Per Gessle on Musikplats

Per Gessle visited Swedish Radio P4’s studio in Stockholm last Friday and was a guest on Musikplats. Host Fredrik Eliasson tells Per had big success this autumn on the program. 3 of his songs were ”song of the week” on Musikplats which is exceptional, it never happened before during one season and it’s the 30th season. The 3 songs were:

20-09-18 Per Gessle – Nypon och ljung
20-10-02 Roxette – Let Your Heart Dance With Me
20-10-30 Per Gessle & Helena Josefsson – Ömhet

Per is very happy about it. Fredrik thinks Per is in constant harmony with the audience and asks if it was always like that. Per smiles and says not always, but the finest rating one can get is that people appreciate what he is doing.

The guys talk about Per’s new solo album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. Per says it’s a result of the pandemic. He was isolated and spent a lot of time in Halmstad and thought he would record something. He went to the studio and wanted to try and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t really have new material to record though, so he started digging in his archives. It was exciting. He went through maybe 60-70-80 songs from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. He got stuck with appr. 10 which he thought are still relevant, but maybe had a lousy recording earlier, so he gave them a new chance now.

Fredrik asks how Per can decide whether a song is relevant or not. Mr. G says when he wrote the songs in the 80’s, he was a young guy. When you sing or read the lyrics of those today, you see them from another perspective. Tända en sticka till was for example released on his first solo album in 1983. It has a warm text, but it gets another meaning when you are 61 and you sing it today. There is the feeling of nostalgia, sentimentality, looking back on the time passed. That gives another angle. Fredrik agrees that this can change a song. Per tells when he wrote songs for Roxette, he wrote them for Marie and when a girl sings the song it has another meaning when it’s a guy singing it.

Fredrik mentions there is Segla på ett moln on the new album, a hit first released by Anne-Lie Rydé in 1983 and there is also a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Per says Uno came to Halmstad in summer and called him if they could have dinner together. Mr. G said of course, but first he has to sing on a song on Per’s new album. Uno accepted the request and in a rush, Per changed the keys to match Uno’s and Per’s voices. Mr. G adds Uno is a lovely person. When Fredrik asks which song it is, Per wants to tell the title, Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig), but the part in brackets doesn’t come out correctly. Haha. He says he can’t remember and Fredrik says it’s an old song. They both laugh and then they play the song.

After that, Fredrik adds that Helena Josefsson is also singing on DKSN, she is doing vocals on the whole album. Per tells his voice blends quite well with female voices and it sounds fine.

Fredrik congratulates Per on his Billboard record. On the list published a week ago there are 18 sole songwriters who have more than two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 songs. Per says it was a shock to the system. When he read the article about it, it felt very flattering to be on the same list as Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Lionel Richie. A tough list. Today songwriting doesn’t work like before. Now almost everyone works in a team and writes songs in a team. Per has always been a lone wolf. He is extremely proud to be on the list.

The guys are talking about Let Your Heart Dance With Me. Fredrik says it has an emotional story, Marie and Per recorded it at the end of the Roxette era. Per says it was the very last song they recorded together. It didn’t make it to their last album, Good Karma. It was a difficult album to record because of Marie’s health problems, so when they had finished the album, they didn’t do any more recordings. They had some songs left, but they were never recorded properly or mixed. Let Your Heart Dance With Me is one of them. Per had forgotten about it, but he found a raw mix of it last spring. Then they mixed it properly. They speeded up the tempo a bit to make it sound more fresh. He thinks it sounds damn good. It will be released in a compilation box, Bag of Trix that will have 4 volumes of so far unreleased songs, demos, acoustic sessions, etc. There are still a lot of old live concert recordings in the drawers. It was a lovely journey for Per to dig in those drawers. He won’t ever stop being impressed by Marie’s capacity. She is a fantastic artist and singer. They are listening to the song here. Fredrik highlights the whistling. Per tells it wasn’t planned. They just wanted to keep the melody and present it in a fun way and whistling turned out to be quite good. Mr. G also tells that if the song key is right, you can whistle properly. They laugh.

