First ear candies on Per Gessle’s new record label

While we are waiting for the third single to be released off Roxette’s 10th studio album, Good Karma, Per Gessle is busy with releasing singles on his new record label, Space Station 12.

The first release was Good Harvest’s own interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock and the second is Fanny de Aguiar’s debut single, Sinking Deep. If you haven’t listened to the songs yet, you should! Both acts sound quite outstanding.

 

PG_wearing_SS12_tee
PG in his SS12 tee. Pics from Roxette’s Facebook page (1,2)

Per about Good Harvest:

The first time I heard Good Harvest, I was completely cracked by how tight they are singing. It’s incredibly brilliantly done, while it hits straight in the heart. This kind of timeless quality is what makes you immediately want to hear the song again.

Good Harvest about the first meeting with Per Gessle:

To meet Gessle is in many ways like meeting a living legend. But he was really nice and it felt very relaxed. He offered coffee, cake and a record deal in his apartment in Stockholm and later that night he came to see us at a gig we had in town. We worked with the same business manager as Gessle last year and from him we have already heard about “Per” in a familiar way. But of course it still feels a little weird when an e-mail from Per Gessle pops up in your inbox …!

Fanny de Aguiar about Per Gessle:

Per is the kind of person who makes music and appreciates personal expression. At least this is the impression I got. I haven’t met him in person many times until now, but we are in contact via e-mail. I often send him over what I’m working on in the studio and then he gives me feedback and shares his ideas and concerns. It’s so simple!

 

Per seems to be proud of the first releases and artists. No surprise he promotes them even on Roxette’s Facebook page (GH1, GH2, FDA1). Well, I think most of the Roxers’ education in music (at least partly) has been provided by PG himself over the years. I don’t only mean Per’s own music (solo or Roxette or GT), but his record collection, the roots and music history. Now we get some more ”education” about today’s music. Today’s music which is different to the mainstream pop world where most of the songs sound the same. And that’s exactly why Space Station 12 will probably be distinctive of any other record label. Releasing something different. As Mr. G says:

My ambition with Space Station 12 is to create an environment with strong roots in the history of pop and rock. I would love it to become a label you as a listener can identify with, just like I did with Atlantic, Stiff and F-Beat Records when I grew up. SS12 will be a home for strong musical personalities, brilliant songwriters and curious producers.

So, good luck to Good Harvest and Fanny de Aguiar, as well as Space Station 12! Looking forward to hear the next artists on this label. In case you are also curious about what’s next, follow SS12 on Facebook.

 

Marie Fredriksson interview from 1984

Another fab interview popped up in Elisabeth Elle Sandberg’s archives. Some weeks ago she shared an interview she did with Per Gessle in 1985 and now it’s Marie’s turn. Elisabeth did an interview with her in 1984, probably on 15th May, just some days before Marie’s 26th birthday. How awesome it is! Thanks a lot again, Elisabeth for sharing such gems with the world!

The interview starts with the intro telling that Marie Fredriksson has recently released her single ”Ännu doftar kärlek”. It is a ballad that Marie has written together with Lasse Lindbom. On the back side there is a song written by Per Gessle, ”Tag detta hjärta”. What happens in the future will depend very much on how the single is received. The upcoming LP is released when it feels timely, possibly in August.

Marie tells Elisabeth that it was planned that the LP would be released this spring. They wanted to wait a bit, so they had time to write some more material. She says she will go to the studio again in June and record 3-4 songs that they have written now. Possibly they release another single in summer and it depends on how it goes with it. She will probably record a video and it will be very exciting.

Marie also talks about the fact that most of the material on the LP she wrote together with Lasse, but there are also some songs that she herself has written both music and lyrics to. Martin Sternhufvud also made a song that will be included on the LP which is damn good and Marie is very proud of. Per wrote a song that is the B-side of the single. Marie also worked together with Björn Holmgren, who is a director in Halmstad. He is very good at writing and has written some children’s plays. On the LP there is a song he wrote the text to and Marie wrote the music.

