Micke Syd Andersson on Made in Halmstad

Christian Albinsson did a podcast interview with Micke Syd for Made in Halmstad. Listen to it HERE!

Micke talks about his name that it’s really Micke Syd Andersson. Syd was his nickname, because there was another musician, guitarist Micke „Nord” Andersson and it was confusing that they had the same name. Micke says the fun thing is that they both had hairdressers called Maria. Micke Nord is from Dalarna in the North and Syd is from Halmstad in the South, so that’s how they got their nicknames.

It turns out that Micke Syd loves driving. He was driving the tour bus on the GT tour and Christian tells it’s hard to imagine a band doing it nowadays. Micke says they are from another generation, they learned everything themselves. In Gyllene Tider all of them had different qualities. MP and Micke Syd were always the ones who fixed and controlled everything themselves. Their fundamental personalities haven’t changed much. The band brought the instruments themselves to the concerts and set up things for the gigs. They did 150 concerts in 1980, if he remembers right. They had Anders Herrlin’s brother as lighting technician and a friend from Gullbrandstorp as the sound technician.

Micke is 59 years old now and was grown up in Harplinge.

Christian asks Micke about his salary. Syd says when they broke through with GT they had Janne Beime to help them with the financial things. Janne was 35 years old then and they were 18-19. Janne still works together with Per. Micke Syd says he has never had a steady job and never really knew what he would earn money on in the next year. He has what he needs, he is not interested in cars or any other things that cost a lot of money. He has a Plug-in Hybrid Ford Kuga.

Christian asks Micke what he is interested in. Syd says „life, music, my family, my wife”.

Christian is curious if Micke has always been positive. Syd says he is not always positive, but he tries to be. He has been working a lot on it. He is the type who sees the opportunities and thinks how he feels on the inside can be seen on the outside. At the age of 35 you realize that you are not as hot as you were at the age of 20 or 30 and you start managing your life differently. Then he had kids, he divorced. Micke says he is tender on the inside. He says he e.g never drank alcohol or used other stuff. Looking back he thinks he took the right decision, how he has lived his life. He says life is tough anyway, sometimes even for him.

Christian says GT broke through when they were very young and there must have been many parties. Micke says Halmstad was very lively back then and there were indeed a lot of parties and alcohol and he doesn’t know why, but he ignored it. He was driving the tour bus, MP also did that during the first year.

Christian asks what Micke thinks when he says the word Halmstad. Syd says it’s home. He says it’s very strange, because he has been living in Stockholm now for 35 years, so for more years than in Halmstad, but home is still Halmstad. His parents still live there. Stockholm will never become home. Micke says all of them in the band are hillbillies, Halmstad characterized them and how they dealt with their career. They had those un-popidolish pop idol genes and even if they were so different personalities and they still are, they made awesome pop together. There is something very special about them.

Micke Syd is a HBK fan when it comes to soccer. He talks about his favourite players and tells he always had a dream to play in HBK, but he stopped playing football when he was 17. He thinks there is a similarity how you pick your instrument and your position in a football team. Micke was a goalkeeper and says drummers are usually goalkeepers. If you look at it from a psychological point of view, the goalkeeper is a quite exposed position and if he makes a mistake, it’s seen immediately. That’s the case with the drummer too. If he doesn’t do his job well, then the whole band won’t be so good. Micke likes that challenge. He says he has always been a team player and loves teams.

Christian mentions QBTQ (four brave bulls in Spanish), Adam Alsing’s house band on his talk show. Micke Syd was a member of the band in the 90’s for 5 years. Micke tells a story when an adult film actress was on the show and after the program the band went to the swingers club with her where she met other adult film people and partied with them. That was surreal, Micke says.

Christian asks Micke about Halmstad. Micke says summer is Halmstad. He tells that when they had the rehearsals before their last tour with GT, he lived in a house in Frösakull with his wife, Helena for almost a month. It was near Prins Bertils stig and it was magical that each morning he could walk through the woods, along the beach and up to Hotel Tylösand. Christian says he heard the guys rehearsing, but didn’t dare to disturb them. Micke says they tried old songs they never played. One of them was Sista gången jag såg Annie from their debut album. Christian thinks that was their best album. Micke Syd explains when you are young and you just want to make music and your creativity is on a high, it can be heard. For the second album they thought much more about how they should sound, how they should play, etc.

