Interview with Per Gessle about Good Karma, melodies, songwriting and other groovy things

zdf_pgThere were quite some shorter and longer Good Karma interviews with Per during the past few weeks and he even provided all of us, Roxers with a fantastic opportunity, a Facebook live Q&A some days ago, answering 84 questions in 1 hour. After all this, we still had thousands of questions, so we put them together and shot all of them at him.

Even if Mr. G is always very busy with all of his parallel projects, he found the time to answer all our Qs. It’s really m.u.c.h. a.p.p.r.e.c.i.a.t.e.d. and we love all his detailed replies! And also the less detailed ones. Haha. Enjoy!

 

RXB: – First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time and answering our questions. Much appreciated! We know you are always very curious about the reception of your releases. Seeing the reaction of fans, your new album, ”Good Karma” is loved. How does it feel?
PG: – It feels fab. Since our fans are extremely varied and therefore very hard to please we didn’t expect anything like this. People, including the media, seem surprised by the direction we’ve taken and we find that interesting. You never know what people might think.
”Good Karma” has been created with a natural flow, we knew right from the beginning what we were looking for. However it’s been quite a difficult album to make. Not only couldn’t Marie join us in the studio except for her vocal takes and the technical challenges we went through took a lot of time and energy, especially from Christoffer. You need a low pulse and lots of patience to make an album like G.K.

RXB: – ”Good Karma” is the shortest Roxette album with its 38 minutes. Quality over quantity, but do you consider an album having a certain length when you start recording?
PG: – No. We record songs we like and use the ones we like the most. In the ”Good Karma”-case there are a few leftovers but we didn’t think they matched the quality of the other tracks so we left them out. Personally I think forty minutes is perfect for an album. You know you’ve succeeded if your natural instinct is to play it again.

RXB: – Your album titles are always short and simple. After the 10th studio album was released, which of your records do you think has the best title, taking into consideration the whole concept around that certain album?
PG: – I think they’re all pretty good. No, I don’t. I don’t really like ”Pearls Of Passion”. I don’t like titles with an ”OF” in the middle. It sounds pretentious. My original song was called ”Pearls AND Passion” but it was misspelled by EMI on an early draft and we kept it like that for some reason. And I changed the title and the lyrics of my song. True story. Have I told that one before?
”Look Sharp!” is a very cool title. ”Crash! Boom! Bang!” as well. And ”Charm School” and ”Joyride”. And ”Have A Nice Day”. And ”Room Service”. Hey, we’re brilliant at titles!

RXB: – You smiled in the Sat1 interview that the album leaked and so you could read on Facebook which songs people liked already before the official release date. Does it piss you off when such things happen?
PG: – No, it was expected. It’s almost impossible to keep things secret these days. There’s always someone who spills the beans. It goes hand in hand with our open-minded and ultra connected universe.

RXB: – Regarding radio, the last time a Roxette lead single went on air worldwide was ”She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” in 2011. Unfortunately, in many countries ”It Just Happens” is still not played. Why do you think radios don’t pick it up even if there are news in the media about it?
PG: – Radio doesn’t work like it used to. In the old days you had music people who were in charge over playlists etc. Today most stations around the world play music selected by algorithms based on social media etc. It’s pretty tough to crack that system especially if you’re a ”vintage” band like us. It’s the same problem for most artists of our generation (and older). That’s one of the reasons most songs in the Top 40 chart sound pretty much the same and are targeted towards a very young audience who are on the internet all the time.

RXB: – You mentioned in several interviews that ”Good Karma” songs were not meant to be performed live. The previous two albums’ lead singles had you on lead vocals, which was obvious from promotional point of view as Marie wouldn’t have been able to handle new lyrics. How was ”It Just Happens” chosen now? Three singles in a row with you on lead vocals make us wonder.
PG: – No strategy. Warner wanted a ”classic” powerful Roxette-song as the lead single and off we went with ”IJH”. It’s a quite sophisticated song, coming from us. Maybe not the most obvious choice for a first single but I understand how they were thinking. Personally I consider ”IJH” to be a ”Marie-song”. Her vocals are the driving force behind it, not mine.

RXB: – ”Some Other Summer” might have a bigger potential. Do you expect it or any another song to be a bigger hit worldwide and that radios realize these tracks are worth to be on air?
PG: – No, I don’t expect anything. ”SOS” is a great pop song in my book, so are ”Good Karma” and ”Why Dontcha?” and a few others. But that doesn’t mean that I expect it to become a worldwide hit. It doesn’t work like that anymore. New balls, dear you.

RXB: – Talking about it, you gave ”Some Other Summer” to Sebastien Drums long before your original version was out. What was the idea behind someone else releasing your song before you do?
PG: – We had a mutual friend in the German music biz who asked us if we had a Rox-song Sebastien could use. And we had just finished ”SOS” so he got that one. I like the idea of doing unexpected things. Sometimes strange and wonderful things happen that way. But I never really understood Seb’s official version. There are a couple of other SOS-remixes he did that I prefer. But that’s me.

RXB: – The video to ”It Just Happens” turned out to be wonderful. We loved seeing you both enjoyed the shooting and Marie still loves acting. How was it working together with a new team?
PG: – It was cool. They all did a great job. We spent a day in an old building in the centre of Stockholm trying out the take away sushi and fooling around in front of the cameras. The rest of the shooting didn’t involve us at all but we certainly liked the result. It’s a beautiful little story that director Tobias Nordquist captured very well visually.

RXB: – We got used to the fact that MTV is mostly not about music and videos anymore and the clips are rather watched on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. What do you think is the purpose of a video clip nowadays?
PG: – I think most things you do promowise are made to remind the media and your fans that you’re still alive! If you release new music and don’t do anything, no interviews, no videos or no TV-appearances it’s really hard to cut through that enormous amount of information that surrounds us all. A video might pop up at an airport, department store or getting shared on smartphones. It’s all part of that big puzzle called the entertainment industry.

RXB: – We got very excited when in an earlier interview you mentioned you wrote some songs together with MP now for the first time since long. ”You Can’t Do This to Me Anymore” is now on the album and it’s certainly very different to what we are used to when you 2 put your talents together. Are there any other songs from this set of latest MP cooperations that might see the light of day?
PG: – I don’t know. We’ve written more songs together over the last couple of years but there are no plans of using them for the moment. Time will tell what’s gonna happen to them. MP sometimes got some wonderful and weird musical ideas and I try to glue them together with my humble ambitions. It’s fun. He’s very special. He still drives a very fast Suzuki-bike.

RXB: – You wrote 3 songs together with Addeboy vs. Cliff and they are co-producers on 3 other songs. How did it feel to work with others? You were never really into bringing new people in.
PG: – Well, I’ve changed. I had bumped into AvsC through other projects so I knew their style and what they were capable of. I basically asked them to send me some musical ideas, like sounds and grooves, bass lines and chord progressions, to see if I could make something out of it. And I could. I kept a lot of stuff they made, edited a few things out, added some new parts and wrote melody lines and lyrics. However, none of the songs we wrote together were specifically made for Roxette. They were just collaborations trying things out.
AvsC and me never worked together in the studio. It was all done via the internet. I loved the final result but actually never expected Marie to like it since it was pretty far out. Not quite ”classic” Roxette if you know what I mean. But she really loved some of the songs and so did Chris and Clarence. Off we went and put them on a rocket to Planet Roxette!
The ”Good Karma” track was co-written with AvsC but Chris wanted us to produce it ourselves so he could play some serious power chords in the intro. His guilty pleasure, I guess…. And Clarence added that ”Fading Like A Flower”-inspired keyboard intro. Very nice. Very catchy. Cheers.

RXB: – What’s the difference in the cooperation with Addeboy vs. Cliff between ”The Look” remake in 2015 when they got the basics and had to do something with it and when it was vice versa for ”Good Karma” songs and you asked them to give you baselines?
PG: – Well, the main difference is of course that the songs we wrote together started with them, not me. ”The Look” is my song which they ”interpreted” their own way. We did the same thing with ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”, which was written by MP and me, but the backing track was created by AvsC. And they’ve just finished a fab uptempo version of ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?”. Same thing. A song of mine done in Addeboy vs Cliff-style. It will hopefully be released later this year.

RXB: – The world is changing. You record parts in one studio, others in another and you don’t even have to meet physically to put things together. Isn’t it strange for you to record this way? Don’t you miss the ”personal meeting” touch in each phase?
PG: – It depends on what kind of recording it is. The more technical it gets the less you need lots of people around. It’s always, more or less, only one person who’s doing the job anyway. In Roxette’s case it’s Chris since he’s in charge of the computer and the digital funfair. My (and Clarence’s) job is to guide him through the audio jungle with our taste and our musical suggestions.
Chris has become an amazing tech wizard. Without him and his vast palette of sounds the Good Karma project wouldn’t have sounded as interesting. And he’s become a brilliant mixing engineer as well. He mixes a song, sends me his vision, I change or suggest a few things and might add or take away something, he sends me back an updated version. And we go on and on like that for a few days and nights. When we’re done we send it to Marie and Clarence for their approval. That’s how the Good Karma-album was mixed.
When you make a record like ”Travelling” or anything with Gyllene Tider it’s a different ballgame. Then it’s all about instant communication and ”playing” together. I like both ways. I would love to make a new Mazarin-style album one day but I also know that if I want a really hardcore updated production sound it can’t really be done in that ”organic” way. You have to do everything on the computer. It’s no big deal. I’m glad I enjoy both ways. And have the opportunity to choose.

RXB: – Besides the standard vinyl, there is a limited edition, beautiful, orange coloured LP as well. How many copies of the limited edition vinyls are released?
PG: – I wish I knew but I don’t. A couple of thousand is my guess. It might be less. Or more.

