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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Per Gessle interview by Bok Radio, South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Is it time for a Roxette musical?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new album: You might be surprised!

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

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

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

Read the whole Interview in German here!

New Per Gessle interview from Hungary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanx a lot for this interview, Lángoló Gitárok!

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

Roxette on German TVs

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

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

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Screenshot is from the Das Erste interview

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

 

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

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Screenshot is from the Süddeutsche.de interview

 

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

Per Gessle interview in Expressen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would like to learn to make good pop music.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Storm” EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you record the album?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Per Gessle at the Göteborg Book Fair – the videos

PG_20140928If you have appr. 40-50 minutes between listening to The Per Gessle Archives and reading the books, you might want to check some videos from the book fair seminars. Unfortunately, there was no proper video recording of the complete seminars, so I thought I would put together the parts I recorded. Sorry for my sometimes shaking hands – mainly at the beginning of the Friday session, but I’m not a pro when it comes to taking videos. I left the rough cuts between the parts in, not to miss any milliseconds owing to transitions. 2-3 minutes of both videos I’ve already shared in the book fair review articles (chapter 1 and chapter 2), but now you’ll be able to watch 17m 32s (appr. 1/3) of the Friday seminar (pop quiz with Per Gessle, Sven Lindström and Nisse Hellberg) and 19m 57s (appr. 2/3) of the Sunday session where Jan Gradvall interviewed Per about songwriting. I hope your eyes won’t get hurt, but in the latter video the projected background is vibrating every now and then. Or was it Per’s aura? Either way, both seminars were very exciting and entertaining. Make sure you check the part where Per talks about the upcoming Roxette tour and thanks the fans for always being around, even in the seminar audience (Sunday seminar at about 18:35).

We are grateful to have all these guys following us everywhere. It’s awesome!

Friday seminar 26th September (in case the YouTube link doesn’t work for you because of the pop quiz songs’ copyrights, try to watch it HERE on Dailymotion):

 

Sunday seminar 28th September:


 

I felt so sorry that my camera missed the Flickorna på TV2 part of the conversation on Sunday, because it was so very funny, but fortunately, Chrissie Röhrs recorded that part, so you can watch how the double meaning of words kicked in this time (starts at 9:20). Turn someone on or switch the TV on à la PG!

Per Gessle: Why ever stop when it’s still fun?

Scandinavia’s #1 music magazine, Gaffa (Jonathan Bengtsson) interviewed Per Gessle. They are talking about songwriting and The Per Gessle Archives. You can download the magazine in pdf from HERE. Article is on pages 32-33.

Photo © Fredrik Etoall
Photo © Fredrik Etoall

The article begins with stating Per is not even close to being tired. He has more to say than ever. He says:

Why ever stop when it’s still fun? This is my job, to make the best possible song out of the best possible idea. That’s what I can do and that’s what I’ve always been doing.

Gaffa’s reporter, looking at the title of the box – The Per Gessle Archives – A Lifetime Of Songwriting – thinks it’s a summary of Per’s career. Per tells him:

No no, this here is absolutely not a summary. It’s entirely a nerd project, something I do primarily by self-interest. But I would still like to say that the material in the box has a kind of pop value, something unique. It’s a cornerstone in what I do.

Per says he would never be able to create a song based on a groove and he would never be able to write a hip hop song. He says writing and creating a good pop song is fantastic. The pride, the joy he feels then is exceptional. They are also talking about what Per was listening to when he was a child, his record collection that played a crucial role in what Per has become.

About today’s pop music Per says it’s mainly about the management. There is no time to develop anything. They work with the same types of artificial sound, the same drum fills and effects and therefore all the tracks sound almost the same. One reason why he and Marie didn’t want to work in the US was to avoid sounding like everyone else. Per feels sorry for today’s young Swedish songwriters, because many of them become only “Hired Guns” of the industry.

The reporter says people often talk about music as a purifying, therapeutic tool and asked Per how it is with him. Per thinks all creative work is purifying in its own way. He wasn’t really inconsolable when he wrote Joyride and he was in a significantly lower mood when for example, he sat down to write Queen of Rain. But it still works the same way, purifying. He says he is not claiming that all he has done is autobiographical, but the starting point is always a feeling inside him, something that attracts him.

To the question if he regrets anything he replies:

Well, it would in that case be a haircut or a doubtful choice of clothes (laughs). But mostly, I’m happy. Happy that I have always had the privilege to do, create and shape things myself. Without anyone interfering. And happy that I was born exactly when I was born. We live in a completely different time now, a time where pop music’s reason for existence is questioned. The primary task pop has and always had, is to reflect its contemporaries. For example, the ‘60s were coloured by all the youth revolts and the Vietnam War, but what do we have today? X-Factor, those talent shows, where you are striving to become famous for being famous.

Per already posted about it some time ago – I think when someone shared the reggae demo version of Never Is A Long Time on Roxette Official – that this demo was never meant to reach our ears, but someone had broken in the studio some years ago and stole demos, then spreaded them and they ended up on YouTube. Now we get to know from the article that the whole archives idea came from this happening. Mr G says to Gaffa:

One day we noticed that someone had broken in and taken demos and unique sound recordings, everything from Roxette to own stuff was gone. Months later, the material via an anonymous source was suddenly posted on YouTube. So now in a longer perspective, the whole thing was actually just a good thing, because when those old demo recordings turned up on the internet I noticed that there was a great interest, that the fans really appreciated hearing the process, the imperfections. So you could say that it’s thanks to that thief that this box is made at all.

The beauty box of gems is out on 24th September!

 

A new book with a Per Gessle interview

hogman-per-gessle-1400pxI was surprised to see a new Roxette book appearing on the list when I was searching for something else at Adlibris today. Then reading the title I got even more excited. Cirkus Roxette är tillbaka: En intervju med Per Gessle (= Cirkus Roxette is back: An interview with Per Gessle) written by Åke Högman.

It’s an interview with Per originally published in 1999 in Café magazine. The book was published on 18th August 2014. You can buy the printed book (41 pages) or the e-book (17 pages) at Adlibris and the printed format at many other sites as well (even at Bengans and CDON). The difference in the number of pages between the printed and the e-book version is probably some more pictures or editing in the printed one.

The interview is about Per and his family, Hotel Tylösand, art, the music business, business in general, Roxette, Have A Nice Day album (which was released the year when the interview was done), Join The Flumeride, cars, champagnes and more.

When talking about Michael Hutchence and Kurt Cobain, the reporter asked Per if he had ever been on drugs. Per replied:

Nah… I haven’t been on drugs that way, so if I had answered yes then you would ask a next question, so it’s better if I say no. So the answer is no, that’s a good answer.

Then the reporter asked if it was the truth. He replied:

Well it’s totally true, yes, damn it, I never lie… no, but it’s a sensitive subject, not for me but for many others (laughs).

 

An interview with Per Gessle is not complete without talking about songs and / or songwriting.

For me there is still nothing better than when you just wrote a song or when you hear a great pop song for the first time. I still remember the first time I heard the Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love” or “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and freaked out totally. There’s nothing else I’m passionate about the same way.

 

Some opinions about Per can also be found in the book. Marie Fredriksson says this:

A fantastic friend, but a very bad loser. He wants so badly to win. He played with my husband in an internal tennis tournament we had on Capri when we recorded Crash! Boom! Bang! and was sour for a whole day because he lost. Thank God he won the tournament in the end, so it was quiet in the house.