Interview with Per Gessle in Svenska Dagbladet

There is a very personal interview with Per in Svenska Dagsbladet. They did the interview at BMG’s office in Stockholm. Per talks about music, songwriting, the new albums, the duets, Roxette, Gyllene Tider and his family. How he talks about his mother will bring you to tears.

The article starts with stating what we all know well, Per Gessle loves talking about music. He loves ’60s music even if he was only 6-7-8 years old when the best music was released. At the age of 10 he already owned 100 records and was looking for the ”hook” in the songs. He listened to The Beatles’ Dizzy Miss Lizzy 25 times in a row. He still had his Roy Orbison-style glasses when he started his first band, The Pepcis. They were only miming to songs of e.g. The Animals.

They are talking about that Måndagsbörsen show from 1981 where Per appeared in his red trousers, red tie and long blonde hair. Per says he remembers it like yesterday. He was damn nervous, because it was all live and it was scary back then. It was hard to do interviews, his generation was not so good at talking. But over the years he has become an analyst of himself because he talked so much.

Per says in the interview that they didn’t start Gyllene Tider only for becoming known. They wanted to reach out with their music. He doesn’t know whether they wanted expensive cars or be chased by girls. They wanted to stand there and play and be accepted.

Regarding why he recorded his upcoming albums in Nashville Per says Åsa calculated that he spent 420 hours in Skåne in Christoffer Lundquist’s studio and he felt that he needs something new. Then came Nashville in sight, even if he is not a real country guy. He thought he would make a fusion of Halmstad and Nashville. He had 14 songs with him and thought it was a little bit too many for one album. Then the idea was to make two records. En vacker natt (out on 28 April) and En vacker dag (out on 1 September).

In addition, Per had a couple of songs in English left and wanted to do duets with American country singers. He says he wanted to sing with Alison Krauss and ran into her in the elevator but she was so angry, something had happened, so Per didn’t dare to ask her. Then he called his friend Scott Borchetta, who owns Big Machine Records and is Taylor Swift’s manager. Scott suggested a duo, The Church Sisters because one of the sisters, Savannah Church sounds exactly like Alison Krauss. Per sent his demo “Far too close” to her and she immediately replied that she loved the song and came to the studio to sing. She was singing so well it took only 20 minutes to record it.

Per Gessle’s good friend, Roy Orbison Jr., son of the legendary singer suggested they should have Roy Orbison’s guitars on the album. So now it’s as if he blessed the recordings.

On the new album there are several songs about love. Per says it’s a topic he is always writing about. The difference this time is that he is getting older. He doesn’t want to write about love as if he was still young. “Några glas rosé” is for example a song he couldn’t have written 15 years ago. Per says melancholy, sentimentality and romance are grateful to write songs about.

To the question if he writes texts quickly he replies he does. If it doesn’t happen, then the text is not good enough. If he picks it up again three weeks later, he has lost his point of view, sees the text from the outside and may not understand what he meant before. So he doesn’t understand how Leonard Cohen worked for 5 years on writing “Hallelujah”.

In the song “Allt gick så fort” (= Everything went so fast), Per Gessle sings: ” De plockade upp en kvinna från vattnet / Strömmarna hade blivit för starka / Ett mini maximum / Allt gick så fort ” (= They picked up a woman from the water / The currents had become too strong / A mini maximum / Everything went so fast”). The text is inspired by an accident Per witnessed during a visit to France. Fortunately, the woman was rescued from drowning. This song is the album’s hub. Per says he read an interview with David Crosby who told he had five guitars in his bedroom and that all of them were tuned differently. Per tells Svenska Dagbladet that he has almost always played with classical guitar tuning, sometimes he turned down the E-string to D. Crosby and even Joni Mitchell did it a lot. Per wanted to write a text of different self and time concepts mixed with the harmonies of unusual guitar tuning.

