The new album: You might be surprised!

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

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

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

Read the whole Interview in German here!

New Per Gessle interview from Hungary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanx a lot for this interview, Lángoló Gitárok!

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

Roxette on German TVs

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

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

PG_on_Das_Erste
Screenshot is from the Das Erste interview

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

 

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

PG_suddeutsche.de
Screenshot is from the Süddeutsche.de interview

 

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

Per Gessle interview in Expressen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would like to learn to make good pop music.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

“Storm” EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you record the album?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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.

 

Per Gessle’s golden wines

Mikael Mölstad from Allt om Vin interviewed Per Gessle. They were talking about Per’s passion about wines. Per drinks more expensive wines than many others, but it’s mostly because he can afford it. He believes that good wine experiences are available in most price segments anyway.

To the question about his first wine experience he replied:

Oj, it was when I started touring when I was around 20. Before that I drank almost nothing at all. This was in the late ’70s and I had read that Keith Richards drank Blue Nun, so I would of course try. I knew nothing about wines, but thought if Keith did something I should do the same. But oh, what a disappointment it was – it was just disgustingly sweet. The first real wine experience I had when I turned 30 and I got a Château Malartic-Lagravière 1982 from Thomas Johansson, our concert organizer. That wine opened a new world for me.

PG_wine_Allt_om_VinPer was asked about his greatest wine experience. He says it’s almost impossible to answer, but he would say his last great acquaintance, a Cheval Blanc 1986. He talks about he started with Bordeaux wines, then more Californian and Italian wines. He also became more curious about Burgundy. Per says, the older he gets, the less he likes New World wines. They are a little too sweet and have a bit too much alcohol.

About the best wine and meal experience he says there are some. He mentions a lunch in Verona with good pizzas and a champagne, Billecart Salmon Rosé. Another experience he mentions is a bottle of Ornellaia with caprese, prosciutto and classic Italian meals at one of his favorite taverns in Tuscany.

Per’s favourite everyday wine is his own Kurt & Lisa. A dream wine tasting he would love to participate in is a vertical tasting [where you have a number of bottles from the same winery, that are spread out over a number of vintages] of Château Petrus or Latour with some of his best wine friends.

To the question which wine region he would happily return to he replied he is very fond of Tuscany, so it is always his first choice. A wine region he is longing to visit is Napa Valley, for he hasn’t been there yet. Per says it would be great to experience some of his favorite Californian wines on site, such as Bond and Harlan Estate.

Mr G’s favourite red wine grape is Pinot Noir. He wants to learn more about Burgundy and he hopes soon to experience some great wines from there. Per’s favourite green-skinned grape is Chardonnay, blanc de blancs from Champagne or from Southern Burgundy.

Per tells Allt om Vin that some wines he buys from each year, e.g. Ornellaia and Solaia. Otherwise he gladly buys champagne. His last purchase was a Larrivet Haut-Brion. He prefers keeping older wines in his wine cellar and he likes to go back to wines from the ’80s and ’90s. Per says one can’t experience such wine tastes these days.

At the end of the interview Per says he is proud of making his own wine and then get to experience surreptitiously how people like it in a restaurant. Although he hasn’t trod the grapes, he still helped to create the blend. [Mr G treading grapes is definitely something we would love to see one day, isn’t it?]

On a side note next to the interview you can read besides some other well-known details that Per’s hidden talent is being a hell of a table hockey player.

The fabulous PG photo in the article is by Anders Roos.

Marie Fredriksson ”still singing the shit out of most people”

A 2-page Roxette article was published yesterday in the Sunday MailU on Sunday, Brisbane, Australia. It also contains interview parts with Per. He talks about Marie’s illness and recovery, how she gained her energy back, the Amsterdam show in 2009 where Marie joined him on stage during his solo tour and how she called him to do a new Roxette album after that.

