Per Gessle interview from 1985

A fab interview with Per Gessle was done by Elisabeth Elle Sandberg on 9th February 1985. Elisabeth, who was 18 when she did the interview at Per’s apartment in Halmstad, decided to make it available online after 31 years. Great decision, I must say. What an interesting reading after all these years knowing what Per achieved in his solo career and with Gyllene Tider, as well as with Marie in Roxette. Awesome! Thanks a lot, Elisabeth!

Elisabeth starts the article with placing the interview in a time perspective. In 1983 Per released his first solo album, Per Gessle. The following year, in February, 1984 came Gyllene Tider’s English album, The Heartland Café, which did not sell particularly well. During this interview in 1985 Per started working on his second solo album, Scener. Gyllene Tider broke up about a month after this interview and Per and Marie formed Roxette in 1986.

On the day of the interview Per was in the process of looking for images that would illustrate the lyrics of his second solo album. He says it’s really hard. The only image he found good was a picture of his mother. Elisabeth asks if there were no pictures of himself and Per said he wouldn’t dare using them.

Elisabeth asks Mr. G why he is doing a solo album when he is fine with the band, Gyllene Tider. Per says he doesn’t have a good answer to the question, but it’s good to change the environment sometimes. However, there is less reason to make a solo album now than before, because Gyllene Tider’s music is closer to him than it was before. But after doing The Heartland Café album he decided that the next one should be a solo album.

Elisabeth asks if the next GT album will be more full of hits and Per replies that the main difference is that it will be in Swedish again. Another difference will be that he won’t write more than 1/3 of the album and gets the others write too. He thinks that if there is a reason for them to continue to play together, they must move on and everyone should contribute to the creative side, so it doesn’t become 12 Per Gessle tunes. There would of course be songs similar to Sommartider, but he hasn’t written so much yet. The idea is to make it a more danceable up-tempo album.

Elisabeth asks if Per thinks the fans will come back and Per says he hopes so, but he sounds a bit uncertain. Per says they are probably the oldest band at this level in Sweden and the audience they had in 1980-81 are four years older now. At that age musical taste changes quite a lot. According to Mr. G, each artist is just as big as their last song (The Heartland Café album sold 30 000 copies). They have, after all, a fairly large audience still and if they make a good album, he thinks they can be huge again. Per was surprised that The Heartland Café was selling so much anyway, because many people didn’t have a clue that the album was released, but that’s only because it was in English.

Per says Teaser Japanese sold quite well as a single, but he thinks it was totally wrong, a stupid thing. Mr. G says it was his fault that they did an English LP. He just wanted them to invest in Europe, but one shouldn’t throw out 300 000 SEK on an LP that no one wants to buy. Instead, one should record a single and test it. If it doesn’t work, one should make another single. Now he thinks the whole year they worked on The Heartland Café was a waste of time.

Mr. G says the fans bought the album Puls in autumn of 1982 and it is much to ask that they wait for a new Gyllene Tider album. They will release a new single after his solo album. It’s a bit useless to compete with himself. He says a song is finished and its title is “30 skäl” [this is the song Anna recorded in 1986 – PP]. Per says it’s very danceable and is possibly out sometime in July-August.

Per says his songwriting is changing all the time. The biggest change was in 1982 when he bought a piano. Elisabeth asks if it was hard to bring the piano up the stairs (since there were a lot of stairs to reach Per’s apartment) and Per laughs and says “they said” it was. The piano was built exactly in 1900 and he found it in a shop in Falkenberg. Since he bought it, he started to write music using the piano and it allowed him to write differently.

Per thinks it’s great to read his old lyrics. He doesn’t write the same way anymore. He doesn’t know why. Today it would be really hard to write a song like (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän. Blå December was an attempt to write a short story, a narrated story in pictures.

Per says he started writing English lyrics when he was 13-14. He couldn’t play any instruments, so he just wrote the lyrics. He started playing the guitar in 1976.

To Elisabeth’s question regarding what Per thinks about Swedish music he replied that it’s exactly the same today as when Gyllene Tider had their breakthrough. There are great artists like Ulf Lundell, Dan Hylander, Eva Dahlgren and others who survive, but nothing new appears. He believes that a new generation of 17-18-year-olds will do great things soon. The record companies working with them will be great. Today the record companies are run by older people. The record company Stranded woke up now with bands like Ratata.

Per says many people wonder how he can write songs for Herreys och Pinks, but after all, those are the most-selling artists in Sweden and Per makes a living from writing music.

Elisabeth asks Per which producer he would choose for his next solo album or Gyllene Tider’s next album. Per thinks Gyllene Tider needs a producer more than himself. His solo albums are much clearer than Gyllene Tider’s. He thinks there are tons of good producers, but perhaps above all two. One of them is Trevor Horn, who is a tech pro. He produced Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes. He is fantastic. The other is a guy called Robert “Mutt” Lange, who did The Cars’ latest LP. Per was stunned when he heard The Cars’ latest LP. That’s exactly what they should have done long ago, but they don’t have the resources.

Per says it’s so ridiculous that the record company still wants to have a new album in English. But they can’t spend more time on it, because then it will be the same thing again. Abroad they are competing for airplay time with all other Capitol artists such as John Waite, Tina Turner and David Bowie. And it is impossible.

To the question if he is interested in writing soundtracks or musicals, Per replies that he would like to do soundtracks and also instrumental music, it would be fun, but about musicals he thinks they are so boring.

Elisabeth asks Per if he remembers the first time he was standing in front of an audience. Mr. G says he was always singing Staffan Stalledräng. He and a guy called Peter Nilsson worked as troubadours and were singing at hospitals. There he learned how to sit with a guitar and sing for people. He says it was useful and helped when they played with Gyllene Tider. But he thinks he is still nervous. But that’s just because people have other requirements today in any context. Per says if you are at a family party, people always want you to sit down at the piano, sing and play. Stuff he hates, because he can’t. He can barely play the piano.

To the question which concert he was fascinated by, Per replies that there are several. Bruce Springsteen when he was in Sweden last. It was an incredible concert. He is just like an artist should be. He captivates his audience. Then Joni Mitchell when she was in Sweden. Per says he saw David Bowie on his recent tour in France. Randy Newman alone with a grand piano is the best there is. Staffan Scheja and Björn J:son Lindh are also beautiful. Per says there are so many ways to experience a concert, however, actually he doesn’t like to go to concerts. It’s rare that he goes to one and almost never at Scandinavium, because it’s so boring.