In the interview Per also talks about the duets on the new albums. He says when singing a duet with a girl, it is perceived as if they sing to each other. Also in the country world with songs like “Jackson” and “Did you ever” with Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood where they constantly answer each other. Per has used this technique in Roxette but also that the guy and the girl are singing towards a common goal. When two guys sing, the text becomes completely different, like in “Småstadsprat” (duet with Lars Winnerbäck), when they don’t sing to each other, but to a third person, a girl.

Per tells Svenska Dagbladet that John Holm was one of those who made him start writing songs as a 14-year-old. John gave Per so much self-confidence, because he had such a strange voice and Per also has a strange one. When John played in Halmstad some time ago, Per went backstage and greeted him. Then this fall he played at Scalateatern in Stockholm and Per asked him if he wanted to sing a song on his album and John was in. Per says John Holm is someone who doesn’t really know how good he is.

Next year Gyllene Tider celebrates its 40th anniversary if, like Gessle, we count it from the time when the yellow EP was released in 1978. If there will be a tour to celebrate it, Per says they will tour for sure, but it’s not sure when. If it’s next year or the follwoing year. He really wants to play with Gyllene Tider, the world’s best powerpop band along with good old Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Regarding Roxette Per says the touring period is 100% over. Marie can’t manage it physically. Per tells Svenska Dagbladet that Marie now feels relatively good and they meet occasionally. She has just been in Spain and had a little sunbathing. Per says he won’t ever replace Marie with another singer. Roxette is Marie. But he can imagine playing some of his songs in one way or another. It would feel strange, for example, never to play “The Look” or “Listen To Your Heart” again.

On the cover of the new album “En vacker natt” is a picture of Per’s sister Gunilla. Gunilla’s son found a box of 1960s pictures, including the picture as she stands and sings on a dock with just a glove like Michael Jackson. The entire album is dedicated to his sister. She died last autumn. Per’s mom died in 2013, his brother Bengt in 2014 and now his sister. Now Per is the only one living from his family.

Per says it has been difficult, especially when his mom died. She was 88 years old. His brother had lung cancer but he didn’t tell anyone, not even to the closest family. His sister also had cancer and they knew it would happen but not when. It’s tough, of course.

Svenska Dagbladet asks Per if it appears in any way in the lyrics. Per says he doesn’t think there’s a song about the grief, but he thinks he changed when everyone passed away. It became an old age issue for him and he reflected on things in a different way. When something is happening in one’s life, like a close relative passes away, sadness never leaves. It’s coming and going.

On the album cover of “En vacker dag” there will be a picture of Per’s mom on picnic in front of their old Volvo Amazon 1965. Per says he never heard her sister singing, but his mother sang a lot, she was a real loudmouth. Per tells Svenska Dagbladet that he met his mother a couple of days before she died and then she had pain in her back, but there was nothing more about it. The next day she called Per’s sister Gunilla and said she had a severe pain and then Gunilla urged her to press the alarm button because it is a bad sign of the heart with such pain. When the ambulance arrived, she told the drivers she would only finish the apple cake to her neighbor who had name day. Then she got a stroke or heart attack in the kitchen and they tried to revive her. Per thinks it was nice to die in the generosity, it fitted his mother.

The interview is closed with a thought about Per’s brother. The great legacy of him was all his records, thanks to them Per got dragged into the beautiful world of pop.

There is a fact sheet at the end of the article. There Per tells his wife Åsa is called Woody after a Woody Allen movie and his son Gabriel, 19, is studying computer programming at KTH. In an earlier interview Åsa said while laughing that Per always drinks filter coffee at certain times like an old aunt. Per laughs and says  it’s not really true, but he sticks to his habits and always eats the same breakfast for example. He doesn’t mind that if he is on tour it will be a different kind of breakfast. But if he is at home, he wants the same bread, butter, ham, mustard and cheese.

