Marie Fredriksson’s tour goes on tomorrow. Next stop is Borås. Xtra Borås did a short interview with Marie which you can read here and even download it in pdf. No real news in it, but it’s always nice to read any kind of interview with her.
She says she is very happy that she can do this tour. It feels great to be back. Last time it was in 1992 when she played in concert halls before this tour. She also says most people are used to her voice in Roxette, but it’s a different feeling when she is singing in Swedish. After her illness, her voice became deeper and she thinks there’s a stronger presence in it, which she enjoys. She’s always lived in music and it’s still such a big part of her.
Tomorrow’s concert is Marie’s first ever in Borås. But there is a link between Borås and Roxette. Dean Cushman, the exchange student we all know the story of was studying computer science at the University of Borås and found Roxette’s music there.
Xtra Borås asked Marie what’s left to achieve in her long and successful career. Marie said she hopes she can keep on doing what she loves the most so long as possible and she hopes that the audience is with her for a long time. Marie says she finds inspiration in everything: the silence, the garden, at the sea and in everyday life. Her favourite song off ”Nu!” is “Sista sommarens vals” now.
The last question to her was what she is Xtra happy about right now. She replied:
The spring sun! It’s so nice that winter comes to an end now.
We have had the chance to interview Marie Fredriksson via email during the short tour break and before the tour goes on this Friday in Borås.
RXB: It’s your first solo tour since 2000. How does it feel to be on the stage again singing your own songs? Marie: Fantastic! I have looked forward to it!
RXB: Regarding the setlist that you put together for this tour. Is there any song that you rehearsed that you now think you should have included in the setlist? Marie: No, I’m very happy with this setlist.
RXB: And, on the other hand, is there any song that you included in the setlist but you were not sure if it would work? Marie: It’s always exciting trying old songs with new musicians and I was just happy with the result after our rehearsals.
RXB: I think it is very brave (and rare) to start a concert with such a stripped down acoustic song – how come you chose to play this version of “Så stilla så långsamt” and to play it as first song? Marie: It was something that Micke suggested. I think it turned out very well.
RXB: How do you feel to the reaction of the audience to songs like “Så länge det lyser mittemot”, “Efter stormen” or “Mellan sommar och höst”, with the audience standing up and dancing along? Marie: Of course, it makes me incredibly happy – it’s a wonderful feeling to see this from the stage. I am overwhelmed by the response of the audience and I couldn’t imagine how positive they react to all the songs!
RXB: More than half of the shows are done now, only 7 left. How do you feel about the tour so far? Are you going to change anything for the upcoming “second leg” of the tour? Marie: It’s amazing how quickly time flies when you’re having fun.. I will do my best to really enjoy the rest of the tour but I don’t think we’ll change anything…
RXB: What is your favourite song on this tour? Marie: It’s hard to choose a favourite song, it changes a bit from concert to concert.
RXB: Everybody thinks the tour is amazing and that it should be available on DVD or at least CD. Any plans for that? Marie: No plans for a DVD, we’ll see about a live CD…
RXB: Many fans are travelling from all corners of the world to see you live, what do you think about that? Did you expect to see so many “familiar faces”? Marie: I am so grateful for the support from the international fans – it’s moving and overwhelming and to be honest – I didn’t expect such a huge turn-up. Thank you all!
RXB: Your husband Micke and nephew Jokke are playing with you in this tour. How does it feel to be able to share your passion for music with your family? Marie: Michael and I have been on tour before (1992 & 2000) and to add Jokke to the band was a great decision! It’s wonderful to create music with them.
RXB: You also look very proud when Jokke plays the solos… he said in an interview with us that he had waited his whole life to play with you. How is it from your point of view? Marie: I’ve seen him grow up to become a brilliant musician and of course he makes me incredibly proud!
RXB: Looking at the future, we heard about a possible jazz album and a biography. Could you tell us something about that already?
Marie: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and will do when the timing is right. You’ll be the first to know…
TDR also got the chance to email-interview Marie, check it out here.
We met Jokke Pettersson, one of the two guitar players in Marie’s band during the current tour, in Växjö some hours before the show. As we’ve always tried with other band members and Rox&Co related musicians, we wanted to know more about Jokke and his career and his multiple bands. Enjoy!
Judith: Thank you for your time for this interview. We would like to get to know you a bit better, so to start with, could you tell us how you got into music?
Jokke: Sure! I started playing drums when I was 7 years old. My father borrowed an old drum kit from a friend and just asked me if I wanted to try. It was kind of easy for me to learn some easy grooves and I thought it was fun to play right away. I think it is very important with music, you have to think it’s fun from the beginning, if it feels too difficult you will just quit sooner or later.
So I tried that and I liked it but since I’ve always been kind of a song writer, I wanted to express melodies and that’s hard on a drum kit. I taught a friend to play drums instead and I borrowed an old electric guitar and an old amp from a friend. I only used borrowed stuff in the beginning haha! We started to practice in my bedroom the two of us, he just played drums and I learnt some riffs. It was much fun, one of the best moments ever. We did that for about three years, it was an amazing time.
So I got started with electric guitar when I was 10 or 11, but I wasn’t serious about it until I was about 13. Then I started to practice seriously on the guitar, took some lessons and started my first band.
What were your favourite bands and your inspiration when you started?
I was a hard-core metal fan back then. I still am but in a different way, I love all kinds of music today. Back then I was really into Nirvana, Green Day, Metallica, Pantera, all that crazy stuff. I really loved the volume, the energy and the guitars.
Later, I got into progressive rock, bands like Dream Theater. I really wanted to push myself and I really wanted to find harder music to learn. This kind of music is harder to play and it meant I had to practice a lot more to make it sound like something.
I checked some YouTube videos before the interview and listened to some tracks by Karavan. They feel more like rock-blues to me. How did you get into this style?
Yes, when I started at the Swedish high school I went to a music school and started to listen to other music like jazz and blues, R’n’B and all that. So I kept on working on that.
I mentioned Karavan before, but you are also member of a band called Kayser. The two bands sound very different… Can you tell us about them?
Kayser is a trash-metal band that plays groovy American influenced trash like some of the bands that I listened to when I grew up. We just released an album with Kayser. A few years ago we did a few tours with that band and we have released two albums before this one. That’s been kind of my baby for many years. We put it on ice for a few years and now we are back. It feels amazing!
Karavan is me and some friends having a band, we are also working very hard with it releasing albums and touring with different artists. I sing in that band but sometimes we bring over artists from the United States to play with us. We toured with Hunter Perrin, who was the guitar player for John Fogerty for many years, he also has his own music, so we toured Scandinavia with him two times. And last November (2013) we toured with Camaron Ochs, a country artist from Nashville, so we played some country. Hunter Perrin is more rock’n’roll. Karavan’s own music is a kind of blues rock, Rolling Stones influenced.
Are you the songwriter in both bands?
We all write the songs, in both bands. It’s just the classic band where everybody comes up with demos, ideas and composes or writes music and lyrics.
We are currently writing songs for a new album with Karavan. I am doing that in between this tour on the days off and then I am in the studio recording.
It sounds like a lot of music going on at the moment!
Yes indeed! Also because like I said Kayser just released our new album a few weeks ago. And the tour with Marie. It’s been a very busy month. It just feels great, I am very greatful for that.
I read reviews about Kayser’s latest album “Read your enemy” (on Spotify) and they are all very positive.
Yes, it’s been great to get this response. Of course, you sort of know that you’ve done something good, because you believe in yourself and what you’ve done, but we didn’t expect these reviews and feedback. We simply had no expectations, all these reviews are amazing. We feel like “Yes! We made it!”
Are you planning to tour with any of the bands?