Per about Marie’s illness and recovery:

I remember there was one particular moment when I felt this is the worst day of my life. We went to see some friends in the South of Sweden, and some kids came up – and this is when Marie had her treatment, she was all swollen up and had no hair – and they asked for my autograph and they didn’t recognise her. I could see how disappointed she was that nobody recognised her anymore – that was a horrendous moment for both of us. To be part of that and see that and see how she went through that and came back to being on stage and still singing the shit out of most people, it’s just amazing. So, I’m a big fan. She is an Amazon. She is so strong. We didn’t know if she could actually do the tour. On the contrary, it became rehab for her, so to speak, getting all this energy from the crowd.

Mr G also talks about the past, how they got to know each other with Marie, how the story of Roxette began and how they reached the international breakthrough. To the question what he sees when he looks back on his life he replies:

Basically, when I look back on my life, if you say years like 1985 or 1996, I always think about what album I was releasing, or touring, so I always think of my life as records.

In the article they mention Per’s successful career with Gyllene Tider and Marie’s solo records. They also talk about how to write hits. To the question what successful songs have in common Per replies:

It’s a good question. For a song to become a hit record, to attract loads of people, there must be something that is magnetic about it. On the other hand, there are so many hit songs out there that I don’t understand how they became hits.

If you want to read the complete article, you can click here. You can buy this single issue (20th July, 2014) for 0.89 EUR.

Sunday_Mail_Roxette_article_20140720

2-hour-long show with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3

Halla_P3_Per_GessleThis morning there was a 2-hour-long program with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3. Listen to it HERE! He was today’s guest of Linnea Henriksson’s show, Hallå P3. The whole show is based on questions from listeners either via phone call, SMS or e-mail. Anyone could send questions to Per or call the show and ask him personally. How cool is that! The net time with Per without the music and news is more than an hour, so it is really worth a listen if you couldn’t catch it during the day. If you can’t really deal with Swedish language, here is a summary of what he was talking about.

Linnea asked him if it is possible for him to go out in town as a private person or there is always someone recognizing him. He said most of the time when someone recognizes him, he only gets positive energy.

People were asked on the streets to tell who they could see on the picture. They recognized Per, told what he is doing and many of those people even started singing his songs. Someone told she also thinks immediately about Marie anytime she sees Per. While listening to people’s comments, Per was constantly giggling. Lovely!

He was asked about some of his songs, Billy among them, about which he told it was inspired by happenings in his life. It’s a long song with long verses which is not too typical of him. Regarding songs like Tycker om när du tar på mej he told his lyrics about love are mainly about his dear wife. Yeah, we know it, but hearing it from him from time to time is still wonderful. Besides this he said he is a writer, so he also makes things up in his lyrics, of course. Funny that about Gå & fiska! now he said he probably wrote it in Malaysia when he was on holiday. I think we already heard a United States version of the story.

Regarding writing in Swedish and in English he told that over the years it became quite natural writing in English, too. One learns to think in English and it became better and better with time.

An old Roxette fan asked where the name Roxette comes from and Per told the story of choosing the title of Dr. Feelgood’s song, as well as the story of everyone thinking Roxette was Marie and he was her assistant.

Someone asked Per if he would do something totally different, a totally different musical project. He explained it’s not only Gyllene Tider and Roxette in his life, but he also did soundtrack for Small Apartments and now he is also involved in EDM, which is quite new to him. The listener said he was thinking about something for the older public maybe, like more acoustic stuff. Per said he is planning to do an acoustic album (and if I understood right, an acoustic tour, too).

Regarding taking part in Så mycket bättre (“So Much Better”; a Swedish reality TV show on TV4 where the basic premise is that each artist attempts to do their own version of another artist’s well-known song) he said it’s definitely not his cup of tea.

To the question how it feels playing in Halmstad he replied it’s always special. It’s nostalgic and romantic at the same time. His whole Mazarin album is about Halmstad, for example. Playing in Ullevi in 2004 was of course magical, but the whole 2004 Gyllene Tider tour was wonderful.

About an ordinary day of his he said he is working a lot, writes songs, spends a lot of time in the studio, he is handling Roxette’s Facebook page and he is doing some interviews. He is not the kind of person who is looking for tranquility.