RXB: – There is a poster to this edition and it’s the album cover. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to include a poster on which you and Marie appear instead of the butterfly?
PG: – No, if we thought so we would have done it. We like the butterfly.

RXB: – On the vinyl there is a ghost track after ”April Clouds”. We tried to figure out what it is. Any hints?
PG: – No. Another internal joke.

RXB: – It’s the first time you and Marie don’t appear in any form on the front cover of a studio album. Why?
PG: – We wanted this project to have a symbol that we could use on lots of things. The album sleeve, the tiny stamp-sized pic used on iTunes and Spotify and Amazon etc. On merchandise and upcoming singles. The butterfly-image is beautiful and stands out and can be used in so many varieties. And it fits the music and the title.

RXB: – Now we understand the butterfly artwork, its X shape and the evolution it symbolizes. What is still not clear is the guitar and microphone appearing at a certain body part of poor butterflies. What’s that intended to be?
PG: – It’s up to you to decide.

RXB: – Then there is no instrument on the ”Some Other Summer” cover. Is that a coincidence or maybe you rethought it after reading some comments?
PG: – No. I haven’t even noticed that. Thanks.

RXB: – Warner seem to be enthusiastic about doing promo for Roxette and we are very happy to see all their efforts. How do you see your cooperation with them vs. EMI?
PG: – It’s a totally different market today so it’s really impossible to compare. Warner worldwide is very committed to Roxette and the Good Karma-project. We’re very happy.

RXB: – You say that you would never be able to write e.g. ”Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because you moved on as a songwriter. At the same time, each song on ”Good Karma” has your stamp on them. All the lyrics are Gessleish as usual and the songs have the classic Roxette sound. So it seems your songwriting basics stay the same, but something is changing. How do you see it?
PG: – Yes, it’s like that. I change a lot but I still stay the same. It’s good and bad. I have my trademarks and style which make my songs sound like me. It’s hard to close that door and I’m not sure I want to. The older I get the more I treasure my personality and my way of thinking. My creative challenge is to find new ways to express myself via new sounds and techniques and collaborators and partners. That’s what I’m trying to do.

RXB: – What was the most challenging in improving your own sound for ”Good Karma” and update your style of writing?
PG: – I don’t know. The idea behind the album, to make a quite complex production that’s not intended to be played live, was there from the beginning. I started to write songs with that in mind. And, like I’ve mentioned earlier, working with new collaborators became part of that task.

RXB: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”Good Karma”? Which song do you think someone who doesn’t listen too much to Roxette would definitely listen to by seeing its title?
PG: –”You Make It Sound So Simple” is my favourite title. It makes me curious.

RXB: – There are 2 ”Why don’t you…?” titles on the album. Even if they are different, with one being rather slangy, isn’t it strange to include 2 similar titles on the same album?
PG: – No.

RXB: – You say you are very satisfied with ”Why Dontcha?”, because even if it seems to be so simple, it’s very hard to write such a song. How do you know that a good song was written? Can you feel it from the very beginning once it was written that everyone in the gang will like it?
PG: – Yes, I feel it as go along writing it. If it doesn’t interest me enough I don’t finish it. I throw it on the fire. But that someone else will like it is a different matter. I never know.
I might finish my song, make a simple demo out of it. Then maybe I re-write it and make another demo before I play it to anyone. Every song has gone a long way before it’s presented to the people I work with.

RXB: – Are you impressed by any song on ”Good Karma” to the same extent as any of your biggest hits throughout the years?
PG: – All of them. This album was made at a certain point in our lives and we’ve done the best we could under the circumstances. I’m not the one to compare our new stuff to the old stuff. Every song and recording has its own history and destiny.

RXB: – Knowing the album was planned to be released earlier than this year, have the lyrics of ”This One” ever contained 2015? (”Oh gimme a coin and I will kick off a dream / In 2016”)
PG: – Yes. There are versions with ”2015” somewhere.

RXB: – The music of ”April Clouds” and ”Wish You The Best” is different and you also mentioned that ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” was originally an uptempo song. How does the melody to the same song change in your head?
PG: – I don’t know. I just follow what feels right. If you have a lyric like ”April Clouds”, which mostly were written a long time ago and you make new music to it, the end result will be quite different due to the fact that you’re a different person twenty years later. You interpret the words and the meaning and the vibe differently because you’re older and time has gone by.
Making ballads out of uptempo songs are quite easy. As long as the lyrics are interesting and the melodies are strong you can basically do whatever you want with a song.

RXB: – We know it’s very early since ”Good Karma” is out, but is there anything you would change on the album now?
PG: – I would love to have another go mixing ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”. It’s OK but I know it can be even stronger.

RXB: – Roxette’s live career is (most likely) over for now. There are so many concerts that are lying in the vaults and waiting for a proper release. You mentioned a potential box with all these. Can you please tell us a bit more about what concerts it would include? We hope for Norrköping 88, Borgholm 89, Zurich and Sydney 91, Unplugged 93, Johannesburg 95 and Stockholm 2001 – having them in a bit better quality wouldn’t harm!
PG: – No, I can’t because I don’t know. But you’re right, the first things that should be made available are all those old live VHS-tapes and DVDs that’s not around anymore. The ones you mentioned.

RXB: – Roxette Diaries stopped in ’95. But there is 21 years more of Roxette stories to tell. Any plan to mix ”Soooo-Christoffer” clips and HAND / Room Service footage into one motion picture any time soon?
PG: – No, not for the moment. But I’m sure things will pop up down the road.

RXB: – Because of the tour cancellation, reporters of course asked you about Marie’s health and then many times overdramatized the situation with stupid headlines. It felt like history repeated itself, but you handled it quite well. How is it going with those interviews when you expect they would rather ask about the new album? Can you change the direction of the interview and skip answering questions not related to the album?
PG: – Yes I can if I want to. But most reporters are interested in Marie’s health and our future plans together. I can understand that. It’s not a problem for me. I know how media works.

RXB: – Was the tour photo book originally planned to be published this June already before the tour cancellation? Or if no cancellation, would you have waited until after the tour ending in September?
PG: – The plan was always to have it ready for the summer of 2016.

RXB: – Anders told there were several tens of thousands of photos and he had a hard time choosing only a certain amount to send you to choose from them. How did it work for you?
PG: – I went through hundreds of pics and put a little red dot in front of those I found interesting. I think Marie did the same.

RXB: – Will there be any tour book signing sessions?
PG: – No signing sessions, no.

RXB: – Roxette is celebrating the 30th anniversary this year. We got a new album, we’ll get the tour book. Any vinyl releases of previous studio albums by chance?
PG: – No plans but we might put together something for Record Store Day next year. 31 years is worth celebrating too!

RXB: – You wrote books, you did radio programs, you appeared countless times on TV. Do you fancy some new technological tricks besides Facebook and Twitter? As a part of your artistic exposure in e.g. YouTube videos?
PG: – Sometimes I do. I like new things.

RXB: – Besides music, your wine world is another part the fans are curious about. Are there any plans for some new items in The Per Gessle Selection in the near future?
PG: – Well, the new ”Kurt & Lisa” vintage will be out later this year. The new vintage of ”The Improver”-champagne from Pierre Peters will come early 2017. We’re talking about making a nice Pinot Grigio and also a new red wine from South Africa. Time will tell.

RXB: – Is there any question you would ask from your hardcore fan base now, either related to the new album or anything else?
PG: – Not really. You guys seem to cover most of my universe!

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and good luck with all the new releases and your future projects!
PG: – Thanks very much. More to come, I promise!

 

/Patrícia, Tomasz, Kirsten, Judith, Sascha

Live Facebook Q&A with Per Gessle

First of all, let us say a huge thank you to Per for providing all of us with this wonderful opportunity of asking any questions. It’s much appreciated by all Roxers. The live Q&A was announced yesterday to make sure everyone prepares their questions for today 4 pm CEST. Many were wondering how the live Q&A would work. Whether it would be a live stream, answering the questions in a live video or using the ”reply to comment” function on Facebook.

PG_live_Q&A_20160607Today some minutes before 4 pm there came a post on Roxette’s Facebook page, hand in hand with a pic of Mr. G sitting on a ball with his MacBook at Hotel Tylösand’s gym.

It’s Q&A time and Per is ready and waiting for your questions! Post your question in the comments below and Per might answer it very soon! Per will stay right here and answer your questions 4 – 5 pm CEST.

By the time Per went live (exactly at 4 pm):

Hello folks. I’m here. Where are you? Let’s get to work! Cheers, /P.

there were already quite some questions, so he started diving into the ocean of Qs and went typing the answers heavily. To make sure they won’t get lost in the darkness of Facebook, we thought to collect them. So here is the set of fan questions and PG’s replies to them (copy-pasted, so excuse us for any grammatical or spelling mistakes). I tried to put them together under different topics. If anyone’s question is missing and Per replied to it, please shout. In case you don’t want your Facebook username to be seen here, please also shout.

Enjoy the reading! Per’s answers are very entertaining and informative, even if you’ll read some ”soon”-s here and there. Haha. And hey, if I count correctly, he replied to 84 Qs in 1 hour! He’s f.a.s.t.!

 

Good Karma – the new album in general

Gabriela Demichelli: Do you expect the album would this big welcome from the fans? all are agree that this is a exelent album….
PG: No, we didn’t. We’re very pleased with the reception. /P.

Ricardo Acosta Hernandez: The more I listen to GK, the more it reminds me of Look sharp! in a way. There’s a lot of that 80’s spirit and the first Roxette steps into creating a new own sound in it. Did you ever feel sort of going back to those glory days while recording this album?
PG: Chris did. He always had this idea we should make LS, part two but in a “modern” version. /P.