We are planning a tour with Hunter in July in Scandinavia, perhaps some shows in Germany. We are also planning a tour with Camaron Ochs again around August. Two months of touring in Summer, and then maybe we are going to tour with Camaron in the United States, it’s not set yet, we are still working on it. And then we plan a tour with Kayser in September.
It looks like a busy schedule in the future too!
Yes, it’s going to be interesting! Three or four months of touring with 3 different bands. Very exciting! I am really looking forward to it!
When you talk about a tour with Kayser, do you mean in Scandinavia or also in Europe? I saw that you did some gigs in Germany some years ago...
Yes, with Kayser we will hopefully set up a tour in Europe. Our audience is mainly in Europe, specially countries like Germany and Belgium. On May 24th we are actually going to Athens for a show! Maybe US in the future but it’s a bigger project.
You are actually working in 3 projects (Kayser, Karavan, Marie’s tour) in parallel. How do you combine them and manage not to get confused?
That’s been a bit of my life for the past 10 years or so, lots of things going on with different bands. That’s keeping me busy, it feels just great.
I think if you have a good planning everything works out. Of course, it could come a time when everything just collides with each other, just thinking of it makes me stressed, but I will keep on doing this for as long as possible.
Of course, music-wise Karavan, Kayser or this tour are very different. I also realised that you use totally different guitars on this tour and with Kayser, for example. But what do you think is the biggest difference audience-wise?
There’s such a different emotional experience. There is a special energy when playing metal music live, fans are dedicated almost in a brutal way, and by that I mean also that fans are sometimes beating each other while we are rocking with our metal music. Metal fans are crazy, haha!
Marie’s fans are very humble, they listen to the music and just have a good time. That makes it a great experience to play in this tour. It’s great to see people loving her songs.
So let’s stay with Marie’s tour. How did Marie ask you to join the tour and what was your reaction?
Well, we talk sometimes on the phone. So she called me and asked “Do you wanna go on tour?” I was like “Oh yes! I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life!” I love Marie’s solo stuff, I’ve been listening to these songs since I was a kid.
You mention that you’ve known Marie’s songs all your life, but how did you prepare for this tour?
They sent us a list of about 20-30 songs that Marie wanted to play or felt like playing, so I focused on those. The day before the first rehearsal a few more songs came in with the request to try those out too, so I just learnt to the songs.
Somewhere in my head I knew the songs because I’ve been listening to them my whole life, but it’s a different when you have to play them. I wrote down some notes and practiced a little bit every day just to be ready. Listened a lot!
What were your expectations for this tour?
I tried not to have any expectations because it’s more exciting if you don’t. I new it was going to be a great time.
I’ve known Marie my whole life, and I’ve known Micke for many years. I had met Christoffer and Pelle before and I knew they are amazing people. Marie trusts them very much as musicians and as people, so I knew it would be great. I had never met Surjo before but he turned out to be a great guy and a fantastic bassplayer!
It’s really been super great so far! I am really happy, it’s an amazing band, everybody is very nice and we are having a good time. And we sound very good together…
Yes you do! And you and Chris on guitars sound terrific.
Yes! We are very different guitar players, but when you mix that its really fantastic. It feels great.
Speaking about guitars. How many do you have?
I have about 10. As far as the economy allows it haha. I don’t buy guitars for fun though, only if I want to have a special sound then I buy a specific guitar, so I use all my guitars in my projects. I have some V-guitars that I use with Kayser, with Marie I use my Fender guitars because the sound works very well with Marie’s songs, and then I have two acoustic guitars. I have everything I need to be able to work with my bands, that’s the most important for me.
Coming back to the tour. We have seen the first three concerts and then the concert in Malmö yesterday and we were like “wow! What happened to the band?” It feels like you all found your place and interact a lot more. What can you tell about this?
Yes, absolutely. It’s funny because after most of the concerts we are like “this was probably the best gig” and then next evening “this was probably the best gig” haha! The first show was very special for everybody; we were all very focused and nervous in a different kind of way for the premiere show. And then show after show you start to move around a bit more, you feel more comfortable, that is something that happens naturally, it’s nothing you talk about, it just happens because we are playing a lot together. It feels very very good.
The tour started in Helsingborg, which is also your hometown. Did that one concert feel extra special?
Ah! That was a very nervous moment for me. Everybody was there, the whole family, our relatives from Denmark, people that I hadn’t met for many years, lots of friends. Plus it was the first show! Now I am a bit more relaxed but I still get a bit nervous before the show starts, I think this is important, that turns into adrenaline in the end.
Did Marie have any influence in your liking music and wanting to be a musician?
Absolutely. We talked a lot about music when I grew up. I saw Roxette live back in 91-92, we travelled to watch them play with my family, I was 6-7 years old. I saw them on TV, so she inspired me. I wanted to be like her so I worked as hard as I could to get here. She’s very much of an inspiration for me. And also as a person she is very special. Humble, generous, sweet, nice, she’s amazing!
And now touring together is just amazing. We have lots of fun together; it’s great in every way. It’s hard to express in a different way, it’s awesome!
You mentioned that you bring in artists from the United States to play with your band Karavan, and you are now touring with Marie. Are there any other bands or musicians you’d like to play with?
Tricky question! I’d really love to play with the Allman Brothers Band, John Fogerty, Pantera! Haha! I like so many bands so it’s hard to choose.
And last but not least, what are your plans for the next years?
Besides the tours that I mentioned I will just keep on working very hard with my bands. That’s the plan for the next years! Music 100%.
After thanking him for his time, Jokke rushes to have dinner the band and crew and then to deliver one of the best concerts of the tour so far!
About Gotland she says it’s a nice island and she is looking forward to deepening her relationship with it. She has never played there before. Marie says she has been longing for singing in Swedish again. The absolute best thing about performing live is meeting and get close to the audience.
To the question if it is different touring now to touring before her illness she replied today she takes it easy, one thing at a time and puts energy in the right thing at the right time. She is constantly trying to enjoy the ”present”.
Regarding Nu! she says she felt like “finally!!!!”, when it was finished. She is very proud of the whole album and the one and only song, Sista sommarens vals written by her. Right now her favourite song off the album is Kom vila hos mig, especially live.
In the setlist during the tour everyone will find their own favourite MF songs, there are new and old ones. Hela Gotland asked if there is any song she can’t leave out, since the audience demands hearing it. She said there are more songs like this, but especially Sparvöga. Regarding the arrangement she says she has an amazing band with her, so both the up-tempo songs and the ballads sound great.
Marie informs she will stay in Gotland only for 1 day, but plans to come back for a private stay during summer.
To the question if she has any hidden talents she replied:
The letter is about Radio Halland not playing Gyllene Tider often enough, just playing dance bands. He says they wrote quite a lot of letters like this. Radio Halland was special for them, since GT is from Halmstad and they thought the local radio should support local bands more. Per says he didn’t get a reply to that letter back then, he also forgot about it until 20 years later, when one day he entered the building of Radio Halland and saw it at the reception on the wall framed. He remembers they even sent postcards under fake names to have the chance to appear in Poporama (an old radio show).
Per says it was a tough time to make themselves heard, because just like now, the Swedish music industry was very Stockholm oriented. They had to use all the tools they could.
To the question when was the last time he wrote such a letter he laughed and said he stopped doing it now. By the way, some months after this letter had been written they got a contract from EMI Stockholm.
Per says he has always been doing what he loved, writing songs and playing them. He knew it from the very beginning that writing songs for others was not really his thing. He always wanted to play his songs himself.
To the question what was the biggest thing in his career when he is looking back he says it’s Roxette and the 4 Billboard No. 1’s. He says they were pioneers with their tours, touring in South America in the 90’s and also in China. If he thinks about Sweden only, Gyllene Tider is of course still enormous and performing in Ullevi was fantastic, but also their gig in Halmstad in 1995 was magical, then the Återtåget tour in 1996 and playing in Örjans vall in 2004.