Miss Fredriksson tells Elisabeth that she is happy that Lasse and she have been able to write so well together. They didn’t know it, just tested it for fun and it worked damn well. Everything is exactly as Marie imagined, but she says they have to see if it sells. You’ve done what you could, you’re only human. But if people don’t want to buy it, you have to do something new. Marie thinks the mmost important is that she is satisfied and she 100% is.

Elisabeth asks Marie if she can make a living on music. Marie says it’s OK. She was on tour with Gyllene Tider and she got paid. She managed to have her apartment in Halmstad. Later in the summer she will tour with Lasse Lindbom Band. She will be there as a guest, just as she was on the Gyllene Tider tour. In autumn, when her LP is released, she will go on tour and will go with Lasse and they will have the same band. Marie says they should not work as Dan Hylander and Py Bäckman, but Lasse does his songs and Marie hers. There will be two performances, so the audience get double value for their money. Then they do the end together. After that she decided to go on a bigger tour. It will be her first thing, which she is in charge of. The musicians will be Pelle Andersson and Pelle Sirén from the X-models. They are not known, but very talented. Probably Janne Bark as well, but it is not decided yet. Even Backa Hans (Eriksson, Elisabeth’s comment) who have played with Lundell and perhaps Göran Fritzson from Gyllene Tider. It’s a great mix that feels very fresh, and there are some new people.

Elisabeth asks about the band Marie played with last summer. Marie says unfortunately she doesn’t play with them now, but it was fun and they are thinking about doing some gigs together this summer, maybe in August. They have some contacts in Kungsbacka and Falkenberg, who would like them to come back. But with them she does only covers, no own songs.

Elisabeth is curious about how it feels to be on tour with Gyllene Tider. Marie says she had a blast and it was really fantastic. It was very fruitful for her. This spring she learned a lot about stage experience and how to talk to the crowd. She performed one song as a guest. They were on tour for 5 weeks and they became like family, so it was sad when the tour ended. And it’s not only the band, because Gyllene Tider you meet every now and then as they also live in Halmstad, but also the crew who take care of everything from sound to lights, they won’t see each other for a long time.

Marie is asked what she thinks about Swedish female rock singers? For example, Py Bäckman and Anne-Lie Rydé. According to Ms Fredriksson, Anne-Lie Rydé is really good. Py Bäckman is a wonderful text and music writer. Her latest LP is very good. She has also written a text for Marie and she is now making music to it. Marie says she saw Anne-Lie Rydé when she was in town last  time. She is very good on stage. But Marie likes Py Bäckman’s depth. Elisabeth asks about Efva Attling and Eva Dahlgren and Marie replies that she liked Eva Dahlgren’s latest LP ”För väntan”. Marie thinks Efva Attling is very professional on stage. Marie says if she goes to a concert or is listening to an album, then she wants to feel something.

Talking about Swedish male singers Marie says Mikael Rickfors is very good. He sings very well and writes good songs. Marie thinks that Mikael Rickfors and Lasse Lindbom are the best male singers in Sweden. She listens closely to the voice and the feeling in it.

Elisabeth asks Marie if she remembers her first gig. She does and it was very interesting. No one has ever asked it so far. Marie’s first performance was horrible. She was 7 years old and was singing for many people. There was her mom and a lot of old ladies. It was kind of a celebration, some sew meeting. “Oh, then little Marie could sing”. She was singing Rönnerdahl. She was standing there in a nice dress. She did not look at the audience, but at the floor all the time while she was singing, so the ladies didn’t hear a damn thing of what she sang. She was so nervous and afterwards she started crying, came home and was completely broken.

After that, Marie was singing in a lot of children and youth choirs while she went to school. She often sang in churches. Then she went to learn music program at a college for two years, where they sang a lot. Then she started singing jazz. Marie will never forget the first time she sang to a thousand people. It was with Strul, which was the support act to Eldkvarn. It was the first time they had a really big audience. Earlier they had crowds of 400-500 people. When they walked up on stage, everyone cheered when they started to play. It’s probably the best memory she has of Strul. Then there was an occasion when they played for 450 people with several other bands at Kattegattskolan. They played last and it went so well they got to do more than one encore. Marie thinks it was in 1977. These are wonderful memories and Marie is grateful.