Christian asks about the lyrics that they sound different when a 20-year-old sings them vs. when you sing them now at the age of 60. He means Flickorna på TV2. Micke thinks that the songs belong to those who they play them for. These songs still have their audiences and they associate these songs with happenings and experiences in their lives, so when they play them to the crowds, there is a contact between the band and the audience. He tells these are timeless songs and carry the summer feeling. The songs they play are the ones people want to hear. He remembers he saw Tom Petty live once and he expected to hear the songs he was listening to when Tom was the God for them in GT and he got disappointed, because Tom played his new songs from the new album. Syd says Per wrote so friendly texts that they are still working with teens nowadays. They sing along När vi två blir en, for example. Even if life has changed a lot, people still experience these feelings in life and music is their soundtrack to it. Different bands mean different things for different audiences. On the last tour GT played new songs too, which the guys liked, but still they played the old songs and then you could see a different crowd reaction, when they realized it’s this or that song they knew and associated an experience with it.

Micke says he and Helena went to Halmstad’s city entre and it felt totally dead. He says it’s the same with many other city centres, but it’s sad how fun it was back then and how it is now.

Christian asks Micke when he feels the best. Syd says when he is with his family and when he is playing. They have grown-up children now and they don’t meet very often, but when they meet, he sees and thinks they did a good job. Both Helena and him. They don’t have kids together, but their children are like syblings. So it’s lovely when they are together.

Christian is curious when Micke feels the worst. He says at 3 in the morning. Haha. Syd says he is a sensitive person. He is Pisces and Pisces are sensitive. He is thinking a lot about things. He thinks many things are not managed well in the music branch now and it feels that those who should make it better don’t do their job. He thinks it’s the same in the whole world, but since he lives in Sweden, he talks about that.

To the question how he develops himself Micke replies that everyone has their better and worse sides and he is still learning a lot. He learned a lot about life. There is peace that everyone is looking for. You have to be good to yourself and then it will be visible on the outside as well. Positivity comes through and it motivates him. He says you always have the possibility to change yourself.

Christian asks how Micke is as a lover. He answers Christian should ask Helena. But he thinks he is like when he plays the drums: he recognizes, he listens and feels and he wants to please.

Christian says he heard Micke increase the pace in a song when he gets excited. Micke says everyone has their own tricks. Christian realized it when they 5 play together in GT, it’s so much different to when they play the songs in other constellations. Micke tells a story when in 2013 they played (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän, there was a background screen with different images during the verses and the choruses. The lighting technician came to Micke when they had the final rehearsal in Halmstad Arena and said he couldn’t tune it right for the chorus. It worked for the verses, but not for the chorus. Then Micke asked for a little screen in front of him and played in the pace according to that, so that the film came in the right pace as well. Then when the guys listened to the song they liked it, but they thought something felt strange. Everyone was doing what they had been doing for more than 30 years except for Micke, because he was checking the screen and played according to that. He felt like a restrained horse.

Christina asks Micke how he was at school. He says he was nice except towards one guy. He has never been in a fight except for with that one guy at school and Micke’s brother. He tells he has always been fair.

Regarding the band, Christian tells Per and Micke take different positions, but with the same determination, while Anders, Göran and MP are more in the background. Syd says it has to do with their personalities as well. Per and him are different, but they want the same thing, to do something good. And that’s been like that since the beginning. Christian says Micke mentioned earlier he is a team player and on stage they are indeed a team, but he is curious if they are a team off stage as well. Micke says in the band they all have different musical qualities, but the differences were refined over the years, not only musically. All of them developed and they have fun together when they meet. When they recorded their last album in France, Micke was driving to there with a friend and driving back with Helena. It was practical, because there was stuff they couldn’t have brought there on a flight and he also thought that it was the cheapest option for him. Christian asks if you really think about that when you record an album. Micke says the music industry has changed a lot. These days you don’t earn money when people are listening to music digitally. But the creative process, the recordings cost a lot. You can earn on tour then. But ask people if they want to work gratis. Spotify earns millions, but you get nothing. Micke can’t understand that. It’s not OK. So, recordings cost much and you get a little contribution from the record label, but otherwise, the rest is paid by you.