Per is doing a radio podcast “Gessles nio i topp” on Swedish Radio and in the coming season he chooses “Nine songs you wouldn’t believe I loved”, “The nine most underestimated artists” and “The nine most forgotten artists”.

In the article appears a 3 min 50 sec long video of Per where he enthusiastically talks about 5 songs that mean a lot to him now:

  1. John Holm – Sommaräng
  2. The Balloon Farm – A Question of Temperature
  3. Joni Mitchell – Rainy Night House
  4. The Beatles – Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Refugee

 

Great interview and very nice article. Thanks a lot for this, Svenska Dagbladet!

 

PG in the SvD video where he talks about 5 songs that mean a lot to him now.

Per Gessle interview and single performance on Skavlan

As you already know, Per Gessle appeared on Skavlan talk show tonight. From the video teasers (selfie; desert island) we saw on SVT’s website during the day we could be absolutely sure that the show was going to be much fun. The recording took place on 15th March and 2 hours before showtime Per shared a rehearsal video from his 14th March get together with the band and Lars Winnerbäck on his YouTube channel (GessleHomeVids), which we hope he will keep alive for a longer time and share even more content in the future.

The first 2 guests in Skavlan were Annika Falkengren (actual President and Group Chief Executive of the Swedish bank, SEB) and Jo Nesbø (Norwegian writer, musician). Mr. G was the third guest, his part starts at around 25:40. Before he entered the studio, some old concert and TV show footage was shown from Per’s early and later career (Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo) and after he sat down, Fredrik Skavlan, host of the show was chatting with all 3 people, asking interesting questions.

Since Annika is one of the guests, Fredrik asks Per what type of bank client Mr. G is. He says he is a weak banker. Then Fredrik goes on asking who Per was before he became a musician. Per says he can’t remember, it was so long ago, but he thinks he was a shy and lonely guy. Music became his life quite early. Already at the age of 6-7-8 he was listening to The Kinks and then The Beatles.

Fredrik asks Per what his father thought about him choosing music. Per says his father died in 1978, but he wasn’t fond of his musical efforts. He heard one song on the show Bandet går and thought Per was singing like shouting badly. Fredrik asks Per if he would have chosen this career if his father wouldn’t have died, but Per doesn’t know the answer. He says his mother always supported him. His dad died the same day a big article about Gyllene Tider appeared in Expressen.

They talk about Per being called a mom’s boy and that she and Per’s brother and sister died during the past 3 years. Fredrik asks Per what his mother would say was the peak in Per’s career. Per tells she lived with her mother for a long time and she witnessed all the weird things during the golden age of Gyllene Tider, like getting 3000 postcards or fans stealing the drying clothes from their garden. Then it was different with Roxette, it was more of a global thing. But he tells his mum was very proud of him.

Fredrik says people talk about Per as the boss. Per says he is more of a control freak. Fredrik asks if it has always been easy to work together in Roxette. Per replies ”piece of cake” and laughs. He says they started from nowhere and it was a fantastic journey with Marie. But of course, there were conflicts. Per always wanted to work and when they finished something he wanted to work again, but Marie didn’t think the same way. And probably Per’s control freakness also caused some conflicts. Fredrik asks if Marie has ever told it to Per and Per replies he read that in Marie’s book and laughs.

Fredrik Skavlan asks Per if he is a pedant. Per says he is. If Fredrik goes to his home he would for sure think a pedant lives there. All records are sorted on the shelves in alphabetic order, for example. He was like that already as a kid. He tells his friends think it’s fun to push some books in on the shelf when they visit him. Here Jo Nesbø says all guys put the records in alphabetical order but asks Per if he also puts the records in chronological order for one band. Per says no, he doesn’t do that. Jo says then everyone can calm down. Haha.

