Per Gessle was Martina Thun’s guest on RIX FM yesterday. Martina tells she heard Per was creative during the pandemic. He wrote and rewrote songs. Per says he couldn’t stay home and went to the studio to record an album based on his old materials. He had the idea to play as many instruments as possible himself, but he soon realized it wouldn’t work. He realized that he is not a good bassist and drummer. But the album turned out to be nice and it was a fun idea to go back to the material he wrote in the 80’s for other artists or songs he never really finished for different reasons. He found some songs where he thought what he meant with this one. He tried to pick those that still feel relevant. What he found exciting was that he wrote these songs when he was 23-25 years old and now when he sings them as an 80-year-old (haha) they get another meaning. They are more sentimental and nostalgic now.
Martina asks Mr. G about how he has developed from a 23-25-year-old songwriter to a songwriter today. Per thinks he wrote longer songs in the past. The most difficult when you are writing a song is to make it simple. To bring forward what you actually want to say. When you are getting old you know more and you easily become a little oversophisticated. You can also feel that you did something 18 times before, so you have to find something else and then it’s easy to lose the starting idea.
They talk about Ömhet that it was written during the Mazarin era, but back then it had another music and he thought it was lousy. Then in 2012 he wrote new music to it and brought it to the Dags att tänka på refrängen session with Gyllene Tider, but he thinks they didn’t even try to record it, because they already had enough other songs. It was lying around a bit more and when he went to Nashville in 2016 he took the song again, but it wasn’t recorded then either.
Martina asks Per about Marie, how it was losing her. Per says it was very hard of course. It’s terrible when such a close friend is passing away. They met already at the end of the 70’s when they shared a rehearsal studio, but played in separate bands. It was tough and it still is. You miss calling each other and chatting. During the latest period they didn’t do that too often, but when a close friend or relative disappears you miss those little bickerings or sharing something with each other.
Martina is curious about what the highlights are during Roxette’s career. Mr. G says there are so many, but when they first became No. 1 in the US with The Look was a sensation for the brain and the heart. Back then, more than now, the music industry was very much focused on the US and England, so that they as Swedes could succeed was unbelievable. He remembers that after The Look became No. 1 in the US and they were to release the album in the UK they were told to be an American band, because no one would want to sign a Swedish band. So for a couple of weeks they were an American band.
Martina asks what the roles were in the band between Marie and Per when they were on tour, on stage. Per says it’s a good question, Marie became the front figure quite fast. She sang the most and the best. She learned very fast how to handle the audience. Taking the crowd with you at a club is very much different to a stadium. She was very good at that. Per was the eager beaver. It was him who asked what if they do this or what if they do that, what if they release another single, what if they make a video to this, etc. The big thing with Roxette was that 1+1 made 3 in a way. The idea behind Roxette was that Per was the songwriter and Marie was the singer. She needed songs and Per needed someone to sing his songs. That’s how it started besides the friendship they had. They had the ambition, the dream to succeed abroad, in Belgium or Luxemburg. Haha.
Per says he doesn’t sit down to write every day, he is writing a lot when he is in his bubble. There are periods like that. But he always has his antennas out, he is always looking for an idea. He saves those ideas that can be from a film scene or anything that might be used for something later. His music is his way of expressing himself and to communicate with other people or make an impression on them through his music is great.
Regarding how the music industry changed over the years Per says pop music always reflected its era. In the 60’s and 70’s it was much about the teenage revolution and long hair for the guys. Pop music went hand in hand with fashion and art. Pop music also gets poltical from time to time, e.g. John and Yoko. Nowadays mainstream pop music is a formula made on laptop. When you listen to Marie singing Listen To Your Heart or It Must Have Been Love, you can hear that she is really singing, there is no technical support to it, but nowadays you can do many things on computers. It’s a different time, a different craft. He can’t say it was better before, but he comes from that generation and grew up with the music of the 60’s and 70’s. So his heart is beating for that style.
Regarding his plans, Per says he just had a Zoom interview with a radio in Argentina and he is recording a new album that will be released next year.