Regarding who is driven to what extent Micke says MP is not that driven, he is more silent, but his musicality is great. He is cautious, he has always been. It’s so nice to see that they got this far in their career and in a way they are still the same. Micke tells a fun story. When they took the press photos in France, everyone was dressed up, then they checked the photos and saw that MP was wearing his slippers. It didn’t really feel like a pop idol, so they had to photoshop the picture and put jeans on him. [Haha. Yeah, one could realize it already back then, when they shared the picture on GT’s Facebook page. See photos: MP in slippers; photoshopped press photo. /PP] No one really thought about that or cared much. There is something charming in that. When they are on stage, they create something cool, but they are still the guys from Harplinge and Åled and so.

Christian mentions words and asks Micke te react on them in one word. To Halmia he reacts Gessle, to Per Gessle he reacts Halmia, to Harplinge he reacts home. Regarding Hallandian dialects he says there are at least 5 and he loves that.

Christian is curious if Micke will get fat again. Syd says he won’t. Christian asks what was it that wasn’t so good in being fat. For Micke the change was about being healthy and of course also being on stage in top shape. He lost 18 kg in 4 months, he gained 5 kg back though, but he still keeps himself fit. It was a good challenge for him.

Christian asks Micke how he ended up in Gyllene Tider. Syd says Per and MP asked him. He played the drums and Janne Carlsson was the bassist. Then Anders became the bassist and Göran joined them. Then there was the Farfisa. Micke says there were many coincidences in their history or they weren’t coincidences at all.

Christian is curious how it was to break through when they were so young. Syd says such things he can’t remember much. They were 18-19 years old and suddenly people started screaming after them. They called his mom’s hairdresser salon or were lying in the ditch in front of it waiting for Micke to come home. People stole washed clothes from Per’s garden. Such things happened. They all lived with their parents at the time. They were the non-smoker generation, however, Göran and MP smoked. But they advertised jeans and soft drink. They were who they were and he thinks that was their key to success. If you watch Parkliv, you can see what outfit they had. Nothing special. Christian asks when they met other artists who they maybe thought were cooler, maybe Europe, what Micke thinks they thought about Gyllene Tider. Doesn’t he think they thought they were frumpish? Micke thinks they rather thought about their platinum albums. Haha.

Regarding the recordings in France, Micke says it was much fun. They decided that it would be their last album. It was Micke’s idea. The others thought it was a good idea when he told them why he thought so. They had a unique career and all of them 5 are still there. They decided to record the album in a totally different way at a different place than ever before. If they travelled only to Stockholm, it wouldn’t have been the same. They had to go further and be in that Gyllene Tider vibe. Christoffer Lundquist was there with them. They didn’t listen to the demos, they decided just to play and see what happens. Per did the demos with MP, so he knew them, but not the others. They had a big space where the studio was, it was very nice. It was just them and 2 French technicians. There were cooks who prepared meals for them, so they could just concentrate on their work. They created the songs from scratch and it was a very creative process. The surroundings were magical. Micke says he is a lonely guy, so they weren’t hanging out together after work. He likes to contemplate and look at things. There was a gym, they could go out in the garden, so they didn’t have to be together all the time. They all loved it and they loved the result of their work as well. It became a very good album. What they created during their career they could do it only together, them 5. And to know that what they did meant a lot for people and also that they did something good in their lives is great. When they were 20 they just wanted to be pop idols, but 40 years later they still had fun making music together.

Christian asks if they sat down to discuss the problems they had before. Micke says not really. You can only sort things out if you are interested in it and it has to come from both sides. The problem stays there until you solve it. Sometimes it would just be about opening that door and talk about it, but sometimes it’s hard to open the door.