He is asked if he goes out to dance and his reply is he does. If he likes dancing? He says it depends. He thinks it’s fun to dance sometimes, it depends on what mood you are in. He tends to go out in Halmstad, but he doesn’t go out to dance only, but to eat.

Regarding what he produced so far Per says Rita & The Rip-Off. He would really love to produce more, but it’s hard when you work with yourself. This new album he is doing he produces it together with Lasse Lindbom. He thinks it’s good for all bands, no matter how much experience they have, to have a producer. You need an objective person all the time. If you work for a long time with your material, you become snowed in what you are doing. Producing other artists would be fun. Per thinks he is pretty good at it and he laughs. Then he goes off and gets more coffee saying he always drinks so much coffee. It’s part of his plans to produce more. The problem is that he likes working in Halmstad. He finds it boring to stay at a hotel in Stockholm.

Elisabeth asks Per what he would like to be able to do what he still can’t do. Per says he would like to be a better musician than he is. He would also like to be able to read music. No one he knows can do that. When one is working with other musicians, often older musicians, it’s an incredible advantage to be able to write and read music. When Per hears or knows what he wants in a song, he is humming it out. He thinks it’s a handicap. He would also like to be able to sing better, to have a larger vocal range. He went and took singing lessons four times, but he says he is not one of those who can do it, for example, every Tuesday. It’s rare that he is home. Mr. G says he had season ticket for Drott’s matches, but he saw only one game during the season, because he wasn’t home. He says it’s useless this way and he can’t have anything definite.

Elisabeth asks Per if he plays football and Per says they play soccer every Monday in the summer, he and some neighbors. He says it’s funny. He played football when he was little and he always found ball sports fun. He is also playing badminton quite often.

The interview ends with a question about what Per is doing now and he replies he is trying to get an agent in Los Angeles, and it goes pretty well.

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Spanish interview with Per Gessle about Roxette

Sebas E. Alonso did an interview with Per Gessle at the end of June for Spanish jenesaispop.com. Here you can read a summary of it in English.

Per and the reporter are talking about the updated sound on “Good Karma”, but keeping the DNA of Roxette. Mr. G says that for this album they have 2 more songs recorded and there are 3 others they didn’t record in the studio. He says if he doesn’t like a song, he leaves it and focuses on something else. To make a song takes a long time. If he makes a demo and he doesn’t like it, he leaves it completely. A song has to pass several processes before reaching the studio.

Per says all songs on the album are special. “From a Distance” was originally a ballad, atmospheric, without a groove. But they had many ballads, so they took Marie’s voice and gave it to Addeboy vs. Cliff. It became an uptempo song, they added a guitar and new voices. What’s on the album is the second version. It was the last song they recorded.

Mr. G says it’s cool that people still listen to their songs and every time he hears e.g. “It Must Have Been Love” at the airport or at the supermarket it feels great.

He talks about the band The 1975 from today’s music and that he likes their production, but he also still listens to ‘60s and ‘70s music. To the question if Roxette is a pop or a rock band Per replies they make pop music, but with guitars.

Regarding “Good Karma” Per says Marie thinks it’s their best album ever, but he thinks it’s rather just a good album. The best they could do now.

About “April Clouds” Mr. G says they had two ballads, “April Clouds” and “Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” and they thought that one had to be the final song of the album. They decided on AC, which is organic, no synthesizers involved but real instruments. They don’t think of it as a farewell song, but many people interpret it so, and this is how things work. You do something and people interpret it as they want and this is how it should be.

The reporter asks about Marie and Per says he talked to her the day the interview was done (22nd June) and she was fine. Sometimes she can’t get up and has to sit, but other days she feels good and can even take a walk. Per says they haven’t talked about a future concert at all. It doesn’t look like there will be more concerts at all. But Marie sometimes surprises us and if she wants to do something, Per is there. But there are no plans at all.

Per talks about the fans, their support over the years and that it was a great rehab for Marie. He says even now when they decided not to do more tours they have their fans’ support.

Regarding how music changed nowadays, Mr. G says today the artist is like a brand, especially in the EDM world. David Guetta and Avicii are trademarks and are presented as brands, and they (Roxette) are not a brand. They want to be a band. Today in Sweden for example, Spotify is 90% of the market. No one is interested in the artists or producers anymore, however, he still buys physical albums besides listening to Spotify as well.

About the US Per says it was lost when their company was sold in 1992. They were planning the “Joyride” world tour, but the guys at the record label only wanted to work with people they knew and they didn’t know Roxette. Since then, things didn’t work. At the same time, to get the American market they had to spend 6 or 7 months there and when Marie became pregnant it changed everything. Since about 1993, when they started recording “Crash! Boom! Bang!” they didn’t do enough to keep themselves there on the market, they were not playing in the US. The last time they played in New York and Los Angeles was amazing, but it was not as massive. Per always says that they left America for the rest of the world. It required too much effort, they should have spent too much time there and Marie refused it.

Regarding “It Must Have Been Love” the reporter asks Per if he gets paid every time Pretty Woman is on TV. Per laughs and says he hopes so. He was asked if he thinks he could have won an Oscar with IMHBL for the best song and Per says he thinks so, but since there was an earlier version of the song, it couldn’t be nominated. And he laughs that it was him who told about the older version, so he should have just kept his mouth shut.

They talk about “Baladas en español” that it was the record company’s idea to record that album. Rafael Gil helped them to pronounce the words correctly and he says they got some critics. The reporter says there were no problems with the pronunciation, but the lyrics in Spanish were rather crappy. Per says he can say only “una cerveza, por favor” in Spanish.

Per closes the interview with the thoughts of being fortunate. If you look at the whole thing in perspective, it’s a miracle that Marie survived her illness. They did a tour of 200 concerts for 1.4 million people and it has been a blessing to work for 30 years in this. Marie doesn’t have cancer or anything, she is simply affected by the disease. Maybe they can make more music together in the future.

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Interview with Per Gessle about Good Karma, melodies, songwriting and other groovy things

zdf_pgThere were quite some shorter and longer Good Karma interviews with Per during the past few weeks and he even provided all of us, Roxers with a fantastic opportunity, a Facebook live Q&A some days ago, answering 84 questions in 1 hour. After all this, we still had thousands of questions, so we put them together and shot all of them at him.

Even if Mr. G is always very busy with all of his parallel projects, he found the time to answer all our Qs. It’s really m.u.c.h. a.p.p.r.e.c.i.a.t.e.d. and we love all his detailed replies! And also the less detailed ones. Haha. Enjoy!