Marie ends the interview with saying one shouldn’t be giddy with success. You must be able to be with ordinary people, otherwise you can’t write. If she becomes a diva, it won’t work. Then she couldn’t write. You must live the everyday life to get inspiration for new songs. Marie thinks that one person is not worth more than others just because she made an album. She thinks it’s important to think this way. You should be just like you were before.

Interview_with_MF_by_Elisabeth_Sandberg

 

12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per Gessle

In this 12 Peaks, Per Gessle and Sven Lindström feel like teenagers and talk about one of their favourite subjects on the planet, The Beatles. Huge thanks to Sven again for sharing the program with us! You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 22nd August).

Mr. G’s 12 favourite hits from The Beatles:

  1. 12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per GessleHey Jude (1968)
  2. A Day in the Life (1967)
  3. Taxman (1966)
  4. I Am the Walrus (1967)
  5. Something (1969)
  6. Dear Prudence (1968)
  7. Rain (1966)
  8. I Feel Fine (1964)
  9. I’m Down (1965)
  10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)
  11. Run for Your Life (1965)
  12. Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

In PG’s book The Beatles is the biggest there ever was, the most influential band in his life. All their songs are masterpieces, so it was pretty easy to pick 12 favourites. It would be really difficult to find 12 bad Beatles songs, so there won’t be a 12 Peaks show like that.

Per says one of the best songs ever written is ”Hey Jude”. He thinks it’s brilliant and it changed the world for so many people.

The second song on the list is ”A Day in the Life”. When Per first heard it, there was just magic all over the place in his little room. His brother had the album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Per was listening to it all the time.

Mr. G’s 3rd fave hit is ”Taxman”, a song written by George Harrison and released as the opening track on the Revolver album, which is one of Per’s favourite Beatles albums. But he can’t really make up his mind about which album is really his favourite.

The fourth song is something completely different. Per thinks it’s one of the wildest songs he knows and every time he hears it, it puts a smile on his face. It’s ”I Am the Walrus”, John Lennon in top shape. Sven and Per are of course 2 of the biggest Beatles nerds and they talk about the hidden messages in the song, namely, the lines of Shakespeare’s play, King Lear which one can hear in ”I Am the Walrus” in the background in a radio broadcast.

”Something” was written by George Harrison and it’s on the Abbey Road album, which is a stunning piece of music. Another most favourite Beatles album for PG. ”Something” is probably the most mainstream track, covered by so many artists.

”Dear Prudence” has a beautiful melody, a simple production and it’s mesmerizing to hear this track. Per just loves the song forever and ever.

”Rain” is the B-side of Paperback Writer and it’s a magnificent song. The vocal performance by Lennon is just amazing. Per also loves the glasses everyone was wearing on the sleeve. Sven says things were starting to get slightly psychedelic then.

The intro to ”I Feel Fine” just blew Per’s mind when he was a kid. It’s still fantastic, but in those days you never heard anything like that. PG loves the great harmonies and the great voice of John Lennon in this song.

Before Per and Sven get down to the next hit, Per mentions Sven wears a Rubber Soul watch. Sven says it doesn’t work, but never mind. The clock is always quarter past Ringo. Haha.

”I’m Down” is a hidden gem according to Mr. G. He can’t remember which single had it as a B-side, because he always played this song all the time. [It was the B-side of Help! /PP]

”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song written by George Harrison and it was also a stunning piece of music when it came out and it still is. There is Eric Clapton on guitar.

”Run for Your Life” is fantastic pop music. It’s from Rubber Soul, which is a great album and everyone loves it. It’s a jukebox and John Lennon’s voice at this time is just the best there is.

Per picked ”Strawberry Fields Forever” as the last track on his Beatles list. He thinks it’s a magnificent piece of recording and is a highlight in pop history for Mr. G. It’s still very unique and at the time it came out you never heard anything like this. Per says it was always so cool with The Beatles that they did so many different things all the time. You could never know what to expect.