Christian asks Micke about money. Micke says it doesn’t mean much to him. It’s important until the point he can live his own life. It was important for him to raise his kids and live where he wanted to live.

Micke knows a lot of people spend a lot of money to see them on tour and it feels nice that they can give back something via their music. On the last tour they invited a group of policemen, firefighters and ambulance, as well as defense veterans to thank for their service. Anders Thornberg was also there. He is the National Police Commissioner and is also from Halmstad. He is the brother of Per Thornberg, great saxophonist. Many don’t know that Anders is also a great musician, he plays the drums. They shared their drumset in the 70’s when they played at the same rehearsal studio. Micke says at one concert Anders was at the mixing board and Micke started playing the wrong song at some point. Shit happens. There were 10 thousand people, he said they start again. It was fun. He says he later explained the rason was that he was nervous because of Anders Thornberg being there. [Haha. That happened in Eskilstuna. /PP] He says he also managed to get tickets for fans from South America. They flew in from South America, but they couldn’t get tickets, so of course he sorted it out.

Christian asks about the last song on the last concert, how it felt. Micke says it happened in Halmstad and it was very special. The song was När alla vännerna gått hem and when he came to the front of stage he saw there were many people holding up a TACK sign. He is still touched by that. It was nice to close it all at home. A lot of people came who had been following them for more than 30 years and also people from several parts of the world to see them. He cried during the last song and you could see that all the others were so touched too.

Micke is contemplating what if they hadn’t told it was the last one, how would it have been. What would have happened then. He thinks it wouldn’t have been the same. Earlier they never said it was the last tour. They came back several times. They are still good at what they are doing. He says it’s different when he performs the songs separately from the band or when Per performs them on his solo tours. It’s never the same as when they 5 play together.

Micke says he likes meeting people. He likes to perform for smaller crowds and see people’s happy faces and he also likes to stand there at Ullevi. He mentions he took a selfie at Ullevi with 55 thousand people in 2019. That was cool.

Christian thanks Micke for the conversation and Micke says it’s his pleasure and he is thankful he could be on the podcast.

Interview with Pelle Alsing – it’s all about the groove

We have wanted to interview Pelle for a long time, and we actually did last year in April, just right after Marie’s tour. We hadn’t found an appropriate time during the tour and when we were waiting for the Arlanda Express to take us to Stockholm the day after Marie’s tour last concert in Umeå , Pelle just showed up and offered to do the interview right there, right then. So we found a place on the train and we started to shoot questions. Unfortunately, some technical issues made it imposible for the interview to be published so we went for an e-mail interview instead and sent our questions to him towards the end of last year. Pelle’s been very busy with touring with Roxette and finalizing the first album with his own band, Down Harrison, so understandably, it took some time until he could sit down and answer our shocking number of Qs some days ago.

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(C) Judith S. Taken during Marie Fredriksson’s solo tour 2014

Down Harrison’s debut album with the same title as the band’s name was released on March 28th. The band, besides Pelle Alsing on drums, consists of Tommy Cassemar (bass), Jesper Willaume (singer, songwriter) and Mikael Wedberg (guitar, keyboards). Ola Gustafsson joins the band from time to time on guitars and pedal steel.

Check out their album on iTunes, Spotify or Tidal and if you are into what they are doing, you can follow the band on Facebook as well.

Now back to where we started, here you can read the interview with Pelle, the “keep-it-simple” guy. Most of his answers will make you smile or even laugh and some of his extra short replies will leave you curious to know more about Pelle Alsing. Don’t be shy to ask him if you meet him on tour. At the beach or in a bar. 😉

RXB: – Hi Pelle, thank you for your time. How are you doing after the first two legs of the Roxette 30th anniversary tour?
Pelle: – I’m doing fine! Both legs were great! It’s always great to come back to Australia! 2 weeks left until the European tour, yippie!

RXB: – What have you been doing between tours? You recently came back from New Zealand and Australia with Roxette…
Pelle: – Working with my own band DOWN HARRISON! Both before and after NZ and Australia!