Fredrik says both Lars Winnerbäck and Per Gessle are introvert guys. He is wondering who talks most. Per laughs and says they sit silent. Then Fredrik asks Mr. G what small town talks (småstadsprat) Per knows about himself. He says he loves Halmstad and he really feels that Halmstad is proud of him. He says it’s always fun to fuel the car. Then Fredrik asks if he drives the cars Per has in his collection. It’s like having a horse inside the house. Per says of course he drives them. Mr. G talks about how it is to drive his Ferrari to the ICA (Swedish supermarket) to buy strawberries. He says he thought a Ferrari is a girl magnet, but it’s not at all. Everytime he leaves the shop, coming back to where he parked the car there are like 30 guys filming his Ferrari.

Per also talks about that since he was 20 he got used to the fact that people recognize him. He can’t leave his apartment without bumping into people who want to take a selfie with him. Actually, if nobody asks for a selfie, he gets very depressed. Then Fredrik comes close to PG and they pose for a selfie.

Fredrik asks Per what kind of car Annika’s husband should buy when they move to Switzerland and Mr. G suggest a 2-seated with no roof. Here Annika tells Per once she was sitting behind Per on a plane and Mr. G was reading a car magazine. His wife and son were sitting on the other side. She asks if it happens often. Per is kidding he is surprised Annika saw them travelling on the same class.

Then comes a little game. Fredrik asks his guests which 3 albums they would bring to a desert island where they would spend a long long time. Jo Nesbø asks Per who he prefers, John Lennon or Paul McCartney and Per chooses John Lennon. Jo and Per can agree on taking The Beatles’ Revolver album. Annika couldn’t really get first what revolver they are talking about, then out of the blue she suggests why not taking Julio Iglesias with them. LOL. Per’s facial expression is priceless. WTF? Haha. Then Annika goes on with Demis Roussos and Per can’t keep it to himself, he says he hopes it’s a big island. Haha. One must love his sense of humor. Per says the 3 albums he would take are Revolver, The Ramones’ first album and Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon. Jo agrees on The Ramones’ as well, but he would take Rocket to Russia from them.

With this the PG talking part is over (at appr. 40 minutes in), but a fourth guest is coming, Susan Faludi, an American Pulitzer winner author and feminist. It’s worth watching this part, too, because Per stays there in the studio and is listening to Susan’s stories, paying a lot of attention.

Then at appr. 53:20, at the end of the show Per performs his new song, ”Småstadsprat”, a duet with Lars Winnerbäck. Lars is of course there as well. In the band you can see Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist, Helena Josefsson and some new faces, Ola Gustafsson, Malin-My Nilsson and Martin Höper. How they perform Småstadsprat live is pure awesomeness! Just magical! H.e.a.v.e.n.l.y.!

What a wonderful and interesting show it was! We would love to have more of this, wouldn’t we?

Still is from the TV show

 

Per Gessle interview by SVT Nyheter Halland

SVT Nyheter Halland did an e-mail interview with Per Gessle about the new albums and his upcoming summer tour. In the interview Per says one of the great benefits of being a little older and have gained experience is that he learned to relax and not to take everything so bloody serious anymore. He thinks it has never been as much fun to play music as now.

For Per the big challenge is to put something together on stage this summer and to be able to surprise even himself. He has never done anything like this before, mixing his various careers.

Per’s Nashville project has already become a unique phenomenon for Mr. G. He thinks it’s among the most personal and best he has done and so of course he would like people to listen to it. Per belongs to the album generation so he still thinks in making an LP. He had 14 songs with him in Nashville. Normally, 2-3 tracks are off automatically, then you still have a reasonably long record. But it went so well in Tennessee, all pieces fell into place surprisingly quickly and he finished his 14 songs in time. Instead of hanging in the bar, Per remembered he had 2 awesome ballads in English that could fit to do duets with American country music singers. A serious challenge! He called a few friends in the industry and found 2 wonderful singers who were available and it became the icing on the cake of his Nashville-adventure.