As usual, Per says again it’s never clear which song will become a hit or what response you’ll get regarding a song. You have to find your own style and you have to be satisfied with your songs yourself, create them according to your own taste.
Regarding autographs Mr G says he didn’t even have an autograph back in the days, just look at the letter he wrote to Radio Halland, he hadn’t even signed it. Sometimes he did sign Marie’s autographs in the past, at the beginning. George Harrison also signed the others’ autographs in The Beatles he says.
Regarding what he still wants to do before he dies, Per says he wants to work and is looking forward to a new big and long Roxette adventure. Marie is on her solo tour now, but it’s a plan to do more Roxette. To the question if we can see him on stage with Marie during her tour he says he doesn’t think so.
Time flies when you’re having fun. I am so happy and grateful for everything I’ve been through and that I can still keep on doing what I love most of all.
To the question what she gets her energy and inspiration from she replied she’s at home as much as she can. She can’t wait for spring to come, listening to the birds. She doesn’t like winter.
She talks about how difficult it is – after her illness – for her to write lyrics to songs, she usually starts with the music. She is very proud of Sista sommarens vals, the one and only song she wrote for her new album, “Nu!”.
About Per Gessle she says he has been a great support for her over the years and when it was the hardest time of her life. He is a very dear friend to her and they have a very good sister-brother relationship. Marie is happy that Per wanted to write a song to her in Swedish. That song is Känn dig som hemma.
Ms Effe says she likes Kom vila hos mig very much on the new album. That was one of the first songs Micke wrote for the album.
She says to Helsingborgs Dagblad she wants to pull the audience in up-tempo songs and wants to convey proximity in ballads during the tour. She thinks each tour is something new, every audience is special. It means a lot to her to tour in Sweden again after so many years.
She wanted to start the tour in Helsingborg, as she feels like home there. It’s extra fun that now Jokke Pettersson, her nephew is in the band, too, next to of course, Mikael Bolyos. Pelle Alsing, Christoffer Lundquist, as well as Surjo Benigh are also in the band.
To the question what comes after the tour she replied she always tries to take one thing at a time and now all the focus and energy go for the tour.
If anyone had told me in the past that one day I’d have the chance to do an interview with Per Gessle, I would have surely told them they were insane. But life proves, you should dream also those dreams you don’t dare to dream! Getting myself together after the positive shock, I must say that it continuously gets confirmed that I’m a fan of the most amazing and most caring Artist in the Universe and the fastest on Planet Earth! Well, what else could I expect from the Son of The Fastest Plumber in the West?
It’s an interview done via e-mail to keep Mr G’s quotes correct. Per, thanx a million again for spending your precious time with this! It’s much appreciated and you definitely made me feel being the luckiest, happiest and most grateful person on the Globe. Also thanks heaps to D&D Management for their cooperation!
The interview is about the customized plecs, info about the customizing process, stories connected to the picks, some details about the phrases on the plectrums, Per’s thoughts about the picks in general and how he is using them etc. So everything you wanted to know about the plecs and more! Don’t forget to check the PLECtionary again, because some ”Trivia from Per” can now also be found at the picks he talked about.
Now the intro is over. Go and read the real deal, Roxers! Enjoy!
Patrícia Peres: – First of all, thank you very much for taking your time and I hope you won’t get tired by all the plec questions, but we, Roxers are very curious about any tiny detail about these precious little items and stories related to them. We got very positive feedback from the fans and we are very happy that you also like the PLECtionary. Sandra did a fantastic job with it and we are very grateful to her that she made it possible to see all the picks at one place. She has an amazing collection! How does it feel that there is such a dedicated fan of your plecs?
Per Gessle: – It feels, of course, most rewarding. I encourage every form of extreme and meaningful hobby, like collecting rare snakeskin-boots or grey square Russian cars.
PP: – Haha. Rare snakeskin-boots! Now that you say it… When and how did it all start for you? I mean having your own customized plectrums. What was your very first idea to print on a guitar pick and which became the first customized PG-plec?
PG: – Oh, I can’t remember. In the old days it was very rare that you’d find customized picks. I think I hooked up as soon as I heard it was possible. It’s a great way of sharing a joke and showing off your humble personality!
PP: – Do more plecs exist besides the ones you can see in the PLECtionary?
PG: – No, I think everything is covered in the article. It’s a shame in a way but the sad and plain truth.
PP: – Have you kept at least one of each of your plectrums over the years?
PG: – Yes, I think so. I’ve looked for the ones Sandra is missing but can’t find any extras. Only the ones I keep in my archive. If I find more of them I will of course give them to her. She deserves the best. The best and the complete. I consider it a mission to help her find Plectrum-Nirvana.
PP: – Wow! I’m 1000% sure Sandra is gonna be extremely happy to hear this! I was just about to ask if you have those plecs she is missing.
PG: – Yes, like I said, I keep them proud and polished in my archive. Clarence pops in once in a while to sniff them. He likes the smell of vintage success.
PP: – How should we imagine where you keep your plecs? Are they in a box in a drawer or maybe in a big glass bowl in the hall or they are just lying anywhere around your house / apartment? OK, knowing how pedantic you are, this latter one is surely not applicable.
PG: – Oh, they are kept in a red Ferrari-box in a metal cupboard in my office. Next to the diaries I always write when I’m recording. I try to keep my life tidy and in order. My cupboards are holy ground. If you open them things will never be the same.
PP: – Ferrari-box, metal cupboard, diaries. Aaah, sounds like holy ground indeed. When it comes to brands, are you more into Dunlop or Fender guitar picks? Or does it matter at all? What kind of plecs were you playing the guitar with before you started customizing the picks?
PG: – It never mattered. It’s the feel that decides. On stage I have a softer pick for the acoustic guitars, in the studio I rarely use picks at all when I play acoustic. I don’t like my picks to be very thick. Then the sound becomes too hard, too rough. I lose the touch.
PP: – So no thick picks for Gessle. OK. Is it always your actual guitar tech – earlier Falken, now Micke N-S – who is in charge of making the plectrums designed and produced or did it work in a different way in the past?
PG: – Yes, in the past I ordered them myself. The Party Crasher-one (with the sleeve on it) I ordered myself from Australia. Nowadays, MNS is taking care of business. I tell him what kind of slogans or messages I want and then he comes up with zillions of suggestions and colours etc.
PP: – How does the whole customizing process work? Micke N-S mentioned in the interview I did with him during the GT tour that you usually give him a few lines you want to see on the plecs and he does the rest. Is it totally up to him how the design (plec colour, font type) will look like in the end or does he send it over to you several times during the development phase to check and confirm if you’re OK with it?
PG: – Yes, he comes up with layout suggestions most often based on the current tour logo etc. It can, for instance, be the same logo on my picks as Pelle’s got on his bass drum. I guess you’ve noticed. I know I have.
PP: – Haha. Well, you can’t have all the stars just for yourself. Regarding the phrases we can read on the picks, there are some quite obvious ones, like ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” or ”HOW DO YOU DO!”, but other phrases are rather filled with humor, which is even more fun. For example, there are those early plecs with the catchy money reference: ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” or ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” or ”CASH BOOM BANK”. I think I also read ”WE ARE IN THI$ ONLY FOR THE MONEY” somewhere, however, I’ve never seen a plec like that. Did it exist?
PG: – No, I’ve never heard of that one. It’s a bad phrase, too clumpsy, not my style.
PP: – True. It doesn’t sound too Gessleish. What was that about the money those days?
