Interview with Micke Syd: “It’s the way we deliver the songs and the communication with you that create this good vibe, I think it’s very unique.”

We met Micke Syd in a café in Södermalm, one of the nicest districts of Stockholm, the Monday after the Stockholm concert. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days, but still allowed us to sit outside for “fika”, the Swedish word for “drinking coffee”. After a bit of chit-chat about our stay in Stockholm, travelling here and there to go to concerts and how Micke Syd is feeling today (“better today, yesterday I was totally KO!” he told us) we started with our interview.

Judith: So let’s start with some background. How did you get into music and when did you start playing drums?
Micke: I think I’ve always wanted to play drums. I remember when I was 5 or 6 and my parents had parties at home and played music and danced, I had a metallic ashtray and I played with knitting needles on it, just for myself, following the rhythm of the music. I don’t know why! (says with a smile). Then I got a drum kit for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, so I learnt to play myself. When I was in 9th grade I had some music lessons for some months but I learnt the rest myself. Then I started to play with Anders and a friend named Martin and the rest you know.

J: and did you have any favourite drummer or inspiration?Micke Syd 2
M: I think I had when I was younger; I always liked all those good drummers who had a personal sound when they play. A beat is a beat, but there must be that special something.
The thing is, you can be technically very good and fast but that doesn’t mean that it’s good.  So, of course, Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts were some of my inspirations. When you hear them play, just one beat, you know it’s them playing, it’s their personality coming through the drum sticks.

J: I think there are just a few drummers you can put in that category, I just got into Bruce Springsteen lately. I sometimes like to concentrate on an instrument when listening to an album, mostly it’s the drums or guitar. So I am amazed the way Max Weinberg plays.
M: Max Weinberg is fantastic. The feeling you get from him is very strong and precise. Love it.

J: It reminds me in a way you play, very much defined strong beats, very fast and catchy as well. And that’s one of the things I love about Gyllene Tider. You hear the difference if you are not playing the drums. You have a very much defined strong beat and you totally miss it when somebody else plays GT songs.
M: Thank you! I think this is the biggest thing with us in Gyllene, we have a totally own sound. All the 5 of us need to be there for this special thing to happen. And the fact that you hear when it’s me playing is the key. It comes with age, I know that I am never gonna be playing faster than *beep*, but I know that I can play ME.  Like MP plays himself, or Anders and Göran and Per. And that is the formula that makes us so special. It’s important to know who I am when I play. And what happens with me and the others in the band. And this is the kind of drummers I like and what I like to hear in other bands too. I am rather old now so I don’t listen to songs that way anymore, but sometimes you just have to. Like for instance, Paul McCartney’s drummer – have you seen him live?

J: Yes, just a month ago!
M: that is great to hear. Did you notice the drummer? Abe Laboriel Jr. His father is a legendary bass player; you can check him on Youtube. Abe Jr. is a huge guy, he also sings and has a very soulful voice and he plays fantastic drums. We could do the same beat on the same drums and it would sound totally different. Just because of the way we do this. And that’s all about music. Find who you are and play the best you can.

J: How did you create the drum parts for the new songs? I understood that Per sent you the demos, which are basically guitar and some keyboard, and that’s all. Was it on the fly in the studio or did you prepare yourself?
M: that’s one thing that was so magical about “Dags att tänka på refrängen” and the difference to when we did “Finn fem fel”. Per had written like he always does, on guitar and him singing, maybe some rhythm pattern or keyboard. He sent the songs bit by bit in spring I think, and I decided for myself to just listen to the songs once this. Sometimes when you listen to them more often, you listen to the chords, you may think ‘I have heard it before’, and you get a wrong input or idea about the song. Then you also start to think how you will play things. So I just listened to them once and left them. I think that one of the best things with us is that when we are together things just happen, we just do it. Of course, I have my box of fills and my beats and rhythm, you will probably hear the same or similar on more than one song. But it’s my way of doing it. So this time we just played.

J: And it worked out amazingly, because the album is great and you really seemed to have fun, some songs sound even like having been recorded live.
M: I think one of the good things was that we started out with “Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” because it’s a very powerful song and because we had already played it 32 years ago, but we still remembered it. Now when we rehearsed we even did songs from the EP “M”, like “M” which we never played back then, so we just said ‘let’s see if we can play it’ and we could. So songs are somewhere here in the brain, and when we get together it all comes back.

J: So what happened after “Det blir aldrig…”
M: We recorded this song in two or three takes and that was the beginning of the creative thing going. The first day we did a lot of takes, everything went so fast we didn’t even have time to think and I think that was the good thing, we simply played.