However, the length of 16 songs was about 65 minutes and it felt too long for a single album. The options were a double album or two separate records. He decided for the 2nd option and put the English tracks as last ones on each record. Both albums have roughly the same temperature and contain beautiful, gently produced music.

About John Holm Per says he is a real hero. Although they ran into each other a few times over the years, he met him properly first in Halmstad last winter when John played there. Then Per saw him again on one of his Stockholm gigs when John was really in top shape. That was the time when Mr. G asked John if he wanted to cooperate on Per’s new album and John wanted to. So Per sent him his demo and they recorded the song in Skåne and had a few magical hours in the studio. John has a great and generous personality and he is one of the most expressive singers Per knows. According to Mr. G, John Holm does not really know how good he is.

Per says to SVT he’s been singing a lot with Helena Josefsson on his solo albums over the years and he will still do the rest of his life if he may. Many of his songs are written for several voices so it felt quite natural to expand the palette of more than Helena. The idea of ??singing with the other singers felt new to Per and it also gives the lyrics a different perspective. Lars Winnerbäck is an awesome songwriter and performer who is admired by Per, so he was really happy when Lars wanted to cooperate. Per has known Linnea Henriksson for a while and she is an absolutely adorable person and singer with her blue tones and some light jazz funds. All the duet partners on the album changed the songs’ overall identity. It’s exciting and unpredictable according to Per.

Per tells SVT that inspiration and experience can easily go hand in hand. He feels more free than ever when he writes nowadays. He tests different odd guitar tunings, he is fiddling more in the studio, he takes his time to write more verses than he needs, he lets his gut feeling decide most of the time. He feels, slowly but surely, that he doesn’t need to prove much for himself anymore. He thinks he became kinder to himself. He doesn’t have a hit list in sight, no record label to make happy, no major commercial requirements to live up to. He has been so very fortunate in his life that his music reached out to so many and it’s really something one can’t take for granted. It has created a sort of peace in Mr. G.

About the tour and setlist Per says he is – as we all know – a great advocate of short concerts. There will of course be many kill-your-darlings, because he was going to keep the show around 100 minutes. Including hits that encourage spontaneous dancing.

Per says about consulting song choice with fans on social media sitesthat it’s really lovely with all the feedback and all proposals that come in all the time. Everyone seems to have their own favorites. Honung och guld. I Like It Like That. Varmt igen. He says they will test a lot of songs when they start rehearsing and see where they end up.

About the pre-concert playlist Mr. G says he already started to put one together and promises it will be fab. Willie Nelson and Townes van Zandt have to be on the list and little Roy Orbison too. They use Roy’s guitars on the Nashville project. Per knows Roy Obison’s son, and he came to the studio with a couple of lovely old Gibsons he thought would be fine and bless their Nashville dream.

 

Per Gessle to appear on SVT Skavlan

Per will be one of the guests of this Friday’s TV  talk show Skavlan, which will be broadcast on SVT and NRK at 21:00 CET.

According to SVT, Per will be interviewed and will also perform  ‘Småstadsprat’ – the first single off ‘En vacker natt’ which is out this Friday – with Lars Winnerbäck. The show will be recorded tomorrow.

The show will also be streamed on SVTplay. Usually, Skavlan can be seen everywhere (no geo block).

Per Gessle about the new albums and duets – interview by Swedish Radio P4

Swedish Radio (Kulturnytt P4) tried to reach Per Gessle after yesterday’s great news about his 2 new solo albums. They write that Per is now in Nashville and they interviewed him via e-mail.

Swedish Radio asked Per what made him want to do duets with Lars Winnerbäck, Linnea Henriksson and John Holm. Mr. G says often cooperates with Helena Josefsson when he is making his solo albums. This time she is there again and is doing backing vocals on almost all songs and sings one song in duet with Per. Per says Helena is incredibly talented and always lifts his songs to the sky. Their voices are a perfect match. But when Mr. G started writing last summer, he started thinking about male duet partners. A regular duet can bring a different angle to the text. When a guy and a girl sings it sounds in a certain way, but when 2 guys or 2 girls are singing, it becomes something totally different. Interesting.