Gaby Hildebrandt: In which order did you record the pieces of the songs this time? Beats first, then instruments, then your voice, then Marie’s, then background? Was it the same procedure as with the older albums?
PG: Hi Gaby. We did about 75% of the song before we went to Sthlm and did Marie’s vox. Then we finished everything down south. Most of my vox were done at the T&A paradise as early as possible. Then re-done… /P.

Ivan Fara: Do you think any of the songs from GK might be used in a movie again?
PG: Good idea. But I don’t know. /P.

Salah Ghazal: Are you going to do any signing sessions for Good Karma?
PG: No, doesn’t look like it! Sorry. /P.

 

Good Karma – songs on the new album

Patrícia Peres: ”You Make It Sound So Simple” is a perfect example of what you say pop music about. It’s always about today. Do you remember in what circumstances the lyrics were born?
PG: Not really. I always forget. I’m in a bubble when I write lyrics. But it’s my way of commenting how weird and difficult it is to be a human being in 2016. I think. Yea, this is a strange time we’re living in, don’t you think?

Patrícia Peres: Which track off the album had the most different or funniest title in your Röstmemon app or as a demo when you recorded it?
PG: This One was called “3-chord puke” for a minute. /P.

Ricardo Acosta Hernandez: Why did you pick April for “April Clouds”? For roxers, April will be the def goodbye of Roxette. Actually in “Wish you the best”, September was referenced, and it was another month of Rox goodbye. Sometimes I get a shiver in your lyrics.
PG: No reason. It became an April-song. /P.

Alexandra Neitzel: I wonder how Marie reacted to the lyrics you presented her to sing. Especially those to From a Distance. I picture her deeply touched by the strength and courage inherent in those words, sad and brave at the same time.
PG: Marie’s pretty fussy when it comes to lyrics. She liked them a lot. I’m happy as a lark. /P.

Tanja Swe: I was wondering if you could tell us on how the lyrics to the song “Why don’t you bring me flowers” came up and if there’s any personal story connected to it?
PG: I wrote those lyrics to another piece of music that we didn’t use. They’ve got a nice vibe which I like. /P.

Chrissie Roehrs: I wonder if the similar sounding “Intenting av vad du behöver”-notes in “April Clouds” are accidentally or on purpose? That once was the first song you ever recorded with Marie and now it is the last song on the album Sorry, my fan-brain might be too emotional right now. I just hope there will be more Roxsongs in the future.
PG: Oh I never thought about that. But you’re right. They’re similar. It’s Clarence who played the piano parts on AC, he probably hanve’t heard IAVDB. He never said anything. /P.

Jirí Vlcek: It Just Happens and Some Other Summer were first recorded songs. Which were last recorded?
PG: The last one was AvsC’s version of From A Distance. /P.

 

Good Karma – the demos

Sandra Knospe: You mentioned in the TDR Interview that your demos to the songs on GK are pretty advanced compared to the ones in the years before GK. Why the change already in the demo process? Any chance that they will be released in a Deluxe Version of the album or at least digital? Would be highly interesting to compare with the final songs or even other demos.
PG: Hi Sandra, when you’re trying to produce and album like GK you have to have a focus on the production as well as the songs asap. “Normally” thses days, I decide all those things in the studio. But it didn’t really work on GK.

Gyöngyvér Simon: Do you consider releasing the demos of Good Karma? Would be very interesting to hear them!
PG: No plans right now, mr G! /P.

Pablo César Riquelme Muñoz: Are you considering a Deluxe or a expanded version of Good Karma including remixes, demos and rarities?
PG: Wow. Don’t know. But yes, things will pop up. /P.

Mario Rembold: Will we here the demos of GK-Album? I am very curious how those songs evolved and how the early fragments from Addeboy vs. Cliff sounded.
PG: Maybe. Not for the moment, though. /P.

Melancholodic: Is there a Version of the “Good Karma”-Song with the Addeboy vs. Cliff-Backingtrack? Will we hear it one day?
PG: No, just their very first demo which isn’t really a demo. It’s more like a groove with different bassnotes… There is an acoustic demno made by me at T&A however…/P.

 

Good Karma – singles off the new album

Lionel Zeta: It Just Happens was only digital release. Will be the S.O.S ep release physically? Please!
PG: Yes, CD single release very SOON! Incl four really cool remixes. How about that? /P.

Sandra Knospe: Is the EP for “Some Other Summer“ planned as a digital release only or will it be released physically, too? If the remixes are supposed to be played on the turn tables then it should.
PG: CD-single. No vinyl this time. /P.

Basia Konarzewska: Would you let your fans decide (eg via a poll) which song out of GK is released as a next single?
PG: No. But I listen to what you say. /P.

Trent Coxhell: Any chance of “why don’t ya”. Being a single.
PG: Next one is S.O.S. Time will tell. /P.

 

Good Karma – the vinyl

Chrissie Roehrs: Are we allowed to know what this ghost track on the vinyl is about? I think I recognize at least Marie’s voice. Is this something backwards? If so, what? Or which Beatles song do I have to check? Pleeeaase tell us more about it.
PG: Well. It’s not Marie. /P.

Sandra Knospe: Looks like you pulled all the stops on the vinyl. Hidden track, hidden engraved message as well. Speaking of the “welcome to sing sing“ engraving – who came up with it and what’s the story behind? And same Q goes for the track on the end of the vinyl.
PG: Can’t tell you. Sorry. /P.

 

Songs / demos from the past

Cristian Dario Brizuela: You dont undertand me was recorded in spanish as far as we know. Is it true? Will we hear that version some day?
PG: Yes, it’s there in the vaults. Forgot about that. Maybe we should use it? Thanx for reminding me! /P.

Alexandru S. Banciu: Salvation video looks close PERfection. I always wondered if there’s a meaning behind the scene where you and Marie hold a salad, some fish and a pumpkin.
PG: No, I think Anton C was getting hungry! /P.

Melanie Pfeffer: Looking back on the past 30 years, is there any song you now wish you had released as a single? Or one you wished you hadn’t? #CrushOnYou
PG: No, not really. Some of my fave Rox-songs were never rel as singles. Breathe, What’s She Like? I’m Sorry. It’s fine. /P.

Rodney Lin: Are there any Marie demos of songs that got released by you singing the lead instead? As you mentioned that sometimes a song does not suit Marie? It would be interesting to hear her version if there are any?
PG: Yes, there are. We have quite a few Rox demos lying around. We might release them one day. Nerd alert! /P:

Wilker M. Chaves: Why didnt Roxette never play Vulnerable live? Why I dont want to get hurt didnt get a vídeo? Do you know how many copies Roxette sold só far? Research on the internet always says 75 million but this info has almost 10 years. Congratz for GK and hope you bring your solo work to Brazil I believe u will keep doing good music.
PG: Hi Wilk. Tuff q’s. Vulnerable was always hard to get right live. We rehearsed it many times but let it go after a while. IDWTGH was never rel as a single. No single=no video. Even in the 90’s! Sold records: I dunno. It doesn’t mean that much anymore. /P.

 

Future projects

Sandra Knospe: In one of the lyric books that were released together with TPGA you mentioned that, at that time, you were working on a song called “Piece Of Cake“. Already back then I wondered if it would pop up as a Rox track on a future album. It obviously didn’t. What happened to that song?
PG: We’ve finished that one. It’s kinda nice. /P.

Basia Konarzewska: Do you think about writing a song with Åsa or Gabriel again?
PG: Hahaha. No. /P.

Heartland Anne: Have you considered making a solo album in English soon again?
PG: No. /P.

Kerstin Lautwein: Habe you plant a Solo Tour? We were in Gent 2009 a little Konzert, but ohne of the Best for me…greetings from Germany! And Good Karma is Top!!!
PG: Keine ahnung! /P.

Maria Besedina: Are you going to go on solo tour in Sweden or abroad? What about Tylosand? I saw a great open-air venue there………….
PG: Not this year, no. /P.

Peter Pedersen: Will you continue working with the new producers on future projects? Also loved your work with Heikki L, you should continue in this direction. Avicii feat Gessle would be a dream!! Any solo projects coming in the near future? Hope so. Gessle solo feat MF on vocals could be the future of Roxette.
PG: Yea, I’m more open to collaboration than I was. Time will tell what I’m gonna do. /P.

Markus Behrens: Back in the day you mentioned that there are some left-overs, any plan already what to do with those?
PG: No, not really. We might use them one way or another. You can easily live without them…. /P.

Barry Mieny: Can we keep our fingers crossed for either The Per Gessle Archives Volume 2 or The Roxette Archives box sets, or another Roxette Diaries any time in the future?
PG: Things will pop up, for sure. /P.

Bradley Coverley: Just wondering if you ever plan on releasing the Roxette demos that Marie has sung in also maybe a digital release of the PGA vol. 5, it would also be good to have those few demos of “you turn me on” “I’m under your magic spell” “never is a long time” “from head to toe” that would be awesome.
PG: Could be down the line. No plans, though. /P.

Mayte Peva: Can we expect another son of a plumber album?
PG: No, don’t think so. /P.

Caroline Wiltz: Will Roxette record more albums?
PG: Don’t know. /P.

Lydia Gerber: Will you release more photos from your latest photoshooting?
PG: Yes. /P.

Malgorzata ‘goswiek’ Puterman: Is Gabriel singing? Any plans to sing together: father and son?
PG: No plans. /P.

Malgorzata ‘goswiek’ Puterman: Any chance of solo tour like Gessle over Europe again?
PG: Could be down the road. But not now. /P.

 

Songwriting / production / releasing in general

Nicolette Daemen: Can you explain how you do it? You write a text for a new song, but how do you get the melody? And how does it all come together? The text, melody, your and Marie’s voices and all the instruments? I think it’s verry difficult and I always wonder how you do this.
PG: Yea, well, it is kinda difficult to get everything together. I only work and write when I have a proper idea I want to explore. I don’t really know how it works. But it does….. /P.

