Interview with Per Gessle and Micke Syd on Svenska Yle

Kjell Ekholm from Svenska Yle did an interview with Per Gessle and Micke Syd in the beginning of June in Stockholm. The guys were talking about Gyllene Tider’s history, last album and farewell tour.

When they sat down, there were the recently re-released first 3 GT albums on the table and Micke and Per started discussing people on the covers. Micke Syd recognized his then girlfriend, Per pointed at Marie i växeln. Kjell told the guys he has the first edition of GT’s first album pressed on yellow vinyl and Per asked him if he knows that it was printed in only 9000 copies.

Kjell mentions GT has now sold nearly half a million records, but their career start wasn’t easy. They made a self-financed EP that they sent to various record companies and radio stations, but they didn’t get too much airplay. Per even sent a complaint letter to the local radio station in Halmstad, Radio Halland. That letter is now hanging on the wall framed in Swedish Radio P4 Halland’s studio.

Per told the name of GT came from ”The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a single by Mott the Hoople, one of his favourite bands. In 1984, Gyllene Tider tried to launch an English album in the US, and because their name was impossible for Americans to pronounce, they changed it to Roxette after a song by Dr. Feelgood. Per told he didn’t write good songs on that record, especially no good lyrics. It flopped. Billboard reviewed the album and wrote ”nothing much happened here” and that’s how Per felt too. A year later Anders Herrlin decided to leave the band. Per thinks it was probably Anders who suffered the most from this pop idol hysteria. He was voted Sweden’s best looking guy in 1982 and it didn’t fit him at all. He also had other musical ambitions. Per added that Anders’ in-depth knowledge of the digital world was of great use when they made Roxette’s first records.

Even though the band had ended, their songs eventually got an eternal life. They are continuously played on the radio. In 1995 the guys had their first reunion on stage. ”Halmstads pärlor” became Sweden’s best-selling album two years in a row. In 2004, the band had their 25th anniversary and went on a giant tour that became the biggest ever in Sweden and pulled over half a million in the audience. In 2013 they did their third major tour.

Kjell asked the guys what they think makes them unique. Per said he played GT songs with so many other musicians, but they sound totally different when he plays them with others. Micke Syd thinks the songs are made so well and their playing is so personal that it makes a difference. He tells an example that all drummers who have tried to imitate Ringo or Charlie Watts have found out that it simply doesn’t work. There is something unique that you can’t put your finger on but which means that no one in Gyllene Tider can be replaced, because then it creates an imbalance in the whole.

The guys talked about the rehearsals that they would rehearse as little as possible. They wouldn’t rehearse ”Sommartider” for example. The first time they will play it will be in Halmstad. Micke Syd said that those early songs are encoded in their spinal cords.

Regarding the new album, ”Samma skrot och korn” there was no pressure on the guys from anyone else than themselves to do something good. The record stands out among today’s albums. Micke Syd said when he looks at the charts both in Sweden and worldwide, it feels like they came from another planet.

Per told he started writing songs for the album two years ago and then he still wasn’t aware that it would be the last record of GT. He said he wanted the record to feel like they are a band that has been playing together for a long time and has grown up and matured with pop music. He neither wanted nor couldn’t write another ”När vi två blir en” or ”Sommartider”. Mr. G said he wanted to write adult texts with a lot of sentimentality, sadness and contemplation and how it was before. It fits them right now.

To Kjell’s question about why they want to end GT when they still seem to be in top shape and can release such a great album, Per replied they are getting old and it feels good to end it while they are all still alive and in top shape and can do this tour, because who knows where they would be in 5 years.

 

Interview with Per Gessle about Gyllene Tider’s last album and tour – à la RoxBlog style

The guys in Gyllene Tider are busy rehearsing, but I thought it would be worth doing an interview with Per now that they have just released their last album and are preparing for their last tour. I hoped Per would have the time in between adding songs to the setlist and matching red Ferraris to Ferrari red drumkits and could answer my questions. I asked him about the recording sessions, each song on the new album, then about the 40 years passed and of course the tour and rehearsals. As usual, he was faster than a thrown guitar pick reaches the front row and has already sent me his detailed answers. Much appreciated! Enjoy!