And many times what we played then became the arrangements, so you could say that we did the arrangements for the songs in real-time. And when you do that, often the stuff that comes out is amazing and the way it should be.

And for me this is very important too, I have to keep the tempo, I have to know what is happening to put the beats and the fills so it melts with the rest, so I like when it’s flowing, it shouldn’t stop, it should be like a dance. The parts between the verse and the chorus should be together with some nice … something. So when we do it like this, that fast, it just happens, this is nothing you can talk about. And it’s so special to be in a band where we have such a communication that is not verbal, it’s totally something else.

Read moreInterview with Micke Syd: “It’s the way we deliver the songs and the communication with you that create this good vibe, I think it’s very unique.”

Motivation is what drives Per Gessle

Hallandsposten made a long and interesting interview with Per in the garden of his house in Sandhamn. From the interview it turns out that Halmstad is the place where Per can get energy. He also mentions that Åsa is the best wife in the world and Gabriel is as interested in computer games as he was in The Beatles and all other music at the same age as now Gabriel is.

According to the article, first it was the answering machine, then the tape recorder and mini-disc, but today Per Gessle‘s most important “instrument” to record and collect his ideas is his iPhone. Later he is saving all his files to computer, too. Per’s mobile is full of cryptic names of draft files that later might become hits. The working name of e.g. Singel was ”Apelsin” (= Orange – this word appears in the lyrics). Talking about hits, there are more than 1000 Gessle songs registered at Stim (International Music Agency of Swedish Composers).

As Per says to Hallandsposten, in terms of percentage, the lyrics take much more time to write than music. It’s often verses, quotes or events he’s picking. For example, ”Tiden är en dåre med banjo” (= Time is a fool with a banjo) is a Charles Bukowski quote.

Regarding ”Anders och Mickes första band” Per says:

It was my way of showing that we are five in Gyllene Tider, not just me.

 

Of course, we all know Per likes playing with words, he’s creating awesome rhymes. He says to Hallandsposten that ”Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” is about disappointment and with the rhymes ”Du kunde knappast knäppa knappar och knyta knutar på en och samma gång – du stod på fyllan bakom hyllan som en Bob Dylan väntande på varm buljong” he could express exactly what he wanted.

Hallandsposten writes it was 37 years ago when Per got his first ever fan mail – from Katarina. He remembers the letter clearly and says if he writes a song he thinks is good and then anyone else likes it too, he’s proud. He says he always wanted to succeed with his art, so today he feels that there is nothing left to prove. Therefore, being No. 1 on the charts or commercial success are not that important anymore.

To Hallandsposten’s question regarding what is driving Per, he replied:

Motivation. If I would lose it, no more melodies or chords would come to my mind. I wouldn’t be so open to ideas and wouldn’t take down what is out there.

 

Hallandsposten also asked how Mr. G can manage all the things he is doing at the same time: music, hotel, wine and even handling several social media sites. Per says:

If it wasn’t me doing it, then someone else would. And then I still should check it. So why not doing it myself? After all, it’s fun.

 

 

Per Gessle_Hallandsposten_photo_by_Jari_Valitalo

 

Original article © Hallandsposten; GT photo © Jari Välitalo

Celestte Williams contributed to the article.

 

Marie Fredriksson in ”Tack för musiken”

It’s nice to hear so many news about Ms Effe being very active nowadays. Today it has been announced that Marie will appear in Niklas Strömstedt’s ”Tack för musiken” (= Thanks for the music) show.

The show provides an exclusive and unique picture of Sweden’s most famous artists. Niklas and his guests are talking about music, memories, anecdotes from the artists’ career and also singing songs during the program that is recorded in Maximteatern, Stockholm. Other famous guests related to the participating artists are also attending the show, so we might see Per in the part with Marie as well.

The third season of this program starts in December on SVT, but recordings with Marie are on 27th August.

If you want to be in the audience, apply for tickets asap by sending an e-mail to Joanna Nilsson (Audience Manager): tackformusiken@titan.se. Provide your name, phone number, e-mail address, number of tickets you need and the name of the artist you want to see. Tickets cost only 70 SEK, payable in cash at the entrance. Who comes first is served first!

 

Marie_Fredriksson

 

 

Gyllene Tider’s Parkliv today

SVT1 broadcasted a 55-minute-long Gyllene Tider nostalgia trip at 22:00 CET on 6th June. The documentary – Gyllene Tider’s Parkliv today – was teased as you can watch Parkliv (1981) ”together” with the guys and it indeed felt like watching the old docu together with them. They were sitting in a studio and while they were chatting with each other and with Annika Jankell, Parkliv was on in the background. They were watching it on a screen in the studio and it also appeared in the corner of the TV to make it possible for all viewers watching it at the same time. Unfortunately, the documentary is only available in Sweden. Click here for watching it.