Anna Gradowska: You once said you often have a song idea in your head, that you have to put down (or record it) somewhere not to get it lost-Is this the usual ways new songs originate? Or put another way-where do you get all the great ideas for the songs? With every new album containing some all time gems I’m asking myself this? it almost seems you have an endless potential!
PG: I dunno. I function like that. Antennas out, always looking for ideas, titles, melodies, words, coffee. That’s me. /P.

Mario Rembold: What I like a lot: Somehow your albums of the last decade (Rox+Solo+Gyllene) sound much more authentic and relaxed. And they all sound more like “real” albums with songs belonging together (not just collections of different songs). Those records all sound very inspired. A pleasure to listen. But what’s the reason? Did your change your way of writing somewhere after the 90s? Or is it more a thing with productions and arrangements?
PG: I think the main reason for that change is that Christoffer Lundquist came into my musical life and the studio. But also the urge for change altogether. It would have been very boring to make the same album over and over again. /P.

Jennifer Melnychuk: Is it more or less stressful releasing new material today then 25 years ago?
PG: Less. Like with most things in life you know what you want and what you can achieve when you get older. It’s harder to know when you’re younger. /P.

Estela Costa: How do you decide what song each one of you will sing?
PG: Most Rox songs I write for Marie. If I am, for some reason, gonna sing it I might re-write it to get another “angle”. We try things out all the time. /P.

Florian Leingartner: How many Songs did you written in your career?
PG: Oh, I dunno. A thousand finished ones, maybe? /P.

 

XXX tour / Live performances

Daniel Rezmann: Are there plans to release any live recordings from the XXX tour? I’m thinking of songs like Crush on You and Almost Unreal that were not played during the 2011-12 tour which many fans would love a decent recording of.
PG: No plans, but we have recorded all shows. /P.

Basia Konarzewska: Do you plan any more releases this year? If so, what can we expect – live recording of any XXX- tour recording, maybe? or one of the old concert recordings release on DVD?
PG: More singles. The tour book. New t-shirts. I think that’s it. /P.

Ivelina Delcheva: Now after Good Karma is out and it is an amazing Masterpiece, do you plan a performance somewhere? I don’t mean a big tour but something smaller, probably in Sweden? And if not when to expect something from you personally, I mean an album, song or concert?
PG: No, no plans. /P.

Andreas Gessle Christodoulou: Is there possible a second return for Marie and maybe a tour around Sweden?
PG: No, I don’t think so. /P.

Zoltán Dúl: Will there be a farewell concert?
PG: No, it doesn’t look like it! /P.

Trent Coxhell: I realise Marie is no longer up to travelling to Australia, but is there any chance u could come still?
PG: Yea, it’s a shame Marie won’t tour anymore. Time will tell what’s gonna happen with me. I love to perform and play my music for you guys so I might do somthing in the future.

Eduardo Bentes: Can you tell us about a possible re-release of all live concerts, since 1988? Best wishes.
PG: Yes, we’re actually looking into all the live concerts and might hopefully get something together and release them (in a box?) one of these years! It’s a good idea! /P.

Michelle Hennekes: Will the last dvd and the new photobook be available in the Netherlands? And even better the book with Dutch or English text?
PG: Yea, the new tour book (which, btw, is really good-looking) will be available through, for instance, Amazon everywhere. /P.

Michael McGuire: Being that you are at a new chapter in your lives / career, will there be any “Roxette” shows that are not per say from touring but possible select intimate show(s) that could be recorded and released via DVD? This way, Marie isn’t using too much strain on her body and isn’t “traveling” everywhere. Thoughts?
PG: I don’t think so, no. /P.

Juan Jose De Oliveira: If roxette had continued the tour, how many songs including in good karma álbum, you`d included in a recital song list.
PG: None. Marie has a hard time learning new lyrics so the GK songs were never intended to be played live. /P:

Martín Darío Benitez: Is it possible an acustic show with Marie in the future or all live acts are over forever?
PG: No, I think it’s over performing with her. /P.

Salah Ghazal: You have some much energy on stage. How do you keep so fit?
PG: Fighting with the budgie. /P.

 

Roxette Museum

Michi Seeber: Have you ever thought about to make a roxette museum, bigger than the lifes lounge, where the hole day are playing the videos or songs..where also fans could bring their special memories?
PG: No, we haven’t. But there are so much stuff it’s definitely worth considering. /P.

Heartland Anne: I’ve heard rumors you have kept all the stage clothes of you and Marie. When do we finally get to see them, and smell them? Lol ok forget the smelling.
PG: Yep, we kept most of them. Don’t know what to do with them though…. /P.

 

Other artists / other artists’ songs, performances / tribute bands

Sandra Knospe: In one of your latest interviews you said „Songs can make you cry. Statues can’t, unless they drop on your foot.“ Can you remember which was the last song that moved you to tears? And what for? Beautiful lyrics, voice or melody?
PG: If it be your will by Leonard Cohen. /P.

Bas Pijnacker: Which is your favourite Marie solo album and why?
PG: Oh I don’t know. I’ve only heard bits and pieces. I really like some of her biggest songs, like Sjunde vågen och I en tid som vår. /P.

Luiz Fernando Scarpari Gimenez: Have you been in some Adele’s concert? What do you think about her music?
PG: I have. She’s an amazing singer. /P.

Miriam Korruptor: Who is your favourite artist right now?
PG:  I like the sound of “1975”. I wish they had better songs, though…. /P.

Salah Ghazal: Do you like any music by Michael Jackson?
PG: Yes, of course. Billie Jean still stands out. /P.

Lars Schneider: What are your thoughts about so called Tribute bands, that travels around playing songs from only 1 artist? And do you know how many Roxette Tribute-bands that exists?
PG: It’s fine with me. I don’t know how many Rox bands there are. Do you? /P.

 

Fun and retirement (which is not fun)

Olle Rydqvist: Is you was a butterflie, wich colours would you have?
PG: Ferrari red. /P.

Olle Rydqvist: If you had to pick one old haircut you had. Wich one would you pick?
PG: The one I’m having now. Easy does it! /P.

Salah Ghazal: Have you got a retirement age set or is there no plans to retire?
PG: Retire? Me? Hmmppfff. /P.

Oscar Ramirez: Are you aware of the fact that most heavy metal fans around the world also love Roxette? (Myself included).
PG: Badabam! /P.

 

Radio

Kia Engvall: Blir det något mer Gessle nio-i-topp?
PG: Maybe. We’re talking about it! /P.

 

No Qs, just thank you

Niekie Bushby: Hey Per, no question – just wanted to personally tell you (and please tell Marie as well) that my friends and I really enjoyed your show in Johannesburg on 31 January this year. It was my first live show and I am saddened by the fact that I missed out on a ‘real’ show due to Marie’s illness. I wish I saw a Roxette show years ago when you were both younger – heard it was quite an experience. Keep well and thanks for the joyride!
PG: Cheers. /P.

Ramon Luz: I just wanna say several “thank you’s”, ’cause you and Marie have been helping me from overseas with your tunes in the last years. Muito obrigado! (That’s what we say here in Brazil). Each song fills me with joy and hope.
PG: Thanx Ramon, apprceiate this!!! /P.

 

F1

Irina Lamp: What a pleasure i’m sitting and enjoy the sun Do you want to drive to the formel-1-race i germany the next time?
PG: can’t make it. Sorry. /P.

Evgenia Yakovchuk: Imagine that right now U’re flying on a plane where would I like to fly?
PG: Canada for the F1 race next weekend! /P.

 

Hotel Tylösand

Manuel Moreno: When I have gone to Tylösand Hotel with my family I was like a crazy fan recording and making photos to all Leif’s Lounge. Thanks to these, the waiters never let us pay a coffee. Thank you for those cups of coffee.
PG: What? They’re gonna get sacked!!! No, I’m plaesed you like the place. It’s kinda cool. Come back and have another cup! /P.

 

Other

Kathie Winn: If you could meet up with a very young Per Gessle, what would you tell your younger self?
PG: Good q, Kathie! I dunno, I’ve been very lucky in my life. I’ve told myself to stay true to my ideals and follow my gut feeling!

Rumen Manolov: How can an artist with a long history (such as you) please the critics? If you stick to your classical sound, then you’re repeating yourself (according to critics). If you do something new and different, then you’re trying to hard to be modern (according to them). Is it possible to surpass such criticism?

PG: No, it’s tricky. That’s why you never read them or take them seriously. It’s all down to your own taste and what you want to do with your career. /P.

Joan Frank: Would you change anything or do anything differently over the last 30 years to what you know now?
PG: There’s always things you could have done differently. Like working harder on the US market in the mid 90’s. On the other hand, Marie had a small child at the time so we concentrated on the rest of the world. Right or wrong? Who knows! /P.

Basia Konarzewska: How do you decide on purchasing a new guitar? Do you search for a special one sometimes, like those belonging to other master guitar players?
PG: I very rarely buy new guitars these days. I don’t need them. If something pops up I’m interested in, like some old Gibson Trini Lopez, I might take a look. /P.

Gyöngyvér Simon: What is your favourite holiday destination you can recommend as a “must-visit”?
PG: There are so many places to visit in the world. Right now I’m into Europe. Italy is always nice. If you’re hungry. /P.

Rumen Manolov: Do you and Marie realise how many people really really like you you do (and did in the past) and how much positive energy they send and receive? How can you live with all this love surrounding you?
PG: Hi Rumen, it’s sometimes hard to take in. We’re very proud of what we’ve done and equally proud of all you fans who made everything possible. Cheers, P.

 

The session ended at 5:03 pm with Mr. G sending lots of love:

Dear All Of You! Gotta go, have a few interviews with South America coming up. Have a fab summer + see y’all down the road somewhere!!!! Lots of love from P.