 

RXB: – First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time and answering our questions. Much appreciated! We know you are always very curious about the reception of your releases. Seeing the reaction of fans, your new album, ”Good Karma” is loved. How does it feel?
PG: – It feels fab. Since our fans are extremely varied and therefore very hard to please we didn’t expect anything like this. People, including the media, seem surprised by the direction we’ve taken and we find that interesting. You never know what people might think.
”Good Karma” has been created with a natural flow, we knew right from the beginning what we were looking for. However it’s been quite a difficult album to make. Not only couldn’t Marie join us in the studio except for her vocal takes and the technical challenges we went through took a lot of time and energy, especially from Christoffer. You need a low pulse and lots of patience to make an album like G.K.

RXB: – ”Good Karma” is the shortest Roxette album with its 38 minutes. Quality over quantity, but do you consider an album having a certain length when you start recording?
PG: – No. We record songs we like and use the ones we like the most. In the ”Good Karma”-case there are a few leftovers but we didn’t think they matched the quality of the other tracks so we left them out. Personally I think forty minutes is perfect for an album. You know you’ve succeeded if your natural instinct is to play it again.

RXB: – Your album titles are always short and simple. After the 10th studio album was released, which of your records do you think has the best title, taking into consideration the whole concept around that certain album?
PG: – I think they’re all pretty good. No, I don’t. I don’t really like ”Pearls Of Passion”. I don’t like titles with an ”OF” in the middle. It sounds pretentious. My original song was called ”Pearls AND Passion” but it was misspelled by EMI on an early draft and we kept it like that for some reason. And I changed the title and the lyrics of my song. True story. Have I told that one before?
”Look Sharp!” is a very cool title. ”Crash! Boom! Bang!” as well. And ”Charm School” and ”Joyride”. And ”Have A Nice Day”. And ”Room Service”. Hey, we’re brilliant at titles!

RXB: – You smiled in the Sat1 interview that the album leaked and so you could read on Facebook which songs people liked already before the official release date. Does it piss you off when such things happen?
PG: – No, it was expected. It’s almost impossible to keep things secret these days. There’s always someone who spills the beans. It goes hand in hand with our open-minded and ultra connected universe.

RXB: – Regarding radio, the last time a Roxette lead single went on air worldwide was ”She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” in 2011. Unfortunately, in many countries ”It Just Happens” is still not played. Why do you think radios don’t pick it up even if there are news in the media about it?
PG: – Radio doesn’t work like it used to. In the old days you had music people who were in charge over playlists etc. Today most stations around the world play music selected by algorithms based on social media etc. It’s pretty tough to crack that system especially if you’re a ”vintage” band like us. It’s the same problem for most artists of our generation (and older). That’s one of the reasons most songs in the Top 40 chart sound pretty much the same and are targeted towards a very young audience who are on the internet all the time.

RXB: – You mentioned in several interviews that ”Good Karma” songs were not meant to be performed live. The previous two albums’ lead singles had you on lead vocals, which was obvious from promotional point of view as Marie wouldn’t have been able to handle new lyrics. How was ”It Just Happens” chosen now? Three singles in a row with you on lead vocals make us wonder.
PG: – No strategy. Warner wanted a ”classic” powerful Roxette-song as the lead single and off we went with ”IJH”. It’s a quite sophisticated song, coming from us. Maybe not the most obvious choice for a first single but I understand how they were thinking. Personally I consider ”IJH” to be a ”Marie-song”. Her vocals are the driving force behind it, not mine.

RXB: – ”Some Other Summer” might have a bigger potential. Do you expect it or any another song to be a bigger hit worldwide and that radios realize these tracks are worth to be on air?
PG: – No, I don’t expect anything. ”SOS” is a great pop song in my book, so are ”Good Karma” and ”Why Dontcha?” and a few others. But that doesn’t mean that I expect it to become a worldwide hit. It doesn’t work like that anymore. New balls, dear you.

RXB: – Talking about it, you gave ”Some Other Summer” to Sebastien Drums long before your original version was out. What was the idea behind someone else releasing your song before you do?
PG: – We had a mutual friend in the German music biz who asked us if we had a Rox-song Sebastien could use. And we had just finished ”SOS” so he got that one. I like the idea of doing unexpected things. Sometimes strange and wonderful things happen that way. But I never really understood Seb’s official version. There are a couple of other SOS-remixes he did that I prefer. But that’s me.

RXB: – The video to ”It Just Happens” turned out to be wonderful. We loved seeing you both enjoyed the shooting and Marie still loves acting. How was it working together with a new team?
PG: – It was cool. They all did a great job. We spent a day in an old building in the centre of Stockholm trying out the take away sushi and fooling around in front of the cameras. The rest of the shooting didn’t involve us at all but we certainly liked the result. It’s a beautiful little story that director Tobias Nordquist captured very well visually.

RXB: – We got used to the fact that MTV is mostly not about music and videos anymore and the clips are rather watched on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. What do you think is the purpose of a video clip nowadays?
PG: – I think most things you do promowise are made to remind the media and your fans that you’re still alive! If you release new music and don’t do anything, no interviews, no videos or no TV-appearances it’s really hard to cut through that enormous amount of information that surrounds us all. A video might pop up at an airport, department store or getting shared on smartphones. It’s all part of that big puzzle called the entertainment industry.

RXB: – We got very excited when in an earlier interview you mentioned you wrote some songs together with MP now for the first time since long. ”You Can’t Do This to Me Anymore” is now on the album and it’s certainly very different to what we are used to when you 2 put your talents together. Are there any other songs from this set of latest MP cooperations that might see the light of day?
PG: – I don’t know. We’ve written more songs together over the last couple of years but there are no plans of using them for the moment. Time will tell what’s gonna happen to them. MP sometimes got some wonderful and weird musical ideas and I try to glue them together with my humble ambitions. It’s fun. He’s very special. He still drives a very fast Suzuki-bike.

RXB: – You wrote 3 songs together with Addeboy vs. Cliff and they are co-producers on 3 other songs. How did it feel to work with others? You were never really into bringing new people in.
PG: – Well, I’ve changed. I had bumped into AvsC through other projects so I knew their style and what they were capable of. I basically asked them to send me some musical ideas, like sounds and grooves, bass lines and chord progressions, to see if I could make something out of it. And I could. I kept a lot of stuff they made, edited a few things out, added some new parts and wrote melody lines and lyrics. However, none of the songs we wrote together were specifically made for Roxette. They were just collaborations trying things out.
AvsC and me never worked together in the studio. It was all done via the internet. I loved the final result but actually never expected Marie to like it since it was pretty far out. Not quite ”classic” Roxette if you know what I mean. But she really loved some of the songs and so did Chris and Clarence. Off we went and put them on a rocket to Planet Roxette!
The ”Good Karma” track was co-written with AvsC but Chris wanted us to produce it ourselves so he could play some serious power chords in the intro. His guilty pleasure, I guess…. And Clarence added that ”Fading Like A Flower”-inspired keyboard intro. Very nice. Very catchy. Cheers.