Patrícia Peres: – Hi Per! While listening to the new album, different Gyllene Tider eras and several branches of your songwriting tree came into my mind. It’s a great mix of the good old GT sound and fresh melodies, uptempo/midtempo hits and ballads, as well as fun and meaningful lyrics full of Gessleish rhymes. A bit more sentimental than what we are used to when it comes to GT, but it turned out to be a fab record! Congrats to you all, guys!

Per Gessle: – Danke. Merci. Wunderschön that you like the album. We love it as well. It came very easy to us for some reason.

PP: – Why the last album was the first one to be recorded outside Sweden? And why in France?

PG: – It’s always a good idea for a band to get abroad to concentrate a little bit more than you normally do on your home turf. Most musicians and other lower habitants of this earth tend to want to go home after the last note is recorded and skip all the socializing which is key if you’re in a band. You have to hang out together, get drunk and act silly, play music, talking about stupid things from the past, argue about movies and politics etc. People our age have families and kids and other things on their minds apart from making music. I wanted GT to avoid all those everyday issues and stay focused on making a fine record.

PP: – Anytime Gyllene Tider comes back, you record a new album. Why do you think it’s important?

PG: – GT ceased to exist in 1985. Since we don’t really meet each other that much in between the reunions it’s crucial to get the artistic and creative forces boiling. Otherwise we would very easily become just another boring vintage band that plays our vintage hits. We love to play the hits but I also think it’s important for us to stand on our toes a bit and find out what we’re capable of in real time.

PP: – You recorded very simple demos to let the band arrange the songs together. How was the process during the recording session? How the 5 of you could work out the best of sounds?

PG: – Christoffer played a very important part in the recording process. You need a neutral force in the room. You have to have someone who says yes or no and it can’t be me just because I wrote the songs. It has to be someone the other guys listen to and respect in a different manner. That’s just how it works. Everyone in this band is very good at specific things but they’re also very good at staying safe and sound and not taking that many risks. I’m the same. I certainly need someone like Christoffer to demand that I step out of my comfort zone once in a while. So many times he’s heard qualities in my work I didn’t know existed.

When you make an album it’s also crucial to be one step ahead all the time so you don’t wind up arranging and producing all the songs the same way. One of the things on the new album I’m most proud of is that it’s so diverse. It’s hard to do.

PP: – You recorded 15 songs of which 14 made it to the album. What happened to that one missing?

PG: –  Hahaha, it will probably come out before xmas. It’s an uptempo one, very catchy. But it didn’t fit the album. We’re old fashioned.

PP: – What is the reason for not using the very same title for the album and the first song?

PG: – For me it’s a big difference between „Samma skrot och korn” and „Skrot och korn”. The album title hints the connection within the band and where we come from. The song itself is more of love song between two friends who for some reason don’t or can’t connect anymore. I wanted the album and the song to be separate. I’m a fuzzy kind, you know that.

PP: – The second song, Det kändes inte som maj, a very GT-ish track, feels more like an opener. Do you consider this song to play live? Maybe even as an opener?

PG: –  Time will tell. It’s got a great beat. I wrote the verses in 2003 in Christoffer’s studio. I have a very simple recording of it with Clarence playing harmonica and Chris trying to follow my melody and chord progressions. It sounds really awful. But I loved the groove. I kept it and wrote the lyrics last year.

PP: – The first single became Jag drömde jag mötte Fluortanten. Who chose it as the lead single and why this song?

PG: –  It very quickly became the band’s favourite song down in France. Probably because we managed to nail that groove we’ve never been able to nail before. It’s got a Van Morrison „Bright Side Of The Road”-feel to it which is very attractive. Light and fresh. Young and curious.

PP: – You mentioned earlier that the song was inspired by Anders Herrlin’s dream. How should we imagine the process of an Anders dream becoming a GT song written by PG?

PG: – I was just joking. Anders’ psychedelic Salvador Dalí-inspired dreams had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, I just made that up. I’ve had the title forever and I just tried to write some interesting lyrics to those chords and the melody lines in the verse. It took six months but it was worth it. I think it’s a wonderful little song. Very few people write music like that these days. I’m of a dying breed, hahaha.

