Interview with Christoffer Lundquist: “Music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes”

We met Christoffer Lundquist in Prague some hours before the concert to talk about his solo album “Through The Window”, the award he received in May and the Roxette tour 2011. Take some time to read it and enjoy!

Judith: We wanted to ask you some questions about the album. First off, congratulations for this masterpiece!

Christoffer: Oh, thank you! This is very nice to hear.

J: The first thing we want to know is: did you really work 12 (!) years on this album?

C: It’s actually a total lie; it was not like that at all. I actually did this album very quickly. They wrote this on the press release because it took me such a long time for me to make a solo album at all, but I wrote all the songs for this album in summer 2008 in Gotland, where my family and I spend the summer. I have a moped so I drove with my guitar on my back to some very remote places with nice nature scenery and took also very long walks. I wrote all the songs in the nature three years ago.

What is true is that it took a long time to get the album released.

J: We thought that 12 years was a very long time…

C: Absolutely, I think music should be done fast, otherwise it gets boring.

J: Do you always write your songs on guitar?

C: Yes, I normally do. I think I only wrote one song for this album on piano,“The Raging hands Of Time”.

J: Looking at the credits in the booklet, we saw that you wrote the music to all songs, but the lyrics were written by Michael Saxell.

C: Yes, indeed. I am a horrible lyric writer; I try every now and then, thinking that I should be able to write some lyrics, but… no, it doesn’t work. I am so bad!

J: Did you also try to write the lyrics for this album, too?

C: Yes, I actually did try to write lyrics with my wife. We sat down together, thinking that we’ve been together all our lives and have lots of things to tell, about the world, experiences, etc. so we should be able to write something good. We did it for a couple of days but then we read what we had written and looked at each other and realized we could not use this at all. No talent.

J: How did you get to work with Michael Saxell?

C: Initially, I was going to work with a French artist; I produced her album for some time ago. I sent her some songs and she promised to send some lyrics back. But the time went by and she never sent anything, after almost six months she said she was sorry but couldn’t do it.

I was devastated because since I can’t write lyrics myself, I really need somebody to do that, and I really believed in the songs I had composed. So I sent some songs to Michael, whom I had just met briefly before when I helped him mix an album in my studio. I sent four of the songs to him, just acoustic guitar demos with some “lalala” melodies which should be the sung part and four lyrics came back the next day.

J: That was fast!

C: Yes! I was very surprised, so I sent him the rest of the songs. He was travelling around in Canada at that time and he left everything he had planned to do aside and sent me one song every day. For me that was a gift. The melodies were all finished, and he managed to write the lyrics to fit the music just perfectly and also to catch the meaning and the mood of the songs I had in mind.

So in a way I feel a bit like I wrote them, because they are very natural to me and what I actually wanted.

J: So you mean that there was no song where you felt like “nah… I actually had something else in mind”?

C: Amazingly no, there wasn’t! I haven’t changed a word in any of the songs. What is even more amazing to me is that both music and lyrics were done separately. I gave him the finished music and melody of the sung parts and he just fit these nice lyrics to the melodies. Perfect.

And I must confess we have already written the next album. I wrote 15 more songs and I am going to record them during the Roxette tour breaks. It worked the same way as with this album: I wrote the songs, sent them to Michael and he added lyrics to them.

J: A new album? Can you tell us more about it?

C: OK, now I really have to tell you about the next album because I believe it’s such a great concept. The lyrics are more in the center; it’s like a song cycle, like Schubert did or a couple of people in the 60ies. There is a thread through the whole album, there are historical situations which happened at a significant place, but the lyrics are about just one person in these situations, from a very human point of view. The stories are quite sad, tragic. A guy does something because that is his job, and it has consequences for some many people. The lyrics are however not condemning, they are beautifully written.

Read moreInterview with Christoffer Lundquist: “Music should have a lot of human quality and this means also mistakes”

Per Gessle on radio interview: “We are preparing new songs”

Per Gessle was interviewed on KFM radio, Cape Town. You can listen to the interview here.

Per talked about how he met Marie, that they’ve never been together as a couple, and goes very fast through Roxette’s career.

He also revealed that this tour will go “waaaay into next year” and that they are “preparing new songs meanwhile travelling because if you are on the road like this, this becomes your life style”.

Thank you Barry Mieny via Twitter!

Interview with Helena: “I expect to get a lot of inspiration, and time for reflections, own thoughts!”

Helena Josefsson‘s second album “Kyss mej” was released in February. Almost at the same time, the documentary film “Jag är min egen Dolly Parton” about Dolly Parton, which featured her and other Swedish female artists, was premiered in the cinemas in Sweden.