Before they play the last song, Per and Sven talk about PG visiting John Lennon’s house on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. Strawberry Fields was a place close to where John grew up. Per says it was very special to visit the house. They kept it intact, how it was when John grew up and the guide showed them a little room inside the door at the main entrance where John and Paul were singing, because there were great acoustics inside. Per says he was standing there and started singing to see how it feels like and it sounded fantastic in there. It was almost like an echo chamber.

 

Per Gessle interview from 1985

A fab interview with Per Gessle was done by Elisabeth Elle Sandberg on 9th February 1985. Elisabeth, who was 18 when she did the interview at Per’s apartment in Halmstad, decided to make it available online after 31 years. Great decision, I must say. What an interesting reading after all these years knowing what Per achieved in his solo career and with Gyllene Tider, as well as with Marie in Roxette. Awesome! Thanks a lot, Elisabeth!

Elisabeth starts the article with placing the interview in a time perspective. In 1983 Per released his first solo album, Per Gessle. The following year, in February, 1984 came Gyllene Tider’s English album, The Heartland Café, which did not sell particularly well. During this interview in 1985 Per started working on his second solo album, Scener. Gyllene Tider broke up about a month after this interview and Per and Marie formed Roxette in 1986.

On the day of the interview Per was in the process of looking for images that would illustrate the lyrics of his second solo album. He says it’s really hard. The only image he found good was a picture of his mother. Elisabeth asks if there were no pictures of himself and Per said he wouldn’t dare using them.

Elisabeth asks Mr. G why he is doing a solo album when he is fine with the band, Gyllene Tider. Per says he doesn’t have a good answer to the question, but it’s good to change the environment sometimes. However, there is less reason to make a solo album now than before, because Gyllene Tider’s music is closer to him than it was before. But after doing The Heartland Café album he decided that the next one should be a solo album.

Elisabeth asks if the next GT album will be more full of hits and Per replies that the main difference is that it will be in Swedish again. Another difference will be that he won’t write more than 1/3 of the album and gets the others write too. He thinks that if there is a reason for them to continue to play together, they must move on and everyone should contribute to the creative side, so it doesn’t become 12 Per Gessle tunes. There would of course be songs similar to Sommartider, but he hasn’t written so much yet. The idea is to make it a more danceable up-tempo album.

Elisabeth asks if Per thinks the fans will come back and Per says he hopes so, but he sounds a bit uncertain. Per says they are probably the oldest band at this level in Sweden and the audience they had in 1980-81 are four years older now. At that age musical taste changes quite a lot. According to Mr. G, each artist is just as big as their last song (The Heartland Café album sold 30 000 copies). They have, after all, a fairly large audience still and if they make a good album, he thinks they can be huge again. Per was surprised that The Heartland Café was selling so much anyway, because many people didn’t have a clue that the album was released, but that’s only because it was in English.

Per says Teaser Japanese sold quite well as a single, but he thinks it was totally wrong, a stupid thing. Mr. G says it was his fault that they did an English LP. He just wanted them to invest in Europe, but one shouldn’t throw out 300 000 SEK on an LP that no one wants to buy. Instead, one should record a single and test it. If it doesn’t work, one should make another single. Now he thinks the whole year they worked on The Heartland Café was a waste of time.

Mr. G says the fans bought the album Puls in autumn of 1982 and it is much to ask that they wait for a new Gyllene Tider album. They will release a new single after his solo album. It’s a bit useless to compete with himself. He says a song is finished and its title is “30 skäl” [this is the song Anna recorded in 1986 – PP]. Per says it’s very danceable and is possibly out sometime in July-August.

Per says his songwriting is changing all the time. The biggest change was in 1982 when he bought a piano. Elisabeth asks if it was hard to bring the piano up the stairs (since there were a lot of stairs to reach Per’s apartment) and Per laughs and says “they said” it was. The piano was built exactly in 1900 and he found it in a shop in Falkenberg. Since he bought it, he started to write music using the piano and it allowed him to write differently.

Per thinks it’s great to read his old lyrics. He doesn’t write the same way anymore. He doesn’t know why. Today it would be really hard to write a song like (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän. Blå December was an attempt to write a short story, a narrated story in pictures.