PG: – The ”money-picks” came from an idea to harass the Swedish media who always considered me / us to be too commercial and never could read between the lines. ”Money never sleeps” came from the ”Wall Street”-movie (a quote by Gordon Gekko), ”Another day, another dollar” was a phrase our American lawyer used all the time. It’s always rewarding to try to make fun of reporters, I think every artist agrees on that. Come to think of it, most humans probably do.
PP: – ”ART FOR ME IS JUST SHORT FOR ARTHUR”. Knowing you are very much into art, it’s too funny to read something like this from you. Is there any special story behind this phrase?
PG: – Yes, it’s a quote from Keith Richards. I thought it was pretty cool at the time. It’s very old. I wouldn’t use it today.
PP: – All the plecs are real gems, even if they only have the text ”ROXETTE – PER GESSLE 2011” on them. But there is one which we don’t know too much about. It says: ”TEDDE GOES 50! – WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. Can you tell us who Tedde is?
PG: – He’s a dear friend to me and my family. We gave him a Les Paul as a birthday-gift and of course he needed his own guitar pick! Doesn’t everybody?
PP: – So now Tedde plays that Les Paul with another pick. Different number of plectrums were designed in the past and nowadays for one tour. Do you have lucky numbers? Or how do you decide on how many different picks to produce for one tour(leg)?
PG: – No, I suggest a few lines or slogans and then suddenly MNS comes up with 25 different suggestions. He likes things plenty. I think we should slow it down a bit in the future.
PP: – Talking about luck, do you have any plec you consider as a lucky charm? Do you believe in such things at all?
PG: – No, I only try to hit the right strings with them.
PP: – And you do it so right. At least most of the time. By the way, how many pieces of each plec are produced nowadays? Was it the same amount per plec in the past?
PG: – No, the editions are much bigger nowadays. We use them as giveaways a lot, I throw a lot of them out to the crowds. In the past it was more of an internal thing. Like those hidden messages on the vinyl records. ”Don’t forget you’re a rocker” etc.
PP: – Which is the all time favourite plec of yours and why?
PG: – They’re all part of my family tree. No personal favourites. Sorry.
PP: – I can completely understand you. Is there a guitar pick of yours you like the least? We know, for example, that you don’t really like baby blue plectrums, as you gave some of them to Chris to play with.
PG: – It’s not really true, I like blue plectrums. The thing is that I prefer lighter colours (white, for instance) because when you play, often in the dark on the stage, it’s really hard to know / see what you do with black picks. I’ve hit the wrong strings far too many times because of this. It makes you feel silly. And it sounds shit.
PP: – Now I’ll pay more attention to the shitty sounds next time you are playing the guitar with a dark plec on a future tour. The plecs related anyhow to Åsa are usually the nicest or coolest ones. E.g. the latest ”WOODY – VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” is one of your funniest picks ever. The design with that marbled blue base colour and that silver print looks fab! What is Åsa saying about the Woody / Åsa picks? I bet she likes them a lot.
PG: – She ordered them. I had nothing to do with those. It’s something she and MNS came up with.
PP: – Ahaaa, now that’s really cool! Well done, Fru Nordin! She was also the one who made the ”Ta mej… nu är jag din! / Åsa” plec produced as a surprise for you. Can you tell us a bit more about it? How many plecs like this were produced?
PG: – Oh, I dunno. There are always some goofy ones like that on every tour. It makes us smile.
PP: – Thanx to you, I’m a lucky owner of one of those misspelled ”WODDY / HEJ DIN TOK JAG ÄLSKAR DIG” picks. Which year is that from exactly? What’s the story of it and what was your first reaction when you saw the misspelling? Rumour has it, you gave these plecs to MP to use them. How come?
PG: – Can’t remember. It certainly wasn’t me who ordered them, I know howh too spel.
PP: – Yeah, sure you do! Was there another production of these plecs with correct spelling?
PG: – No, I don’t think so. We were poor in those days, one edition was enough to crash the budget.
PP: – Talking about MP and also Chris, did you encourage them to have their own customized plecs or was it them (or maybe their technicians) who came up with the idea to have their own picks?
PG: – Yep, it was their guitar guys who came up with those picks. It’s not really neither MP’s nor Chris’s cup of tea to order personalized plectrums. Trust me.
PP: – I trust you, Sir. Were there ever customized Marie Fredriksson plectrums back in the days when Marie was also playing the guitar? I remember a TV show – I think it was in Argentina – when the hosts found 2 ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” picks after your playback was over. So that means Marie played the guitar with the same customized plec you played it with. Was it always the case?
PG: – Yes, I believe so. She used anything. Or wait. Maybe she had one of her own. It rings a bell. Let’s keep it ringing for a while….
PP: – Oh! It sounds exciting! Anytime the ringing is over and you find it out, just let us know. Sandra mentioned the gauge of the plecs you used in the early years was heavier than nowadays. Micke N-S said in the interview with him that he is using one gauge thicker plec than what you are using, because it’s more accurate to tune with. What makes you decide on what gauge to use? We can see you use the thin plecs for the acoustic guitar, but what about the medium and heavy ones? Does it make any difference to you?
PG: – Yes, I hate thick ones. It makes your playing very clumpsy and too ”masculine”. I like medium gauge for electric and light for the acoustics on stage. I’m a delicate guy! A ballet dancer. You know that.
PP: – A ballet dancer? Dunno, but a left leg stomper for sure and a delicate guy indeed. When you post pictures of the plecs on Facebook, fans get very excited and you can see many comments regarding how much we want to have them or how awesome they look like. You even mentioned in your 2012 Xmas message on roxette.se that ”… loads and loads of autographs signed, letters written, stamped and sent, guitar picks urgently needed by all of you”. How does it feel that we are so crazy about these tiny little picks of yours?
PG: – I think it fits the Roxers really well to spend quality time on stuff like that. I can fully identify with it. Groove is in the heart.
PP: – And we stomp on a stoop when we hear your pop loop. Now this might be a stupid question, but take into consideration that I’m not a pro when it comes to how to use plecs properly. What happens to the plec when you lick it? I think you did it the most often at the Snowpenair concert in Switzerland, kind of once in every 5 minutes. No clue whether it has anything to do with the cold or it makes a better sound or it just sticks more to your fingers.
PG: – It sticks to the finger. Normally (not necessarily at Snowpenair) you’re very sweaty everywhere (including your hands) so you tend to drop the pick if it doesn’t stick. It has happened a lot.
PP: – Ah, OK. Thanx for the clarification. Do you chew on plecs while writing songs or doing demos? I mean chewing like others chew on the end of pens.
PG: – No, I never use picks when I write. I actually never use picks at all playing acoustic guitar at home or in the studio, I only use my nails to get the right feel. On stage however, you need a pick to get the volume.
PP: – We often comment on Facebook that it would be great if you could include your plecs in the merchandise. Do you plan to include them in the future?
PG: – Well, yea. We try to come up with new things for the store all the time so custom made guitar picks, why not? We had guitar picks with the Gyllene Tider-cartoons on for sale last summer, didn’t we? In a tiny black box. I have a few of those in the cupboard.
PP: – Yes, that special pick collection is very cool. I have one of that tiny black box on my holy shelf, too. Well, OK, the more difficult to obtain the plecs, the more precious they are for us. I remember a chat where someone said he got a plec from you in Karlstad and asked how much you think that plec would worth in 20 years. You replied: ”The question is what Karlstad is worth in 20 years.” That’s a good one. There are people (mainly not fans, but traders) who are selling your plecs at a ridiculously high price on eBay, Tradera etc. and of course there are fans who are buying them. What do you think about this fact?
PG: – It’s like you say, the more rare an item is the more people want it. I don’t really have an opinion on this, some people sell, other people buy. The wheels keep on spinnin’!