 

GT_Parkliv_idag_01_

 

The whole docu is very cosy. Everyone is chatting, drinking water or wine, eating crackers and laughing a lot. The guys are joking with each other about how they looked like back in 1981, how Per was singing, how Micke Syd was playing the drums, etc. They are humming some tunes and playing air guitar and air drums while watching Parkliv. The make-up girl comes in every now and then and is adjusting make-ups (not only Per’s).

 

GT_Parkliv_idag_02

 

The guys are telling anecdotes like the story of Per saying the phone number of Micke Syd’s mother’s hair salon in Parkliv (where there is a long beep), but girls read Per’s lips, so they were calling the saloon all the time and drove Micke Syd’s mother crazy with that.

Looking at the 1981 crowd Micke Syd is inviting you, guys and girls, who can see yourselves in Parkliv to post them a photo on Gyllene Tider’s Facebook site.

Annika is also trying to make a comparison between the girls falling for Gyllene Tider and the ones falling for e.g. One Direction or Justin Bieber. Interesting topic, but c’mon! Where will these latter boys be in 30 years…? 😉

 

GT_Parkliv_idag_03

 

© All screenshots are from the documentary

“Gyllene Tider’s Parkliv today” is broadcasted again at 13:55 CET and 01:05 CET, 9th June on SVT1.

 

Thanx for the cooperation to Celestte Williams.

 

1.5-hour-long interview with Per Gessle

Kristoffer Triumf (Värvet) made a long long long long long interview with Per on 30th April, 2013. This is 100% interview, containing no music in between. Värvet, an amateur radio channel is known for making such interesting interviews with popular Swedish people, talking about their working life and being human. It’s in Swedish, but one has to get used to it: if you’re a fan of Roxette / PG / Ms Effe / GT, you have to practice your Swedish every now and then.

Click here for the interview. You can even download it.

Per is talking about everything from how he’s writing songs, what kind of music he is listening to via the Roxette tour, Gyllene Tider’s new album to how he’s managing all the social media sites and what he’s sharing there (song of the day, videos he makes in the studio with his iPhone, old video clips, etc.). There are some thoughts about how music and ”artists” have changed during the past years.

We also get to know that Per is walking 8-9 km in 1 hour 15 minutes each morning and probably that’s why he’s so fit. When he’s on holiday or when on tour, he’s visiting the gym. He tells he weighed himself before and after a gig and lost 2.5kg during one concert. He’s also talking about how much time he’s spending with his appearance.

Kristoffer asked him if he’s a feminist. Per asked back what it means. Kristoffer explained and Per said he is. They are also talking about how eccentric Per is and what eccentric means at all.

Per says Knallpulver (the only instrumental song on Gyllene Tider’s new album, Dags att tänka på refrängen) was inspired by a garage band. Then he made the demo in his hotel room in Curitiba.

We already heard it in some interviews, but he said it again regarding how to choose singles that he’s not too good at it. He didn’t really believe in Wish I Could Fly, for example. He finds it exciting to see why people like certain songs, so on Facebook he’s asking questions about which songs fans like and why.

Per, as a fan is also telling 2 anecdotes of meeting Tom Petty.

He’s talking about his childhood, tells no one knew how to pronounce ”Gessle” correctly – his grandfather’s name was Johansson and his father changed it to Gessle.

They are talking about how much of a businessman he is and how much he is involved in the daily operation of Hotel Tylösand. Per has 7 cars now and is not using public transportation (bus or subway) in Sweden (surprise, surprise…).

Kristoffer asked Per who he thinks Kristoffer should make an interview with. Per suggested Marie. So, we hope for a Marie Fredriksson interview on Värvet.

After the interview Mr. G went home for lunch, eating char (röding -> fish) with his family.

VARVET_61_Per Gessle 1 by Kristoffer Triumf.jpg  VARVET_61_Per Gessle 2 by Kristoffer Triumf

Per in the studio (a smile would have been nice 😉 )           Per leaving the studio after the interview

Pics by © Kristoffer Triumf

 

 

Gyllene Tider report on TV4

Jesper Börjesson, TV4’s reporter visited Gyllene Tider in Tylösand, Halmstad on 10th April. They were talking shortly about Gyllene Tider’s history, their regular lives and this summer. The report includes screens mainly inside Hotel Tylösand, parts of Parkliv 1981 and parts of Man blir yr video. You can see some pages of Jesper’s Gyllene Tider scetchbook as well from 1981. Nice report, but just like the new album – Dags att tänka på refrängen – it was too short.