RXB: – Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you start playing the drums and why?
Pelle: – My big brother Hans bought a drum kit when I was 9-10 years! I couldn’t resist the kit!

RXB: – What do you think makes a drummer unique?
Pelle: – The groove!

RXB: – When you listen to another drummer, what do you listen for?
Pelle: – The groove!

RXB: – What are your favourite bands and who are your favourite drum players? Which ones made the biggest impact on you?
Pelle: – Wilco, The Band, Little Feat, Jackson Browne, and a thousand more bands and artists! The Beatles!

RXB: – Do you attend many concerts? If so, you rather go to pubs to enjoy live music or to see big bands performing in arenas?
Pelle: – No, not that many. Both!

RXB: – What was the last big concert you watched from the crowd?
Pelle: – James Taylor.

RXB: – Which is your most memorable concert (not necessarily Rox-related) of all time?
Pelle: – Gentle Giant 1975 and Genesis 1977 in Stockholm.

RXB: – What other bands or artists do you play with besides Roxette, Marie or The Husbands?
Pelle: – Billy Bremner live and my own band DOWN HARRISON in the studio.

RXB: – In April last year you mentioned you were recording an album with your band. Do you have any news for us?
Pelle: – Yes I have! We have just released our first album with DOWN HARRISON on iTunes, Spotify and Tidal! Check it out!!! Enjoy!!!

RXB: – What kind of music do you make?
Pelle: – Americana with a touch of pop and country.

RXB: – What are you the most proud of during your career?
Pelle: – Many things! DOWN HARRISON and Roxette for instance.

RXB: – Is there anything you would skip or change if you could start it again?
Pelle: – No.

RXB: – Do you listen to a lot of music? New music? What’s your actual favourite album?
Pelle: – Yes, sometimes! Right now Jackson Browne and Jeff Tweedy’s new albums.

RXB: – We know you are into sports. What was the last sports event you went to see and where?
Pelle: – Hammarby football club in our new arena in Stockholm!

RXB: – What do you think you bring to the bands you play with or is your trademark?
Pelle: – Humor and play simple.

RXB: – What is it like to be in the back on the stage? Do you concentrate on your drums or do you have time to look at the audience, see what’s going
Pelle: – Fantastic! Both.

RXB: – Has anyone ever asked you to teach him playing the drums? Have you ever had “students”?
Pelle: – Yes.

RXB: – When we did an interview with Mikael Nogueira Svensson, he said he decided to play the drums after he met you as a child, backstage in Gävle on the Joyride tour. How does it feel knowing that someone started playing the drums because you made an impact on him with your playing?
Pelle: – It’s great when people get inspired by what you’ve done!

RXB: – We know guitar strings are changed very often, but how often is it necessary to change the heads on your drums?
Pelle: – Every 5-6 shows.

RXB: – Is there any special exercise to keep your wrists fit on tour?
Pelle: – Tap dancing at 6 o’clock, every morning!

RXB: – Did it ever happen during your long career that you got injured during your playing? Or if the drumsticks fell out of your hands so you had to stop playing for some seconds or longer time?
Pelle: – I put the stick up my nose last tour and started to bleed, haha! Sometimes you loose a stick, then you have to play with one stick for a couple of bars, until you get a new one!

RXB: – It’s strange that now there was no song when you came to the front. Even during “The Heart Shaped Sea” and “Queen of Rain” when everyone else came to the front you stayed in the back. Was it you who insisted on staying there?
Pelle: – No, but I prefer to sit behind my drums!

RXB: – You have been playing drums with Roxette for many years. In between you also joined Marie during her solo tour last year. What was the biggest difference for you?
Pelle: – All the songs I’ve never played before.

RXB: – You have also known Clarence for many years, and of course, also Marie and Per. How is it to play with people you know for so long? Are you afraid it may become a “routine”?
Pelle: – No, never! I love working and hanging with these guys!

RXB: – You also work in the studio with Roxette, not only on tours. Do you come up with the beats “on the fly” in the studio, or give ideas how something would sound better?
Pelle: – I listen to the songs, to be prepared! It differs from time to time.

RXB: – What about live? Do you like to improvise?
Pelle: – It depends on what music you play.