PP: – Talking about catching picks at the gigs, you throw much more plecs these days than earlier (and definitely much more plecs than towels). During the GT tour Micke N-S even put an extra plec holder on the mic stand after some gigs to have 18 picks there instead of 12. Do you throw more just to make more fans happy or is it just cool throwing the plectrums and you do it automatically?
PG: – I throw them because I know a lot of people want them. And like I said earlier, MNS orders so many of them I might as well distribute them myself.
PP: – Keep throwin’ them! The adhesive tape on the guitar is of great help to have some plecs always at hand. Does it happen often that a plec falls out of your hand and you can’t pick another one quick enough during a song, so you have to play the guitar with your fingers / nails? OK, your nails are surely touching the strings as the nail polish almost disappears by the end of a show.
PG: – It happens but not that often anymore. I lick ’em!
PP: – Yeah, now we know lickin’ is of great help, too. There was a video you posted after Brisbane show in 2012, where Christoffer’s hand and guitar were covered with blood. Ouch! It has also made it to the Roxette Blu-ray. Did it ever happen that your fingers got hurt badly while playing the guitar?
PG: – Oh yea, many times. For me the most common injury is that I crash my right arm very hard into the body of the guitar when I try to look cool and do a massive sexy move hitting some adrenalin-droolin’ power chord. Oh, it hurts. It hurts to be alone. The plan’s gone wrong like a runaway train going down.
PP: – OK, Mr G… I can imagine all Gessle Girls are now sliding down a dream when you are mentioning your massive sexy moves in the same sentence as adrenalin-droolin’. Ehm… Come back to the original topic, PP… Last summer we saw a girl in Tele2 Arena at the GT gig picking up a Woody plec from the floor. She just found it there and the concert hadn’t even started. Do you usually throw plecs during the soundchecks, too? Checking how it works at the certain venue or how far you have to throw the plecs?
PG: – I was probably aiming at Pelle or someone who was running late for the soundcheck.
PP: – It must have been Micke Syd then. When it comes to throwing distance, do you pay attention to it before the concert starts? Do you try throwing your plecs into the crowd at venues where the distance of the crowd from the stage is quite long (e.g. China)?
PG: – Yes, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have a system, I just throw them. Or I don’t. If the feeling’s right those picks have to go.
PP: – Was there any memorable moment for you regarding your throwing the plecs? Maybe 10 fans jumped on each other just to catch your pick or anything else?
PG: – No, not really. Most of the time it’s hard to see from the stage where they land. I try to throw them up in the air so I don’t hit anyone in the eye. Or in the mouth. Or, God forbid, what would happen if I make a scratch on a smartphone?
PP: – Trust me, if you would scratch any fan’s smartphone with your plec, that smartphone would become one of the most precious items of that fan’s collection. Oh, and that throwing moment at the end of Man blir yr video looks so hot! How many times did you have to record it to be this perfect?
PG: – It’s a first take. Of course.
PP: – Of course, silly me! Until now I asked you about YOUR plecs and those related anyhow to the Rox World, but I’m curious about the coolest guitar pick you have ever seen in your life. Could you describe it? Whose plec was it?
PG: – We have a great collection of Jonas Åkerlund’s photos of guitar picks at Hotel Tylösand. All of them are fab! Nikki Sixx’s ”Fuck The Fucking Fuckers” is pretty spot on, don’t you think?
PP: – Haha. A fab one, but let’s say I prefer your phrases on a pick. I’m not a Mötley Crüe type of girl. As a last question: do you have plectrums from any of your idols? Tom Petty or David Bowie maybe? Or from any other guitar players? If yes, how did you get them and where do you keep them? If no, would you love to have a pick of theirs one day?
PG: – I don’t actually. A Dylan-pick or a T.P.-pick would be nice. Or from Nick Lowe. But I don’t lose any sleep over it.
PP: – That’s nice to hear, but in case insomnia is reaching you because of this, I suggest you go to their concerts and stand in the front row. You might get lucky! Thank you very much again for taking your time. Can’t wait to see your next set of plecs (coming hand in hand with a next tour) and update the PLECtionary with them!
PG: – That makes it two of us! Cheers!
Update on 2nd February, 2014: Per shared 2 pics of a box in which he keeps plectrums in the guest bathroom. Check out pic No. 1 and pic No. 2.
From the title you might guess that the interview is about the plectrums. 😉
While we’ve been working on the PLECtionary, I did an interview with Sandra and she happily shared some more details about her passion, the guitar picks, as well as some further nice stories related to these precious little things. Enjoy!
Patrícia Peres: – First of all, huge thanx for your hard work with this PLECtionary. It’s awesome to have all plecs’ photos and knowledge at one place. How did it all start for you? Which is your first memory and which was your first plec?
Sandra Knospe: – You’re welcome. It was fun to do it. I love going through the plecs once in a while. It all started in Helsingborg 1996 at the second Gyllene Tider concert from the Återtåget tour. That was also the day when I got my first plec. I found it after the show, somewhere on the dirty ground. I saw Per throwing the plecs away during the gigs and I was just curious if I could find one. I knew chances were low. It was like searching a needle in a haystack together with all the other fans who knew that there might be something to find on the floor that’s worth to pick up. And it felt like a triumph when I finally succeeded, it was kinda thrilling. I was surpised to see that it was customized. I didn’t know that before. That made it even more interesting, of course. But back then I did not really start collecting in the way I do it today. I was just happy that I found it. The wish to make my collection as complete as possible came later in 2003 when I received an envelope from Per with 10 different plecs including real rare ones from 1989 and 1991. So I had a few different ones thanks to him and also from the Rox tour 2001 and Mazarin tour 2003 which I attended as well. I liked the design and little phrases on them and I wondered how many customized plecs by Per exist at all and wanted to find out how they looked like and from which tours they were. So I started some investigations. From then on the hobby turned into a passion.
PP: – So the first plec you got 17 years ago. Wow! How many picks do you have actually? How many of them are Per’s plecs and to whom are the others related?
SK: – Oj, need to count… Without the doubles it’s 114 different plecs (and 3 of them in different gauges). 71 from Per plus 2 from him which are not customized, 17 from MP, 4 from Christoffer plus 1 from him which is not customized, 4 from Micke N-S, 1 from Jakob Johnzén, 12 T&A studio plecs and 2 plecs of which the origin I don’t really know. One of these two could be a tech plec as well and the other one is dedicated to someone whose name is Tedde. No idea about it really, but on the other side it says ”WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. So I guess it comes from Per at least. All together (including the doubles) it’s 224.
PP: – Who would have thought that there are so many plecs related anyhow to the Rox World. I know the whole collection is very close to your heart, as one day when a friend asked what you would take with you in a hurry if there would be fire in the house, you replied: ”The plecs, the plecs!” But which is the most precious item if you can choose only one? What is your story behind it?
SK: – Urmmm… I would rather get my ass burned before I would leave any of them behind in case of a fire. A fav plec? Hard to say, it even changes from time to time. Maybe the ”LOOK SHARP! / IT’S ONLY PLAYBACK” plec, because it’s probably the oldest one. Even if mine is not in top condition. I got it from a friend with the right connections. But then again, it could also be one of the plecs that have a more sentimental value to me, like the plecs Per sent me in 2003 that made me start collecting more purposeful. They are indeed very special to me. Tough question. So many goodies, really can’t decide. Sorry.
PP: – I can totally understand you. I can’t choose any favourite either, as all of them are beauties. Is there a pick you don’t like at all? Maybe because of the design or anything else.
SK: – I wouldn’t say there is a pick that I don’t like at all. I’m maybe not so much into the latest GT picks with the record and the cassette on one side and the GT emblem on the other. That might be because I am not a fan of pictures on plecs. I like it simple. A cool phrase is better than anything else. The ”WOODY / VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” pick for example is a great one. Great colour of plec and print and a cool note on it. Simply perfect.
