Archive for category Exclusive

Exclusive interview with the Man, the Myth, the Legend – ”I keep them proud and polished in my archive. They’re all part of my family tree.”

© Patrícia Peres

© Patrícia Peres

If anyone had told me in the past that one day I’d have the chance to do an interview with Per Gessle, I would have surely told them they were insane. But life proves, you should dream also those dreams you don’t dare to dream! Getting myself together after the positive shock, I must say that it continuously gets confirmed that I’m a fan of the most amazing and most caring Artist in the Universe and the fastest on Planet Earth! Well, what else could I expect from the Son of The Fastest Plumber in the West?

It’s an interview done via e-mail to keep Mr G’s quotes correct. Per, thanx a million again for spending your precious time with this! It’s much appreciated and you definitely made me feel being the luckiest, happiest and most grateful person on the Globe. Also thanks heaps to D&D Management for their cooperation!

The interview is about the customized plecs, info about the customizing process, stories connected to the picks, some details about the phrases on the plectrums, Per’s thoughts about the picks in general and how he is using them etc. So everything you wanted to know about the plecs and more! Don’t forget to check the PLECtionary again, because some ”Trivia from Per” can now also be found at the picks he talked about.

Now the intro is over. Go and read the real deal, Roxers! Enjoy!

 

Base pic © Sandra Knospe

Base pic © Sandra Knospe

Patrícia Peres: – First of all, thank you very much for taking your time and I hope you won’t get tired by all the plec questions, but we, Roxers are very curious about any tiny detail about these precious little items and stories related to them. We got very positive feedback from the fans and we are very happy that you also like the PLECtionary. Sandra did a fantastic job with it and we are very grateful to her that she made it possible to see all the picks at one place. She has an amazing collection! How does it feel that there is such a dedicated fan of your plecs?

Per Gessle: – It feels, of course, most rewarding. I encourage every form of extreme and meaningful hobby, like collecting rare snakeskin-boots or grey square Russian cars.

PP: – Haha. Rare snakeskin-boots! Now that you say it… When and how did it all start for you? I mean having your own customized plectrums. What was your very first idea to print on a guitar pick and which became the first customized PG-plec?

PG: –  Oh, I can’t remember. In the old days it was very rare that you’d find customized picks. I think I hooked up as soon as I heard it was possible. It’s a great way of sharing a joke and showing off your humble personality!

PP: – Do more plecs exist besides the ones you can see in the PLECtionary?

PG: – No, I think everything is covered in the article. It’s a shame in a way but the sad and plain truth.

PP: – Have you kept at least one of each of your plectrums over the years?

PG: – Yes, I think so. I’ve looked for the ones Sandra is missing but can’t find any extras. Only the ones I keep in my archive. If I find more of them I will of course give them to her. She deserves the best. The best and the complete. I consider it a mission to help her find Plectrum-Nirvana.

PP: - Wow! I’m 1000% sure Sandra is gonna be extremely happy to hear this! I was just about to ask if you have those plecs she is missing.

PG: - Yes, like I said, I keep them proud and polished in my archive. Clarence pops in once in a while to sniff them. He likes the smell of vintage success.

© Patrícia Peres

Jonas Åkerlund’s plec photos in Hotel Tylösand
© Patrícia Peres

PP: – How should we imagine where you keep your plecs? Are they in a box in a drawer or maybe in a big glass bowl in the hall or they are just lying anywhere around your house / apartment? OK, knowing how pedantic you are, this latter one is surely not applicable.

PG: – Oh, they are kept in a red Ferrari-box in a metal cupboard in my office. Next to the diaries I always write when I’m recording. I try to keep my life tidy and in order. My cupboards are holy ground. If you open them things will never be the same.

PP: - Ferrari-box, metal cupboard, diaries. Aaah, sounds like holy ground indeed. When it comes to brands, are you more into Dunlop or Fender guitar picks? Or does it matter at all? What kind of plecs were you playing the guitar with before you started customizing the picks?

PG: - It never mattered. It’s the feel that decides. On stage I have a softer pick for the acoustic guitars, in the studio I rarely use picks at all when I play acoustic. I don’t like my picks to be very thick. Then the sound becomes too hard, too rough. I lose the touch.

PP: – So no thick picks for Gessle. OK. Is it always your actual guitar tech – earlier Falken, now Micke N-S – who is in charge of making the plectrums designed and produced or did it work in a different way in the past?

PG: - Yes, in the past I ordered them myself. The Party Crasher-one (with the sleeve on it) I ordered myself from Australia. Nowadays, MNS is taking care of business. I tell him what kind of slogans or messages I want and then he comes up with zillions of suggestions and colours etc.

PP: – How does the whole customizing process work? Micke N-S mentioned in the interview I did with him during the GT tour that you usually give him a few lines you want to see on the plecs and he does the rest. Is it totally up to him how the design (plec colour, font type) will look like in the end or does he send it over to you several times during the development phase to check and confirm if you’re OK with it?

PG: – Yes, he comes up with layout suggestions most often based on the current tour logo etc. It can, for instance, be the same logo on my picks as Pelle’s got on his bass drum. I guess you’ve noticed. I know I have.

Scan of an old interview (source unknown)

Scan of an old article (source unknown)

PP: - Haha. Well, you can’t have all the stars just for yourself. Regarding the phrases we can read on the picks, there are some quite obvious ones, like ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” or ”HOW DO YOU DO!”, but other phrases are rather filled with humor, which is even more fun. For example, there are those early plecs with the catchy money reference: ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” or ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” or ”CASH BOOM BANK”. I think I also read ”WE ARE IN THI$ ONLY FOR THE MONEY” somewhere, however, I’ve never seen a plec like that. Did it exist?

PG: – No, I’ve never heard of that one. It’s a bad phrase, too clumpsy, not my style.

PP: – True. It doesn’t sound too Gessleish. What was that about the money those days?

PG: – The ”money-picks” came from an idea to harass the Swedish media who always considered me / us to be too commercial and never could read between the lines. ”Money never sleeps” came from the ”Wall Street”-movie (a quote by Gordon Gekko), ”Another day, another dollar” was a phrase our American lawyer used all the time. It’s always rewarding to try to make fun of reporters, I think every artist agrees on that. Come to think of it, most humans probably do.

PP: - ”ART FOR ME IS JUST SHORT FOR ARTHUR”. Knowing you are very much into art, it’s too funny to read something like this from you. Is there any special story behind this phrase?

PG: – Yes, it’s a quote from Keith Richards. I thought it was pretty cool at the time. It’s very old. I wouldn’t use it today.

PP: – All the plecs are real gems, even if they only have the text ”ROXETTE – PER GESSLE 2011” on them. But there is one which we don’t know too much about. It says: ”TEDDE GOES 50! – WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. Can you tell us who Tedde is?

PG: – He’s a dear friend to me and my family. We gave him a Les Paul as a birthday-gift and of course he needed his own guitar pick! Doesn’t everybody?

PP: – So now Tedde plays that Les Paul with another pick. Different number of plectrums were designed in the past and nowadays for one tour. Do you have lucky numbers? Or how do you decide on how many different picks to produce for one tour(leg)?

PG: – No, I suggest a few lines or slogans and then suddenly MNS comes up with 25 different suggestions. He likes things plenty. I think we should slow it down a bit in the future.

PP: – Talking about luck, do you have any plec you consider as a lucky charm? Do you believe in such things at all?

PG: – No, I only try to hit the right strings with them.

PP: – And you do it so right. At least most of the time. By the way, how many pieces of each plec are produced nowadays? Was it the same amount per plec in the past?

PG: – No, the editions are much bigger nowadays. We use them as giveaways a lot, I throw a lot of them out to the crowds. In the past it was more of an internal thing. Like those hidden messages on the vinyl records. ”Don’t forget you’re a rocker” etc.

PP: – Which is the all time favourite plec of yours and why?

PG: – They’re all part of my family tree. No personal favourites. Sorry.

PP: – I can completely understand you. Is there a guitar pick of yours you like the least? We know, for example, that you don’t really like baby blue plectrums, as you gave some of them to Chris to play with.

PG: - It’s not really true, I like blue plectrums. The thing is that I prefer lighter colours (white, for instance) because when you play, often in the dark on the stage, it’s really hard to know / see what you do with black picks. I’ve hit the wrong strings far too many times because of this. It makes you feel silly. And it sounds shit.