RXB: – What’s the difference in the cooperation with Addeboy vs. Cliff between ”The Look” remake in 2015 when they got the basics and had to do something with it and when it was vice versa for ”Good Karma” songs and you asked them to give you baselines?
PG: – Well, the main difference is of course that the songs we wrote together started with them, not me. ”The Look” is my song which they ”interpreted” their own way. We did the same thing with ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”, which was written by MP and me, but the backing track was created by AvsC. And they’ve just finished a fab uptempo version of ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?”. Same thing. A song of mine done in Addeboy vs Cliff-style. It will hopefully be released later this year.

RXB: – The world is changing. You record parts in one studio, others in another and you don’t even have to meet physically to put things together. Isn’t it strange for you to record this way? Don’t you miss the ”personal meeting” touch in each phase?
PG: – It depends on what kind of recording it is. The more technical it gets the less you need lots of people around. It’s always, more or less, only one person who’s doing the job anyway. In Roxette’s case it’s Chris since he’s in charge of the computer and the digital funfair. My (and Clarence’s) job is to guide him through the audio jungle with our taste and our musical suggestions.
Chris has become an amazing tech wizard. Without him and his vast palette of sounds the Good Karma project wouldn’t have sounded as interesting. And he’s become a brilliant mixing engineer as well. He mixes a song, sends me his vision, I change or suggest a few things and might add or take away something, he sends me back an updated version. And we go on and on like that for a few days and nights. When we’re done we send it to Marie and Clarence for their approval. That’s how the Good Karma-album was mixed.
When you make a record like ”Travelling” or anything with Gyllene Tider it’s a different ballgame. Then it’s all about instant communication and ”playing” together. I like both ways. I would love to make a new Mazarin-style album one day but I also know that if I want a really hardcore updated production sound it can’t really be done in that ”organic” way. You have to do everything on the computer. It’s no big deal. I’m glad I enjoy both ways. And have the opportunity to choose.

RXB: – Besides the standard vinyl, there is a limited edition, beautiful, orange coloured LP as well. How many copies of the limited edition vinyls are released?
PG: – I wish I knew but I don’t. A couple of thousand is my guess. It might be less. Or more.

RXB: – There is a poster to this edition and it’s the album cover. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to include a poster on which you and Marie appear instead of the butterfly?
PG: – No, if we thought so we would have done it. We like the butterfly.

RXB: – On the vinyl there is a ghost track after ”April Clouds”. We tried to figure out what it is. Any hints?
PG: – No. Another internal joke.

RXB: – It’s the first time you and Marie don’t appear in any form on the front cover of a studio album. Why?
PG: – We wanted this project to have a symbol that we could use on lots of things. The album sleeve, the tiny stamp-sized pic used on iTunes and Spotify and Amazon etc. On merchandise and upcoming singles. The butterfly-image is beautiful and stands out and can be used in so many varieties. And it fits the music and the title.

RXB: – Now we understand the butterfly artwork, its X shape and the evolution it symbolizes. What is still not clear is the guitar and microphone appearing at a certain body part of poor butterflies. What’s that intended to be?
PG: – It’s up to you to decide.

RXB: – Then there is no instrument on the ”Some Other Summer” cover. Is that a coincidence or maybe you rethought it after reading some comments?
PG: – No. I haven’t even noticed that. Thanks.

RXB: – Warner seem to be enthusiastic about doing promo for Roxette and we are very happy to see all their efforts. How do you see your cooperation with them vs. EMI?
PG: – It’s a totally different market today so it’s really impossible to compare. Warner worldwide is very committed to Roxette and the Good Karma-project. We’re very happy.

RXB: – You say that you would never be able to write e.g. ”Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because you moved on as a songwriter. At the same time, each song on ”Good Karma” has your stamp on them. All the lyrics are Gessleish as usual and the songs have the classic Roxette sound. So it seems your songwriting basics stay the same, but something is changing. How do you see it?
PG: – Yes, it’s like that. I change a lot but I still stay the same. It’s good and bad. I have my trademarks and style which make my songs sound like me. It’s hard to close that door and I’m not sure I want to. The older I get the more I treasure my personality and my way of thinking. My creative challenge is to find new ways to express myself via new sounds and techniques and collaborators and partners. That’s what I’m trying to do.

RXB: – What was the most challenging in improving your own sound for ”Good Karma” and update your style of writing?
PG: – I don’t know. The idea behind the album, to make a quite complex production that’s not intended to be played live, was there from the beginning. I started to write songs with that in mind. And, like I’ve mentioned earlier, working with new collaborators became part of that task.

RXB: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”Good Karma”? Which song do you think someone who doesn’t listen too much to Roxette would definitely listen to by seeing its title?
PG: –”You Make It Sound So Simple” is my favourite title. It makes me curious.

RXB: – There are 2 ”Why don’t you…?” titles on the album. Even if they are different, with one being rather slangy, isn’t it strange to include 2 similar titles on the same album?
PG: – No.

RXB: – You say you are very satisfied with ”Why Dontcha?”, because even if it seems to be so simple, it’s very hard to write such a song. How do you know that a good song was written? Can you feel it from the very beginning once it was written that everyone in the gang will like it?
PG: – Yes, I feel it as go along writing it. If it doesn’t interest me enough I don’t finish it. I throw it on the fire. But that someone else will like it is a different matter. I never know.
I might finish my song, make a simple demo out of it. Then maybe I re-write it and make another demo before I play it to anyone. Every song has gone a long way before it’s presented to the people I work with.

RXB: – Are you impressed by any song on ”Good Karma” to the same extent as any of your biggest hits throughout the years?
PG: – All of them. This album was made at a certain point in our lives and we’ve done the best we could under the circumstances. I’m not the one to compare our new stuff to the old stuff. Every song and recording has its own history and destiny.

RXB: – Knowing the album was planned to be released earlier than this year, have the lyrics of ”This One” ever contained 2015? (”Oh gimme a coin and I will kick off a dream / In 2016”)
PG: – Yes. There are versions with ”2015” somewhere.