RXB: – Which Roxette song is the most fun for you to play live? And which is the most “boring”?
Pelle: – “Joyride” and “Listen to your heart”. “Goodbye to you”, hihi!

RXB: – Any tricky songs where you have to concentrate more on your hands or when to join in with the drums?
Pelle: – No, not really.

RXB: – How much are you involved in the design of your drum kit? Do you have several set of drums and for example, the one you play on the Roxette tour is only for Roxette and you play another with other bands? Or do you use the same set with all acts?
Pelle: – I’m involved in the design, but also open for ideas. I have several drum kits and use a couple of them with Roxette only!

RXB: – How many drum sticks do you use during a concert? Do they become worn during one concert or you can use them at more gigs?
Pelle: – 2-4 sticks per show and I can use them again.

RXB: – Do you have any drum sticks from any of your idols? If no, whose drumstick would you love to have one day?
Pelle: – No. Ringo Starr.

RXB: – Once you said you also like to visit the places you go to when you are on tour. What did you see during this tour so far?
Pelle: – Bars and Beaches!!

RXB: – Do you plan these trips or visits before going to the countries or cities or is it more a spontaneous thing depending on weather, mood?
Pelle: – I plan it.

RXB: – You grew up and live in Stockholm. I think it’s a beautiful city and every time I am there I just love the view from Slussen/Fotografiska. What do you like about Stockholm?
Pelle: – I live just above Fotografiska! Södermalm where I live and the Archipelago!

RXB: – Do you try to “discover” new places in your own city as well?
Pelle: – Yes, everyday.

RXB: – What do you like the most about tour life? And the least?
Pelle: – Everything! Nothing!

RXB: – Per is often kidding you in backstage videos and interviews that you are always late and you tell the same about him that you all always have to wait for him. So who of you is more of a late person?
Pelle: – Definitely Per!

RXB: – Does it happen nowadays that you play e.g. table hockey or any other game during the tour, like you did in the past? Or is it like everyone is rather on their iPhones and you meet up only for a walk or having dinner or a drink together?
Pelle: – More bars and iPhones nowadays!

RXB: – We heard how the plush koala got on stage in Russia and since then we could see it next to your drums on each concert last year. Did you give a name to him?
Pelle: – Yes, Sibyllfibia!

RXB: – Thank you for the interview and your awesome drum playing! See you soon again.
Pelle: – Take care and see you in Europe this summer! Tell everybody you know about DOWN HARRISON!!!!

Interview by Patrícia and Judith.

Helena Josefsson’s new album to be released in October

helenaHelena Josefsson visited SR P4 Göteborg today and revealed during the interview (click below) that she has been recording a jazz album with the trio Kontur. The album will be out in October 2015, but you can already listen to the first single out of the album, “Time After Time”,  a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s song. The track is available on iTunes, or Spotify, among other digital music providers.

Besides explaining about the album, she performed the songs “Happiness” and “Det vi saknar nu” live in the studio.

Helena performed “Time After Time” with Kontur back in October. The performance of “Ordinary World” and “Det vi saknar nu” are also available on YT.

Micke Syd makes a stand for more organ donation – VOTE!

If you are following the adventures of Micke Syd (Gyllene Tider’s fab drummer) on Facebook, you surely know that his son, Dennis had to go through a kidney transplantation earlier this year. The donor was Madeleine, Dennis’s mother. The whole family is very supportive when it comes to organ donation. Living with Dennis’s health problem for so many years makes it even more understandable.

Micke Syd is the spokesman of MOD (Mer organdonation = More Organ Donation) and the latest support he provided them with was that he and Dennis took part in the charity show of Postkodmiljonären (= Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). They played brilliantly and won 75,000 SEK for the organization MOD. Now there is a chance to add 10,000 SEK to this by a simple vote on Micke Syd’s and Dennis’s winner dance posted on Postkodmiljonären’s Facebook page. To vote, you just have to click ”like” for the video HERE. Simple as that. Give the organization a chance! Thanks for your help in voting!

 

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Photo by Postkodmiljonären