PP: – Now I’ll pay more attention to the shitty sounds next time you are playing the guitar with a dark plec on a future tour. The plecs related anyhow to Åsa are usually the nicest or coolest ones. E.g. the latest ”WOODY – VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” is one of your funniest picks ever. The design with that marbled blue base colour and that silver print looks fab! What is Åsa saying about the Woody / Åsa picks? I bet she likes them a lot.

PG: – She ordered them. I had nothing to do with those. It’s something she and MNS came up with.

PP: – Ahaaa, now that’s really cool! Well done, Fru Nordin! She was also the one who made the ”Ta mej… nu är jag din! / Åsa” plec produced as a surprise for you. Can you tell us a bit more about it? How many plecs like this were produced?

PG: – Oh, I dunno. There are always some goofy ones like that on every tour. It makes us smile.

© Patrícia Peres

© Patrícia Peres

PP: – Thanx to you, I’m a lucky owner of one of those misspelled ”WODDY / HEJ DIN TOK JAG ÄLSKAR DIG” picks. Which year is that from exactly? What’s the story of it and what was your first reaction when you saw the misspelling? Rumour has it, you gave these plecs to MP to use them. How come?

PG: – Can’t remember. It certainly wasn’t me who ordered them, I know howh too spel.

PP: – Yeah, sure you do! Was there another production of these plecs with correct spelling?

PG: – No, I don’t think so. We were poor in those days, one edition was enough to crash the budget.

PP: – Talking about MP and also Chris, did you encourage them to have their own customized plecs or was it them (or maybe their technicians) who came up with the idea to have their own picks?

PG: – Yep, it was their guitar guys who came up with those picks. It’s not really neither MP’s nor Chris’s cup of tea to order personalized plectrums. Trust me.

PP: – I trust you, Sir. Were there ever customized Marie Fredriksson plectrums back in the days when Marie was also playing the guitar? I remember a TV show – I think it was in Argentina – when the hosts found 2 ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” picks after your playback was over. So that means Marie played the guitar with the same customized plec you played it with. Was it always the case?

PG: – Yes, I believe so. She used anything. Or wait. Maybe she had one of her own. It rings a bell. Let’s keep it ringing for a while….

PP: – Oh! It sounds exciting! Anytime the ringing is over and you find it out, just let us know. Sandra mentioned the gauge of the plecs you used in the early years was heavier than nowadays. Micke N-S said in the interview with him that he is using one gauge thicker plec than what you are using, because it’s more accurate to tune with. What makes you decide on what gauge to use? We can see you use the thin plecs for the acoustic guitar, but what about the medium and heavy ones? Does it make any difference to you?

© Per Gessle (or Micke N-S? - pic taken from Roxette Official)

© Per Gessle (or Micke N-S? – pic taken from Roxette Official)

PG: – Yes, I hate thick ones. It makes your playing very clumpsy and too ”masculine”. I like medium gauge for electric and light for the acoustics on stage. I’m a delicate guy! A ballet dancer. You know that.

PP: – A ballet dancer? Dunno, but a left leg stomper for sure and a delicate guy indeed. When you post pictures of the plecs on Facebook, fans get very excited and you can see many comments regarding how much we want to have them or how awesome they look like. You even mentioned in your 2012 Xmas message on roxette.se that ”… loads and loads of autographs signed, letters written, stamped and sent, guitar picks urgently needed by all of you. How does it feel that we are so crazy about these tiny little picks of yours?

PG: – I think it fits the Roxers really well to spend quality time on stuff like that. I can fully identify with it. Groove is in the heart.

PP: – And we stomp on a stoop when we hear your pop loop. Now this might be a stupid question, but take into consideration that I’m not a pro when it comes to how to use plecs properly. What happens to the plec when you lick it? I think you did it the most often at the Snowpenair concert in Switzerland, kind of once in every 5 minutes. No clue whether it has anything to do with the cold or it makes a better sound or it just sticks more to your fingers.

PG: – It sticks to the finger. Normally (not necessarily at Snowpenair) you’re very sweaty everywhere (including your hands) so you tend to drop the pick if it doesn’t stick. It has happened a lot.

PP: – Ah, OK. Thanx for the clarification. Do you chew on plecs while writing songs or doing demos? I mean chewing like others chew on the end of pens.

PG: - No, I never use picks when I write. I actually never use picks at all playing acoustic guitar at home or in the studio, I only use my nails to get the right feel. On stage however, you need a pick to get the volume.

PP: - We often comment on Facebook that it would be great if you could include your plecs in the merchandise. Do you plan to include them in the future?

© Patrícia Peres

© Patrícia Peres

PG: –  Well, yea. We try to come up with new things for the store all the time so custom made guitar picks, why not? We had guitar picks with the Gyllene Tider-cartoons on for sale last summer, didn’t we? In a tiny black box. I have a few of those in the cupboard.

PP: – Yes, that special pick collection is very cool. I have one of that tiny black box on my holy shelf, too. Well, OK, the more difficult to obtain the plecs, the more precious they are for us. I remember a chat where someone said he got a plec from you in Karlstad and asked how much you think that plec would worth in 20 years. You replied: ”The question is what Karlstad is worth in 20 years.” That’s a good one. There are people (mainly not fans, but traders) who are selling your plecs at a ridiculously high price on eBay, Tradera etc. and of course there are fans who are buying them. What do you think about this fact?

PG: – It’s like you say, the more rare an item is the more people want it. I don’t really have an opinion on this, some people sell, other people buy. The wheels keep on spinnin’!

PP: – Talking about catching picks at the gigs, you throw much more plecs these days than earlier (and definitely much more plecs than towels). During the GT tour Micke N-S even put an extra plec holder on the mic stand after some gigs to have 18 picks there instead of 12. Do you throw more just to make more fans happy or is it just cool throwing the plectrums and you do it automatically?

PG: – I throw them because I know a lot of people want them. And like I said earlier, MNS orders so many of them I might as well distribute them myself.

© Per Gessle

© Per Gessle

PP: – Keep throwin’ them! The adhesive tape on the guitar is of great help to have some plecs always at hand. Does it happen often that a plec falls out of your hand and you can’t pick another one quick enough during a song, so you have to play the guitar with your fingers / nails? OK, your nails are surely touching the strings as the nail polish almost disappears by the end of a show.

PG: – It happens but not that often anymore. I lick ’em!

PP: – Yeah, now we know lickin’ is of great help, too. There was a video you posted after Brisbane show in 2012, where Christoffer’s hand and guitar were covered with blood. Ouch! It has also made it to the Roxette Blu-ray. Did it ever happen that your fingers got hurt badly while playing the guitar?

PG: – Oh yea, many times. For me the most common injury is that I crash my right arm very hard into the body of the guitar when I try to look cool and do a massive sexy move hitting some adrenalin-droolin’ power chord. Oh, it hurts. It hurts to be alone. The plan’s gone wrong like a runaway train going down.

© Patrícia Peres

© Patrícia Peres

PP: – OK, Mr G… I can imagine all Gessle Girls are now sliding down a dream when you are mentioning your massive sexy moves in the same sentence as adrenalin-droolin’. Ehm… Come back to the original topic, PP… Last summer we saw a girl in Tele2 Arena at the GT gig picking up a Woody plec from the floor. She just found it there and the concert hadn’t even started. Do you usually throw plecs during the soundchecks, too? Checking how it works at the certain venue or how far you have to throw the plecs?

PG: – I was probably aiming at Pelle or someone who was running late for the soundcheck.

PP: – It must have been Micke Syd then. When it comes to throwing distance, do you pay attention to it before the concert starts? Do you try throwing your plecs into the crowd at venues where the distance of the crowd from the stage is quite long (e.g. China)?

PG: – Yes, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have a system, I just throw them. Or I don’t. If the feeling’s right those picks have to go.

PP: – Was there any memorable moment for you regarding your throwing the plecs? Maybe 10 fans jumped on each other just to catch your pick or anything else?

PG: - No, not really. Most of the time it’s hard to see from the stage where they land. I try to throw them up in the air so I don’t hit anyone in the eye. Or in the mouth. Or, God forbid, what would happen if I make a scratch on a smartphone?

Screenshots are taken from Gyllene Tider's "Man blir yr" video

Screenshots are taken from Gyllene Tider’s “Man blir yr” video

PP: – Trust me, if you would scratch any fan’s smartphone with your plec, that smartphone would become one of the most precious items of that fan’s collection. Oh, and that throwing moment at the end of Man blir yr video looks so hot! How many times did you have to record it to be this perfect?

PG: – It’s a first take. Of course.

PP: – Of course, silly me! Until now I asked you about YOUR plecs and those related anyhow to the Rox World, but I’m curious about the coolest guitar pick you have ever seen in your life. Could you describe it? Whose plec was it?