We had the chance to interview Emil Jonsvik, the director of Marie’s latest video “Sista sommarens vals”, taken from her latest album “Nu!”. Emil told us about his career and the shooting of the video with Marie.
Judith: To start with, could you tell us about you? When and how did you get into filming and directing films?
Emil: I was born in Gothenburg, Hisingen 1978. I started producing my first films at the age of 12. This was for Swedish television (ZTV) and the film was “Gold”, which was a skateboard movie. When I look back on it I see that I already then wanted to create drama in film. I used scenes with actors walking through smoke in slow motion with strong cinematic music. After that I produced the Award winning break dance documentary “Shindig” and two other dance movies, “The Book” and “No One Knows Our Thoughts”. They were about winning over your inner fears. In 1998 I went to a film school, “Film I Väst” (Trollywood), and started working with blockbusters as “Santa is the father of all the children” and “A Witch in the Family” as a lighting designer and set lights along with being the cinematographer on location. I met the director Daniel Fridell which started a long cooperation, among others I became a cinematographer on his award winning TV series “A Class Apart” as well as the movies “Sökarna 2” and “Blood Brothers”. After that I directed the very popular television program (with over 1.5 million downloads on YouTube) “Late Night with Pierre” with little Al-Fadji for Swedish television (SVT). After that came my debut as a feature film director with “7X / Seven Bullets”. This movie was about seven kids that find a gun with seven bullets. This is a multiple award winning film including awards for “Best film” and “Best director”. Now I’m in the final cut with my new feature film “Krigarnas ö” (The Name of the Game) with the great actor Kim Bodnia known from TV series “The Bridge / Bron”. An exciting drama / thriller.
J: What do you like about being a director?
E: I love the creating process. To take a idea, put it down on paper and then manage to make these scenes come alive, that’s where my drive comes from. I get inspired by many different kinds of films in different ways. I love movies like “City of God” and “La haine” but I can also find inspiration in films like “The Last Samurai” and “The Driver”.
J: You started mentioning inspiration, but what do you want to tell with your videos? what do you think is your “trademark” and what makes you different from other directors ?
E: I get inspiration from people’s energy, music and films. In meetings with actors and artists, I often feel what they want to create together, it is important that I together with the team create the best energy on location for the shoot. Because of my broad experience with film production it’s easier for me to decide what to focus my energy on which makes my work very efficient.
This ultimately results in me laying my energy on the right stuff. I want to get the artist and the actors to have trust and feel secure with me in order to create magic together. That’s what makes every difference, and that’s my “trademark”.
J: Now about the video you did for Marie: how come you ended up doing the video? Did Marie or her management ask you?
As Per already informed us some time ago, Livets Goda did a very long and veeery nice interview with Mr G. The December issue contains 16 pages of Per Gessle: awesome interview, 20 important songs, some wine tasting and hot photos of Per. Interview by Anders Enquist, photos by Erik Dahlström.
The magazine is available in Sweden at the newsstands from 10th December, but you can also have your own copy even if you don’t live in Sweden. Here you can buy the pdf version online for 50 SEK. (You can pay even via PayPal.) It is really worth it!
The interview is mainly about Per’s career in the music business, stories about how Gyllene Tider and Roxette started out, his solo projects, the 80’s when he met Åsa (he says it was the best thing that happened back then), The Look, the US, It Must Have Been Love, the Billboard, EMI, later years, Roxette comeback, GT comeback, how he became interested in wines, so briefly, kind of the whole story of his life so far. There are not too many real news in the interview, but it’s always nice to read Per Gessle’s thoughts and what he is saying about different songs, for example.
THERE IS SOMETHING NEW: Per would like to record an acoustic album with some of his old songs.
Great news! 😉
You surely remember Mr Gessle was talking about the Top20 songs he was setting up for this article in Livets Goda. These are not his all time fave songs, but the ones meaning a lot to him. Here is the list:
1. Nina Simone: Wild Is The Wind
2. Heart: Love Alive
3. Air: Le Femme D’argent
4. Caitlin Rose: For The Rabbits
5. Big Star: September Gurls
6. The Young Rascals: How Can I Be Sure
7. Fleetwood Mac: That’s Alright
8. John Holm: Den Öde Stranden
9. The Beatles: Hey Jude
10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Refugee
11. David Bowie: Lady Grinning Soul
12. Lorde: Royals
13. The Tornados: Telstar
14. Docent Död: Solglasögon
15. Divinyls: Pleasure And Pain
16. Joni Mitchell: Rainy Night House
17. Kenny Rogers: Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town
18. Frank Sinatra: It Was A Very Good Year
19. Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra: Summer Wine
20. The Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love
Some probably think that I’m a super-capitalist who is just sitting there and earns a lot of money on nothing, while others think I’m a talented pop craftsman who knows far too much about pop music, a nerd … I don’t know …
There are many things I’m not talented in, but I’m good at melodies and writing songs. That’s what I can do, so I need people who are doing all the other stuff I can’t.
He also mentions in the interview that he always thought Marie is the world’s best singer since they met for the first time.
Per’s 5 favourite Roxette songs which are lesser-known (with his comments): 1. I’m Sorry – Great chorus, a hit in Brazil.
2. My World, My Love My Life – A damn good song.
3. It Takes You No Time To Get Here – Some country text and feeling.
4. Opportunity Nox – Our best pop wallop.
5. Sleeping Single – Marie sings amazing. She makes the album.
I have no idea why Roxette is still so big. Maybe it’s because of the songs, maybe there is a certain timelessness in many of the songs’ melodies. But why exactly us? Maybe it’s my Swedish poor self-confidence that makes me unable to respond to it …
Regarding the next Roxette tour he says that first Marie goes on tour, but sooner or later there will probably be a major Roxette tour. Bring it on!
Marie is the youngest child of the Fredriksson family. Her sister Anna-Lisa (who died in a car accident when Marie was 8) and Ulla-Britt were much older, so Marie had a closer relationship with Tina. In fact, they were inseparable! The family has always lived in a very musical environment and it seems that the tradition is being kept. Jokke Pettersson, Marie’s nephew will play the guitar in the band that will accompany her on tour in 2014.
Jokke kindly gave an interview to Roxette Brasil and here it is:
Roxette Brasil: – Hello, Jokke! For a start, tell us a bit more about your musical background. Has music always been present in your life? When did you start playing? What are your biggest influences?
Jokke: – Yes, music has always been a large part of my life. I started playing the drums when I was 8 and the guitar at the age of 11. In my family we were always playing music and singing, so it was natural for me to play the instruments, too.
Roxette Brasil: – We know you have a strong blues influence, but you also play great pop and wow … heavy metal? Can you tell us more about your style?
Jokke: – I started out as a big heavy metal fan and I was listening a lot to Metallica, Pantera and stuff like this when I was a kid. At a time in my life I thought that it was not enough and then learned to play all the other styles such as blues and pop. I always liked guitarists like John Scofield, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix and others.
Roxette Brasil: – In 2011 you gave an interview to a newspaper in Helsingborg, related to a United Nations day show. You were asked about playing songs from Marie (Tro, Sparvöga , Ett hus vid havet, Vinterangel and Ännu doftar kärlek) and you said that the conductor of the choir proposed the songs, who revealed that Marie is your aunt and that your mother was in the choir, too. Can you tell us more about your relationship with Marie? Are you close to each other?
Jokke: – My mother is Tina. Marie and I are very close since I was a child.
Roxette Brasil: – Tell us about your band, Ladah.
