Per Gessle – En vacker natt – interview in Expressen

Anders Nunstedt posted a pic of himself and Per Gessle on Instagram yesterday and wrote he did an interview with Mr. G. Despite the title (”Per Gessle about life with his love, Åsa”), the article is more about Per’s new album, En vacker natt and the recording process. The interview was done at BMG’s office in Stockholm.

As Anders writes, Per Gessle travelled to Nashville and came home with 2 pop albums colored by sentimental American country and Swedish romance. The first album, En vacker natt is out on Friday (28 April), then comes a summer tour, En vacker kväll and in September the 2nd album, En vacker dag is released. Per describes it enthusiastically as a gigantic comeback, spiced with an extensive signing tour in the next few weeks.

About the project Per says:

There’s no need to stop just because you get older. These songs have taken 58 years to mature.

Regarding songwriting Mr. G tells Anders he tries to write fast when he gets started. The songs have been recorded in a studio in Nashville, the country metropolis, where Per and his gang rocked together with American studio musicians. This musical meeting gave the Swedish material a different touch and Per, at least partly, a new sound. Mr. G thinks it was much fun, because he had never met those people before and he noticed that they thought it was very strange music they did. But Per thought there was a sound in this project that those Nashville musicians have never played before. And then he became a little proud.

As Anders expresses himself, En vacker natt is not about a jet-set life. It’s down to earth from start to finish. Gessle has collected children’s laughter, birdsong, ocean waves and the sound of a train station. He sings about tussilagos on the single, Småstadsprat, the Winnerbäck duet and about daisies in the opening track Min plats.

Per says:

It’s my style when I’m writing texts. If I succeed, the lyrics mean something for the listener. To do that, I have to use symbols. If I write “ny tussilago vid den väg jag går, kommer varje vår” (new tussilago on the way I go, comes every spring), I say at the same time, “there will be new chances”, “next year comes a new journey”, “life goes on”. You can interpret this in so many different ways.

Anders asks Per if it often becomes sentimental. Per replies it does. Even if he always writes the same thing, he has tried to write from another angle now. For example, Några glas rosé is a pretty classic love text, but the angle is that he being older looks back on a young love. This way there is automatically a certain form of sentimentality. Mr. G says it’s a bit sad that time goes by. It might be scary and insanely strange, but you can also use it as an ingredient and an inspiration.

Anders asks Per if the lyrics of his love songs are about his wife, Åsa. Per is laughing and tells Mr. Nunstedt that if it’s love texts, Åsa thinks he wrote them about her, but if she doesn’t like the lyrics, she doesn’t take the song personal. Haha.

Anders says Per and Åsa have been married since almost 25 years and asks how they kept their love alive. Per says:

We’ve been together since 1984. It’s a long time. But Åsa and I have always belonged to each other in a certain way, ever since we first met. I can’t see my life without her at all.

We are very similar and very different. Åsa is a superstrong person, but at the same time she has chosen to be in a supporting role to me.

Per tells Åsa is from the travel industry and started working early with Roxette and their travels, and got a position in the whole organization. So it has never been the case that Per had been away for eight months and came home, but they basically shared everything. Mr. G says his wife has been amazing.

Thanks for the interview, Expressen! An album review by Anders Nunstedt (as usual) is probably out later this week. Let’s see how many Expressen bees Per’s new album gets!

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. 😉

 

Another interviews with Per Gessle for Swedish papers

Per Gessle has recently done two interviews for Swedish papers – one for Expressen in early November and the second one for his hometown magazine Hallandposten by well-known Jan-Owe Wikstrom. As we cannot really translate the whole piece due to copyright issue, so we picked up only those parts that we found extremly (or less extremly) interesting.

We have 70 concert scheduled for the next year so far, so as we finish this tour we will have done over 150 concerts and be seen of more than 1.5 million people. But you cannot be sure as the tour is constantly growing.