PG: – We have a great collection of Jonas Åkerlund’s photos of guitar picks at Hotel Tylösand. All of them are fab! Nikki Sixx’s ”Fuck The Fucking Fuckers” is pretty spot on, don’t you think?

 

© BandGuitarPicks.com

© BandGuitarPicks.com

PP: – Haha. A fab one, but let’s say I prefer your phrases on a pick. I’m not a Mötley Crüe type of girl. As a last question: do you have plectrums from any of your idols? Tom Petty or David Bowie maybe? Or from any other guitar players? If yes, how did you get them and where do you keep them? If no, would you love to have a pick of theirs one day?

PG: – I don’t actually. A Dylan-pick or a T.P.-pick would be nice. Or from Nick Lowe. But I don’t lose any sleep over it.

PP: – That’s nice to hear, but in case insomnia is reaching you because of this, I suggest you go to their concerts and stand in the front row. You might get lucky! Thank you very much again for taking your time. Can’t wait to see your next set of plecs (coming hand in hand with a next tour) and update the PLECtionary with them!

PG: - That makes it two of us! Cheers!

 

Update on 2nd February, 2014: Per shared 2 pics of a box in which he keeps plectrums in the guest bathroom. Check out pic No. 1 and pic No. 2.

 

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THE plecs, THE plecs! – special treat on Mr G’s birthday

I always wanted to see Sandra Knospe’s amazing plec collection. Then I thought this is something that probably everyone else would be happy to see. So I asked Sunny what she would think about presenting her guitar picks on RXB in a separate section and she liked the idea. We immediately started working on this project and it took some time, but now we (Sandra and RXB) are extremely proud and happy to present the PLECtionary.

What other date could we find to publish it, if not Mr G’s 55th birthday? ;) Have a splendido birthday in the sunshine, Per!

PLECtionary_600x407

 

 

In the PLECtionary you can find all the plecs – except those few ones Sandra is missing – which are related anyhow to the Rox World.

Hats off to Sunny to take all these beautiful shots. I can tell it’s not easy to take pics of the metallic print on plectrums and sometimes even the base colour of the guitar picks is tricky to be photographed, but as you can see, Sandra did a great job with it. Not mentioning the trivia she shared with us. It’s always a pleasure to work together with PERfectionists. ;) HUGE thanx again, Sandra and I hope to see the missing bits of your collection here soon!

Click here and check out the PLECtionary! You’ll always find it in the menu above.

 

 

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Interview with Sandra Knospe – ”I would rather get my ass burned before I would leave any of them behind in case of a fire.”

00_coverFrom the title you might guess that the interview is about the plectrums. ;)

While we’ve been working on the PLECtionary, I did an interview with Sandra and she happily shared some more details about her passion, the guitar picks, as well as some further nice stories related to these precious little things. Enjoy!

 

Patrícia Peres: – First of all, huge thanx for your hard work with this PLECtionary. It’s awesome to have all plecs’ photos and knowledge at one place. How did it all start for you? Which is your first memory and which was your first plec?

Sandra Knospe: – You’re welcome. It was fun to do it.  I love going through the plecs once in a while. It all started in Helsingborg 1996 at the second Gyllene Tider concert from the Återtåget tour. That was also the day when I got my first plec. I found it after the show, somewhere on the dirty ground. I saw Per throwing the plecs away during the gigs and I was just curious if I could find one. I knew chances were low. It was like searching a needle in a haystack together with all the other fans who knew that there might be something to find on the floor that’s worth to pick up. And it felt like a triumph when I finally succeeded, it was kinda thrilling. I was surpised to see that it was customized. I didn’t know that before. That made it even more interesting, of course. But back then I did not really start collecting in the way I do it today. I was just happy that I found it. The wish to make my collection as complete as possible came later in 2003 when I received an envelope from Per with 10 different plecs including real rare ones from 1989 and 1991. So I had a few different ones thanks to him and also from the Rox tour 2001 and Mazarin tour 2003 which I attended as well. I liked the design and little phrases on them and I wondered how many customized plecs by Per exist at all and wanted to find out how they looked like and from which tours they were. So I started some investigations. From then on the hobby turned into a passion.

PP: – So the first plec you got 17 years ago. Wow! How many picks do you have actually? How many of them are Per’s plecs and to whom are the others related?

SK: – Oj, need to count… Without the doubles it’s 114 different plecs (and 3 of them in different gauges). 71 from Per plus 2 from him which are not customized, 17 from MP, 4 from Christoffer plus 1 from him which is not customized, 4 from Micke N-S, 1 from Jakob Johnzén, 12 T&A studio plecs and 2 plecs of which the origin I don’t really know. One of these two could be a tech plec as well and the other one is dedicated to someone whose name is Tedde. No idea about it really, but on the other side it says ”WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. So I guess it comes from Per at least. All together (including the doubles) it’s 224.

PP: – Who would have thought that there are so many plecs related anyhow to the Rox World. I know the whole collection is very close to your heart, as one day when a friend asked what you would take with you in a hurry if there would be fire in the house, you replied: ”The plecs, the plecs!” But which is the most precious item if you can choose only one? What is your story behind it?

1_SK_300x170SK: – Urmmm… I would rather get my ass burned before I would leave any of them behind in case of a fire. A fav plec? Hard to say, it even changes from time to time. Maybe the ”LOOK SHARP! / IT’S ONLY PLAYBACK” plec, because it’s probably the oldest one. Even if mine is not in top condition. I got it from a friend with the right connections. But then again, it could also be one of the plecs that have a more sentimental value to me, like the plecs Per sent me in 2003 that made me start collecting more purposeful. They are indeed very special to me. Tough question. So many goodies, really can’t decide. Sorry.

PP: - I can totally understand you. I can’t choose any favourite either, as all of them are beauties. Is there a pick you don’t like at all? Maybe because of the design or anything else.

SK: – I wouldn’t say there is a pick that I don’t like at all. I’m maybe not so much into the latest GT picks with the record and the cassette on one side and the GT emblem on the other. That might be because I am not a fan of pictures on plecs. I like it simple. A cool phrase is better than anything else. The ”WOODY / VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” pick for example is a great one. Great colour of plec and print and a cool note on it. Simply perfect.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Contest! Win a copy of Roxette’s blu-ray “Live – Travelling the World”

Year 2013 has been a fantastic year for Roxers, Marie fans and GT fans, it’s been fully packed with surprises: GT’s album and tour, Marie’s album and announcement of 2014 tour, to mention just a few. And last but not least, the very first live DVD/blu-ray released by Roxette… so we thought the best way to end this year would be with a contest!

In cooperation with D&D Management and Parlophone, we are giving away 2 copies of Roxette’s blu-ray “Roxette Live – Travelling the World”, which will be out next week (the DVD+CD is out since early December).

In order to participate in the contest simply answer this question:

As you know, there are two versions of the live recording: DVD and blu-ray. Both come with a live CD but the are some extras on the blu-ray that you will not find on the DVD.
Name one of these extras!

Send an email with your name, home address (so we can send the blu-ray) and the answer to the question to judith@roxetteblog.com until December 31st 23:59 CET. The 2 lucky winners will be announced the first week of 2014.

Good luck!

Update January 9th: The winners are Rodica Luntraru (Romania) and Andreea Seferian (France). Congratulations!


And here is the small letter, contest terms and conditions
– In order to participate, you have to send an email to judith@roxetteblog.com with name, address and answer to the question. We will consider all emails we receive until the 31st of December 2013, 23:59 CET time.
– 2 winners will be picked up randomly among those who have participated and sent the correct answer.
– As it is usual, you can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice will lead to your disqualification.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by standard mail only once (so basically, if the envelope gets lost.. we won’t be able to send a replacement) by Roxetteblog.
– Winners will be announced on this website and will also be notified per email. You’ll be required to answer to the email confirming your address.
– Roxetteblog.com will not enter into any correspondence regarding the result of the contest and is not liable for any damages, loss or expenses that may result in connection to the prize
– All submitted data will only be used for the purpose of the contest and, in case you are one of the lucky winners, to send you the prize.

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Exclusive photos from the recordings of the radio docu

As we already informed you about it several times, Tove Meyer and Tara Moshizi, who are also Roxers just like all of us here, did interviews for a radio documentary for the 25th anniversary of Look Sharp! It’s gonna be on air for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

Sveriges Radio P4: 31st December, 12:03 pm CET
Sveriges Radio P1: 31st December, 16:03 pm CET; 3rd January 18:15 pm CET

As Tove and Tara informed us, they did interviews not only with Marie, Per, Clarence and Anders, but also with Ms Dimberg. They kindly shared some yet unpublished photos with us from the recordings.