You can watch the report if you click here.

GT_TV4_27042013

 

Brazilian Q&A with Roxette team

Brazilian fan page www.roxettebrasil.net has done 11 Q&A sessions with people working with/for/as Roxette during the World Tour – including Marie Fredriksson, Dea Norberg, Calle Brattberg, Danne Persson, Peter Fredriksson, Jakob Johnzen, Anders Molund, Mikael Svensson, Tumppi Haaranen, Sven Lindstrom (who took his time to answer those question not as others ;-), Ulf Brynte and last but certainly not least – Bo Johansson.

If you had problems with remembering who did what during the tour (expect Marie and Per singing), so this guide will take you through all other people that need to be remembered. And for those who didn’t know – Marie reveals who “Moje” is.

Long and touching article about Roxette on DN

This is an article you cannot miss to read!

If you don’t speak Swedish, try using Google Translator. It’s really worth the reading. And have a tissue at hand, for the tears.

The reporter met Roxette in South America and writes about the tour, Marie’s story, Marie and Mikael, how Per and Marie met, Roxette’s past and present and fans. With comments from the band members, Marie Dimberg and Mikael.

 

 

Per: “I start packing very late”

The German Abendzeitung München interviewed Per Gessle about “Travelling” – not the album, but indeed travelling. The questions are quite interesting (and so are his answers) so we decided to give you a short translation.

Per Gessle, you are in sunny Stockholm right now. How long?

Per: Not very long. Very soon I leave to my other house on the west coast of Sweden and meet my mother and my brother. We will be together during Easter. Then I am off to South America. For five weeks.

And where have you been the first three months of 2012?

Per: It was an exciting year until now. We have been to Australia. In Southeast Asia. In China. We have never played in Shanghai before. Now I also look forward to South America, although we have been there last year already. But this time we are going to different places. Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Brasil.

How do you cope with a jetlag?

Per: Good question! You never really get used to the different time zones. It’s not a problem to perform, that’s not exhausting. It’s the opposite. It gives me a lot of energy. It’s travelling, that’s exhausting. The airports, waiting all the time, the long flights and that your inner clock is confused all the time. Australia is 10 hours ahead, in Southeast Asia it’s still seven. That’s much. You need several weeks to get used to that. And now it’s the opposite direction. But hey – that’s life. And it’s fantastic. I can’t really complain.

So you don’t know any tricks to cope with tiredness?

Per: You have to listen to your body. You need your sleep. Especially, when you have to go on stage. Then you really have to be in good shape. I hate medicine. That’s why I never take any sleeping pills on long flights. During the last tour I just slept and ignored all those tips, that you have to stay awake until a certain moment.

What’s happening with you when you’re travelling? How does it change you as a human being?

Per: The world ist damn huge and there’s a variety out there which is just unbelievable. If you come from Shanghai to Stockholm you wonder where all the people are. But if you come from a small town like Halmstad, where I was born, to Stockholm, this town feels too big. Travelling changes your perspective. People around the world have different attitudes and opinions. In China and Scandinavia the politics are completely different. Or compare Lima in Peru with Hongkong? You have to learn how big the world is. And when I travel a lot I really appreciate Sweden a lot more. It’s very clean here, the air isn’t polluted. And then there’s the climate. Well, yes. Not really. Only from May to October. These months are really wonderful. Then there’s a west wind in my hometown, you feel the salt of the sea. Winter is big joke here. So I don’t really care when I am travelling in January.

You like the weather in Sweden?

Per: Not really. Only from May to October. These months are really wonderful. Then there’s a west wind in my hometown, you feel the salt of the sea. Winter is big joke here. So I don’t really care when I am travelling in January.

Where do you sleep best?

Per: At home, of course. We always sleep in great hotels. But they are never as good as the bed at home. In hotels you sometimes wake up and ask yourself where you are, where the bathroom is. I can’t sleep in planes. I don’t really like flying. It’s not that I am afraid, but I don’t feel very well being up in the air.

What do you do in the plane when you can’t sleep?

Per: The plane is a good place to read. At home I barely have time for that. But in the plane I always have books with me. At the moment I read the biography of Bernie Ecclestone. I am a huge fan of Formula 1. On flights I also hear a lot of music. It’s cool that you can take so much of your favourite music with you on an iPod.