Regarding the music industry and pandemic Per says it’s very sad what happens now. All the people (not only in the music business, but film industry) are affected by the situation. He has a lot of technician and musician friends and it’s very difficult for them now. The longer it lasts the more difficult it is. Fredrik asks Per about his experience how difficult it is to get back on track if someone loses the grip. Per thinks one has to keep on working on it. The same things happen now in most of the countries, it’s not a unique Swedish probelm. It’s a special time we live in, a lot is happening. There is the US elections, terrorism in Europe, it’s a strange time.

Fredrik asks what’s next. Per says there won’t be a tour of course. He is doing some TV these days and then goes back to the crypt and keeps on working in the studio.

Regarding Gyllene Tider the guys discuss it was a big party last year. They decided to close that chapter, but Per personally thinks that it’s fantastic to play in a pop band of Gyllene Tider’s caliber. There are no plans, but cool things are happening when the 5 of them meet and have instruments close to them. Let’s see what happens.

Fredrik thanks Per for coming to the show and they play Kom ut till stranden.

They started the whole program with Nypon och ljung and they also played Ömhet before Per was on air. So all in all 5 PG songs were played on Musikplats on Friday. Nice.

Per Gessle and Micke Syd on Musikplats

Per and Micke were Fredrik Eliasson’s guests on Musikplats on Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm the other day. They talked about Gyllene Tider’s new album and their feelings before the band’s farewell.

Micke Syd says it’s a 40-year-long love story between them and their audience and now that both the audience and the band know it’s the last time, they will make the best out of it this summer.

Per talks about GT as a five-piece puzzle where everyone is important. It’s a kind of magic when them 5 play together it sounds totally different when they play their songs with other musicians. Fredrik asks what’s that Gyllene touch in their songs. Per says there are a lot of things that make their unique sound, but one of them is definitely the Farfisa, which became their trademark. It sets a special tone for the songs.

Fredrik remembers he was sitting in the living room in the ’80s with a cassette and recorded songs from the radio when När vi två blir en came with 40 seconds of Farfisa intro and a little from the first verse. He was stuck in the rhythm and feelings. Per says that’s the fantastic power of music. Certain music and songs are just magnetic, but they are not magnetic to all at the same level and not the same music is magnetic to everyone. Mr. G says he also has songs that turned his own world upside down. There aren’t many forms of art that can do this to you.

The guys are talking a bit more about pop organs. Micke Syd says they were not the first to use this instrument. Per mentions that e.g. in the ’70s Elvis Costello & The Attractions also played something on Vox organ.

Per, Micke and Fredrik talk about the new album. Micke Syd says they recorded 15 songs in 17 days in France. Fredrik mentions that over the years the guys went into different directions. Micke Syd says they all have their own inspirations. Anders works a lot with soundstracks, for example. Per says Göran doesn’t really play music outside GT, but he had a lot of great ideas in France. It seems that everyone is standing on their toes now and it feels wonderful before the tour.

Per says the idea was to write a pop album for GT, but it should sound like the band has become a little older, but kept their roots of course, to keep the Gyllene Tider touch. Fredrik asks Per if he feels it when he writes whether it’s a Gyllene song or not. Per says that with certain songs he felt shit, it’s not really GT, maybe it could be PG solo. He also says that when you have 5-6 midtempo songs of the same style, you need nice ballads too. And there is a song he wrote for Micke to sing, because he sang Min tjej och jag so fine in 1981 on Moderna Tider. Per says they weren’t inside when Micke sang Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga! in the studio. Micke says it was challenging for him to sing this song, but it’s nice he had the chance to sing on the last album and he likes it a lot.

Fredrik asks the guys about the cover of Sven-Ingvars’ Någon att hålla i hand. Per had this song on an EP when he was a kid. He recorded an acoustic demo and thought GT could Gyllenefy the song.

About the studio in France Per says Anders went there in autumn to check if it suits them. It’s a spacious studio, great for bands. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Morrissey and Rammstein recorded there too, for example. At this point, a mobile rings and it turns out that Anders calls the guys. They pick up the phone saying he is live on radio. Fredrik asks Anders how it was in France and he says it was awesome, creative and overwhelming. They had a blast.