Enjoy and tune in on 31st December!

 

RXB_02_Per  RXB_02_Marie

RXB_03_Per  RXB_03_Marie

RXB_01_Per  RXB_00_Per

RXB_06_M_Dimberg  RXB_04_Marie

RXB_04_Clarence_Anders  RXB_05_Clarence_Anders

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Interview with Mikael Bolyos: “Working with Marie is a blessing”

Marie Fredriksson’s album “Nu!” is out since Wednesday. Reason enough to ask her husband, Mikael Bolyos, who wrote most of the songs, to ask some questions about the process of recording and some well-known names who came with “Nu!”.  Thankfully he made a slot in his tight agenda to answer our questions. We appreciate that!

Mikael, we saw that you collaborated with 4 other songwriters. How did you choose them? Did they offer their texts or did you kind of order them? We remember Ulf Schagerström, who wrote Mot ökända hav and Aldrig som främlingar. How come you worked with him and the others and how was working with them?

Mikael Bolyos: I quite recently started to express myself in lyrics. It’s not that easy for me, so it takes mostly a while to finish a song. I always liked the simplicity and poetry in Kenneth’s lyrics, so when I had the song ”Bara 3 ord”, I just gave him a call and asked if he was interested in helping me out. Luckily he wasSkavlan. He is such a talent!!! Johan Kinde was the singer in a band I used to play keyboards in (Lustans Lakejer). We always got along wery well so it was easy asking him for a text. To me ”Stjärna som brinner” is one of the best texts on the album. Uno and I met during the Roxette concert in Göteborg 2011, and we talked about doing something together and Ulf has, as you know, been working with Marie since day 1. He contributed on several songs that we recorded, but only 3 of them are on the album.

Good choices. The lyrics on “Nu!” are really impressive. And how and why did you decide to produce the album with Christoffer Lundquist and how can we imagine the producing process? Have you been to Skåne or did he come to Stockholm?

Mikael: As you know, Christoffer has during the years made an exceptional good job in recording Marie with Roxette. They are such a great team in the studio, speaking the same language (Skånska). Although Marie is such a great singer, I wanted to improve the vocal part from what we’ve done before. Chris became more & more involved in the process so we decided to produce the album together recording in AGM in Skåne and Atlantis in Stockholm. We are both (Marie and me) so happy working with Chris.

When I first asked you for the interview you wrote that you are satisfied yourself with the album. Now that it’s released, what are you most satisfied with? Which song is your favourite song and why? And which is Marie’s?

Mikael: I must say that I’m very satisfied with how the leadvocal turned out. Thanx to Chris! Favourite song ? Hmm … maybe ”Kom vila hos mig”. I think I managed to say something with the lyrics and I like the beat. Marie says her favourite song is ”Vad vore jag utan dig”.

To get more insight (since we are very curious, of course). When Marie writes a song, does she do it on her own and presents it to you when it’s done or are you evolving it together? Speaking of Sista sommarens vals! How did you develop this song?

Mikael: Marie writes on her own and presents it to me when it’s more or less finished. We made a demo on the song and then we re-recorded it in AGM with Chris.

How did you choose treview_DIhe first single, “Kom vila hos mig”?

Mikael: Marie wanted an uptempo song and “Kom vila hos mig”  felt like an excellent choice.

From the lyrics and looking at you 2 we know how you feel towards each other, but how would you describe working together with Marie?

Mikael: Working with Marie is a blessing. She is so patient and a great source of inspiration.  She is amazing in her concentration and has extraterrestrial singing skills.

Do you have demos to all songs? Are you considering to release them all?

Mikael: Mostly, we record a serious demo that we can develop into the final version.  Like put real bass & drums into it instead of programmed. We never thought of releasing the demos.

Are there demos with your voice to the songs you wrote for “Nu!?

Mikael: Yes! Some of the songs are with my vocals on it. I can assure you that those demos won’t be released as long as I’m alive.

Three words you think describe the album the best?

Mikael: Life is good!

After I read most of the reviews of the album in the internet I really didn’t know what to think of the Swedish music journalists. Some wrote it’s one of the best albums ever, some wrote it’s weak and nothing special and most important: all of them picked different weak or strong songs which shows that it’s really only a thing of taste and nothing else. Do you care about those reviews? D
o you read them at all or is indeed the most important thing that the artist is satisfied with his work?

Mikael: Yes, I admit that the reviews have been different from each other, but no one has been really nasty so far. Still it’s interesting, as you say, that they pick different songs as their favorites. To your questions I answer Yes, Yes, Yes! I read them, I care about them and after all what matters the most is to be satisfied yourself. (Another review on the left)

Final question. Is there any question you want to be asked about the album that we didn’t ask? Feel free to ask and answer yourself. Maybe we missed the most important aspect!

Mikael: Hmm. I really don’t know what that could be. Maybe that the first two songs we recorded were already mixed in Jan 2010. We thought the album would be released in 2010/2011, but as you know something else came between.

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Interview with Micke N-S – ”I decided to play the drums after meeting Pelle Alsing”

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Mikael Nogueira Svensson is the most well-known member of the crew among fans. Many people know him as Micke N-S, the guy behind the iPhone, taking the panorama pics we can see on Roxette Official and on Gyllene Tider’s Facebook site. We know his face and sometimes fans are chatting with him at the venues, but still, we don’t know too much about Micke, just that he is doing a fantastic job as backline technician.

He took his time between Gyllene Tider’s Örnsköldsvik show and 2nd Halmstad gig and was happy to share some more information about himself & his work and told us some interesting and funny stories, too.

 

 

PP: – On a Swedish drum workshop website I read this: ”Workshop leader is Mikael Nogueira Svensson, one of the most experienced and hired drum technicians in Sweden.” When did you start your work as a drum / guitar technician? What came first: drums or guitars?

MNS: – I started around 1997 with some local acts in the middle of Sweden, Dalarna. First it was only drums. The guitar bit of it came in the picture in around 2002, when I ran a rental company in Stockholm and had to go on tour with a band and also help the guitar player. And basically, it’s more common in Sweden that the techs help the guitar player more than the drummer.

PP: – Do you like working with drums or guitars more? Or does it depend on the person whom you are working with?

MNS: – It’s totally up to the artist I work for, so it doesn’t matter at all if it’s drums or guitars. But I toured with Prince between Roxette tour legs, which was more of a challenge, because then I did keyboards and piano for him.

PP: – Even keyboards and piano. Great! By the way, have you ever been studying music? Or you just learned to play the instruments by yourself?

MNS: – I’ve been studying at Stockholm Conservatory of Music for 3 years. But the fun part of it is that I decided to play the drums when I was a child, after meeting Pelle Alsing backstage in Gävle on the Joyride tour. And now I work for them.

PP: - Really? That sounds cool! What was Pelle’s reaction, when you told him you decided to play the drums because of him?

MNS: – Can’t remember. Nothing special I guess.

PP: – Oj, Pelle… Any other instruments you play besides the drums and guitar?

MNS: – I can only play the drums, can’t play the guitar. I only know a few chords. But I guess I can set up a guitar better than most of the guitar players out there…

PP: – You’re kidding! I thought it’s evident that you can play the guitar. Hats off then! Besides Roxette and Per Gessle you worked together with many other artists on tour (e.g. Peter Jöback, Carola) or played the drums for (e.g. Rod Stewart and the producer of U2). Who is the one whom you enjoyed to work together with the most?

MNS: – First, I didn’t play the drums for Peter or Carola. I was a tech for them. I played the bass on a singback performance with Peter Jöback once at the Swedish football gala. I kind of like to work with artists who are very aware of everything. It’s a give and take. I like to make it nice for them and they appreciate it. If it’s an artist who doesn’t care about anything, I don’t like it. You get no positive feedback then.

05_Micke_N-SPP: – You are now on tour with Gyllene Tider. How different is it to work with them vs. Roxette?

MNS: – There’s no difference, except that I sleep at home from Sunday till Tuesday. We are the same crew and everything is the same.

PP: -Who is the easiest to work with in GT?

MNS: – I would say it’s equal. Everyone demands a certain kind of professionalism and everyone is just as kind as the other. But I’ve known Micke Syd for the longest time, so he is kind of the same ”father” figure for me as Pelle Alsing.

PP: – You are taking care of Per Gessle’s guitars, Micke Syd’s drums and also Anders Herrlin’s bass guitars, as well as many other things before, during and after the GT concerts. Which is the toughest part of your job now and what do you like the most?