Per says he has many things in common with Lars Winnerbäck. Small-town background and quite similar taste in music even if Mr. G is older. Per always liked Lars. They met at Sofiero in Helsingborg when he was on tour last summer and Per asked if he wanted to sing a duet. Thank God he wanted.

Besides Helena Josefsson there were other musicians involved: Christoffer Lundquist, Clarence Öfwerman and Anders Herrlin. They were also there in Nashville to record the songs.

The autumn album will contain duets with Linnea Henriksson and John Holm. Per says John Holm was one of those who made him start writing his own songs when he was fourteen, so it’s a personal highlight in Per’s life to record with John Holm. According to Per, John Holm is still a unique singer and personality.

Regarding Linnea Henriksson Per says he had an uptempo song he thought Linnea could sing the chorus on. But after a few weeks in Nashville, he realized that it did not fit into the project, so he put it on hold. But then he had another song that screamed for Linnea’s blue tones and it became so fine. Per is very happy and proud that Linnea wanted to cooperate.

Per says to his great surprise, he had studio time left when they were done with the 14 Swedish songs. Then he thought he could do duets in English with country-girls too. He had two quite newly written songs that he thought would be great to record in the Nashville environment. He called some friends in Nashville’s music industry and got tips on 2 talented girls, Savannah Church and Jessica S. who suddenly appeared and rounded off this incredibly exciting project.

To Swedish Radio’s question regarding how Per would describe the album he said he have tried to make very beautiful songs, arrangements and productions. Stripped down, but efficient. He went started the project with no limits and rules, he didn’t want to sound a certain way or do anything in a format which is now unfortunately characterizes the entire music industry. He wanted the local musicians to be part of and create the songs’ design. Per let them play on almost all songs to see what happens, then they edited it all afterwards and took away what they thought didn’t fit.

Per’s solo projects in Swedish are always quite text-oriented. So it is this time. Perhaps more than ever.

Each song has its own story, it’s about being young and getting older. To look back but also dare to look ahead. Happiness, but also disappointment. About things don’t always turn out as planned or as expected. I have lost my mother, brother and sister in the last three years and it has certainly put its weight on the lyrics and my life in general. But life goes on.

To Swedish Radio’s question if there will be duets on stage, Per replied who knows. He has the habit from Roxette.

The first album, En vacker natt, will be out on April 28th. The first single “Småstadsprat“, a duet with Lars Winnerbäck, will be released on March 17th.

The second album, En vacker dag, will be released on September 1st.

Photo by Anton Corbijn

Marie Fredriksson interview from 1984

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview_with_MF_by_Elisabeth_Sandberg

 

Per Gessle interview from 1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spanish interview with Per Gessle about Roxette

Sebas E. Alonso did an interview with Per Gessle at the end of June for Spanish jenesaispop.com. Here you can read a summary of it in English.

Per and the reporter are talking about the updated sound on “Good Karma”, but keeping the DNA of Roxette. Mr. G says that for this album they have 2 more songs recorded and there are 3 others they didn’t record in the studio. He says if he doesn’t like a song, he leaves it and focuses on something else. To make a song takes a long time. If he makes a demo and he doesn’t like it, he leaves it completely. A song has to pass several processes before reaching the studio.

Per says all songs on the album are special. “From a Distance” was originally a ballad, atmospheric, without a groove. But they had many ballads, so they took Marie’s voice and gave it to Addeboy vs. Cliff. It became an uptempo song, they added a guitar and new voices. What’s on the album is the second version. It was the last song they recorded.

Mr. G says it’s cool that people still listen to their songs and every time he hears e.g. “It Must Have Been Love” at the airport or at the supermarket it feels great.