Before the 2013 GT tour he did some acoustic versions of old GT songs (I guess some of them are demos we will get on The Per Gessle Archives in September) and one of them was played exclusively in the show. It’s Honung och guld from the album Puls. It starts at about 39:40 and ends at about 43:02. It’s an awesome version of this beautiful song. Be sure you are listening to Per’s killer voice and fab guitar playing!

He mentions Pugh Rogefeldt, John Holm, Ulf Lundell and even ABBA meant a lot to him from the early Swedish pop era.

He tells that he is an LP guy, he grew up with vinyls and loves physical releases, but nowadays music is spread all over iTunes and Spotify and of course, he is also listening to music via these possibilities. Still he thinks an album cover is very important. He told about the brainstorming for the Look Sharp! sleeve: superstars, journalists around, limousine, front page picture, fake ads, newspaper style.

He shares that he is incredibly unstructured when he has meetings, but one always has to follow his gut feeling not only when he has a meeting, but also when writing songs.

Mr G talks about his first jobs: distributing newspapers, weighing mushrooms (he was the only guy among appr. 300 girls) and playing as a troubadour in old people’s home and hospitals for eight months in Halland. He learned a lot from this latter one also about what is it like playing and singing in front of 5 people. När alla vännerna gått hem he wrote e.g. during those times. He also mentioned that once they brought a man out of coma. They played music in one of the hospitals and the man suddenly started moving.

To the question what he is interested in besides music he replied he never played golf in his life and never took a swim at Tylösand beach. When he was a child, they usually went to Frösakull’s beach. He said he is interested in music (yeah, besides music, he is interested in music, surprise, surprise), in art and he likes taking walks.

Per says MTV Europe meant a lot to them during the ’90s and also mentions all the videos cost millions those days.

To the question which songs changed his life he replied a lot of songs are changing your life, but for example, Refugee from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was one of the songs that changed GT’s and his own life, too. He also tells the story when he was a little child (1966-67) he played with his friends and they used cue sticks and mimed to songs of The Monkees, e.g. to I’m A Believer. The first time he saw David Bowie’s Life on Mars? video was also fantastic.

Linnea asked him which song he would choose to play on the radio and Per chose to play David Bowie’s Space Oddity for his son. He mentioned Gabriel is a computer nerd and once he surprised Per by sitting next to the piano, playing this song (if I understood it right).

To the question what is different for them when they play on the same tour, the same songs each time Per replied each night is different. They play 100% live and anything can happen. His ambition is to make each night as good as possible. He also explains there is nothing better than standing on stage in front of a huge crowd, playing live for them and hear them singing along your songs confirming they like what you are doing.

Regarding the upcoming Roxette tour he says their tours have always been based on their hits, but they also play some unexpected songs or new ones. Now he is writing Roxette songs again and they will start rehearsing in autumn.

All in all, it was a great show! I must add that Linnea can bring out the nicest smile of Mr. G! Marvellous pics they shared today on P3’s website, on Roxette Official and on Per Gessle Official.

Q&A with Per at Live Nation – The answers!

roxetteloveAs we informed you some days ago, you could tweet your questions to Per on Live Nation Australia & New Zealand’s Twitter account. Per replied to 14 questions so far.

It’s not yet known if he continues to answer the remaining Qs or if new ones are coming, but we will keep our eyes open and let you know if he does so. Article will be updated then.

 

 

 

Q: – Per, how do you deliver a song like I’m Glad You Called? I mean clearly it was an emotional hell that break up!

Per: – There are of course bits & pieces of me in those lyrics. But I’m a writer, I make things up.

 

Q: – Per is there any song from a previous album that you regret not choosing as a single?

Per: – LS, Joyride & CBB had lots of potentials. Sleeping single. Paint. WSL? & more. Tough competition.

 

Q: – What makes a crowd exceptional to you?

Per: – Every crowd is great. Rox-fans are glowing with positive energy. How could you not love that?

 

Q: – Hello! Will Roxette be re-releasing any rare songs like “I Want You” in the near future?

Per: – Not IWY. It was made with other artists & belongs to another rec. company. But other fun stuff might pop up.

 

Q: – 24 years wondering what will be the perfume that he uses? Time flies.