MNS: – I wouldn’t say that I take care of many other things than Per, Micke and Anders. Actually, I only take care of them (their gear). And if you think that something is not connected to them, it is. No one would think about it, but it’s kind of boring to change strings every day.

02_Micke_N-SPP: - Every day??? That must be boring indeed. When do you have to be at the venue on a concert day? What’s the daily routine? What are the first tasks and what is the last thing you do after a gig ends?

MNS: – I’m the last to arrive, at around 11 am. The stage is built the day before by the second unit crew. The riggers and light crew set up everything from 8 am on a concert day. Then I start building the drums, which takes about 1 hour including tuning, head change and miking the drums. After that I set up Per’s VOX rig and Fender amps of Anders. Then it’s lunch. After lunch I set up my tech world [see photo] and connect everything to the sound desk. Around 2 pm we do line check with the crew. Then we remove all the things in front of our risers, so Linnea and her band can set up.

 

 

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PP: – You do soundchecks in the early afternoon with or without the band, but you are also checking the sounds before the concert starts. Were there any difficulties during this tour that you had to solve very quickly before a concert started to make everything work in the end? Or all is going smoothly during these soundchecks?

MNS: – There was no problem so far. Knock on wood.

PP: – I remember there was a moment in Karlstad, when Per looked at you and showed he has problems with his guitar. They were just coming back to the stage for the 2nd extra with Sommartider. You had to come up the stage and change the guitar settings from silent mode to normal, while Per was playing the guitar. It was hilarious. Are you and Micke Syd teasing him a lot with this since then? (At least in Örebro I saw you and Micke Syd were teasing him and showing the guitar was then set to normal mode.)

MNS: – Hahaha! Shit happens to everyone. And actually Syd is not talking about the guitar, he is just teasing me, because Per makes fun of me holding the guitars for so long. He’s fooling me and decides to wipe his face once again and have another drink. So I have to stand there and look like a fool. Sometimes I walk back before he can take the new guitar.

PP: – Now that’s too funny. Anyway, which is your personal favourite among Per’s actual guitars – Cherry Gibson, Blonde Gibson, Black Gibson or the Black Acoustic – and why?

MNS: - I like the Black Gibson, because it’s the easiest to work with. But I bought the Blonde for Per during the Roxette tour and that one has grown in my mind and feelings. (Also in Per’s, I guess, since it’s used for more songs now.)

04_Micke_N-SPP: – Between the support act, Linnea Henriksson and the GT gig we see you on stage with a red plec saying ”Tänk att få sätta på” (part of the lyrics of Flickorna på TV2). Lookin’ good. Is it your personal plec? Is it an own design?

MNS: – It’s my personal tuning pick. It’s one gauge thicker than what Per plays with. It’s more comfortable and more accurate to tune with. I have had own tuning picks since Roxette started the tour. Purple ones.

PP: – We know that for the Roxette tour you had many ideas regarding plecs and Pelle’s drumkit with the star was absolutely your idea. How much have you been involved in designing this year’s plec collection and drumkit?

MNS: – I have designed all of them. Per gave me a few lines he wanted to see on them and I did the rest. The drumkit setup is designed by me. The front head design is Gyllene Tider’s official tour shield, not my design, but I made a few changes to it. It’s 3D, if you look closely at it. Peter, who printed and helped out with the Roxette drumkit, also did the graphic work and printing for this and the Leif on the small kickdrum.

PP: – Talking about ideas, we could see one of your greatest in the Roxette live concert film, namely the small cam on Per’s guitar. Awesome camera angle. Can we expect anything like this in the coming GT live film?

MNS: – No, but I pitched the idea for the show designer to add the GoPro wide angle cameras in the production inside the drumkit. But that is shown every night, so it’s nothing new.

PP: – Back to your past. Have you ever played in any band? Are there any plans that you want to leave backstage and come into the spotlight one day or it’s not your cup of tea at all?

MNS: – I was playing in a band during my years at the Conservatory of Music. We did a reunion in 2009 and played for 2 weeks in St. Anton ski resort. But there are no other plans and it’s nothing I want to do.

PP: – Do you already know what’s next, whose backline are you going to be after the tour ends? Or do you take a good rest and have some free weeks?

MNS: – I do all the pre-work for the Swedish / Norwegian talk show, Skavlan at our national TV station (SVT). I take care of the acts playing there when it comes to all backline work and logistics. It can be any artist: Foo Fighters, Take That, Alicia Keys or a local act. Funny thing is that Sinéad O’Connor asked me if I could get her a guitar for her performance. The only one who I knew he had a guitar Sinéad wanted was Per. So I called him and borrowed his guitar for that show. He told me to say hello to her, since earlier they met in another TV show (where she ripped a photo of the Pope).

You can watch Sinéad O’Connor’s performance in Skavlan show here. She was playing Per’s Gibson Les Paul Jr. /PP/

PP: – One last question came into my mind when I looked at your cover picture on Facebook – Bruce Springsteen throwing the guitar to his technician. Cool one! Who is the artist you would love to work with if you had one wish and why?

MNS: – Foo Fighters, because it’s good music and they are nice guys.

PP: – Fingers crossed for you to work with Foo Fighters then. Thank you for your time and for the fun stories. See you on a next Gessle-related tour!

MNS: – Thank you for coming to the shows. We are nothing without you. And who knows. There might be something in the future, or not…

 

Pics with PP watermark are © Patrícia Peres, pic w/o PP is © Mikael Nogueira Svensson

 

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Interview with Micke Syd: “It’s the way we deliver the songs and the communication with you that create this good vibe, I think it’s very unique.”

We met Micke Syd in a café in Södermalm, one of the nicest districts of Stockholm, the Monday after the Stockholm concert. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days, but still allowed us to sit outside for “fika”, the Swedish word for “drinking coffee”. After a bit of chit-chat about our stay in Stockholm, travelling here and there to go to concerts and how Micke Syd is feeling today (“better today, yesterday I was totally KO!” he told us) we started with our interview.

Judith: So let’s start with some background. How did you get into music and when did you start playing drums?
Micke: I think I’ve always wanted to play drums. I remember when I was 5 or 6 and my parents had parties at home and played music and danced, I had a metallic ashtray and I played with knitting needles on it, just for myself, following the rhythm of the music. I don’t know why! (says with a smile). Then I got a drum kit for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, so I learnt to play myself. When I was in 9th grade I had some music lessons for some months but I learnt the rest myself. Then I started to play with Anders and a friend named Martin and the rest you know.

J: and did you have any favourite drummer or inspiration?Micke Syd 2
M: I think I had when I was younger; I always liked all those good drummers who had a personal sound when they play. A beat is a beat, but there must be that special something.
The thing is, you can be technically very good and fast but that doesn’t mean that it’s good.  So, of course, Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts were some of my inspirations. When you hear them play, just one beat, you know it’s them playing, it’s their personality coming through the drum sticks.

J: I think there are just a few drummers you can put in that category, I just got into Bruce Springsteen lately. I sometimes like to concentrate on an instrument when listening to an album, mostly it’s the drums or guitar. So I am amazed the way Max Weinberg plays.
M: Max Weinberg is fantastic. The feeling you get from him is very strong and precise. Love it.

J: It reminds me in a way you play, very much defined strong beats, very fast and catchy as well. And that’s one of the things I love about Gyllene Tider. You hear the difference if you are not playing the drums. You have a very much defined strong beat and you totally miss it when somebody else plays GT songs.
M: Thank you! I think this is the biggest thing with us in Gyllene, we have a totally own sound. All the 5 of us need to be there for this special thing to happen. And the fact that you hear when it’s me playing is the key. It comes with age, I know that I am never gonna be playing faster than *beep*, but I know that I can play ME.  Like MP plays himself, or Anders and Göran and Per. And that is the formula that makes us so special. It’s important to know who I am when I play. And what happens with me and the others in the band. And this is the kind of drummers I like and what I like to hear in other bands too. I am rather old now so I don’t listen to songs that way anymore, but sometimes you just have to. Like for instance, Paul McCartney’s drummer – have you seen him live?

J: Yes, just a month ago!
M: that is great to hear. Did you notice the drummer? Abe Laboriel Jr. His father is a legendary bass player; you can check him on Youtube. Abe Jr. is a huge guy, he also sings and has a very soulful voice and he plays fantastic drums. We could do the same beat on the same drums and it would sound totally different. Just because of the way we do this. And that’s all about music. Find who you are and play the best you can.