He talks about the band The 1975 from today’s music and that he likes their production, but he also still listens to ‘60s and ‘70s music. To the question if Roxette is a pop or a rock band Per replies they make pop music, but with guitars.

Regarding “Good Karma” Per says Marie thinks it’s their best album ever, but he thinks it’s rather just a good album. The best they could do now.

About “April Clouds” Mr. G says they had two ballads, “April Clouds” and “Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” and they thought that one had to be the final song of the album. They decided on AC, which is organic, no synthesizers involved but real instruments. They don’t think of it as a farewell song, but many people interpret it so, and this is how things work. You do something and people interpret it as they want and this is how it should be.

The reporter asks about Marie and Per says he talked to her the day the interview was done (22nd June) and she was fine. Sometimes she can’t get up and has to sit, but other days she feels good and can even take a walk. Per says they haven’t talked about a future concert at all. It doesn’t look like there will be more concerts at all. But Marie sometimes surprises us and if she wants to do something, Per is there. But there are no plans at all.

Per talks about the fans, their support over the years and that it was a great rehab for Marie. He says even now when they decided not to do more tours they have their fans’ support.

Regarding how music changed nowadays, Mr. G says today the artist is like a brand, especially in the EDM world. David Guetta and Avicii are trademarks and are presented as brands, and they (Roxette) are not a brand. They want to be a band. Today in Sweden for example, Spotify is 90% of the market. No one is interested in the artists or producers anymore, however, he still buys physical albums besides listening to Spotify as well.

About the US Per says it was lost when their company was sold in 1992. They were planning the “Joyride” world tour, but the guys at the record label only wanted to work with people they knew and they didn’t know Roxette. Since then, things didn’t work. At the same time, to get the American market they had to spend 6 or 7 months there and when Marie became pregnant it changed everything. Since about 1993, when they started recording “Crash! Boom! Bang!” they didn’t do enough to keep themselves there on the market, they were not playing in the US. The last time they played in New York and Los Angeles was amazing, but it was not as massive. Per always says that they left America for the rest of the world. It required too much effort, they should have spent too much time there and Marie refused it.

Regarding “It Must Have Been Love” the reporter asks Per if he gets paid every time Pretty Woman is on TV. Per laughs and says he hopes so. He was asked if he thinks he could have won an Oscar with IMHBL for the best song and Per says he thinks so, but since there was an earlier version of the song, it couldn’t be nominated. And he laughs that it was him who told about the older version, so he should have just kept his mouth shut.

They talk about “Baladas en español” that it was the record company’s idea to record that album. Rafael Gil helped them to pronounce the words correctly and he says they got some critics. The reporter says there were no problems with the pronunciation, but the lyrics in Spanish were rather crappy. Per says he can say only “una cerveza, por favor” in Spanish.

Per closes the interview with the thoughts of being fortunate. If you look at the whole thing in perspective, it’s a miracle that Marie survived her illness. They did a tour of 200 concerts for 1.4 million people and it has been a blessing to work for 30 years in this. Marie doesn’t have cancer or anything, she is simply affected by the disease. Maybe they can make more music together in the future.

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Interview with Per Gessle in Allt om Vin

As we already informed you about it, the July issue of Allt om Vin contains an interview with Per Gessle. The magazine is available in Sweden as of today. The interview was done by Hasse Gänger at the end of April and the beauty pics of Mr. G were taken by Stefan Bohlin at Vingruppen’s office in Stockholm.

In the interview Per says he can understand those who are eager to have their own vineyard. Though in that case, one might decide: “Now this is what I will do for the rest of my life.” This thought has not entered Mr. G’s mind yet, but he says he is still young.

pg_allt_om_vin_2Per is not a super expert when it comes to wines, but he knows what he likes and that’s enough. It’s rather a hobby for him. He is also very curious. For example, he heard that Ornellaia has made a white wine, Ornellaia Bianco, which was impossible to obtain. He called a contact in England he usually buys from, but he was said the wine was sold out, 4000 bottles were gone. That makes one super curious. He didn’t even know what kind of grape was in it, but he wanted to test it of course.