PP: – What is your most vivid Fluortant experience? Did you always follow her advices?

PG: – Not really but I liked it when she entered the classroom. Suddenly all went quiet and you could concentrate on the current Monkees single or something important.

PP:Någon att hålla i hand is a cover of Sven-Ingvars’ 1965 single (Brad Newman’s ”Somebody to Love”). Why did you want to make a cover on the last album and why did you choose this song?

PG: – I’ve always loved that song. I always thought it was a Sven-Ingvars original but then I heard Brad Newman’s version which is a knock-out as well. I made a live acoustic demo in MP’s studio two years ago and it was really rewarding to sing. So when the GT-album popped up I suggested this song to the band and they loved it.

PP: – Like in other songs on Samma skrot och korn, there is a little female addition in Vid hennes sida too. How did Helena and Malin-My came into sight for providing backing vocals on the last GT album?

PG: – It’s hard for me to make recordings without female voices these days. I’m totally addicted. Probably because they blend so well with my own voice.

Helena and Malin-My spent twelve hours in the studio in Skåne singing on most of the tracks. They sound really beautiful both apart and together. I could sit there and just listen to them forever. But then, while mixing, some guys in the band thought they changed the classic GT-sound too much so we skipped most of their backing vocals. Not that much was left. However, I’ve kept the alternative mixes with bigger vocal arrangements. Some rarities for the Ultimate GT-box in 2029, maybe?

PP: – Haha. Note to myself to ask you about that box in 2029. Aftonstjärna to me sounds a bit like it could have been a Mazarin-song. Close to Gungar in my ears. The little references in the lyrics paint me a lovely picture of Åsa and you. What does she think about this song and the album itself?

PG: – Oh I don’t really know. She probably thinks the album is a bit too serious. She likes it when I’m doing more „immediate” stuff, more uptempo and jolly.

„Aftonstjärna” is actually my favourite track on the album together with „Vid hennes sida”. They are both important songs for me personally. I managed to create the lyrics and the music exactly the way I was feeling at the time. It’s very rare I’m able to do that.

PP:Vanliga saker is the most rocky song on the album. Fun to see a Gessleish reference to Swish and Bitcoin in the lyrics, the word connections you use there. Do you use such payment methods at all?

PG: – No, never did. I don’t know how it works.

PP: – Your lead vocals, then the whispering style and the choir, the instruments, everything fits in a great mix in Bjud till! How tricky was it to record this song?

PG: – It was a throwaway for me until Anders came in and did some amazing programming on it. He and Christoffer just went crazy with it and suddenly it all made sense. It reminds me a bit of „Våldsamt stillsamt” from „En händig man” back in 2007. Same energy. All aboard for funtime.

PP:Våldsamt stillsamt indeed! I was thinking so hard which song it reminds me of! When I first listened to Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga!, the movie Dirty Dancing came into my mind. Probably because the melody reminds me of some DD soundtrack songs. And then I thought, hey, nobody puts Micke Syd in a corner! Beautiful vocals! Where has he been ”hiding” since Min tjej och jag?

PG: – Things you can do with computers these days, hahahaha…. no… just joking. He did a great job. I thought it was a nice gesture to write him a song to sing on our last album. He always wants to be in the limelight and now the stage is his. For four minutes! How generous of me.

PP: – Surprising to see Mannen med gitarr on the tracklist. You wrote it for Mazarin and on The Per Gessle Archives you said that Christoffer and Clarence hated it. How this song ended up here and what does Chris think about it now?

PG: – Well, it didn’t fit into the Mazarin project at all, did it? I found the demo in my computer last summer and I really liked the lyrics and thought maybe GT can give it a shot. It’s got a typical GT-vibe to it and the arrangement came very easily when we recorded it. Great guitar-riff by MP and a very catchy chorus. It was just gathering dust anyway. Christoffer had forgotten all about it. He’s getting old.

PP:Bara i en dröm is just as much of an ukulele song as Tuffa tider. How about performing this song live and bringing your 2004 ukulele up on stage 15 years later? Does it still exist?

PG: – Oh yes, my two ukuleles are still very good friends of mine.