J: How did you create the drum parts for the new songs? I understood that Per sent you the demos, which are basically guitar and some keyboard, and that’s all. Was it on the fly in the studio or did you prepare yourself?
M: that’s one thing that was so magical about “Dags att tänka på refrängen” and the difference to when we did “Finn fem fel”. Per had written like he always does, on guitar and him singing, maybe some rhythm pattern or keyboard. He sent the songs bit by bit in spring I think, and I decided for myself to just listen to the songs once this. Sometimes when you listen to them more often, you listen to the chords, you may think ‘I have heard it before’, and you get a wrong input or idea about the song. Then you also start to think how you will play things. So I just listened to them once and left them. I think that one of the best things with us is that when we are together things just happen, we just do it. Of course, I have my box of fills and my beats and rhythm, you will probably hear the same or similar on more than one song. But it’s my way of doing it. So this time we just played.

J: And it worked out amazingly, because the album is great and you really seemed to have fun, some songs sound even like having been recorded live.
M: I think one of the good things was that we started out with “Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” because it’s a very powerful song and because we had already played it 32 years ago, but we still remembered it. Now when we rehearsed we even did songs from the EP “M”, like “M” which we never played back then, so we just said ‘let’s see if we can play it’ and we could. So songs are somewhere here in the brain, and when we get together it all comes back.

J: So what happened after “Det blir aldrig…”
M: We recorded this song in two or three takes and that was the beginning of the creative thing going. The first day we did a lot of takes, everything went so fast we didn’t even have time to think and I think that was the good thing, we simply played.

And many times what we played then became the arrangements, so you could say that we did the arrangements for the songs in real-time. And when you do that, often the stuff that comes out is amazing and the way it should be.

And for me this is very important too, I have to keep the tempo, I have to know what is happening to put the beats and the fills so it melts with the rest, so I like when it’s flowing, it shouldn’t stop, it should be like a dance. The parts between the verse and the chorus should be together with some nice … something. So when we do it like this, that fast, it just happens, this is nothing you can talk about. And it’s so special to be in a band where we have such a communication that is not verbal, it’s totally something else.

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Contest: win a copy of “I en underbar ballong”!

In cooperation with the author of the book, Maria Sörgjerd, we are giving away 2 copies of “I en underbar ballong”.

Since the book is about what it is to be a Roxette fan, we would like to hear your story. Write in a few sentences what it is for you to be a Roxette fan or your best memory from the 2011 – 2012 Roxette tour. Note that we will randomly select the 2 winners and your story will be published here.

Write an email with your name, address (so we can send the book) and your story to contest@roxetteblog.com until December 21st.

Good luck!


And here is the small letter, contest conditions
– In order to participate, you have to send an email to contest@roxetteblog.com with name, address and your story.  We will consider all emails we receive until the 21st of December, 2012, 23:59 CET time.
– 2 winners will be picked up randomly among those who have  participated.
– As it is usual, you can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice will lead to your disqualification.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by standard mail only once (so basically, if the envelope gets lost.. we won’t be able to send a replacement).
– Winners will be announced on this website and your story will be published here. You will also be notified per email and you’ll be required to answer to the notification email.
– Stories sent in by all participants may be used as well on the website, anonymous if wished.

Has Per recorded soundtrack for Jonas Åkerlund movie “Small Apartments”?

Per revealed that he has written and recorded a soundtrack album for a movie during this year. Could it be a new 2012 Jonas Åkerlund film called “Small Apartments” starring Dolph Lundgren, Billy Crystal or Peter Stormare? IMDB Small Apartments 2012.

We are only guessing, you know :-)

Update, December 2: Per Gessle’s comment seems to deny this rumour.

Wow, what a line-up! Wish it was true!

And Matt Lucas is in there! Hallelujah! And Jimmy Knoxville! And Billy Crystal! And james Caan! Jeezus, Jonas – how did you manage this?

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Interview with Christoffer Lundquist: “Music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes”

We met Christoffer Lundquist in Prague some hours before the concert to talk about his solo album “Through The Window”, the award he received in May and the Roxette tour 2011. Take some time to read it and enjoy!

Judith: We wanted to ask you some questions about the album. First off, congratulations for this masterpiece!

Christoffer: Oh, thank you! This is very nice to hear.

J: The first thing we want to know is: did you really work 12 (!) years on this album?

C: It’s actually a total lie; it was not like that at all. I actually did this album very quickly. They wrote this on the press release because it took me such a long time for me to make a solo album at all, but I wrote all the songs for this album in summer 2008 in Gotland, where my family and I spend the summer. I have a moped so I drove with my guitar on my back to some very remote places with nice nature scenery and took also very long walks. I wrote all the songs in the nature three years ago.

What is true is that it took a long time to get the album released.

J: We thought that 12 years was a very long time…

C: Absolutely, I think music should be done fast, otherwise it gets boring.

J: Do you always write your songs on guitar?

C: Yes, I normally do. I think I only wrote one song for this album on piano,“The Raging hands Of Time”.

J: Looking at the credits in the booklet, we saw that you wrote the music to all songs, but the lyrics were written by Michael Saxell.

C: Yes, indeed. I am a horrible lyric writer; I try every now and then, thinking that I should be able to write some lyrics, but… no, it doesn’t work. I am so bad!

J: Did you also try to write the lyrics for this album, too?

C: Yes, I actually did try to write lyrics with my wife. We sat down together, thinking that we’ve been together all our lives and have lots of things to tell, about the world, experiences, etc. so we should be able to write something good. We did it for a couple of days but then we read what we had written and looked at each other and realized we could not use this at all. No talent.

J: How did you get to work with Michael Saxell?

C: Initially, I was going to work with a French artist; I produced her album for some time ago. I sent her some songs and she promised to send some lyrics back. But the time went by and she never sent anything, after almost six months she said she was sorry but couldn’t do it.

I was devastated because since I can’t write lyrics myself, I really need somebody to do that, and I really believed in the songs I had composed. So I sent some songs to Michael, whom I had just met briefly before when I helped him mix an album in my studio. I sent four of the songs to him, just acoustic guitar demos with some “lalala” melodies which should be the sung part and four lyrics came back the next day.

J: That was fast!

C: Yes! I was very surprised, so I sent him the rest of the songs. He was travelling around in Canada at that time and he left everything he had planned to do aside and sent me one song every day. For me that was a gift. The melodies were all finished, and he managed to write the lyrics to fit the music just perfectly and also to catch the meaning and the mood of the songs I had in mind.

So in a way I feel a bit like I wrote them, because they are very natural to me and what I actually wanted.

J: So you mean that there was no song where you felt like “nah… I actually had something else in mind”?

C: Amazingly no, there wasn’t! I haven’t changed a word in any of the songs. What is even more amazing to me is that both music and lyrics were done separately. I gave him the finished music and melody of the sung parts and he just fit these nice lyrics to the melodies. Perfect.

And I must confess we have already written the next album. I wrote 15 more songs and I am going to record them during the Roxette tour breaks. It worked the same way as with this album: I wrote the songs, sent them to Michael and he added lyrics to them.

J: A new album? Can you tell us more about it?

C: OK, now I really have to tell you about the next album because I believe it’s such a great concept. The lyrics are more in the center; it’s like a song cycle, like Schubert did or a couple of people in the 60ies. There is a thread through the whole album, there are historical situations which happened at a significant place, but the lyrics are about just one person in these situations, from a very human point of view. The stories are quite sad, tragic. A guy does something because that is his job, and it has consequences for some many people. The lyrics are however not condemning, they are beautifully written.

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Interview with Helena: “I expect to get a lot of inspiration, and time for reflections, own thoughts!”

Helena Josefsson‘s second album “Kyss mej” was released in February. Almost at the same time, the documentary film “Jag är min egen Dolly Parton” about Dolly Parton, which featured her and other Swedish female artists, was premiered in the cinemas in Sweden.

We wanted to know more about Helena’s career so we interviewed her while she is in South America on tour with Roxette.

Roxetteblog: Let’s start with some background, how did you start to play music, get in to music? Did you study music?

Helena: My family on my mother´s side is very musical, my grandfather (now 93 years old, still playing the violin!) played in orchestras, and my grandmother had a record store!