RXB: – The music of ”April Clouds” and ”Wish You The Best” is different and you also mentioned that ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” was originally an uptempo song. How does the melody to the same song change in your head?
PG: – I don’t know. I just follow what feels right. If you have a lyric like ”April Clouds”, which mostly were written a long time ago and you make new music to it, the end result will be quite different due to the fact that you’re a different person twenty years later. You interpret the words and the meaning and the vibe differently because you’re older and time has gone by.
Making ballads out of uptempo songs are quite easy. As long as the lyrics are interesting and the melodies are strong you can basically do whatever you want with a song.

RXB: – We know it’s very early since ”Good Karma” is out, but is there anything you would change on the album now?
PG: – I would love to have another go mixing ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”. It’s OK but I know it can be even stronger.

RXB: – Roxette’s live career is (most likely) over for now. There are so many concerts that are lying in the vaults and waiting for a proper release. You mentioned a potential box with all these. Can you please tell us a bit more about what concerts it would include? We hope for Norrköping 88, Borgholm 89, Zurich and Sydney 91, Unplugged 93, Johannesburg 95 and Stockholm 2001 – having them in a bit better quality wouldn’t harm!
PG: – No, I can’t because I don’t know. But you’re right, the first things that should be made available are all those old live VHS-tapes and DVDs that’s not around anymore. The ones you mentioned.

RXB: – Roxette Diaries stopped in ’95. But there is 21 years more of Roxette stories to tell. Any plan to mix ”Soooo-Christoffer” clips and HAND / Room Service footage into one motion picture any time soon?
PG: – No, not for the moment. But I’m sure things will pop up down the road.

RXB: – Because of the tour cancellation, reporters of course asked you about Marie’s health and then many times overdramatized the situation with stupid headlines. It felt like history repeated itself, but you handled it quite well. How is it going with those interviews when you expect they would rather ask about the new album? Can you change the direction of the interview and skip answering questions not related to the album?
PG: – Yes I can if I want to. But most reporters are interested in Marie’s health and our future plans together. I can understand that. It’s not a problem for me. I know how media works.

RXB: – Was the tour photo book originally planned to be published this June already before the tour cancellation? Or if no cancellation, would you have waited until after the tour ending in September?
PG: – The plan was always to have it ready for the summer of 2016.

RXB: – Anders told there were several tens of thousands of photos and he had a hard time choosing only a certain amount to send you to choose from them. How did it work for you?
PG: – I went through hundreds of pics and put a little red dot in front of those I found interesting. I think Marie did the same.

RXB: – Will there be any tour book signing sessions?
PG: – No signing sessions, no.

RXB: – Roxette is celebrating the 30th anniversary this year. We got a new album, we’ll get the tour book. Any vinyl releases of previous studio albums by chance?
PG: – No plans but we might put together something for Record Store Day next year. 31 years is worth celebrating too!

RXB: – You wrote books, you did radio programs, you appeared countless times on TV. Do you fancy some new technological tricks besides Facebook and Twitter? As a part of your artistic exposure in e.g. YouTube videos?
PG: – Sometimes I do. I like new things.

RXB: – Besides music, your wine world is another part the fans are curious about. Are there any plans for some new items in The Per Gessle Selection in the near future?
PG: – Well, the new ”Kurt & Lisa” vintage will be out later this year. The new vintage of ”The Improver”-champagne from Pierre Peters will come early 2017. We’re talking about making a nice Pinot Grigio and also a new red wine from South Africa. Time will tell.

RXB: – Is there any question you would ask from your hardcore fan base now, either related to the new album or anything else?
PG: – Not really. You guys seem to cover most of my universe!

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and good luck with all the new releases and your future projects!
PG: – Thanks very much. More to come, I promise!

 

/Patrícia, Tomasz, Kirsten, Judith, Sascha

Interview with Per Gessle about the new Roxette album

Ruutu (Finland) did a lovely and interesting telephone interview with Per Gessle yesterday. Listen to it HERE! It will play after 1-2 ads.

Per says It Just Happens was one of the first songs they started to work with for the new album. It’s a classic Roxette midtempo song, it’s some sort of a power ballad. They wanted to update their sound while keeping the classic Roxette sound. They decided quite early to bring fresh blood into the production side, so they started working with different producers. Some of them they used, some of them they got rid of very quickly.

The reporter asks Per if It Just Happens is his attitude for life and if he believes in destiny. Per replies most things in life that change you just happen. Like falling in love or situations that take you to different directions. You can’t really plan anything, it just happens. So in the end, he believes there is some sort of destiny.

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Still is from the Warner Music Argentina video

About Good Karma, the title of the new album Per says he had the song, Good Karma. He thinks it’s a positive thing and sums up Roxette’s special history. They had all the success, then came all the disaster when Marie got ill in 2002, then they did their 2009 comeback against all odds.

We want to make a positive statement with this album. There is a certain positiveness around the whole album.

Per says about his personality that he likes to have his antennas out and if there is something attractive to him, he uses it.

Going with the flow is just a great expression of how I live my life. Of course, you have to have your fundamental rules in life, but you have to be open-minded, curious. Especially when you’re getting older and especially in a business like the music business. It’s crucial to be aware of what’s going on, listen to new stuff. Otherwise everything is going to be the same and the same and the same and the same and I hate that, you know.

The reporter asks Mr. G if he still gets excited or even nervous when they release new stuff. Per says he doesn’t really get nervous, but he is always very curious about the reception. He is very much aware of the music industry. They still work in the Top40 format and it’s almost impossible for bands and artists like them being that old to get across, because pop music is always about today. It’s music for younger people. At the same time he finds it challenging to improve their sound or update his style of writing. He is not the one who can judge the end result.

Sometimes I say to myself, hey Per, you’re only just beginning. Everything is in front of you. And I think it’s a great attitude. I think it works.

According to Mr. G, the worst thing you can do is to close the door to new technology, new sounds. There is so much going on in the art world, not only in music, but photography, television, movies and social media for that matter that wasn’t on when he was a kid.

I thinks it’s crucial to be part of today and not only to be part of yesterday, because you’re getting old.

They talk about playing in Jyväskylä, Finland on 18th June and the reporter asks Per if he has any special memories from Finland or the Finnish audience. It’s always been great concerts there, so they are really looking forward to play at this place which he count pronounce. He asked just bring the sunshine for the outdoor show.

Thanks, Ruutu for the great interview!