Per: – Perfume is good for you. I change a bit. Bottega Veneta got some nice ones for guys like me.

 

Q: – U talked about re-release old roxette’s vhs and DVDs. It will happen? When?! Looks promising!

Per: – Hope so. Everything is kinda upside down at the moment with the EMI/Warner-merger. One of these years.

 

Q: – Can you please do that epic mashup of ‘crash boom bang’/’anyone’ again please?

Per: – Yea, that was cool. No promises though…

 

Q: – Are there songs that are tricky to do live? Have u ever tried 1 that u couldn’t make work live? If so, which?

Per: – Most early ones are tricky because they were made for the studio, not necessarily to be played live… You have to re-think some songs to make them work live w/ a band w/o using computers & other devices.

 

Q: – Can we expect high-tech lighting or any mind blowing, dramatic stage production changes in 2015?

Per: – Cirque de Soleil here we come!

 

Q: – When you tour do you find it hard to adjust to the different timezones?

Per: – No, it’s fine. As long as you get some sleep you’ll adjust pretty easy.

 

Q: – Per! Do you plan to tour for many more years? Will Roxette be neverending?

Per: – Yes, both Marie and myself love to tour and perform so I’m pretty sure we will continue.

 

Q: – Do you ever see photos uploaded to social media of yourself with fans and wish you could have a retake?

Per: – Every day!!!

 

Q: – So glad you are coming back to Oz! Can we expect some surprises like maybe some unreleased songs in your shows?

Per: – We start rehearsing in September so until then I don’t know. But we’ll try out some different stuff for sure.

 

Q: – Per, what out of all the Roxette albums is your favourite one?

Per: – LS! is cool because it just came down from the sky. It was created without fame, fortune & expectations.

 

Some more answers were added on 25th June:

Q: – Does it blow your mind that there are so many hard-core fans in distant lands (New Zee) after all these years?

Per: – Yes, never take it for granted.This biz eats acts for bfast=to have global fans after all these years is fab!

 

Q: – Tell me your favorite Roxette lyrics, the ones that mean the most. I need ideas for a tattoo!!!

Per: – I’m living in a box but I’m out when opportunity nox!

 

Q: – G’day from Oz Per! With all your frequent F.L.Y.I.N.G, have you ever thought of buying your own private Jet?

Per: – Hahaha. Good one. Of course. Per Air!

 

Q: – When you sit down to write, do you write both melody & lyrics or does one come first (usually)?

Per: – Both work for me. I usually start with music but sometimes a phrase or an idea for a title makes me tick.

 

Q: – What is the biggest advantage of playing live? Are there also disadvantages?

Per: – Live = very different from being in the studio. All songs are written for the studio so you have to make them work live, which can be tuff.

 

Q: – Per, what song took the longest to piece together (vocals, music etc)?

Per: – Most of In My Own Way was written in 84 but only finished in 2010. Very unusual=I’m fast when writing.

 

Q: – Per do you like the You don´t want love production? You think in the next Rox album will inc a song like this?

Per: – I really enjoy some EDM music. Definitely you’ll hear those influences in the future. But in our special way.

 

New EP or full-scale album by Roxette

Roxette_tp_white_bgAs you could hear it with your own ears in the Australian radio interview with Per, he started writing new songs for Roxette a couple of months ago and they will go to studio in August to record new material before they start rehearsing for the tour in September.

Now Per reveals in an interview with The New Zealand Herald that they are planning to do an EP with 4-5 songs. However, being the hit machine he is, there might be a new studio album coming! That’s what he says:

We’re talking about doing an EP, four or five songs. At the same time, knowing me, I write a lot and if everything goes well, it might as well be a full-scale album.

Fingers crossed for a full album!

 

Besides this, he tells what the secret behind one of pop’s most enduring relationships is:

It helps that we never had a romance. We’ve known each other all our lives and it’s like a brother-sister relationship. When Marie got ill in 2002, it was a nightmare for all of us. I’m so pleased that she’s still alive. To be able to do these tours again is just amazing.

We are all so pleased, too! Bring on the new album and the tour!