Jokke: – I and two friends are the members of Ladah, where we played jazz-rock fusion. I’m currently working a lot with my band, Karavan. We released two albums that can be found on Spotify. We toured with American Hunter Perrin and now we’re on tour with Cameron Ochs. I also have a metal band called Kayser. We will release our next album in February. I love playing different styles.
Roxette Brasil: – For those who are wondering if you’ve worked together with Marie earlier, you played the guitar on some of the songs of Min bäste vän album, right? How did she invite you to accompany her on tour?
Jokke: – Yeah, I played on Min bäste vän and also on her new album, Nu!. She called me to go on tour with her and of course I said YES! It’s an honor!
Roxette Brasil: – Marie has one of the most beautiful and the most recognizable voices in pop. For this reason, she has many fans around the world and we know that many fans will travel from their countries to join her tour. Do the pressure and anxiety increases for this reason or the fact that you are her nephew makes you more relaxed?
Jokke: – Tough question. I think the biggest reason to be calm is that I know what I’m doing. But I love Marie and her personality and it is very good of course.
Roxette Brasil: – As a final question, what are your expectations for the tour?
Jokke: – Play great music, meet cool people and have fun.
This morning at 10:15 am CET there was a short interview with Marie and Micke in Nyhetsmorgon on TV4. The interview took place at Marie’s & Micke’s home in Stockholm. Marie was talking about how grateful she is for everything and they both said they learned how to live in the present. Marie said she learned to live with the fact that it takes her more time to write and also that she can’t remember the lyrics sometimes.
It means a lot to both of them that they could make this new album, ”Nu!”, however, it took a long time to release it. When she wrote ”Sista sommarens vals” of course she was thinking about Micke and when Micke wrote ”Vad vore jag utan dig” he thought about Marie. Marie says this latter song is so beautiful. That’s her favourite off the album and it feels fantastic to sing Micke’s words. Watch the video how Marie is “touching” Micke when they are talking about these 2 songs. So lovely! 😉 Both Marie and Micke were in a very good mood and relaxed, Marie was smiling all the time during the interview.
They were also talking about the kids, how fantastic it is to have them and that they are also interested in music and they are talking about music each day. They also told the story of their meeting in Sydney and how they became a couple right after that.
While touring with Roxette she felt better and better, she got strength and she gained her self-confidence back. Marie – besides her family – is grateful also to Per who was writing new material for Roxette and believed so much in Marie.
Marie is longing for the tour. It will be fantastic to tour in Sweden with a great band she’ll have with her. Besides new songs, there will of course be old ones, too on the setlist.
Watch the video HERE! Don’t forget to check the wonderful old pic of Marie in front of Micke!
Marie Fredriksson’s album “Nu!” is out since Wednesday. Reason enough to ask her husband, Mikael Bolyos, who wrote most of the songs, to ask some questions about the process of recording and some well-known names who came with “Nu!”. Thankfully he made a slot in his tight agenda to answer our questions. We appreciate that!
Mikael, we saw that you collaborated with 4 other songwriters. How did you choose them? Did they offer their texts or did you kind of order them? We remember Ulf Schagerström, who wrote Mot ökända hav and Aldrig som främlingar. How come you worked with him and the others and how was working with them?
Mikael Bolyos: I quite recently started to express myself in lyrics. It’s not that easy for me, so it takes mostly a while to finish a song. I always liked the simplicity and poetry in Kenneth’s lyrics, so when I had the song ”Bara 3 ord”, I just gave him a call and asked if he was interested in helping me out. Luckily he was. He is such a talent!!! Johan Kinde was the singer in a band I used to play keyboards in (Lustans Lakejer). We always got along wery well so it was easy asking him for a text. To me ”Stjärna som brinner” is one of the best texts on the album. Uno and I met during the Roxette concert in Göteborg 2011, and we talked about doing something together and Ulf has, as you know, been working with Marie since day 1. He contributed on several songs that we recorded, but only 3 of them are on the album.
Good choices. The lyrics on “Nu!” are really impressive. And how and why did you decide to produce the album with Christoffer Lundquist and how can we imagine the producing process? Have you been to Skåne or did he come to Stockholm?
Mikael: As you know, Christoffer has during the years made an exceptional good job in recording Marie with Roxette. They are such a great team in the studio, speaking the same language (Skånska). Although Marie is such a great singer, I wanted to improve the vocal part from what we’ve done before. Chris became more & more involved in the process so we decided to produce the album together recording in AGM in Skåne and Atlantis in Stockholm. We are both (Marie and me) so happy working with Chris.
When I first asked you for the interview you wrote that you are satisfied yourself with the album. Now that it’s released, what are you most satisfied with? Which song is your favourite song and why? And which is Marie’s?
Mikael: I must say that I’m very satisfied with how the leadvocal turned out. Thanx to Chris! Favourite song ? Hmm … maybe ”Kom vila hos mig”. I think I managed to say something with the lyrics and I like the beat. Marie says her favourite song is ”Vad vore jag utan dig”.
To get more insight (since we are very curious, of course). When Marie writes a song, does she do it on her own and presents it to you when it’s done or are you evolving it together? Speaking of Sista sommarens vals! How did you develop this song?
Mikael: Marie writes on her own and presents it to me when it’s more or less finished. We made a demo on the song and then we re-recorded it in AGM with Chris.
How did you choose the first single, “Kom vila hos mig”?
Mikael: Marie wanted an uptempo song and “Kom vila hos mig” felt like an excellent choice.
From the lyrics and looking at you 2 we know how you feel towards each other, but how would you describe working together with Marie?
Mikael: Working with Marie is a blessing. She is so patient and a great source of inspiration. She is amazing in her concentration and has extraterrestrial singing skills.
Do you have demos to all songs? Are you considering to release them all?
Mikael: Mostly, we record a serious demo that we can develop into the final version. Like put real bass & drums into it instead of programmed. We never thought of releasing the demos.
Are there demos with your voice to the songs you wrote for “Nu!?
Mikael: Yes! Some of the songs are with my vocals on it. I can assure you that those demos won’t be released as long as I’m alive.
Three words you think describe the album the best?
Mikael: Life is good!
After I read most of the reviews of the album in the internet I really didn’t know what to think of the Swedish music journalists. Some wrote it’s one of the best albums ever, some wrote it’s weak and nothing special and most important: all of them picked different weak or strong songs which shows that it’s really only a thing of taste and nothing else. Do you care about those reviews? Do you read them at all or is indeed the most important thing that the artist is satisfied with his work?
Mikael: Yes, I admit that the reviews have been different from each other, but no one has been really nasty so far. Still it’s interesting, as you say, that they pick different songs as their favorites. To your questions I answer Yes, Yes, Yes! I read them, I care about them and after all what matters the most is to be satisfied yourself. (Another review on the left)
Final question. Is there any question you want to be asked about the album that we didn’t ask? Feel free to ask and answer yourself. Maybe we missed the most important aspect!
Mikael: Hmm. I really don’t know what that could be. Maybe that the first two songs we recorded were already mixed in Jan 2010. We thought the album would be released in 2010/2011, but as you know something else came between.
Here is a transcript of the interview. We tried our best (Jud with a little help from Patrícia), just drop us a line if you would write things differently.
P4: How would you describe the artist Marie Fredriksson in year 2013?
Marie: Yeah… relatively fun artist. I have been working on this album for a loooong time…
P4: For how long?
M: well.. about 6 years. But I’ve been busy with Roxette for more than 2 years. I am so happy that the album is finally ready and with the single “Kom vila hos mig”, written by my husband.
P4: It’s a very nice song, but also a bit sad or a bit melancolic. Can you tell us what is it about for those who haven’t heard it yet?
M: What one feels inside.
P4: What is it about for you?
M: For me it’s about strength. It has given me a lot of strenght. When you think what I have gone through, I am very very happy about this song, it means a lot to me.