Per says he started writing English lyrics when he was 13-14. He couldn’t play any instruments, so he just wrote the lyrics. He started playing the guitar in 1976.

To Elisabeth’s question regarding what Per thinks about Swedish music he replied that it’s exactly the same today as when Gyllene Tider had their breakthrough. There are great artists like Ulf Lundell, Dan Hylander, Eva Dahlgren and others who survive, but nothing new appears. He believes that a new generation of 17-18-year-olds will do great things soon. The record companies working with them will be great. Today the record companies are run by older people. The record company Stranded woke up now with bands like Ratata.

Per says many people wonder how he can write songs for Herreys och Pinks, but after all, those are the most-selling artists in Sweden and Per makes a living from writing music.

Elisabeth asks Per which producer he would choose for his next solo album or Gyllene Tider’s next album. Per thinks Gyllene Tider needs a producer more than himself. His solo albums are much clearer than Gyllene Tider’s. He thinks there are tons of good producers, but perhaps above all two. One of them is Trevor Horn, who is a tech pro. He produced Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes. He is fantastic. The other is a guy called Robert “Mutt” Lange, who did The Cars’ latest LP. Per was stunned when he heard The Cars’ latest LP. That’s exactly what they should have done long ago, but they don’t have the resources.

Per says it’s so ridiculous that the record company still wants to have a new album in English. But they can’t spend more time on it, because then it will be the same thing again. Abroad they are competing for airplay time with all other Capitol artists such as John Waite, Tina Turner and David Bowie. And it is impossible.

To the question if he is interested in writing soundtracks or musicals, Per replies that he would like to do soundtracks and also instrumental music, it would be fun, but about musicals he thinks they are so boring.

Elisabeth asks Per if he remembers the first time he was standing in front of an audience. Mr. G says he was always singing Staffan Stalledräng. He and a guy called Peter Nilsson worked as troubadours and were singing at hospitals. There he learned how to sit with a guitar and sing for people. He says it was useful and helped when they played with Gyllene Tider. But he thinks he is still nervous. But that’s just because people have other requirements today in any context. Per says if you are at a family party, people always want you to sit down at the piano, sing and play. Stuff he hates, because he can’t. He can barely play the piano.

To the question which concert he was fascinated by, Per replies that there are several. Bruce Springsteen when he was in Sweden last. It was an incredible concert. He is just like an artist should be. He captivates his audience. Then Joni Mitchell when she was in Sweden. Per says he saw David Bowie on his recent tour in France. Randy Newman alone with a grand piano is the best there is. Staffan Scheja and Björn J:son Lindh are also beautiful. Per says there are so many ways to experience a concert, however, actually he doesn’t like to go to concerts. It’s rare that he goes to one and almost never at Scandinavium, because it’s so boring.

He is asked if he goes out to dance and his reply is he does. If he likes dancing? He says it depends. He thinks it’s fun to dance sometimes, it depends on what mood you are in. He tends to go out in Halmstad, but he doesn’t go out to dance only, but to eat.

Regarding what he produced so far Per says Rita & The Rip-Off. He would really love to produce more, but it’s hard when you work with yourself. This new album he is doing he produces it together with Lasse Lindbom. He thinks it’s good for all bands, no matter how much experience they have, to have a producer. You need an objective person all the time. If you work for a long time with your material, you become snowed in what you are doing. Producing other artists would be fun. Per thinks he is pretty good at it and he laughs. Then he goes off and gets more coffee saying he always drinks so much coffee. It’s part of his plans to produce more. The problem is that he likes working in Halmstad. He finds it boring to stay at a hotel in Stockholm.

Elisabeth asks Per what he would like to be able to do what he still can’t do. Per says he would like to be a better musician than he is. He would also like to be able to read music. No one he knows can do that. When one is working with other musicians, often older musicians, it’s an incredible advantage to be able to write and read music. When Per hears or knows what he wants in a song, he is humming it out. He thinks it’s a handicap. He would also like to be able to sing better, to have a larger vocal range. He went and took singing lessons four times, but he says he is not one of those who can do it, for example, every Tuesday. It’s rare that he is home. Mr. G says he had season ticket for Drott’s matches, but he saw only one game during the season, because he wasn’t home. He says it’s useless this way and he can’t have anything definite.