We certainly loved reading all the interesting, not so typical questions and we’re sure Per loved answering them, too. He should do such Q&As more often, shouldn’t he? Fingers crossed for more sessions like this in the future! Thank you for all your time and kindness, Per! Much appreciated!

 

Interview with Per Gessle about the new Roxette album

Ruutu (Finland) did a lovely and interesting telephone interview with Per Gessle yesterday. Listen to it HERE! It will play after 1-2 ads.

Per says It Just Happens was one of the first songs they started to work with for the new album. It’s a classic Roxette midtempo song, it’s some sort of a power ballad. They wanted to update their sound while keeping the classic Roxette sound. They decided quite early to bring fresh blood into the production side, so they started working with different producers. Some of them they used, some of them they got rid of very quickly.

The reporter asks Per if It Just Happens is his attitude for life and if he believes in destiny. Per replies most things in life that change you just happen. Like falling in love or situations that take you to different directions. You can’t really plan anything, it just happens. So in the end, he believes there is some sort of destiny.

PG_wma_1
Still is from the Warner Music Argentina video

About Good Karma, the title of the new album Per says he had the song, Good Karma. He thinks it’s a positive thing and sums up Roxette’s special history. They had all the success, then came all the disaster when Marie got ill in 2002, then they did their 2009 comeback against all odds.

We want to make a positive statement with this album. There is a certain positiveness around the whole album.

Per says about his personality that he likes to have his antennas out and if there is something attractive to him, he uses it.

Going with the flow is just a great expression of how I live my life. Of course, you have to have your fundamental rules in life, but you have to be open-minded, curious. Especially when you’re getting older and especially in a business like the music business. It’s crucial to be aware of what’s going on, listen to new stuff. Otherwise everything is going to be the same and the same and the same and the same and I hate that, you know.

The reporter asks Mr. G if he still gets excited or even nervous when they release new stuff. Per says he doesn’t really get nervous, but he is always very curious about the reception. He is very much aware of the music industry. They still work in the Top40 format and it’s almost impossible for bands and artists like them being that old to get across, because pop music is always about today. It’s music for younger people. At the same time he finds it challenging to improve their sound or update his style of writing. He is not the one who can judge the end result.

Sometimes I say to myself, hey Per, you’re only just beginning. Everything is in front of you. And I think it’s a great attitude. I think it works.

According to Mr. G, the worst thing you can do is to close the door to new technology, new sounds. There is so much going on in the art world, not only in music, but photography, television, movies and social media for that matter that wasn’t on when he was a kid.

I thinks it’s crucial to be part of today and not only to be part of yesterday, because you’re getting old.

They talk about playing in Jyväskylä, Finland on 18th June and the reporter asks Per if he has any special memories from Finland or the Finnish audience. It’s always been great concerts there, so they are really looking forward to play at this place which he count pronounce. He asked just bring the sunshine for the outdoor show.

Thanks, Ruutu for the great interview!

Video to the new Roxette single

As you could read in our article this morning, Per starts a radio podcast on 24th March. A great chance to practice your Swedish by listening to 2 nerds chatting about music.

Today Per visited Swedish Radio P4 Halland and talked about the podcast. In the short interview he also mentioned that he is busy with other things as well. Besides that he started his own record label Space Station 12, there are also a lot of things happening around Roxette. The new album is out in summer, the single is out in April and he confirmed there will be a video to the single which they are shooting next week. Too cool!

Another interesting thing Mr. G mentioned is that they are playing 18 shows in Europe this summer. We know about 14 dates so far, so there are at least 4 more to come. Sounds promising!

Listen to Per HERE!

PG_P4_Halland_02  PG_P4_Halland_01

 

Per Gessle’s deep song title analysis

PG_Gradvall_podcastPer had been interviewed by Jan Gradvall for his Swedish Radio podcast and the program was made available last Saturday. You can listen to it or even download it from HERE. Per’s part starts at 7:18 and ends at 21:50. The second half of the program is an interview with Kajsa Grytt.

The topic was “I Want You”, a song title that you can find among The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello classic songs, but Jan and Per also went into a deep analysis of song titles in general.

Per’s opinion about Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” is that it’s an awesome song on Dylan’s fantastic Blonde on Blonde album. It was released in 1966 when Per was 7 years old, so he says he didn’t know what the song “I Want You” was about, but he remembers he listened to it a lot of times.

According to Per, “I Want You” is a very good, simple and direct title. It makes you curious. Gradvall asked him what makes a song title a good song title. Per says, even if today’s generation doesn’t really look at album covers, actually it’s usually the title of the song you see first. It has to raise curiosity about what the song is about. He thinks a good title is very important, but it’s also a matter of taste. He likes simple titles, but he also likes strange titles, e.g. of his GT songs ”Allt jag lärt mig i livet har jag lärt mig av Vera” or ”(Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän”. Per thinks many artists have boring song titles.

Jan asked Mr. G what he thinks, which his best song titles are. Per says “Dressed For Succes” is really good, “Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly” is very good, “Sleeping In My Car”, “How Do You Do!”, because it makes you curious what the song is about, “Queen Of Rain” is an exciting title, “Crash! Boom! Bang!” which is coming from Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock [here he is singing the tunes 🙂 ], “Flickorna på TV2” is a superb title.

They talk about Elvis Costello as well. Per likes him and liked his first album and the song “Watching the Detectives”. He thinks he became a little bit too clever with a little bit too many chords for Per, but he is a fantastic musician and singer. He listened more to Costello’s producer, Nick Lowe. Per prefers simplicity and beautiful, simple melodies.

“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles is very simple and direct. Per thinks it’s a fantastic mix and it’s an odd, but a damn good song on “Abbey Road”. The album came out when Per was 10 and it was an important one for him. “Come Together” is also an outstanding song on it. George Harrison’s “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are masterpieces on “Abbey Road”. “Octopus’s Garden” and Paul’s medley on side two are also fantastic. Per explains he did a medley on his “Son of a Plumber” album, the “Junior Suite” and it was inspired by the “Abbey Road” medley. It was real fun doing it.

Gradvall asked Per about his thoughts on The Beatles song titles. The early songs had more simple titles (“I Should Have Known Better”, “I’ll Cry Instead”, “Love Me Do”, “Please Please Me”), but later the titles became more nonsense and abstract, e.g. “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. If he looks back at Lennon titles, they were rather simple, e.g. “It’s So Hard”, “Jealous Guy”, “Imagine”, “God”.

Jan asked Per about his own “I Want You”. Mr. G clarifies it’s not his own song, he did it together with Marie Fredriksson, Eva Dahlgren and the Ratata guys in 1987, during their joint tour Rock runt riket. The producer was Anders Glenmark and it does sound like a Glenmarkish song.

To the question how many words are optimal in a song title Per replied sometimes he thinks as many as possible. For example, for the latest Gyllene Tider album he wrote a song with a long title “Jag tänker åka på en lång lång lång lång lång resa”. It could have been “Jag tänker åka på en lång resa”, but with 5 långs it sounds better and it is to emphasize how long the journey is. It’s that “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill” is much better than “Bungalow Bill”. Or as an album title, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” is much better than “Ziggy Stardust”. But a song title can be short or long, the important thing is to raise curiosity. It can be a question that might not be answered in the song or e.g. he has the title “I Never Quite Got Over The Fact That The Beatles Broke Up” which is not in the lyrics, but the content reflects that he didn’t get over the fact.

 

East Coast Radio chats with Per Gessle

Yet another South African interview with Per Gessle has been made available online. Listen to it HERE. This one is done by East Coast Radio and it’s 6m 25s long. The content is very similar to the other SA radio interview, but there are some fun additions, like PG’s thoughts about Justin Bieber and the content of the family fridge.

To the question what’s happening in Sweden right now Per replied it’s pretty dark and people are preparing for the Christmas season and it’s raining on the Swedish West Coast.

The radio host mentions he knows Mr. G loves South Africa as he has been there a couple of times. Per says he has been there privately as well a few times with his family. They have friends just outside Cape Town. They enjoy the weather, the nice wines, the food and the people. He thinks it’s pleasant to be in South Africa and it’s great to perform there.

tl_05
Still is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

To the question what the secret behind Roxette’s 30 years of success is Mr. G replied he doesn’t know. They were lucky when they had their breakthrough in the late 80’s and that kept going. He says in the end it’s people’s choice and the Roxette fans have always been very active and a big part of the shows, a big part of everything. It’s just great to be able to continue doing this.

When Per is asked which song he likes the most when they perform, he says The Look is pretty cool and it’s always fun to perform. But also the big ballads, because Marie is a fantastic singer. She made all those songs into monster songs. Per says it’s a blessing to be part of all this, having all these crowds loving what they do and they sing along, they know the lyrics to every song.

Regarding what he is doing backstage while he is waiting to perform and if there is a ritual, he says the band, Marie and he get together and talk through things what’s going to happen. Then he goes back to his dressing room to focus. He also talks about them being an organic band and that they play 100% live.

The host had a funny question. He asks Per what one can find in his fridge right now. Per replies he was away for a week and he doesn’t really know, but he says he can guess there is some classic Swedish stuff like Swedish meatballs, because his family loves Swedish meatballs.

The producer asked Per to be honest and tell if he likes Justin Bieber. Mr. G hesitated a bit then he replied he can’t really answer that, because he doesn’t really know him that much. But he really likes some of his productions whoever the producer is behind them. He does have a few JB songs on his playlist on Spotify.

The host asked Per if Gabriel listens to Roxette. Per says he tried to make him listen to Roxette, but he probably doesn’t have Roxette on his playlist. He knows Gabbe likes Real Sugar. He is really open-minded to everything though, being an 18-year-old. He is listening to Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan, he also listens to Justin Bieber, but also Motörhead.