When I was 2,5 years, my mother let me take dancing classes, and from that day, that is my absolute favourite hobby! At the age of 7, I started singing in a girl´s choir, and started playing the piano. But I was no good student there, liked to make my own little songs better! The choir was an amazing experience, an angelic sound that cannot be made with adult voices- even though I try ;o). But it is so fantastic in a choir, every voice is as important, it is like one big body moving towards the same dynamics and expression…

In high school I had my first experience of playing and singing in a band. And I loved it – expressing myself through music – and the stage quickly gave me some space to be whoever I want to be. In college I chose an education with science and music – we sang in a choir. After the first half, my results in school got worse because I knew music was the main issue for me. I remember having five different bands running, and dancing up to five times a week. I remember getting up really early in the mornings, doing my homework, and on the school bus, since I lived in the countryside. I remember my older sister coming into my room, removing the book from my face as I had fallen asleep with it like that!

I have always been very ambitious, almost too much. Sometimes my stomach really hurt from stress, in this period, trying to be great in school even though my passion got all the time I had.

RXB: And how many instruments do you play?

H: The piano and the triangle :)

RXB: Hey, don’t forget the tambourine! You have released a couple of solo albums but also some with Sandy Mouche. When did you start to compose your own songs?

H: I think it really started around the age of , maybe, 14?

RXB: Can you tell us more about Sandy Mouche? How did you found the band? Are you still playing together?

H: Yes, we are recording our third album now! We have recorded six songs so far, and when we have fifteen, we will choose the best ones and release it.

My husband Martinique, I and Per Blomgren (drummer ) and his girlfriend went on a vacation together in Georgopouli, Greece in 2001. Martinique had written a song, he showed it to us there on the beach bar, it was “A Year”. We loved it! There on that beach, we decided to found a group together, and feeling the sand and the fact that we all had mouches on our left side of the chin, became “Sandy Mouche”.

Per and I had played a lot together in a band called Plastic Soul, and Martinique and Per´s girlfriend Hanna were in the same class.

RXB: Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? And what was the motivation to release first “Dynamo” and now “Kyss mej”?

H: I noticed, on the second Sandy Mouche album, that some of my ideas would be better for a solo project. As a band you have a big quality in being different persons
that really merge together musically, and that is something I want us to use. But I started trying to do other things that were more “produced”, the song “In The Sand” draws in that direction. Then the band identity can become an obstacle instead.

For example, you don’t want a drum kit in the song, but then the drummer can get bored. And what really gives “Sandy Mouche” our sound in the way that “Neons”, “Fairies and Elves” and “Spiderweb Suit” is something only we four can do together.

On the other hand, being a solo artist opens more possibilities, because I don’t have to compromise with anything.

RXB: You have written songs in English, Swedish, even some French. What language do you feel more comfortable with? Do you think language influences the lyrics? Like for example Swedish more personal, English more “fun”?

H: Yes, I agree! For example, when I use French, I feel it helps the music get more romantic, because you don’t follow the words and their meaning, it is more like a “sound”.

I was trying to record “Kyss Mej” with my own south-Swedish accent, but the whole voice changes depending on how you hold your mouth, throat and tongue! And in my case the voice got clearer and lighter in “Stockholm”-accent. The voice is such a funny instrument :)

RXB: And what about your favourite artists, artists who inspire you? What styles do you like?

H: I love Kate Bush, The Cure, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, The Cardigans, Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Monica Zetterlund, Elis Regina (from Brazil), Astrud Gilberto, The Cranberries and so on…, choir music, birdsong!

But I can get a kick out of hard-rock, like metal, too. The energy in it!

RXB: Even though you worked with Per in his solo projects and went on tour with him a couple of times, you have joined Roxette for the first time now. What is the biggest difference between Gessle’s tour in 2009 – where you performed Roxette songs as well – and this tour? Of course, besides that now Marie is back.

H: The biggest difference must be that we are playing in more parts of the world, and that I am more a backing vocalist now, before I sang more.

RXB: What do you expect of this tour?

H: I expect to get a lot of inspiration, and time for reflections, own thoughts!

RXB: It’s quite a huge tour.. visiting all continents and being around for almost a year. How do you combine it with your family?

H: My husband is amazing!! And the audience pulls me up when I miss my family too much!

RXB: Are there any Rox songs you really like or prefer to play on the tour?

H: I like Joyride, Silver Blue and Opp Nox the most:) But I hope we will play more from the new album soon!

RXB: If I don’t remember wrong, you were studying to become an optician.. is that right? If so, can you tell us about that? It’s quite different to what we know of you so far..

H: Yes, my sister is an optician. The Party Crasher tour was tough because my son was so young, and I was feeding him at night, I got very tired. I thought that maybe I need another job that is easier to plan. But I realized quickly that musician is my right element!

RXB: By reading your lyrics and reading about the “squirrel-action”, I get the impression you are a person who is very connected to nature. Are you vegetarian? What is nature for you?

H: I am selectarian, eat meat sometimes if it is game, but mainly fish! Yes, I love nature, and children too. I hope my music and voice can do good in some way.

RXB: And last but not least, can you tell us a bit more about the Dolly Parton film? Is there more to come?

H: We made a tribute to her, and it was filmed. The photographer decided to follow us for five years, and it became a movie, and yes, a record and concerts will follow!

Helena performing Stars with Roxette in Cordoba, Argentina (April 7th, 2011)

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Interview with Magnus Börjeson: “We just want to have fun on stage.”

Kirsten and Judith met Magnus Börjeson a few hours before the concert in Halmstad to talk about his career as musician and how he sees Roxette at the moment. We picked him up at the station and sat down at the station café to chat. It was actually us who wanted to know more about him, but he started asking about us:

Magnus: So where are you from? Germany?

Judith: I come from Spain, live in Austria.

Kirsten: Germany.

M: So when you are not Roxette fans, what are you doing for a living?

J: I work as project manager in a bank.

M: And you?

K: I am a journalist.

M: For a newspaper..?

K: Yes, for a local newspaper, sports mainly.

M: Where is that?

K: North of Frankfurt.

J: What are you doing, when you don’t work with Roxette or Per?

M: I do music, that’s all I do. Haha! In different shapes and kinds, I do a lot of music for films and TV commercials, that’s what I’ve done the last couple of years.

J: Could you explain us how did you get into music?

M: I started playing when I was a kid with my neighbour, we played in his basement. Then I had a band at school. I had a lot of bands, I had a band called Beagle in the early 90ies, we had two albums out, that’s the first time we really had a record deal.

K: I saw the videos from that time, they are funny.

M: Yeah, we did a lot of videos. It was the age of the video. And yes, they were fun. I had a lot of hair then.

K: It looks better now anyway.

M: haha, thank you! I think so too. That was like my first real major thing. We signed with Polar, which was ABBA’s record company. We were at ABBA’s manager’s to sign the deal, everything was very intense. It was really fun for a couple of years. Then it wasn’t fun anymore, so we quit.

K: Can you really make a living from music?

M: yes, I do. I’ve done since then. It’s a lot of work; I’m into a lot of things. But I cannot imagine doing anything else, I have always wanted to do this since I started playing, so I couldn’t think of anything else to do. That would be horrible.

J: How many instruments do you play?

M: I play bass and guitar, and some keyboards. I started playing drums when I was a kid, that was my first instrument.

 

K: Do you still play drums?
M: I know how to play, but you know, when you haven’t played for a while, you get very bad. But give me six months and I think I would manage.

J: So you mentioned you don’t do anything else but music, meaning you also compose your own stuff?

M: yes, that’s what I do when I am not touring or doing something with other artists. I compose a lot of music for films.

J: Do you prefer to play live or studio?

M: Well, both. I love to play live, I think it’s funny, you can show off a bit, be a rock musician, haha! But I work a lot in the studio as well, I have my own little studio at home, so I work there every day and I enjoy that immensely too.

K: You mentioned music for films, can you tell us about this film you presented in Cannes?

M: We’ve been working long on this project. We first made a short film, which you can find on YouTube. It was about six drummers breaking into an apartment and starting to play songs. We did that in 2000, with a couple of friends of mine who made short movies at that time. And then a French production company suggested we should make a feature film about this. So we started about four years ago and we just finished before Cannes, where we presented it. It’s called “Music for one apartment and six drummers” and it’s going to have its premiere in Sweden and France this December.

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Interview with Per Gessle: “We’re talking about recording shows for a DVD-release”

We got hold of Per Gessle during the rehearsals for the coming Roxette performance at Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling’s wedding this Friday and Saturday and asked him about the new Roxette album, the upcoming tour and Per’s online activity. Here is the interview!


RoxetteBlog.com: We would like to start with questions about the recordings. How does the production of a Roxette album compare to an English solo album – apart from Marie’s input? Does it take longer to record and prepare? Do you have a bigger focus on commerciality? Do you get special requests from EMI or do you only show the finished product?