Well, I’m going to celebrate Christmas in Halmstad. But before and after we will working in the studio to complete the new album.

The tour will continue in the same great pace until October 2012! Guess it is 50-60 more gigs after Perth. Though these are not official yet. Logistics should be resolved, hairdos should be done etcetera.

Last years have made me a little calmer and I do not take my work so seriously anymore. For example I have hardly any great ambition to top the lists anymore, which was obvious to me 20 years ago. I just want to follow my gut feeling and have fun. Furthermore, the music industry is not as magical and exciting as it was when we started.

Should I mention a specific country, so it is probably Germany. We’ve been playing 15-16 gigs there this year and there seems to be an almost inexhaustible love between Roxette and Germany. Amazing response everywhere. But of course, nothing beats playing in South America! It is always noisy – 500-600 crazy Rox fans who meets us at the airport, TV crews everywhere and police who are trying to control everything. Feels like we were in a The Monkees episode. Lovely.

Without our fans all this would not be possible. They stand outside hotels everywhere and they are absolutely wonderful. Flowers, gifts, photographs and poems are given with love. And exchanged for autographs and quick snapshots with their mobile phones. There is never a problem.

After the tour’s end in October 2012 we certainly take a break. I think Marie would like to make her own album and I’m always busy with a thousand things at once. It would be fun, however, to keep the band. This is the best band I’ve ever played in, I long to every show!

Per Gessle reveals to Expressen: Roxette is recording a new album

Roxette is already underway with recording a new album. At the same time the band’s successful World Tour that began earlier this year will extend – and continue throughout most of 2012.
(p) Lionel Zaragocin
We’ve already started recording new songs for our next album which will be a continuation on “Tourism”, says Per Gessle.

Per Gessle, Marie Fredriksson and the rest of the “new” Roxette has received a nine-day vacation from the hectic tour. Expressen met Per Gessle related with the opening of photography exhibition with Terry O’Neill’s classic 1960s images of Tres Hombres Art in Tylösand.

Some concerts are like a big karaoke-show, the audience sings along, all the time, says Per’s wife Åsa has been for most of the tour.

I and MP were in the studio in Halmstad yesterday and wrote a new song, Per reveals. – New album is being recorded during this tour, in local studios and during the soundcheck. Just as the “Tourism” from 1992. All material is new. Working title is now “2Rism”

(c) ExpressenPer found a part of previously unreleased recordings. – Here are the songs with young Marie, before she became ill. We will use the song and record new backgrounds. Like Stones did when they found some leftover from the cult classic “Exile on Main Street” and Springsteen’s “forgotten” recordings of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” that was released as “The Promise”.

– These successes are pure bonus for us, that we had not counted on. We cannot compete with today’s artists like Lady Gaga and other pop based on beats, arrangements and a visual idea. It is not easy to do powerpop 2011. Yet we have just played for almost half a million people. When the tour is complete, we will reach 1.3 million.

Source: Expressen

Thanks to Emilio Gimenez Bahl for the picture.

Marie likes U2. So does Per.

Åsa, Lars Nording & Per.Marie Fredriksson was on U2 360° Tour concert in Gothenburg on August 1. Expressen published a little interview with her where she admitted that she liked U2 very much. On the other hand, Per Gessle posted on his Twitter, that U2 was great but not fantastic. I’ve seen them so much better many times before. Hilarious stage set though. Loved it.

If you want to download this interview, click here (thanks sweepi!).

Thanks to crashroxer & sarahdenrara @ R2R.

Yahoo, Reuters & Expressen on New Wave Festival

Yahoo in its entertaiment section used four Reuters’ photos of Roxette from New Wave Festival 2009 taken by Ints Kalnin from Latvian Entertaiment photo agency. One more photography from yesterday’s opening night was found on Reuters website.

One of these pictures was used in Expressen’s article about Roxette’s comeback, but in a little different edit.

Source: UOL Musica