My idea for „Bara i en dröm” was not to make it acoustic at all. I thought of a full band with an accordion in the centre of attention. It didn’t really work out that well, maybe because that style is not really GT’s cup of tea. So we tried it as an acoustic song instead and it gave the album yet another musical spice. My guitar and vocals are recorded live on this one. Take number three.

PP: – What happened to Henry over all these years? Is he over his disco era? Did he realize that he has to start a band to get rock ’n’ roll freak Hanna back?

PG: – Henry is alive and well and still working on that plan of his.

PP:Allt det andra could have also been part of your En vacker… solo project. Curious how it sounded as a demo with an acoustic guitar only. And that makes me ask if you plan to release the demos to this album.

PG: – Well, as you know I make acoustic demos of almost everything I write (except for Mono Mind!) so yes, eventually I will release the demos. If you’re interested in songwriting I think it’s very cool to be able to follow the path of a song from square one to the final version that gets released.

„Allt det andra” was quite hard for GT to get into. It’s got pretty unusual chord progressions coming from me. But it turned out fine in the end.

PP:Final is a beautiful, but sad closing track. Why did you decide for an instrumental ending?

PG: – I had a few instrumentals with me to France and everyone thought it was a splendid idea to close the album with some sort of an instrumental finale. The plan was that everyone should play one instrument each and see where it lead us. In the end we edited the track down from 5 minutes to what it is now. It was the last day in France. We did „Final” and „Någon att hålla i hand” in a couple of hours. It all went very fast.

PP: – Except for Mannen med gitarr and the Sven-Ingvars cover, is there any other song you didn’t write exactly for this album?

PG: – No, it’s all custom made for Gyllene Tider. „Vanliga saker” was the last one I wrote. I didn’t even have the time to make a proper acoustic demo for that one.

PP: – Will there be a second single? Several songs sound radio compatible I would say.

PG: – Oh, radio doesn’t really play our kind of stuff anymore. I think we will go with „Vid hennes sida” or „Skrot och korn”. Maybe both. It’s not important.

PP: – What can you tell us about the cooperation with Petter Lindgård and Peter Zimny?

PG: – Wonderful guys. Shit, it looks so hard to play those instruments!! They did an amazing job on every song they played on.

PP: – After 40 years of success, how do you look back today at the times when Gyllene Tider got refusal letters and no airplay? In what way do you think it shaped the band’s future?

PG: – I think it was good. When we eventually got a recording deal we were (almost) ripe. We had a few great songs, some really talented musicians in the band (not me!) and we were very focused. Timing is everything. We were lucky.

PP: – You said in an earlier interview that you know it since 2013 that you would be out on a 40th anniversary tour this year. Did you sense it already then that it would be the last GT tour?

PG: –  Did I? Can’t remember that. We started talking about a new GT reunion in 2015 or 2016. The plan was to do it 2018 but I wanted to do the Roxette tour in Europe first. Also I’ve toured Sweden in the summer of 2017 so I didn’t want it to be too close timewise.

We decided on a GT40 tour in 2019. I started writing songs for the project in the winter 2017-18. It wasn’t supposed to be the last tour but Micke wanted it that way. He felt like he preferred us to stop while we are still on top of our game, still alive all of us, still kickin’. It all made sense to the rest of the band so… here we are! Nighty nighty.

PP: – Asking you as a fan of 3-chord, 3-minute songs: if you should summarize GT’s 40 years in only 3 words, what would you say?

PG: – Oh my God!

PP: – I think it’s always hard to put an end to something. How difficult was it for you all in the band to make the decision on your farewell?

PG: – I’m not very sentimental when it comes to GT since the group broke up such a long time ago. Everything we’ve done ever since have been reunions and various special projects. It’s a wonderful band, quite unique and definitely something we will never see or hear again in our lifetimes but still… life goes on.

I write my songs, I make my recordings, I make my concerts, I have so many other things I want to do with my music. It’s no big deal. I think the rest of the guys basically feel the same. I will still make my demos with MP. I will still be Anders biggest fan when it comes to his bass-playing and his amazing crazy brain. This is not the end of the world.

PP: – Announcing a last album and a last tour. Does it put you under pressure in any way?

