Per Gessle interview in Dagens Nyheter – ”I hope the movie inspires kids to start a band”

Hanna Mellin from Dagens Nyheter did an interview with Per Gessle about the Gyllene Tider movie.

“Sommartider – Filmen om Gyllene Tider” premieres in cinemas on 17th July and tells the story of the band that became a Swedish pop sensation. Newcomer Valdemar Wahlbeck sings as and portrays Per Gessle, whose childhood and youth are depicted in the film. Per has seen the film several times, but was initially somewhat suspicious of the idea.

Now it feels exciting, but when we first sat down and talked about the fact that there would be a film about the story behind Gyllene Tider, I was quite skeptical – no one in the band wanted to make any kind of tribute film to ourselves. But, “Sommertider” is more about me, how I met guitarist Mats Persson and the film ends when the song “Sommartider” is released.

Hanna is curious how it feels to join artists like Elton John, Amy Winehouse, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin and more and get a feature film about himself.

What felt odd at first was that it is about my childhood – of course it will be very personal and private. But, I don’t have a big problem with that, because what is being told is basically true. When I read the script for the first time, I just felt “wow”, this is fantastic – although of course the film takes some creative liberties, not least when it comes to the chronology. What I hope above all is that “Sommartider” inspires kids to start a band, that the film conveys the fellowship to sing and play music together. It is truly life changing.

To the question how involved Per has been in the film, he replies:

Not much, but I have answered a lot of questions and helped with the soundtrack. The songs are played by the Roxette band and Valdemar Wahlbeck, who plays me, sings himself. I’ve been involved in selecting the songs and I think the band does them very well, as you know, simple things are often the most difficult. I’ve mostly been a sounding board.

Hanna wans to know if Per joined the shootings and she thinks it must be pretty surreal to step into your own life on set.

Above all, it was an experience to go back in time by seeing all the details, props and environments from the late 1970s and early ’80s. It was very nice to experience the work that was done with it in the film. The film also contains a lot of drama and depicts the tragic accident in Blekinge before a Gyllene Tider concert in 1981, where three people lost their lives. Of course, I also had to answer some questions about that.

Hanna asks if Per’s family has seen the movie and how they reacted.

My wife has seen it, she was very moved. But, what I hope for is, as I said, that it can give something to others. There was an alienation in me when I was young and music became in many ways my escape and my reality. Many people can probably identify with it and maybe they get strength and energy from this film, which has a happy ending.

Hanna asks the last question to get to know if for Per as an artist there are things that bother him when he watches music movies. E.g. if someone fakes singing or holds an instrument completely wrong.

Yes it does! Not least, I think that the music industry becomes a cliché on film sometimes. Record company people often become villains so that the artist can be the hero. And when you cut in the music, when a crash cymbal appears when it shouldn’t – I don’t like that. But I can also be bothered by, for example, key changes when I listen to the radio. One can be clearly a fachidiot.

Photo by Fredrik Etoall