud to be on the list.

The guys are talking about Let Your Heart Dance With Me. Fredrik says it has an emotional story, Marie and Per recorded it at the end of the Roxette era. Per says it was the very last song they recorded together. It didn’t make it to their last album, Good Karma. It was a difficult album to record because of Marie’s health problems, so when they had finished the album, they didn’t do any more recordings. They had some songs left, but they were never recorded properly or mixed. Let Your Heart Dance With Me is one of them. Per had forgotten about it, but he found a raw mix of it last spring. Then they mixed it properly. They speeded up the tempo a bit to make it sound more fresh. He thinks it sounds damn good. It will be released in a compilation box, Bag of Trix that will have 4 volumes of so far unreleased songs, demos, acoustic sessions, etc. There are still a lot of old live concert recordings in the drawers. It was a lovely journey for Per to dig in those drawers. He won’t ever stop being impressed by Marie’s capacity. She is a fantastic artist and singer. They are listening to the song here. Fredrik highlights the whistling. Per tells it wasn’t planned. They just wanted to keep the melody and present it in a fun way and whistling turned out to be quite good. Mr. G also tells that if the song key is right, you can whistle properly. They laugh.

Regarding the music industry and pandemic Per says it’s very sad what happens now. All the people (not only in the music business, but film industry) are affected by the situation. He has a lot of technician and musician friends and it’s very difficult for them now. The longer it lasts the more difficult it is. Fredrik asks Per about his experience how difficult it is to get back on track if someone loses the grip. Per thinks one has to keep on working on it. The same things happen now in most of the countries, it’s not a unique Swedish probelm. It’s a special time we live in, a lot is happening. There is the US elections, terrorism in Europe, it’s a strange time.

Fredrik asks what’s next. Per says there won’t be a tour of course. He is doing some TV these days and then goes back to the crypt and keeps on working in the studio.

Regarding Gyllene Tider the guys discuss it was a big party last year. They decided to close that chapter, but Per personally thinks that it’s fantastic to play in a pop band of Gyllene Tider’s caliber. There are no plans, but cool things are happening when the 5 of them meet and have instruments close to them. Let’s see what happens.

Fredrik thanks Per for coming to the show and they play Kom ut till stranden.

They started the whole program with Nypon och ljung and they also played Ömhet before Per was on air. So all in all 5 PG songs were played on Musikplats on Friday. Nice.