Regarding the tour Per says it’s going to be huge. They are playing big venues, Ullevi and Stockholms Stadion among them. They have a lot to organize, because it’s a huge production. At the same time they are aware of the fact that the audiences are coming for the songs, so it will be more about the communication between the band and the audience than a lot of technical stuff. Both the audience and the band will enjoy this last, special tour. Per says they are super happy that they are still there and can look back on such a fantastic journey.

Fredrik asks the guys which song they think could summarize the Gyllene feeling, production and sound. Per says it would be Det är över nu. He says it’s funny that when they came back in the ’90s they were actually better than when they finished with GT in 1985.

Listen to Musikplats HERE!


Per Gessle about Mono Mind on Musikplats Stockholm

After Per Gessle got back from the US to Sweden this week, Fredrik Eliasson from Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm immediately did an interview with him to be broadcast yesterday on Musikplats Stockholm. Listen to it HERE!

The interview was about Mono Mind and before it was on air, they played I Found My Soul At Marvingate. Cool to hear it on the radio!

Fredrik introduced Mono Mind as Mr. G’s secret project that got out of the closet recently. Then he welcomed Per as Dr. Robot and Per said in a slightly changed voice that ”yes, I’m here” (trying to imitate Dr. Robot’s voice, but it didn’t work well without the computer distortion, haha). Fredrik wished a belated happy birthday to Per and asked how it was to celebrate his 60th. Per said it was quite intense for 2 days with a very few people. He said his wife is very social and he is the opposite, so he just sat in a dark corner and it went fine. Haha.

The guys talked about Mono Mind’s debut album that it was released on Per’s birthday. Mr. G shared the info that he started releasing singles in 2017 and the first single was Save Me A Place. He said no one knew he was behind the project and the song suddenly became No. 1 on the dance charts in the US and kept the position for 6 weeks. It was much fun to achieve this at his age and with an anonymous project.

Per talked about the characters and that he wanted to change his voice and how it worked in the studio when he was sitting there with Christoffer Lundquist for weeks. It’s not vocoder or any other gadget you can hear, but they created the new voice on the computer themselves. Each song took appr. 2.5 days to create. It was very exciting.

Per said the idea was to create some kind of modern pop music and pop music nowadays is made on laptops. So he wanted to try to mix it with his classic songwriting and it has become a new chapter in his career. Fredrik asked Per about Nashville where he went rather acoustic and Per said Mono Mind started already before Nashville.

Before they played Down by the Riverside, Per said it’s one of his favourite songs. He thinks Dr. Robot’s voice is the best on this one.

The guys then talked about Helena Josefsson. Per said she has a fantastic voice and it fits Dr. Robot’s voice very well and it brightens up all songs.

Per said Mono Mind is still like a playhouse for him. The album was released on 12th January and on 11th he was thinking shit, if it was really a good idea to reveal this project. What if people don’t like it? He would be a bit sad. And what if people like it? How to go on with it? And then there were questions if he goes on tour with Mono Mind. But how to do it? It can be something similar to how Daft Punk or Pet Shop Boys tour, but who knows. The only sure thing is that Per wants to continue working with Mono Mind and develop the whole project, the characters and their stories. One can do anything with such characters.

Per talked about the market for this type of music. He said there are a lot of competitors out there and you need much luck to succeed. He can’t see the same journey with Mono Mind as they had with Roxette, but it’s much fun to record and talk about it anyway. Fredrik jokes with ”are there any exchange students around?”. Haha.

As a last question, Fredrik asked Per which song he is the most satisfied with on Mind Control. Mr. G was thinking for a while, then he said In Control. They had some magical hours when they recorded that song. He likes its construction, the changes in it that don’t usually happen in dance music. There is a kind of progressive rock 1972 in it, Barclay James Harvest style. He thinks it’s magnificent music coming from him and laughs. After the interview they played In Control.