Per Gessle: Every record I’m involved with gets basically the same preparation. I’m sure it has a lot to do with me writing most of the stuff. I’ve always loved top-40 pop and great rock music, so being “commercial” has never been a big issue for me. If a song is good, it tends to be “commercial” in my book. I love a somewhat intelligent lyric, a brilliant melody line, exciting chord-progressions and a fitting production. If you can achieve all of that, you’re most likely to wind up with a “commercial” record.

EMI? I usually (not always) discuss my demos with Kjell Andersson at EMI Sweden. He signed me to EMI back in 1979 (!) and he’s a good sport, he knows when I’m getting lazy… but we always deliver the finished “product” to EMI and get no artistic input from them whatsoever.

RXB: Did the sound change – with new ideas – during the recording sessions this year, compared to the sound you originally planned/recorded during NOTP?

PG: No, not really. When Marie and I decided to make a new Rox-album last year, we inmediatelly went for a “classic” one. We haven’t worked together for many years, so musically the main thing we have in common is the love of the old Roxette-sound… that’s where we came from. Hopefully, I can write some decent songs, Clarence & Chris can provide superb production as always and Miss F. will deliver her beautiful voice. You’ll be the judge if it worked out!

RXB: OK, we will let you know if it worked out, but we are sure of that! Let’s move on to the tour and Roxette live. You are going to play for Princess Victoria and Daniel’s Wedding, how did it happen?

PG: Åsa and me have been friends with them for many years. They’re very nice people.

RXB: The six tour dates for Roxette in 2010 promise to be the first round of something bigger, maybe the “never ending tour”. In the past you said a Roxette tour needs a certain number of dates to be lucrative – which won’t work with a few dates here and then. How do you handle that now?

PG: Nobody knows if it’s possible for Marie to do a two-hour show, so we’ll do something like 70 minutes this summer. It’s all a test.

If you told me 18 months ago that these upcoming shows were gonna happen, I wouldn’t have believed you! It’s unbelievable that Marie is back on track. And she sounds terrific!!! So… if things go well, it might lead to a “proper” tour next year when the new album is released. I, for one, would love that. But it’s really up to Marie to decide.

RXB: Could you tell us about the rehearsals? Have you looked at the list of song suggestions from fans for the summer tour? Could you tell us if you already tried any of the Top-10 songs or if we can expect some of them? (Let’s help Roxette to make their playlist! or Facebook)

PG: Of course, we checked that list out. It’s really exciting!!! Quite surprising choices, I must say. We’re rehearsing right now and have tried a few of them, let’s see what happens down the road…

RXB: Are there finally plans for some live DVD release(s) and to record this summer tour? It’s a pity Roxette shows can only be found on the dead VHS format!

PG: I know, it’s such a shame. We have to work on that! Yeah, we’re talking about recording some upcoming shows for a DVD-release. Maybe something more, private pics, docu-stuff… Time will tell.

RXB: You spoilt us with entertaining videos from NOTP and the studio – of course without showing any song fragments, yet. In what form could we expect to see these making-of videos when the album is out? Deluxe album edition, future DVD release or just on the web…?

PG: I don’t know, I like the idea of communicating regularly with people who are interested in what I do, that’s basically it. There are so much more material lying around that hasn’t been shown yet. Eventually it will be released… One way or another. I’ve toyed with the idea of releasing 500 demos on the net!

RXB: Do you have plans to re-launch www.roxette.se with more content and multimedia (e.g. videos, song streaming, tour agenda/history…) with the tour/ new album? As much as we enjoy your activity on services like Snowfish or Facebook, one would expect Roxette content at the one and only official site…

PG: I guess so, but I like the Snowfish-idea so I’ll stick to that for a while.

RXB: Why do you think we – the fans – are still longing for new Roxette songs after all these years?

PG: I don’t know. Like I said earlier, I’ve been doing this professionally for 31 years. I’m very grateful someone is still interested in my humble work. I’ve been very lucky to run into the talents of lots of people… Marie, Clarence, MP, etc…. It’s been a great trip. A great trip indeed.

RXB: Per, thanks a lot for your time!

PG: My pleasure.

Judith, Kirsten, Tomasz and Sascha @ RoxetteBlog.com

Pictures taken from Snowfish.com

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Clarence Öfwerman: “When Christoffer joined us, everything became fun again”

Kirsten Ohlwein and Judith Seuma met Clarence Öfwerman before the show in Munich on Saturday. In the following interview you will find information about the Night of the Proms, Clarence’s musical roots and family and much more..

Kirsten: So we heard the Olympia Halle is not standing anymore since yesterday.

C: Hm. Maybe not haha! It was fantastic.

J: Even better than Frankfurt?

C: Maybe the same, but the crowd was a bit wilder yesterday. Second and third in Frankfurt were excellent too.  The first wasn’t that good. Stuttgart was the best so far, and the 2nd in Munich.

K: We are going to top it today. The balloons are ready to be used.

C: Balloons! We saw some of them yesterday as well, it’s great you are doing this.

J: It’s actually just 1 week left of NOTP, how do you feel about that?

C: Yeah, Dortmund next Sunday is the last one. It’s kind of sad, we’d like to go on forever.

K: Christoffer mentioned last week it’s quite long time away from your families.

C: Yes, that’s true, but at least we had the family come down to us a couple of times in between, so I think it’s ok. All in all it’s great, when you get into it it’s wonderful to be on tour.

J: What are you going to do through Christmas?

C: I will be home with my family and Santa Clause..

K/J: ..and Kalle Anka..

C: Yeah! Do you know that? Haha! Well yeah, it’s typical Swedish. Specially if you have kids.

K: How did you start making music, playing instruments? Your family is quite musical, too?

C: My father did kind of the same things that I do, he played piano, jazz, and got into producing Swedish artists and later from all around the world. He always said to me “don’t become a musician, it’s very difficult to make a living on it”, he thought I should study economy, because he actually wanted to do that but never succeeded. He once produced an album with Toots Thielemans and he came down to Rotterdam and they hung out one night together, which was great!

But I started to play in bands when I was a teenager anyway. I started playing guitar, then I met a guy who was a lot better than me playing guitar, so I switched to piano. I think that was around 73, 74. You weren’t even born then I think!

Then I started to play with different people in Sweden, as a session musician in the studio, later I started to produce some albums. Then I met Per in 86, and from then on it’s been Roxette all the way.

J: How did you meet Per?

C: I met him once a couple of years earlier, when I played with Ulf Lundell on his tour. We were in Halmstad and Ulf gave a birthday party after the show, the Gyllene Tider guys joined us, and then we were introduced. Anders and Göran and I became friends.

The idea to produce Per’s third solo came actually from Kjell Andersson at EMI. He told Per “Why not try Clarence”, because I did some productions before for EMI, like 2 or 3 albums, so I was the new guy around.

I actually didn’t like his previous solo albums, I hadn’t listened to them very much. I liked the early Gyllene Tider, and Marie. Marie was involved in the first song, “Neverending Love”, so we did that one just to try and see what happens. It was actually Pelle who told me to go for it and take this production job, because I wasn’t much into this Per Gessle type of music.

J: And you brought Jonas and Tommy along.

C: Yes, I had known them for a long time, so I always wanted to have them as a band in the album. So I told Per, I wanted Pelle, Jonas and Tommy. Per himself wanted Tommy as well, but he preferred other guys on drums and guitar. So we reached a compromise, and we kept Tommy to record “Neverending love”, which was a success. Then for the album Jonas and Pelle joined, as well as Alar Suurna as engineer.

J: Were you also oin tour with Rock Runt Riket?

C: Yes, in 87, with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Each of us, Jonas, Pelle and myself played with two bands each. I played with Roxette and Ratata. Pelle with Roxette and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas couldn’t play with three bands, and since Roxette was the newest band for him, he went for the other two bands.

J: What can you tell us about this tour?

C: Each artist played a bit longer than one hour. We also had a support act, Orup, who became successful after that. Then Eva Dahlgren, Ratata and Roxette played. It was about ten minutes break between the acts, so after Ratata I had to go and change my clothes and make me ready for Roxette. It was kind of strange.

J: The pictures from that time are also kind of…

C: Strange? Yeah, that’s true. 80ies. Specially Per and Marie looked strange. Eva looked very different to now.

K: It’s interesting you’ve all been in the same band for such a long time.

C: Yes, it’s very unusual. But it’s very good as well not to have new people coming and going. Christoffer joined in 96, so it’s also a very long time. The band changed a lot when he joined, to the better, of course. He is an amazing guy, he can play anything.

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