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.
About 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.