The night before the interview with Allt om Vin was done, Per had dinner with his friends at PA & Co and drank a white wine he never had before and had never heard of. It was Aligoté, a little worse variant of the Chardonnay grape as the waiter explained it to him. It was amazing according to Per. He sent an e-mail directly to Ann Burgaz at WineAgency to ask if she can fix some of that wine for Hotel Tylösand.

Mr. G says that from the beginning he didn’t want to release his wines commercially. There are already a lot of celebrity wines and he doesn’t want to be part of this thing. Moreover, it was the hotel’s wines and still it is his basic idea, to find good wines for their guests. But Ann Burgaz thought the wines were so good. It almost felt as if Marilisa Allegrini produced better wines than what they paid for.

They talk about the wines and champagnes in The Per Gessle Selection and Per explains Kurt & Lisa is named after his parents and has the label with his parents’ wedding photo on it. Mr. G shares one of his coolest memories so far. It happened at a restaurant in Stockholm. Per was sitting there having dinner and three tables away there were some who ordered Kurt & Lisa. He saw how they poured it into the glasses, but they did not know Per was there. It was incredibly special for him and he had never experienced anything like that feeling before in music or anything else. Seeing someone else entirely unknown to drink his own wine was both really strange and cool.

Per tells Hasse Gänger he has no ambitions to become a major wine entrepreneur. He doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, because he doesn’t feel comfortable with it. For example, this interview is the only one he does about wines in the foreseeable future. He wants the wines to speak for themselves.

According to Mr. G, it’s two things that make his wines work. One is that Ann Burgaz has an eye on it and can open doors to high-quality suppliers. The other is Per’s taste. He always tells everyone that one doesn’t need to know so much about wines. The most important thing is to learn what you like. He doesn’t like Zinfandel, for example, but in Bordeaux category, he likes Saint-Julien wines a lot.

Regarding Sommartider wines Per tells the story that it was Magnus Börjeson, Roxette’s bassist who came up with the idea to launch wines called Sommartider. The wines came out first as boxed wines, but now they are also available in bottles.

Then they talk about the alcohol-free wines in the assortment, named after Per’s beloved wife, Åsa. Mr. G says Åsa drinks a lot of alcohol-free wines with her friends. The white and rosé wines in The Per Gessle Selection are called Fru Nordin.

Talking about the labels, as Per is very much of a design freak, he is happy to be involved in the label art. Sommartider wines have his own drawings on the label, Furet has the house he grew up in and Kurt & Lisa’s label colour is changed for every vintage. The latter was inspired by the American Sine Qua Non winery, which each year has new fun designs and names for each vintage.

It was quite difficult to finish the champagne labels, because the regulations are incredibly strict. Per’s own name could appear only in a certain percentage in relation to the name of the champagne, and the images must be wine-related. The 3 champagnes in the assortment are The Convincer, The Pleaser and the flagship, The Improver (which is only available in the restaurant range). 500 bottles of The Improver sold out immediately and the next turn was expected to be available still during this spring. As Per says, The Improver will always be serious shit.

In the interview Per says that he feels he has a little odd taste when it comes to champagne. Many of his friends are in favor of old champagnes, but he likes young champagnes the most. Old champagne tastes almost like a completely different drink. At the same time, his taste changes with time. For a while, he stopped drinking Bordeaux wines and he is rather drinking Italian wines. Mr. G doesn’t really like the new world’s too sweet and strong alcoholic wines. He is very much a Cabernet guy. He likes French and Italian Cabernet, even though they are quite different in taste.

Regarding the future, Per says a Pinot Grigio would fit in The Per Gessle Selection and they are also searching for a South African red wine in Kurt & Lisa’s price range, around 200 crowns.

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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.