 

Per Gessle interview by Bok Radio, South Africa

As Per mentioned on Facebook, he was busy with some South African interviews yesterday. We are now glad to share one of them with you. Heinrich du Plooy from Bok Radio interviewed Mr. G on the occasion of Roxette’s comeback to South Africa next year. Huge thanks to Wynand van Heerden, you can listen to the complete, almost 20-minute-long interview by clicking HERE.

The program starts with The Look and The Big L., then it’s fun to hear some lines from our RoxBlog article about the announcement of the South African leg of the XXX tour. At the beginning of the interview it turns out it’s still tough to pronounce Per’s surname. Haha. An evergreen issue.

Per was in Sweden, when he answered the questions, but he says it feels like being in London instead of the Swedish West Coast, because it’s just raining over there now.

PG_about_songs
Screenshot is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

To the question how it feels being back on stage and touring again Per replied it feels really cool and they are happy to be back in South Africa soon. He states they are on this tour since autumn 2014 and that being on their 30th anniversary tour means they are getting very old. He says it’s a blessing and he is proud of what they have achieved so far.

Heinrich asked Per how they decide on which songs to put on the setlist. Mr. G replied it’s an anniversary tour, so they basically play their greatest hits. There are some changes in the arrangements though, because of the shows being 100% live.

Regarding any funny situation that happened to Per or Marie on stage Per says the hardest thing when you’re touring so much is that you don’t really know where you are. It can be embarrassing if you say a different city versus where you play actually, so Micke N-S started taping the city where they play in front of Per’s mic stand, not to screw it up. He also talks about messing up the lyrics and that fans know the lyrics much better than they do.

Bok Radio asks if they are more relaxed now after 30 years of their career, if they are still nervous when they go on stage or if they have a different approach when they go to the studio. Per says he is not nervous, rather focused. Before every show he locks himself into the dressing room and goes through the setlist, thinks about what he should talk about on stage if something happened during the day.

Per talks about the fact that songwriting is the No 1 thing for him and it feels like he has just started. He is very curious and is interested in pop music as a whole. He wants to try things out, so he worked with different writers and producers, he worked with David Guetta and young Swedish writers and producers just to see how people work. He mentions that a month ago he started his own record label to work with young artists.

Per’s reply to the question if he still considers Marie and himself as the dream team:

Yeah! I think Marie is a wonderful person to work with. I think one of the reasons why I’ve been so successful with my songs, my material is that I’ve been able to pick people who make my songs even better than they are. If you know what I mean. It goes for the producers and also it definitely goes for Marie. You know the songs like Listen To Your Heart or It Must Have Been Love or Queen Of Rain, all those fantastic ballads that she’s been doing over the years. She just makes those songs more… you know, it’s the way she sings them. I’ve been really blessed working with talents like she. And also of course we’ve been very very good friends since we were in our teens almost. So it’s been a long ride together. She’s just a darling!

They also talk about The Look that it was written for Marie, but she didn’t feel comfortable with it, because she wants big melodies and it’s just two tones, which is rather Per’s range.

Shortly they talk about Marie’s illness and comeback. Per explains how strong Marie is and says the fans were really really wonderful and he thinks what kept Marie going was the love and affection from the fans.

Heinrich quotes some lines from different London reviews of the sold-out O2 show at the end of the interview and Per says it feels amazing to hear that. He talks about the fantastic band, the active crowds, the great catalogue of songs and that with all this they can never go wrong. It’s a blessing to be part of this.

 

Is it time for a Roxette musical?

Hallandsposten (Jan-Owe Wikström) did an interview with Per in relation to the Roxette concert in Halmstad tomorrow. It’s going to be the 6th time they play in Halmstad. After 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994 and 2010 tomorrow it’s time for them to play again in the band’s hometown. It will be their first time at Örjans vall though.

According to the interview, the tour will continue in 2016, however, nothing is planned after the September concert (company gig) in Warsaw. Per says since they turn 30 next year, the tour should last until then and they haven’t played South Africa, Asia, North America and South America yet on this tour. At the same time it is Marie’s health they are depending on, how much she can do.

PG
Screenshot is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

Regarding the tour Per mentions it’s quite typical nowadays that as no artist can earn money on album sales, they go on tour. When Roxette played in Madrid, there were posters from Katy Perry via Mark Knopfler till the Foo Fighters. Since there is this big competition, he says it’s fantastic that they still have sold out shows and can sell 8000-18000 tickets per concert. In Halmstad there will be approximately 15000 people in the audience. The plan for the 5 concerts in Sweden was to sell 50000 tickets altogether and it seems it will work.

Per tells Jan-Owe the tour is one of the reasons why the new album is delayed. The other reason is the EMI – Warner merger. There are too many new people and Per wants to work with people he likes and who respect their history and the new songs. 5 songs off the new album are ready and as Per says, it is 65-70% of the total album. This would mean the album has 8 songs? Hm.

With Addeboy vs. Cliff, who mixed the 2015 remake of The Look, Per wrote some songs together. He says to Hallandsposten that it’s hard to find people who are talented in what he is not too good at, ie. programming.

There are still unknown collaborations on the new album, but Per told Hallandsposten he and Mats MP Persson wrote some songs together now for the first time since long and they might turn up on the new album. Mr. G says he would never be able to write “Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because he has moved on as a songwriter.

Regarding the changes in music consumption Per says nowadays it’s less important to people who wrote the songs or who plays the drums. Today’s pop music reflects the society today, so most of it is made on laptops where everything can be fixed in the end.

This time he says again that social media is a unique way to get close to the fans.

Jan-Owe Wikström asked Per what is left to do after that he has done almost everything with Roxette, Gyllene Tider, his solo projects and soundtrack. Maybe a musical? Per can imagine that there could be a musical built on Roxette’s, Gyllene Tider’s hits or his solo songs just like ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and the Queen musical, but only if the right way is found. Something new. Maybe with Jonas Åkerlund as a director.

From the Hallandsposten interview it turns out that Per is still writing his diaries after each show, so it’s not only the Facebook posts he writes about them. And they film a lot. Probably, a lot more than what we get to see after each gig on Facebook.

Eskobar: “We are so much looking forward to the tour!”

eskobarI met Daniel Bellqvist and Frederik Zäll from Eskobar in a café at Mariatorget, Stockholm, a few days ago to talk about the upcoming tour as guest artist during Roxette’s XXX Anniversary tour in Europe, the band in general, creativity, upcoming projects and more. To find out more about the band and follow them on tour check their Facebook page. I have also prepared a playlist on Spotify (check at the end of the interview) with some of their hits so you can start learning the lyrics. First stop will be Madrid.

Judith (J): Thank you very much for taking some time for this interview. I know you are quite busy. So how are you?
Daniel (D): Lots of preparations before the tour, finishing up some things. We did a small tour in Denmark in March, we were just three of us, Frederik – who plays about 1000 intruments – , a drummer and me. We liked the setting so much, we decided to record an album in that setting to sell during the tour. So we recorded it some days ago, now we are finishing it. And we are trying to find something to travel in during the tour where we can all fit in.

J: That sounds like a lot of planning. Let’s start from the beginning in order to present the band to the Roxette fans. When did you start as Eskobar?
D: We released our first album in 2000, but we had played together many years before, six maybe?
Frederik (F): Yes, at least 6 years. I had a strange grunge band back then, and I needed a bass player for one show, I knew Daniel could play the bass, so I asked him to play in my band. And in return Daniel asked me to play guitar in his band, so we started helping each other, and one day we just decided to work in a band together. We have been brothers in arms since then.
D: Yeah! We went to the same music class in school, that’s how we knew each other in first place.

J: How did you choose your band name? Some Spanish fans have been wondering if it is related to the Spanish singer Manolo Escobar.
D: When we got our first record deal with V2 records we didn’t have a name for the band. We were so focused on music that we didn’t care that much about the name. Our first record deal doesn’t even mention the name of the band but just the names of the three of us who formed the band back then, Frederik, Robert and me. So we asked around for suggestions for the name, and the manager of another American band suggested Eskobar, we liked it and we said ok.
F: I think it was a few days before the first single was about to be printed, so the record company told us we really have to put a band name on it, and we were like “but it’s just about the music!” but well, in the end we found a name that we love.

J: So no connection to Manolo Escobar…
D: No, not directly at least.
F: We don’t know where the American guy got it from, I think it’s a typical surname.
D: We know Manolo Escobar, and he has this one song “Porompompero” that was translated into Swedish and sung by the Dutch-Swedish singer Cornelis Vreeswijk, it’s an amazing song and we had listened to it a lot, but we didn’t know it wasn’t his original song. So when we found out that it was Manolo Escobar’s song, we thought it was funny, like there is a connection between our name and the song that we like so much.
F: Indeed, I remember we used to sing this song on the tour bus even, so it’s a fun connection.

J: How did you start making music?
F: I started playing classical piano when I was five or so, I think I read music sheets before I could read, so I was really early in that, then I learnt to play saxophone, guitar, everything felt easy to learn and it was fun. I also didn’t think of starting a band back then, I just wanted to play. It was when we started high school that I thought, hey, we could actually start a band!.
D: Sort of the same for me, my grandfather was a folk musician, he always had lots of instruments around, he could play everything, like him (pointing at Frederik). The first instrument I started to play was drums, then bass, guitar.

Read more

The new album: You might be surprised!

Interview ScreenshotAnd yet another interview with Per popped up, this time by German music blog laut.de. Between other things Per talks about current studio work, the greatest hits album and world tour. When interviewed he’s in the studio creating demos and „hopes“ to have a new single ready for the European live shows.