Video to the new Roxette single

As you could read in our article this morning, Per starts a radio podcast on 24th March. A great chance to practice your Swedish by listening to 2 nerds chatting about music.

Today Per visited Swedish Radio P4 Halland and talked about the podcast. In the short interview he also mentioned that he is busy with other things as well. Besides that he started his own record label Space Station 12, there are also a lot of things happening around Roxette. The new album is out in summer, the single is out in April and he confirmed there will be a video to the single which they are shooting next week. Too cool!

Another interesting thing Mr. G mentioned is that they are playing 18 shows in Europe this summer. We know about 14 dates so far, so there are at least 4 more to come. Sounds promising!

Listen to Per HERE!

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Interview with Marie on TV4

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An interview with Marie and Helena von Zweigbergk was broadcasted on TV4 Nyhetsmorgon today.

Marie and Helena were interviewed by Jesper Börjesson earlier this week. Both Jesper and MF FB page shared teaser pictures from the interview.

In the interview Marie and Helena explained about the process of writing the book, and that she hopes the book helps people who are going through a hard time / cancer. Because there is hope and it’s possible to make it. She also explains that she is thankful she survived and that deep inside she knew she would.

Marie also explains about her childhood and the  funeral of her sister as one of the strongest memories from her childhood.

She also thanks her fans for the prayer chain and the list of names which reached her at one of the worst moments in her sickness. It is very important for her and she wanted it to be in the book as a way to thank her fans.

The touching lovely interview can be seen here.

East Coast Radio chats with Per Gessle

Yet another South African interview with Per Gessle has been made available online. Listen to it HERE. This one is done by East Coast Radio and it’s 6m 25s long. The content is very similar to the other SA radio interview, but there are some fun additions, like PG’s thoughts about Justin Bieber and the content of the family fridge.

To the question what’s happening in Sweden right now Per replied it’s pretty dark and people are preparing for the Christmas season and it’s raining on the Swedish West Coast.

The radio host mentions he knows Mr. G loves South Africa as he has been there a couple of times. Per says he has been there privately as well a few times with his family. They have friends just outside Cape Town. They enjoy the weather, the nice wines, the food and the people. He thinks it’s pleasant to be in South Africa and it’s great to perform there.

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Still is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

To the question what the secret behind Roxette’s 30 years of success is Mr. G replied he doesn’t know. They were lucky when they had their breakthrough in the late 80’s and that kept going. He says in the end it’s people’s choice and the Roxette fans have always been very active and a big part of the shows, a big part of everything. It’s just great to be able to continue doing this.

When Per is asked which song he likes the most when they perform, he says The Look is pretty cool and it’s always fun to perform. But also the big ballads, because Marie is a fantastic singer. She made all those songs into monster songs. Per says it’s a blessing to be part of all this, having all these crowds loving what they do and they sing along, they know the lyrics to every song.

Regarding what he is doing backstage while he is waiting to perform and if there is a ritual, he says the band, Marie and he get together and talk through things what’s going to happen. Then he goes back to his dressing room to focus. He also talks about them being an organic band and that they play 100% live.

The host had a funny question. He asks Per what one can find in his fridge right now. Per replies he was away for a week and he doesn’t really know, but he says he can guess there is some classic Swedish stuff like Swedish meatballs, because his family loves Swedish meatballs.

The producer asked Per to be honest and tell if he likes Justin Bieber. Mr. G hesitated a bit then he replied he can’t really answer that, because he doesn’t really know him that much. But he really likes some of his productions whoever the producer is behind them. He does have a few JB songs on his playlist on Spotify.

The host asked Per if Gabriel listens to Roxette. Per says he tried to make him listen to Roxette, but he probably doesn’t have Roxette on his playlist. He knows Gabbe likes Real Sugar. He is really open-minded to everything though, being an 18-year-old. He is listening to Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan, he also listens to Justin Bieber, but also Motörhead.

 

Per Gessle interview by Bok Radio, South Africa

As Per mentioned on Facebook, he was busy with some South African interviews yesterday. We are now glad to share one of them with you. Heinrich du Plooy from Bok Radio interviewed Mr. G on the occasion of Roxette’s comeback to South Africa next year. Huge thanks to Wynand van Heerden, you can listen to the complete, almost 20-minute-long interview by clicking HERE.

The program starts with The Look and The Big L., then it’s fun to hear some lines from our RoxBlog article about the announcement of the South African leg of the XXX tour. At the beginning of the interview it turns out it’s still tough to pronounce Per’s surname. Haha. An evergreen issue.

Per was in Sweden, when he answered the questions, but he says it feels like being in London instead of the Swedish West Coast, because it’s just raining over there now.

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Screenshot is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

To the question how it feels being back on stage and touring again Per replied it feels really cool and they are happy to be back in South Africa soon. He states they are on this tour since autumn 2014 and that being on their 30th anniversary tour means they are getting very old. He says it’s a blessing and he is proud of what they have achieved so far.

Heinrich asked Per how they decide on which songs to put on the setlist. Mr. G replied it’s an anniversary tour, so they basically play their greatest hits. There are some changes in the arrangements though, because of the shows being 100% live.

Regarding any funny situation that happened to Per or Marie on stage Per says the hardest thing when you’re touring so much is that you don’t really know where you are. It can be embarrassing if you say a different city versus where you play actually, so Micke N-S started taping the city where they play in front of Per’s mic stand, not to screw it up. He also talks about messing up the lyrics and that fans know the lyrics much better than they do.

Bok Radio asks if they are more relaxed now after 30 years of their career, if they are still nervous when they go on stage or if they have a different approach when they go to the studio. Per says he is not nervous, rather focused. Before every show he locks himself into the dressing room and goes through the setlist, thinks about what he should talk about on stage if something happened during the day.

Per talks about the fact that songwriting is the No 1 thing for him and it feels like he has just started. He is very curious and is interested in pop music as a whole. He wants to try things out, so he worked with different writers and producers, he worked with David Guetta and young Swedish writers and producers just to see how people work. He mentions that a month ago he started his own record label to work with young artists.

Per’s reply to the question if he still considers Marie and himself as the dream team:

Yeah! I think Marie is a wonderful person to work with. I think one of the reasons why I’ve been so successful with my songs, my material is that I’ve been able to pick people who make my songs even better than they are. If you know what I mean. It goes for the producers and also it definitely goes for Marie. You know the songs like Listen To Your Heart or It Must Have Been Love or Queen Of Rain, all those fantastic ballads that she’s been doing over the years. She just makes those songs more… you know, it’s the way she sings them. I’ve been really blessed working with talents like she. And also of course we’ve been very very good friends since we were in our teens almost. So it’s been a long ride together. She’s just a darling!