Elisabeth asks Per if he plays football and Per says they play soccer every Monday in the summer, he and some neighbors. He says it’s funny. He played football when he was little and he always found ball sports fun. He is also playing badminton quite often.

The interview ends with a question about what Per is doing now and he replies he is trying to get an agent in Los Angeles, and it goes pretty well.

PG_Elisabeth_Elle_Sandberg

 

12 Peaks of The Kinks by Per Gessle

1 month after we shared Mr. G’s 12 Peaks of Roxette, now it’s time to listen to another 12 Peaks. Sven Lindström kindly shared with us the program about one of Per Gessle’s favourite bands of all time, The Kinks. You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 26th July).

Per listened to The Kinks a lot when he grew up and he still does. It’s timeless music and great songwriting by Ray Davies. Mr. G’s very first LP was The Kink Kontroversy. Per bought it from his brother (7 years older than PG) who needed money for cigarette. Per still has the album which he thinks is a brilliant one, having a great sleeve with a Guild guitar on it.

Sven and Per talk about what the magic behind The Kinks is. Per says The Kinks come from some sort of British R&B and evolved into a very British pop institution. Ray Davies’ songwriting is the essence of the whole thing, but they are all great musicians and together they combine the band’s fantastic sound. Per thinks The Kinks in general were an underrated band. They were a little bit out of tune all the time, but that’s what makes them so special. They had wonderful guitar riffs.

The guys talk about the band’s drummer, Mick Avory. Per thinks one can hear he’s got his R&B background and he became a great pop drummer. Sven also mentions what a cool voice Ray Davies has, it sounds like he has a perpetual cold.  Per says Ray’s voice is in perfect harmony with his brother’s, Dave Davies’ voice.

Mr. G picked songs mainly from The Kinks’ early days. Here is the list of his 12 favourites:

  1. 12PeaksofTheKinksbyPerGessleDavid Watts (1967)
  2. Till the End of the Day (1965)
  3. Waterloo Sunset (1967)
  4. Sunny Afternoon (1966)
  5. Lola (1970)
  6. Tired of Waiting for You (1965)
  7. Set Me Free (1965)
  8. Where Have All the Good Times Gone (1965)
  9. Days (1968)
  10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion (1966)
  11. Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home (1966)
  12. Sweet Lady Genevieve (1973)

When Sven tells before The Kinks broke through, they made 2 flop singles, Per reacts ”yeah, well, most of us did” and laughs. Per says he adored Till the End of the Day when he was a kid and still does. The guitar intro is the best. Waterloo Sunset is one of the best pop songs ever written according to PG. It has such a beautiful melody line, such beautiful lyrics and it’s just magic in 3 minutes. It was an inspiration for Per and took the characters, Terry and Julie from this song and used them in a Roxette song, Me & You & Terry & Julie. It’s a little homage to Mr. Davies. Per met Ray Davies once. It happened in London at the BMI Awards. Ray had a Swedish girlfriend at the time, so they chatted a bit. Per says Ray is a great guy.

Sunny Afternoon is THE summer song for Mr. G next to Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful. It was a big hit in Sweden, one could hear it a lot on the radio. Per had it as a single and played it over and over again. Lola is one of those brilliant songs Per wishes he had written. He just loves it. The lyrics have typical Ray Davies phrases with double meanings all the time. Sven says it might be the first ever song about a transvestite. Per says ”maybe… as we know. But we’re from Sweden, so what do we know…?” Haha.

Sven asks Per to list the best pop groups ever, Per’s Top10, but Mr. G says after The Beatles topping the list there are many bands at the 2nd place, e.g. The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.

Besides talking enthusiastically about The Kinks, the guys even share the recipe of semla cake, NOT. Haha. But they know it’s a bun with some cream in it and has a sweet little thing inside. The sweet bun by the way was offered for Sven by Åsa, ”sweet wife” as Per refers to her. How lovely!