Is there anything you always have to have with you?

Per: Nowadays it’s of course a computer that you always carry around. And I actually always have an instrument with me. Mostly a guitar. But I am guy who always starts packing very late. A few hours before I have to go. Even when I am away for a month. My wife always does that one month in advance. I don’t. I have my favourite jeans, my favourite shoes..

You are kind of a hotel expert and own a hotel on your own in Tylösand. When is a hotel a good hotel?

Per: It depends on what you want. For me the first impression is important. The people who work there have to be very friendly. You should feel welcome from the beginning. If you like Spas, that’s important. If you like good food, then the restaurant is important.

And you?

Per: My wife likes Spas. I prefer the studio to work out. I think the staff is important. And a non-smoking room. It’s horrible to come into a room where people have smoked. If that happens I always change the room. I don’t need a big suite. I hate it, when they upgrade me to the “Präsidentensuite” (I really don’t know the English word right since I am in a hurry, it’s the biggest suite in a hotel). I don’t want to play tennis in my hotel room. I always close all the doors and stay in my bedroom. If you’re alone you really don’t need more than one room.

Interview with Per Gessle on Swedish radio P4

Per Gessle was interviewed today in the Swedish Radio P4 show “P4 extra med Lotta Bromé”.

In the approximately 20 minute long interview Per explained about live on tour, about him being quite picky about certain things, playing with Barbies, “Travelling” and much more. You can listen to the interview – in Swedish of course – on SR’s website here.

Roxette Café has uploaded it on mp3. And Roxette.RO has done a short translation to English of the interview.

Marie Fredriksson for Russian TV: Cancer is a new form of life inside of us

Marie Fredriksson gave a touching interview for programme about cancer done for a Russian NTV channel. Here are the quotes from Marie translated by Evgeny Perekopskiy and proofread by Celestte. This exclusive interview was shot during one-hour session at Marie’s house in Stockholm in December 2011.

WATCH THE WHOLE PROGRAMME (Marie’s part starts at 39:48)

Narrator:
A slim woman singing about changes in the microphone can actually grab the audience in venues with the capacity of 100 000 people. But when she tries to say the word “cancer”, she still feels insecure.

Marie Fredriksson

I couldn’t learn how to talk about it without worrying. I just sang the song “The Change”. Few people know that this song is about cancer. For some unknown reason I needed this meeting with cancer. It changed me totally. I started to listen to my inner voice, talk to my body. And the main thing is that I started to draw. (Marie laughs)

All that I feel and experience is in these drawings. By the way, this is Madonna (Marie points at her drawing). Not the singer, no. This is the Madonna that I imagine for myself. Who saved me from illness. Who rescued me.

The first drawings I created because of fear. I just wanted to understand what was happening to me. What the cancer was all about.

Narrator:
Looking like an alien, drawing alien subjects, for a while wonderfully Marie Fredriksson created her personal, alien theory of the origin of cancer.

Marie Fredriksson:

I started to think that cancer is somehow a new form of life inside of us. That people having those cells that then will become cancerous are born and live and then those cells wake up. And perhaps in the future people will be able to live with those cells.

Narrator:
In spite of the incredible story, from the scientific point of view, the singer of Roxette is right in many things. To transform cancer in chronic illness that won’t break off life is one of the directions of the modern scientific thought

Roxette will be on tour until August 2012; 50 concerts done, 80 to go!

Per Gessle reveals in an interview with Hallands Posten that “after Göteborg [concert #50], we still have 80 concerts to go”. The tour will go on until August 2012.  “As soon as we leave a city, the tour promoter wants to book us again, which is the best feedback one can get”, tells Per to Jan-Owe Wikström.

Per also comments on the success of “Radio” on the radio, “we’ve never been played on the radio as much as nowadays.” And it is specially thanks to Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, “where we are very successful.”

Per also says that he thinks Marie is in a great shape. “Last week in Locarno was the best I’ve seen of her since, right, the 90ies”, says Per.

As we know, the band is working on a new album, “2rism”. They have already recorded 5 songs and have booked more studios around the world.

“Charm School” has sold half a million copies, which indeed is great nowadays.

Some thoughts about the tour dates.

  1. So far they have done 50 concerts.
  2. Per says they still have 80 to go, and until August 2012.
  3. Of these 80, we know already 23 of the dates (July until December 2011).
  4. This means there are 57 (if the 80 is a fix number and not just estimation) dates still unknown.
  5. Conclusion: save the whole 2012 for more! 🙂

Thank you Thomas from Sweden for the link!