They also talk about The Look that it was written for Marie, but she didn’t feel comfortable with it, because she wants big melodies and it’s just two tones, which is rather Per’s range.

Shortly they talk about Marie’s illness and comeback. Per explains how strong Marie is and says the fans were really really wonderful and he thinks what kept Marie going was the love and affection from the fans.

Heinrich quotes some lines from different London reviews of the sold-out O2 show at the end of the interview and Per says it feels amazing to hear that. He talks about the fantastic band, the active crowds, the great catalogue of songs and that with all this they can never go wrong. It’s a blessing to be part of this.

 

Is it time for a Roxette musical?

Hallandsposten (Jan-Owe Wikström) did an interview with Per in relation to the Roxette concert in Halmstad tomorrow. It’s going to be the 6th time they play in Halmstad. After 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994 and 2010 tomorrow it’s time for them to play again in the band’s hometown. It will be their first time at Örjans vall though.

According to the interview, the tour will continue in 2016, however, nothing is planned after the September concert (company gig) in Warsaw. Per says since they turn 30 next year, the tour should last until then and they haven’t played South Africa, Asia, North America and South America yet on this tour. At the same time it is Marie’s health they are depending on, how much she can do.

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Screenshot is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

Regarding the tour Per mentions it’s quite typical nowadays that as no artist can earn money on album sales, they go on tour. When Roxette played in Madrid, there were posters from Katy Perry via Mark Knopfler till the Foo Fighters. Since there is this big competition, he says it’s fantastic that they still have sold out shows and can sell 8000-18000 tickets per concert. In Halmstad there will be approximately 15000 people in the audience. The plan for the 5 concerts in Sweden was to sell 50000 tickets altogether and it seems it will work.

Per tells Jan-Owe the tour is one of the reasons why the new album is delayed. The other reason is the EMI – Warner merger. There are too many new people and Per wants to work with people he likes and who respect their history and the new songs. 5 songs off the new album are ready and as Per says, it is 65-70% of the total album. This would mean the album has 8 songs? Hm.

With Addeboy vs. Cliff, who mixed the 2015 remake of The Look, Per wrote some songs together. He says to Hallandsposten that it’s hard to find people who are talented in what he is not too good at, ie. programming.

There are still unknown collaborations on the new album, but Per told Hallandsposten he and Mats MP Persson wrote some songs together now for the first time since long and they might turn up on the new album. Mr. G says he would never be able to write “Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because he has moved on as a songwriter.

Regarding the changes in music consumption Per says nowadays it’s less important to people who wrote the songs or who plays the drums. Today’s pop music reflects the society today, so most of it is made on laptops where everything can be fixed in the end.

This time he says again that social media is a unique way to get close to the fans.

Jan-Owe Wikström asked Per what is left to do after that he has done almost everything with Roxette, Gyllene Tider, his solo projects and soundtrack. Maybe a musical? Per can imagine that there could be a musical built on Roxette’s, Gyllene Tider’s hits or his solo songs just like ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and the Queen musical, but only if the right way is found. Something new. Maybe with Jonas Åkerlund as a director.

From the Hallandsposten interview it turns out that Per is still writing his diaries after each show, so it’s not only the Facebook posts he writes about them. And they film a lot. Probably, a lot more than what we get to see after each gig on Facebook.

20 tour dates for 2016?

Per says in the Kappahl interview that the plan is to go on with the tour until 2016 (asDSC00278 he already mentioned many times before, and that would be the meaning behind the whole XXX tour, as Roxette turns 30 in 2016!).

Now he revealed that Roxette plans to do about 80 dates until 2016. If you count the dates until Drammen (Norway) on August 22, that makes up to 61 dates. Which means about 20 would be left to be announced / planned. And this raises lots of questions:

Will these dates be in 2016 only? Will there be more in 2015? Where will it take Roxette to? South Africa? South America? North America? Some more Europe / Sweden to celebrate the 30th anniversary “home”? Lots of questions for our never-resting minds!

What we know for sure is that fans are longing to see more of Roxette live, both those who have been to (many) shows since the tour started and those who haven’t seen Roxette since at least 2012. And that The Look 2015 is awesome. And that we cannot wait until the new album is out! And that we already need the tour dates for 2016.

New Per Gessle interview from Hungary

During the past months many interviews with Per popped up in several countries. Anyone in for a little Hungarian this time? Piece of cake. OK, if you’d like to skip the lesson, just read the summary in English below.

Lángoló Gitárok is a well-known Hungarian music blog. Ádám Magyar, one of the LG bloggers did a quite nice interview with Mr G, having some interesting questions to him. There is nothing really new for a hardcore Roxer in it, but still, I’m always happy to read anything Rox-related in Hungarian newspapers or on websites. And yeah, I could read about / listen to Per’s thoughts and views on music 24/7. I know there are many more out there sharing this feeling. 😉

rox_int_langolo_gitarokIn the interview, to the question what motivates him being constantly on stage Per replied he’s not constantly on stage, but is constantly working. He writes, re-writes and re-re-writes songs, planning or he’s just in the studio. Touring is another part of the creative work, but he really likes it, because it feels wonderful to stand on stage in front of tons of people who love what they’re doing.

To the question what inspires him when writing songs he replied writing songs is just natural for him, since he started writing already as a teenager. He could not live without writing, it’s an important part of his personality. Per is writing constantly, but it doesn’t mean he finishes all the songs or that the audience will get to hear all of his songs.

Per says today’s mainstream pop music is very one-sided and he blames it on the major record companies and radio stations. He thinks it’s much easier to follow in the footsteps of an already successful production than to do something fresh and innovative. His favorite songwriters are those who still try to move out of the ordinary frames, while writing great melodies and doing interesting albums. He says he loves well-written songs.

Of current music trends Per says sometimes things don’t come through, because he thinks those songs don’t speak to him. But that’s just the way it should be. Pop music should always reflect the actual era and so it does.

To Lángoló Gitárok‘s question, if he ever recognized the impact of Roxette on today’s music Per replied he is not used to think about it at all. Music works like you hear something, you find inspiration in it and then write something new.

Lángoló Gitárok asked Per what kind of music he is listening to nowadays. He says he is listening to different kinds of music. He returns to Joni Mitchell or 70’s pop songs quite often, but he also likes new stuff, such as Lana Del Rey, Röyksopp, José González, Nine Inch Nails and Daft Punk. He finds French bands usually very good. But according to Per, there are good songs of Katy Perry, Tove Lo or Ellie Goulding, too.