The title „Marie needs much drama“ refers to Maries preference for big melodies when singing, in contrast to rather flat bubblegum pop. Per reveals that Marie and him had many disagreements during Roxette’s career, but they always kept it out of the public. In the past he could be grumpy when Marie only stepped into the studio to sing her vocal parts, but her illness changed everything and now he’s just happy to look into her eyes.

About current influences and Roxette’s forthcoming album, Per says that he’s interested in music that he couldn’t create himself and that puzzles him, like the work of Daft Punk. He thinks some people will be surprised by the sound of Roxette’s new album. While the foundation stays the same there’ll also be new things to discover…

Read the whole Interview in German here!

New Per Gessle interview from Hungary

During the past months many interviews with Per popped up in several countries. Anyone in for a little Hungarian this time? Piece of cake. OK, if you’d like to skip the lesson, just read the summary in English below.

Lángoló Gitárok is a well-known Hungarian music blog. Ádám Magyar, one of the LG bloggers did a quite nice interview with Mr G, having some interesting questions to him. There is nothing really new for a hardcore Roxer in it, but still, I’m always happy to read anything Rox-related in Hungarian newspapers or on websites. And yeah, I could read about / listen to Per’s thoughts and views on music 24/7. I know there are many more out there sharing this feeling. 😉

rox_int_langolo_gitarokIn the interview, to the question what motivates him being constantly on stage Per replied he’s not constantly on stage, but is constantly working. He writes, re-writes and re-re-writes songs, planning or he’s just in the studio. Touring is another part of the creative work, but he really likes it, because it feels wonderful to stand on stage in front of tons of people who love what they’re doing.

To the question what inspires him when writing songs he replied writing songs is just natural for him, since he started writing already as a teenager. He could not live without writing, it’s an important part of his personality. Per is writing constantly, but it doesn’t mean he finishes all the songs or that the audience will get to hear all of his songs.

Per says today’s mainstream pop music is very one-sided and he blames it on the major record companies and radio stations. He thinks it’s much easier to follow in the footsteps of an already successful production than to do something fresh and innovative. His favorite songwriters are those who still try to move out of the ordinary frames, while writing great melodies and doing interesting albums. He says he loves well-written songs.

Of current music trends Per says sometimes things don’t come through, because he thinks those songs don’t speak to him. But that’s just the way it should be. Pop music should always reflect the actual era and so it does.

To Lángoló Gitárok‘s question, if he ever recognized the impact of Roxette on today’s music Per replied he is not used to think about it at all. Music works like you hear something, you find inspiration in it and then write something new.

Lángoló Gitárok asked Per what kind of music he is listening to nowadays. He says he is listening to different kinds of music. He returns to Joni Mitchell or 70’s pop songs quite often, but he also likes new stuff, such as Lana Del Rey, Röyksopp, José González, Nine Inch Nails and Daft Punk. He finds French bands usually very good. But according to Per, there are good songs of Katy Perry, Tove Lo or Ellie Goulding, too.

To the question what he thinks of the future of music Per replied pop and rock music have changed a lot in his life. When he was a child, music played a huge role in their daily lives, but today there is much more competition in the entertainment business. There is the internet, the fantastic computer games, etc.

The point is that the possibilities are endless and this is a huge difference compared to earlier times. Sometimes I feel that the role of music in everyday life in today’s society is not as dominant as it was decades ago. On the other hand, more people listen to music today than ever before, and it‘s amazing how much easier it is to access music. Of course, pop and rock music will live on, but who knows what role they will play in the future.

Per talks about his great memories from the tours. He says they are very lucky and grateful that they could attract so many people to their shows all around the world over the years.

To the question when he thinks he will retire from music he replied:

There are no such plans, as it has just started for me.

When asked about his free time, Per mentions he likes car sports, especially F1. He talks about his hotel being also an entertaining thing to deal with. He tells he’s interested in architecture and art in general.

But actually, I’m an incredibly boring person. I spend 99% of my time with my family and music.

Regarding travelling Per says he loves Europe and when he’s travelling he feels really European. Australia is a very good place, especially Melbourne. Brazil and Argentina are also super. His favorite cities are probably New York and London, he has a lot of his friends living there.

Lángoló Gitárok asked Per whether Chris plays local songs also in other countries or it was only Hungary where he played a local tune (Tavaszi szél) in 2011. Per explains Christoffer plays some local tunes every night. He says Chris is a great musician and learns extremely fast. He’d never be able to do what Professor Lundquist is doing.

Per mentions he was in Budapest only a couple of times so far and they only came to play here, but he saw that Budapest is a beautiful city and of course, he is excited to be there again.

Regarding the new album Per says it will be out in autumn and that they plan to make a classic Roxette album, but at the same time they want it to sound fresh.

Regarding further plans for the future Per says he will follow his gut feeling.

Thanx a lot for this interview, Lángoló Gitárok!

Roxette plays in Budapest 19th May. Tickets are selling very well, but there are still some available HERE.

Roxette on German TVs

When Per was in Berlin, he got interviewed by the press, also by German TVs. The RTL stuff was rather a joke with a less than 1-minute-long coverage, even misspelling Per’s name, but Das Erste did it oh so right. You can watch 2 videos online, 6 minutes altogether. You can choose if you want to watch it with Per’s original voice in English or the one with German overdubbing. Among other things, Per talks about the last 30 years, if it was better in the ’80s than now, The Look, their brother and sister relationship with Marie and Marie’s illness, as well as how Marie is doing now and that he thinks it’s the leg thing what bothers Marie the most these days. Ms Effe was doing photo sessions in Stockholm for her upcoming book while Per was in Berlin. He also tells Party Crasher would have probably been a Roxette album if he knew Marie would come back. To the question if he sings along when he hears a Roxette song on the radio he said he just turns up the volume to hear how it sounds in the car, but doesn’t sing along.

This was a lovely interview with him with great questions and even more interesting answers. Check it by clicking HERE. It’s really worth watching! There was a report broadcast on TV /Das Erste/ (different vs. what you can find in the mediathek). Check this one, too.

PG_on_Das_Erste
Screenshot is from the Das Erste interview

Thanx to all the German Roxers who kept an eye on their TV sets!

 

Update on 20th March: There is one more video interview with Per at Süddeutsche.de. Overdubbed, but still lovely. Watch it by clicking HERE.

PG_suddeutsche.de
Screenshot is from the Süddeutsche.de interview

 

Vox.de shows the RTL report with correct spelling of Per’s name and in a slightly longer version.

Per Gessle interview in Expressen

So now we know, it was Malin Roos from Expressen who did an interview with Per at the Göteborg Book Fair after the pop quiz and signing session, when Per went ”backstage” on 26th September. The interview is a fabulous and entertaining reading.

PG_Expressen_interviewAbout The Per Gessle Archives Per says it took a year to put together the collection, there are so many tapes in boxes and bags and old denim jackets. MP has done an awesome job, finding everything. But it’s not at all complete, there are certainly 70 songs left still. He says if someone is interested in songwriting, it’s fun listening to demos. For those who knows and like Per’s catalogue, it’s quite interesting, but for those, who are not interested in his thing, it’s completely useless, he laughs.

Malin Roos asks Per what he means when he claims it has never been more fun than it is now. Per replied there has been a big driving force in him to succeed in music, he really wanted to. Especially, when the international career started. He says it’s awfully hard to succeed internationally as a Swedish artist, but it was really important for him.

Now, when I start to get old and gray, I have a more relaxed approach. It’s not as important to win as when I was 30. Now I’m doing things more for myself. There is an incredibly lot of material I finished, but I have not even bothered to release. I have had so much fun when I played them in, it’s not as important for me that you hear it.

Per says he is not reading the reviews anymore. People usually tell him what a review says, but he doesn’t read otherwise.

To the question if he is difficult to work with he replied:

No, I don’t think so, but I’m pretty definite about what I want and don’t want to do, and therefore I’m bad at working with the wrong people. I’m pretty bad at customizing stuff. If someone gives me an order for “what they want”, so I do a pretty bad job, but if someone says “do what you want with this” so I probably do something very good.

According to Per, nowadays songwriters are “hired guns”. They have to please a management, a producer, an artist and a record label. He says he has never had to compromise this way. He is the most proud of Roxette that they managed to make their career based in Sweden and not moved to London, LA or New York, as everyone wanted them to do.

Regarding the Roxette tour, Expressen asked if they will top the number of countries (46) they played in during the last tour. Per said there will be at least as many countries. He says there are always new people around and on Facebook one can see that most of them are between the age of 25 and 40, which he thinks is remarkable, considering that he turns 80 soon. [Yeah, Per’s soon. 😉 /PP ]

The reporter asked Per about how many letters he got when he turned 55, since she read in the book he got 2000 when he turned 23. Per said there are different times today, he gets thousand greetings online. So the reporter said then Åsa doesn’t have to check the love letters anymore. Per replied:

No, not so much, but there are some strange letters coming in every now and then.

When Malin Roos asked him how is it growing old with the role of being a charmer or girls’ idol, he replied:

Hm, I don’t know, I’ve never seen myself that way at all. But of course, we are rock stars when we are abroad. If we are going to South America, it is 400-500 people who greet us at the airport. It is in a way unreal, but also a privilege.

Per tells Expressen he’s been lucky to work with his hobby. He has never had to make a decision about what to be when he grew up. He had so much success that he didn’t have to worry about things that ordinary (non-rock star) people have to care about. Like inspecting the car and stuff. Someone else makes it for him.

Malin Roos asked how many times Per has been caught by speeding. First he replied never, but then he remembered one occasion when he was driving a hired car to the studio in Skåne. He was more annoyed about the fact that he was caught in a Toyota and not a Ferrari.