PG: – I’m sure we’re gonna have a blast. Like Roxette, GT have an amazing following who’s been so supportive over the years. We owe it to them to enjoy ourselves and be at our best. It’s gonna be a wonderful tour, I will cherish every minute of it.

PP: – We are talking about the last GT happenings and I tried not to ask this question, because everyone else already asked it, but: is it really the last one? I mean, look at The Rolling Stones!

PG: – Hahaha, yes I actually think it is.

PP: – Concert tickets are selling extremely well. How does it feel that so many want to see you guys on stage?

PG: – Amazing. It’s very hard to sell these amounts of tickets we do on a national basis. We’re blessed. And it’s the fourth time we do it. Crazy.

PP: – Still hard to believe that such an iconic Swedish band would end their 40-year-long career in Norway. Can we expect one real last show in Sweden still?

PG: – No, looks like Oslo will be it. La det swinge, la det rock’n roll.

PP: – Do you plan to record the shows for a future DVD?

PG: – Yes, we do. We’ll record every show. No stone unturned.

PP: – Gyllene Tider’s name is forever written in Swedish pop history and there won’t be any Swedish summer parties where Sommartider is not played. How does it feel being part of a nation’s life in this manner?

PG: – Well, we all love hit records. They’re hard to make and hard to get and I’m the proud father of a few of them. I’ve been very lucky. Good feelings all around.

PP: – You are at the rehearsals now since a few days. How is it going?

PG: – It’s going great. We’re trying so many songs we’re all pretty dizzy right now. But it’s gonna be a killer concert, promise!

PP: – So, happy rehearsing to you all! Make the setlist as long as possible! Haha. Thank you so much for taking your time during these busy days, Per. See you on tour!

PG: – My pleasure.

All pics in the article are taken from Gyllene Tider’s Facebook page. They were taken during the recordings of Samma skrot och korn.

Per Gessle and Micke Syd Andersson on P4 Extra

Per and Micke Syd were guests on Swedish Radio P4 Extra. Listen HERE! Their part starts at 28:40 and lasts until 53:35.

Reporter Titti Schultz asks the guys how long they have known each other. They say too long. Titti asks Micke if he worked at a bar before and what he did there. Micke Syd says he did everything except for doing the washing up.

Titti is curious if it is really going to be the last tour and the guys confirm it is. She asks how many summer songs they promise to release on the new album. Per says he doesn’t know, but there will be a lot of summer songs on tour.

Det är över nu is played and Titti shares with the listeners that Micke was air drumming in the studio during the song. Per says Det är över nu and also Sommartider, Det hjärta som brinner or Tylö sun for example are songs that can’t be rehearsed, because it’s a bit comic without an audience.

The guys say it’s the ’90s when they sounded the best. It was the period when they came back for the first time, with songs like Det är över nu, Kung av sand, Juni, juli, augusti, Gå & fiska!

Titti says one of her absolute favourite GT songs is Juni, juli, augusti and asks the guys if they have any favourite GT songs. Micke Syd says Juni, juli, augusti is much fun to play live. Per picks Faller ner på knä.

Talking about the new album, Samma skrot och korn, Per says it’s a bit more adult, more thoughtful and also sentimental and sad vs. their previous albums. It’s very nice pop music. The title refers to the band members. The guys recorded it in France and they went through a creative process that couldn’t have happened in a studio in Stockholm.

Regarding the tour Per and Micke say there will be some unexpected happenings, surprises, but they can’t tell anything about it yet. Micke Syd jokes there will be pole dance. Haha.

Titti asks if the guys are sentimental and feel nostalgic now that all this comes to an end. Micke Syd says he became sentimental already in France. At last there is a song again that HE sings, Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga! Titti asks if she can get a little snippet a capella. Per jokes that then he has to go away.

To the question if they get together often, the guys replied that they didn’t meet the five of them together since the last tour, but the recording sessions in France were fantastic and much fun.

About the new single, Jag drömde jag mötte Fluortanten, Per says there is a little Van Morrison turn in it, which is a little unexpected. Titti says this must be the very first song about a Fluortant. The song is played on the radio.