To the question what he thinks of the future of music Per replied pop and rock music have changed a lot in his life. When he was a child, music played a huge role in their daily lives, but today there is much more competition in the entertainment business. There is the internet, the fantastic computer games, etc.

The point is that the possibilities are endless and this is a huge difference compared to earlier times. Sometimes I feel that the role of music in everyday life in today’s society is not as dominant as it was decades ago. On the other hand, more people listen to music today than ever before, and it‘s amazing how much easier it is to access music. Of course, pop and rock music will live on, but who knows what role they will play in the future.

Per talks about his great memories from the tours. He says they are very lucky and grateful that they could attract so many people to their shows all around the world over the years.

To the question when he thinks he will retire from music he replied:

There are no such plans, as it has just started for me.

When asked about his free time, Per mentions he likes car sports, especially F1. He talks about his hotel being also an entertaining thing to deal with. He tells he’s interested in architecture and art in general.

But actually, I’m an incredibly boring person. I spend 99% of my time with my family and music.

Regarding travelling Per says he loves Europe and when he’s travelling he feels really European. Australia is a very good place, especially Melbourne. Brazil and Argentina are also super. His favorite cities are probably New York and London, he has a lot of his friends living there.

Lángoló Gitárok asked Per whether Chris plays local songs also in other countries or it was only Hungary where he played a local tune (Tavaszi szél) in 2011. Per explains Christoffer plays some local tunes every night. He says Chris is a great musician and learns extremely fast. He’d never be able to do what Professor Lundquist is doing.

Per mentions he was in Budapest only a couple of times so far and they only came to play here, but he saw that Budapest is a beautiful city and of course, he is excited to be there again.

Regarding the new album Per says it will be out in autumn and that they plan to make a classic Roxette album, but at the same time they want it to sound fresh.

Regarding further plans for the future Per says he will follow his gut feeling.

Thanx a lot for this interview, Lángoló Gitárok!

Roxette plays in Budapest 19th May. Tickets are selling very well, but there are still some available HERE.

Roxette on German TVs

When Per was in Berlin, he got interviewed by the press, also by German TVs. The RTL stuff was rather a joke with a less than 1-minute-long coverage, even misspelling Per’s name, but Das Erste did it oh so right. You can watch 2 videos online, 6 minutes altogether. You can choose if you want to watch it with Per’s original voice in English or the one with German overdubbing. Among other things, Per talks about the last 30 years, if it was better in the ’80s than now, The Look, their brother and sister relationship with Marie and Marie’s illness, as well as how Marie is doing now and that he thinks it’s the leg thing what bothers Marie the most these days. Ms Effe was doing photo sessions in Stockholm for her upcoming book while Per was in Berlin. He also tells Party Crasher would have probably been a Roxette album if he knew Marie would come back. To the question if he sings along when he hears a Roxette song on the radio he said he just turns up the volume to hear how it sounds in the car, but doesn’t sing along.

This was a lovely interview with him with great questions and even more interesting answers. Check it by clicking HERE. It’s really worth watching! There was a report broadcast on TV /Das Erste/ (different vs. what you can find in the mediathek). Check this one, too.

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Screenshot is from the Das Erste interview

Thanx to all the German Roxers who kept an eye on their TV sets!

 

Update on 20th March: There is one more video interview with Per at Süddeutsche.de. Overdubbed, but still lovely. Watch it by clicking HERE.

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Screenshot is from the Süddeutsche.de interview

 

Vox.de shows the RTL report with correct spelling of Per’s name and in a slightly longer version.

Per Gessle on Swedish Radio about Kaj Kindvall

As we already informed you about it in an earlier article, Per could be heard on Swedish Radio P4 today.

During the first half an hour of the program Kajs spellista, Kaj Kindvall played some songs from the past he thinks still sound good today. Then came the interviews with several listeners, artists and colleagues. The interviews were done by Micke Cederberg who met Per for recording his thoughts on 6th December.

In the 2-minute-long interview with PG (starting at 1:05:19 at THIS link) he talked about his memories related to Kaj Kindvall and his programs and mentioned Kaj always had a significant role in his life as a radio host. At the time Per became an artist, Kaj was the host of Poporama (1974-1984), a radio program that was very important in Gyllene Tider’s history. Per talks about the story we could read I think in Att vara Per Gessle and could also hear it in older interviews that they, the guys from Gyllene Tider and their friends sent a lot of postcards to Kaj to ask him to play Flickorna på TV2 on the show. The only “mistake” they made was that all the postcards were sent from Halmstad, what Kaj saw and mentioned it on the radio, too. But they succeeded with that action after all. There is even a short cut of a call from those times when Kaj talks to Per on the phone about the song. Funny.

Per says Kaj’s other program, Tracks (1984-2011) also meant a lot to him as a solo artist, but also to Gyllene Tider and Roxette. Mr G mentions that Kaj has a really good radio voice that one can recognize immediately and he is a great host and one couldn’t miss any of his programs. Per wished him a nice life after retiring and not to forget to clean the dust off the gramophone every now and then.

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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. 😉

 

New Roxette material in 2015

The news regarding the BMI London Awards reached Musikindustrin.se. They asked Per about the gala, The Per Gessle Archives, his books and Roxette.

About the gala Per said it was a lighthearted event with the usual red carpet-walking and quick TV interviews where the subjects changed between Marie’s brain tumor and Miley Cyrus’s tongue. He tells the award for this year’s song, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky was well deserved. Getting 2 awards, one together with MP for more than 5 million plays of Listen To Your Heart and one for more than 5 million plays of It Must Have Been Love among other, much older songs with the same amount of airplays was good for the ego, Per says. But all other 5 million-air songs are fantastic.

Regarding the book fair in Gothenburg he says whenever he / they do an official appearance, The International Hardcore Fans always turn up.

It’s always nice, they are really wonderful supporters from around the world who are there for better or worse. So the book fair was a very happy event for me. Lots of people and good atmosphere.

And now some news for all those who don’t fancy the idea of another greatest hits album. Per confirms again:

Roxette has been in the studio and finished a bunch of singles that will be released next year. We also aim to put together a brand new album in 2015, but right now we are concentrating on the “XXX – The 30th Anniversary Tour” starting October 28 in Vladivostok. It ends, as it looks now, the summer of 2016. I believe my passport expires then.

roxette