P4: After all you’ve gone through and now that you are healthy again, do you think it’s shocking to talk about cancer?
M: Yes, very much. It’s sad to talk about it again and again. I am now fine and healthy again for a looong time so let’s talk about other stuff.
P4: But what came out of this? what has changed?
M: Mainly, I got a stronger voice. I had a great voice before, but now it’s heavier. I am happy about that.
P4: Why do you think your voice changed?
M: Well, I don’t know. Probably age and of course what I’ve gone through. But why talk about that, it’s so long ago. I feel very well now.
P4: I gotta say that you are shining. One reads that people who have gone through such hard times are stronger. Do you think people realise what life is about after such experiences?
M: Yes, I think so.
P4: And your album is called “Nu!”. Are you good at living the present?
M: Oh yes, I am damn good at that haha! I love to live in the present, it feels very strong to live the present, it feels very powerful, it’s the best there is.
P4: Do you remember when you started back in the 80ies, how was Marie back then?
M: The first song that was a success was “Ännu doftar kärlek”. I wrote it together with Lasse Lindbom. We were so lucky and we had so much fun. It was great to get that much success with the song.
P4: Was it your dream since you were a kid to sing on stage, become a singer?
M: Yes! I used to wake up the whole family in the morning singing kind of arias, aaaahhh aaaaaah. I woke up all my family with that, everybody was like “cmon, shut up now”. But I went on, singing a bit lower. I was crazy to sing.
P4: And when did you find out that you had such a strong voice?
M: I guess when I sang at choirs and with my sibilings. I used to sing so strong. We were 5 of us, my brother was the oldest and then 4 girls. But too bad one of my sisters died in a car accident, I was 4 years old, that was horrible. But one doesn’t really realise when one is so small.
P4: So now that you will release a new album and you will go on tour next year, how does it feel, how do you plan it?
M: Yes! it will be sooo much fun! I really look forward to it and to start rehearsing.
P4: You have never been a primadonna and there was never a huge circus around you, you are very down to earth…is that right?
M: Ah.. I don’t know, it’s just the way I am. I can’t be any other way. Of course, we were very big when we did all those world tours with Roxette and we got the 4 number 1 in the USA, it was great.
P4: You’ve been famous since the 80ies with “Ännu doftar kärlek”. Was it hard when you were sick? People wanting to know how you feel, etc?
M: No… , well, of course it was hard, but now I am fine, so I am very thankful for every day. I see life in a totally new way nowadays.
P4: And how is it going with painting?
M: Oh! I haven’t had much time lately! I love it, I already did 3 exhibitions, but I like to do different things. I have to be creative with music, art…
P4: What do you do when you are not creative? Is there anything you do that is not creative?
M: Well.. I write texts sometimes, always did so. But I have to have something to do. Even though I also think it’s important to take it easy, maybe look at birds outside or something, do something outside the house, but it has to be warm, not too cold, haha!
P4: If you had to choose the absolute Marie Fredriksson song of all timesy, which one would it be?
M: Sparvöga, it means so much for me. Lasse and I wrote a lot of songs together, but this one I wrote myself. I got this offer to write this song for this TV series called “Sparvöga”, it was inspiring. And I got a lot of self-confidence because it was a success. And then comes “Tro”.
P4: What is your driving force?
M: My family, they mean everything to me. Without them I probably wouldn’t sit here today.
I met Sven Lindström, the author of “Att vara Per Gessle” and the new book “Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” in Stockholm just right before the release party of the book. Sven told me about himself and especially about the making off the book. Enjoy the interview!
Judith: To start with, could you tell us about you, how you started to write about music and what you’ve done so far? Sven: I started as music journalist in Malmö for Sydsvenska Dagbladet, which is the biggest morning paper in the area. I became a music journalist back in 1983 and one of the first guys I interviewed was actually Per Gessle. We connected; I thought he was a fun guy. It was when Gyllene Tider were having a break due to military service and he was about to release his first solo album and he was starting a new chapter in his career.
Some years later I quit writing about music, I got fed up with doing nothing but reviewing concerts or albums, I wanted to keep this more as a hobby, so I went into advertising. I’ve been working as a copywriter since the end of the 80’s.
Some years later, Per called me up and wanted me to make an interview with Marie and him to be used as a press release for the Joyride album, so I met them in Per’s apartment in Halmstad in December 1990 and wrote the piece which was then given a magazine look where we tried to emulate the feeling of Rolling Stone interview.
And since then I’ve been working doing a lot of press releases, biographies, CD booklets, tour programs for Roxette and GT. So basically I am a music writer that tried to quit but didn’t really manage to. And I’ve published three books so far.
J: One of them is another Rox-related book, “Att vara Per Gessle”. How did that happen? S: The idea came up at the after-show party at the last concert of the Room Service tour in Göteborg, it was Per who suggested that at 5:30 in the morning when most people had gone to sleep and the others who were still around were not terribly sober. He said, “You know, one day somebody will write about the Roxette story, why don’t you do it?”
I heard myself say “Yes, of course,” I didn’t realize what I had just said yes to, haha! So afterwards we decided to make a biography on his career and life, we wanted to do it very candid open and very interview based. But it took forever to do it because I worked with other stuff as well, so it was released in 2007 in the end.
J: And what can you tell about the third book “Han sitter där nere mellan Clapton och Hendrix – Jan Olofssons galna tripp genom pophistorien”? S: It’s about a photographer from Malmö, Jan Olofsson. It’s a very funny story, a bit like Forrest Gump in the pop world of the 60’s. He met The Beatles in Hamburg in 1960, when he was just 16 and The Beatles had just arrived from Liverpool. And then he went to London and stayed there, working as a manager, photographer, record label boss, producer, club owner etc. Whenever something amazing happened, he happened to be there. It would make a great movie.
J: You are also the voice behind Nordic Rox. When did you join this radio program? S: Nordic Rox started in 2006. There were quite a lot of people involved, like Pelle Almqvist of The Hives, Per and the ABBA expert Carl Johan Palm. I am not sure what happened before I joined, but around the time when “Att vara Per Gessle” came out at the end of December 2007, Per asked me if I was interested in taking over as the show’s host together with him, but that he would be more of the flagship of the show, and I would do the work, haha! So that’s how it started for me.
J: But you don’t travel to the US every time for the show, or? S: No, I do it from Malmö. My kids have found me in the closet sometimes because it’s good acoustics there, so when you hear the “Hello, you are listening to Nordic Rox – good looking music” you now know where it was recorded, haha! I still do it from home, recording voice breaks with the regular Mac stuff like GarageBand and doing playlists of songs in iTunes. Then I send it to the Sirius XM headquarters in New York where they produce it into a proper show. I still haven’t really understood that it’s aired in USA, it’s amazing. A friend of mine who was once somewhere in California, was at a hotel with a few business people and he heard the program on the radio and called me “I am sitting here at a restaurant and they are playing something called Nordic Rox, is that you??” haha! So you see, it’s a small world.
J: But it’s great that you are able to spread Nordic music in the states, what is your favourite Nordic band right now? S: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from Denmark, I listen to them a lot lately. But there is a lot of good music coming from the Nordic countries, so I think Nordic Rox is a good call.
J: You explained how “Att vara Per Gessle” happened, but how did you get the idea to write this book about Roxette? S: The original idea was to make something out of the tour, but that idea changed in-between. I realized that the only book that had been written purely about Roxette came out in 1992, I think. So much has happened since then, everything that happened before the 2011 tour, and then how it progressed into 2012, I thought this had to be recorded and told. Of course, fans know about this and are totally involved, but the majority of people didn’t know the whole story. Some knew parts of it of course, but they didn’t really know the details of the struggle that went on, so I thought the story deserved to be told.