Per was asked about Gabriel, too, if he also outsourced the ”job” of attending parents’ meetings. He said he is an active parent. He is not a rock star for his son, for God’s sake. His family’s life was more based on what he was doing, but when Gabriel was born, everything became different and he got other responsibilities. Of course, sometimes it was more difficult to deal with everyday things, but during the past 7-8 years, Åsa also gained much more own life. She works with design and has her own lamp collection among others. Per says it’s fun.

Expressen asked Per what he invests his money in besides expensive cars. Per replied he lives a pretty normal life. They have a hotel that costs a lot of money. Then there is art and photos.

To the question what is left to do for him what he hasn’t done yet he replied:

I would like to learn to make good pop music.

He says he is not ready and it feels like it’s just the beginning. He feels enormously triggered for each production and project he deals with. He says he’s hardly listening to guitar pop anymore, but he’s rather listening to modern pop music. E.g. Capital Cities “Safe and Sound”, Donkeyboy “Crazy Something Normal”, Ariana Grande “Problem”, Meghan Trainor ” All About That Bass”.

The only CD I have bought this year is Leonard Cohen’s new one, but I haven’t listened to it yet. I can’t find my CD player.

When Per was talking about his LP collection, Expressen asked him what he would save first when there is a fire in his house. He said then he would leave the vinyls and take a nice photo.

I can’t remember any German guy lying on the floor filming Per’s feet (mentioned in the Expressen article), but it would be fun to know what it was good for. 😉

 

Interview with Per Gessle: “I wanted the books to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines”

PG BookFair01-1 We had the chance to ask Per Gessle some questions about the books (“Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, Sketches & Reflections”), so we went through the books and thought of some detailed ones. Per, who is currently busy with the Roxette rehearsals, nicely took the time to answer to all these questions. Here is the result!

Don’t forget to grab the books and check them out while reading for a complete experience. Or to buy them if you haven’t yet (or you may be lucky in… read at the bottom!)

RXB/J&PP: So let’s start from the beginning. When did you get the idea to make these books? Was it born at the same time as the box? What came first, the idea of releasing TPGA box or publishing the books?
Per Gessle: Hello.. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind for a long long time. There are so many songs around, so many demos. It really is “a lifetime of songwriting”! Also I’ve got so many studio diaries that need some fresh air!!

Through our Facebook-site I’ve also noticed that many people are interested in the demos. That feedback was certainly important to me in my decision.

It’s been a great ego trip in spite of the endless hours of research that was needed to make (especially) the box happen, since the amount of material is so vast. Lots of people have been involved, primarily MP (finding & refreshing old tapes + recording & editing Sven’s and my conversation-pieces which took forever), Pär Wickholm (CD-box layout) and Benny Mårtensson (book layout). Without those guys it wouldn’t have happened. Not like this. I’m extremely pleased with the result.

The books are not simply some lyrics put together black on white with a few pictures but something much more personal, with comments, drawings and other things from your archives. What was your initial concept you had in mind? Did you have such design in mind from the beginning?
Yes. I didn’t want to do just standard lyric-books. I wanted them to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines. To write a song is a long journey and most of the time people only get to know the final destination.

Why did you decide to split them in two books, English and Swedish? Do you plan to release the English book outside of Sweden?
I’m sure both books will be available globally through Amazon etc. The reason for two separate books is that otherwise it would have been too thick. And I don’t want to compete with the bible. Or the complete edition of “Fifty Shades Of Grey”.

We also realized that some songs are missing from the books and some are missing your comments and only the lyrics are included. How did you decide on which songs to include and comment on?
I wrote down what I remembered and if there were any good stories or anecdotes connected with the songs. Some songs I don’t remember writing. Some lyrics didn’t make it due to copyright-reasons. “Tylö Sun” and “Skicka ett vykort, älskling” for instance. I don’t own the copyrights to those.

10624861_10152244866910178_591528627164385920_nEvery page on the books is different, some pictures are used more than once but each page has a different design. We know Benny Mårtensson did this part, but what was your involvement? Did you check every page or give hints to certain lyric pages how they should look like?
Yes. I wasn’t in favour of using the same pics more than once but Benny found that OK. A few of his pages I didn’t particularly like so he remade them. He’s done a fantastic job. A very talented guy. The original idea was just to mix the lyrics, my studio diaries incl drawings and combine them with a few comments about the songs. Then I realized that some of the original lyric-sheets looked really cool with coffee-stains and dead flies on them so we used a lot of those. The pics should not be the main thing. Just to spice things up a bit and make it even more personal and easy to look at.

One can read the books in (at least) 2 different ways: Either with or without the music to the lyrics. While reading the books without music one gets a deeper insight into your lyrics and realizes (once more) how great songwriter you are. Did you (re)discover parts of your lyrics that impressed you? Lyrics long forgotten where you thought “wow, did I write that?”? (or some you thought “what was I thinking?”).
Thank you. I’m happy you enjoy my work. My ambition writing lyrics has always been that they should be capable to stand on their own two feet. I think it’s crucial that you should be able to read a song lyric without getting too embarrassed. Both as the writer and as the reader. Sometimes I’ve screwed things up, sometimes it feels good when I bump into one of my lyrics.

We have both interviews in the Swedish book, but only the Sven interview in the English one. Both are great reading for fans or even non-fans and going through all the interesting things in the Tomas Andersson Wij interview, it would have been a good idea to translate it and include it in the English book as well. Why didn’t you decide for having it there?
I agree. TAW’s interview is great and should have been included in both books. If there will be a 2nd edition it will be translated and made available in English as well. The reason we didn’t include to begin with was that Tomas and I mostly talked about my Swedish work and thought it didn’t really interest that many people abroad. We were wrong.

In the Sven interview you say you try to avoid learning too much, because you are afraid of losing the unconscious. At the same time, working together with all those fantastic musicians, it’s impossible not to learn from them. How can you keep the balance?
Well, what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t really work for me to “educate” myself too much and learn the classic and proper rules of music. I want to trust my gut feeling and if I need help (which I do all the time…, I know what I want but I don’t know how to get it…) I consult more “educated” people than me, Christoffer and Clarence for instance.

I truly believe that I’d been a far less interesting songwriter if I didn’t follow my own set of rules and instincts. I don’t really know when I’m doing things “right or wrong” and that’s the whole idea for me. Follow that sweet smell of surprise.

Read more

Interview with Dea Norberg: “I live and breathe music all the time”

pressbild 4_1We took the opportunity that we were spending some days in Stockholm end of September to set up a last-minute meeting with Dea Norberg to talk about her EP “Storm”, which was released on the 1st of October. We talked about the EP and the process behind it, but also nature, travelling and, of course, the upcoming Roxette tour.

“Storm” EP

RXB/Judith: Thank you for taking some time to meet us so short notice! You are going to release an EP next week, on October 1st. When did you come up with the idea of doing this EP?

Dea: As a singer you have your creative side too, the writing part has always been a little bit there for me, but I hadn’t really done anything on my own before. I actually released an album with a friend of mine in 1999, some of my old songs were there, but this EP is all on my own. That release was so long ago, so when fans came up to me asking me to sign that one, it felt like it was time to do something else, haha! This EP shows where I am right now.

We know the album will be released digitally, but will it be available physically too? [You will find information about where to purchase the album at the bottom of the article]

Yes! So far the physical can only be bought in Swedish music stores, so I am in contact with CDBaby, they sell worldwide, so I hope I can set it up so that everybody can buy it. I am doing everything myself, so I am also learning a lot with this release. It’s a big process. And I actually have a copy for you!

[we look at the EP, a very nice digipack with lovely pictures of Dea]

Åsa Elmgren, the make-up girl at the Roxette tour, did the make-up for these pictures. And I was lucky to be able to have a horse of a friend of mine for the photo session.

I just thought, you could take some CDs with you and sell them at the merchandise stand during the Roxette tour?

Actually, Per said “you should sell it on the tour” haha! I was like “Can I?” and he said “of course!” So that is super nice. But I am still not sure, I have to see how many I can carry with me and if it works out. It may be a bit tricky to take them in some parts of the world, with customs and all. But somehow it will be available for you all, either this way or via CDbaby.

Dea_cover_600Are you planning on doing a lot of promotion with the album?

I never had this need of “I wanna be a star” now, be out there in the spotlight. I like to be in the background, so I don’t have the ambition for this to become something huge. I also don’t plan to do any release party, I don’t have time now, I have to concentrate on the upcoming Roxette tour. But if someone listens to the EP and likes it then it’s fine. Like I said in a couple of radio interviews I did the last weeks, the main reason I made this was for the Roxette fans, who either came up to me with either the old CD or asked me if I would ever do something solo. So I will be happy if people listen to it and like it.

I just heard the song “Storm” so far, I liked the melody, it’s the kind of music I have been listening to a lot lately, kind of indie, very much about the instruments…

Yes, for me it’s about emotion. To create a little world, almost meditative, with music but still in the pop world. And indeed, the focus on the CD is more the music than the singing, you will see.

When did you record the album?

In April this year. The recording process was very quick, the producer, Andreas Dahlbäck, and I spent quite some time deciding where to go, but once the musicians were in the studio, it was just two days. The rest was mixing, finishing the small details and also lots of paperwork to be able to actually release it.

Have you been writing songs for a long time? Have you written the songs yourself?

Yes. I was always writing fragments, bits and pieces, when I was travelling, waiting at the airport or at the countryside. I also play piano, so it’s more like putting thousands of ideas together. I think I will try to do this more often now, I enjoyed the process.

Two of the songs, “Stay For A While” and “Have You Ever” were composed with Jens Frithiof, the guitar player on the album, back in 2008. I wrote “Storm” and “Say” this year. All lyrics were written by me.

I see that all four songs are in English, do you always write in English or also in Swedish?

I also have a couple of songs in Swedish too, but I gave all the stuff to the producer and he tried to find the central theme for the album, so these four songs made it in the end. Maybe those in Swedish will be released later.

Read more