Titti asks Per if he could write a song like Flickorna på TV2 today and Mr. G replies he couldn’t. Titti asks if they will play it this summer. Per says for sure, because it’s great to play it. Regarding the setlist Per says they circulated a list of 51 songs that they will narrow down to 25-26 songs. There are 17-18 songs that they MUST play, but then they also want to include surprises and songs from the new album. The concerts are planned to be 2 hours long.

Titti thinks fans in the ’80s were different than fans today. Per says they are not, it’s juts that we live in a different era. It’s just that there is social media and mobile phones nowadays. Titti asks if there are groupies around, Micke Syd says no, they never really had the talent for that, to have groupies waiting for them at the hotel.

Faller ner på knä is played, but cut short due to news.

Titti asks Micke Syd if he has become a better drummer over the years. Micke says he has, just not technically, but how he plays. When he plays elsewhere, even when he played for Roxette in June Afternoon or She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, it’s different vs. when he plays in GT. In Gyllene Tider it’s like coming home. In France for example the recordings went so fast, because they went with the flow.

Titti asks how they know a song is ready. Per says a song develops all the time. When they play it live it becomes different. He thinks sometimes it’s a pity that one writes a song, they record it in the studio and take it to an audience only later. It could be the other way around, playing the song for an audience 20-30 times before recording it.

 

Per Gessle about Gyllene Tider’s new single

Swedish Radio P4 Halland did an interview with Per Gessle about Gyllene Tider’s new single, Jag drömde jag mötte Fluortanten. Listen to it HERE! Reporter Camilla Hentschel and Per are dissecting the lyrics.

First they are listening to this part of the song:

Varje svartvit tangent / Spelade covers av Kent / Morfar Ginko han gungade i vimlet

Camilla asks Per about the rhyme ”tangent – Kent” and Per says it’s a clever one. They are discussing how differently they pronounce the word ”tangent” (= key, like on the keyboard) and Camilla is curious why Kent ended up in there. Per tells it’s like an abstract dream sequence and as in many of his songs, the lyrics are hopping from one scene to another. Each verse has its own profile. One verse can be written in ”me” form, the other in ”he” form. There can be different perspectives.

The other part they are listening to is:

Pö om pö blev vi vänner / Men av ren reflex blev jag ett måndags-ex

Camilla thinks it’s fantastic, because it’s like a journey. Little by little we became friends, then it turned into something more and out of pure reflex I became a Monday ex. Per says he tried to describe when the expectation is blown away by weak self-confidence. It’s a bit sad. The guy wanted so much and in the end he felt he became a Monday ex. That was it.

Sing along HERE!

 

Per Gessle and Mats MP Persson on Kulturnytt – Swedish Radio P4

There was a 3-minute-long interview with Per Gessle and Mats MP Persson on Kulturnytt on Swedish Radio P4 today. The guys were talking about Gyllene Tider’s latest single and the recording of their last album.

Per says Jag drömde jag mötte Fluortanten is about an absurd dream which is about a past time and romance. With the new album, one of their most important aims was to show that they are a mature pop band and this is how the guys sound at the age of 58-60. They recorded the album in France and decided that they would play as much live as possible in the studio, to have the eye contact with each other and the fusion of 5 guys who work together in real time, not to create the sounds on computer. The songs, the arrangements and the lyrics have perspective. Per says it would be impossible for him to write Flickorna på TV2, När vi två blir en or Sommartider today, but he can write another type of pop music. Mr. G didn’t try to write classic single hits or very commercial songs, but wanted to show how GT sounds in 2019.

MP says in France they could take a little different turn in the arrangement and the whole recording session was much fun and very creative.

Per adds the biggest difference these days is that he mostly works acoustically. In the ’90s MP and PG made very advanced demos. When you work in a band, it’s good to leave the arrangement quite wide open. When Per plays a song on the acoustic guitar and sings, the melody and lyrics give an impression of what the song is about, so then it’s up to Göran on keyboards and Anders on bass and Micke on drums and of course MP too to interpret it. It’s a five-piece puzzle where everyone is important. It becomes a totally different song once Gyllene Tider plays it.

The album, Samma skrot och korn is out on June 14th, but you can already pre-order it (CD-hardbook, standard black gatefold 2LP, limited edition gatefold coloured 2LP) at the usual sites: Bengans, Ginza, CDON.