We wanted to know more about Helena’s career so we interviewed her while she is in South America on tour with Roxette.

Roxetteblog: Let’s start with some background, how did you start to play music, get in to music? Did you study music?

Helena: My family on my mother´s side is very musical, my grandfather (now 93 years old, still playing the violin!) played in orchestras, and my grandmother had a record store!

When I was 2,5 years, my mother let me take dancing classes, and from that day, that is my absolute favourite hobby! At the age of 7, I started singing in a girl´s choir, and started playing the piano. But I was no good student there, liked to make my own little songs better! The choir was an amazing experience, an angelic sound that cannot be made with adult voices- even though I try ;o). But it is so fantastic in a choir, every voice is as important, it is like one big body moving towards the same dynamics and expression…

In high school I had my first experience of playing and singing in a band. And I loved it – expressing myself through music – and the stage quickly gave me some space to be whoever I want to be. In college I chose an education with science and music – we sang in a choir. After the first half, my results in school got worse because I knew music was the main issue for me. I remember having five different bands running, and dancing up to five times a week. I remember getting up really early in the mornings, doing my homework, and on the school bus, since I lived in the countryside. I remember my older sister coming into my room, removing the book from my face as I had fallen asleep with it like that!

I have always been very ambitious, almost too much. Sometimes my stomach really hurt from stress, in this period, trying to be great in school even though my passion got all the time I had.

RXB: And how many instruments do you play?

H: The piano and the triangle 🙂

RXB: Hey, don’t forget the tambourine! You have released a couple of solo albums but also some with Sandy Mouche. When did you start to compose your own songs?

H: I think it really started around the age of , maybe, 14?

RXB: Can you tell us more about Sandy Mouche? How did you found the band? Are you still playing together?

H: Yes, we are recording our third album now! We have recorded six songs so far, and when we have fifteen, we will choose the best ones and release it.

My husband Martinique, I and Per Blomgren (drummer ) and his girlfriend went on a vacation together in Georgopouli, Greece in 2001. Martinique had written a song, he showed it to us there on the beach bar, it was “A Year”. We loved it! There on that beach, we decided to found a group together, and feeling the sand and the fact that we all had mouches on our left side of the chin, became “Sandy Mouche”.

Per and I had played a lot together in a band called Plastic Soul, and Martinique and Per´s girlfriend Hanna were in the same class.

RXB: Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? And what was the motivation to release first “Dynamo” and now “Kyss mej”?

H: I noticed, on the second Sandy Mouche album, that some of my ideas would be better for a solo project. As a band you have a big quality in being different persons
that really merge together musically, and that is something I want us to use. But I started trying to do other things that were more “produced”, the song “In The Sand” draws in that direction. Then the band identity can become an obstacle instead.

For example, you don’t want a drum kit in the song, but then the drummer can get bored. And what really gives “Sandy Mouche” our sound in the way that “Neons”, “Fairies and Elves” and “Spiderweb Suit” is something only we four can do together.

On the other hand, being a solo artist opens more possibilities, because I don’t have to compromise with anything.

RXB: You have written songs in English, Swedish, even some French. What language do you feel more comfortable with? Do you think language influences the lyrics? Like for example Swedish more personal, English more “fun”?

H: Yes, I agree! For example, when I use French, I feel it helps the music get more romantic, because you don’t follow the words and their meaning, it is more like a “sound”.

I was trying to record “Kyss Mej” with my own south-Swedish accent, but the whole voice changes depending on how you hold your mouth, throat and tongue! And in my case the voice got clearer and lighter in “Stockholm”-accent. The voice is such a funny instrument 🙂

RXB: And what about your favourite artists, artists who inspire you? What styles do you like?

H: I love Kate Bush, The Cure, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, The Cardigans, Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Monica Zetterlund, Elis Regina (from Brazil), Astrud Gilberto, The Cranberries and so on…, choir music, birdsong!

But I can get a kick out of hard-rock, like metal, too. The energy in it!

RXB: Even though you worked with Per in his solo projects and went on tour with him a couple of times, you have joined Roxette for the first time now. What is the biggest difference between Gessle’s tour in 2009 – where you performed Roxette songs as well – and this tour? Of course, besides that now Marie is back.

H: The biggest difference must be that we are playing in more parts of the world, and that I am more a backing vocalist now, before I sang more.

RXB: What do you expect of this tour?

H: I expect to get a lot of inspiration, and time for reflections, own thoughts!

RXB: It’s quite a huge tour.. visiting all continents and being around for almost a year. How do you combine it with your family?

H: My husband is amazing!! And the audience pulls me up when I miss my family too much!

RXB: Are there any Rox songs you really like or prefer to play on the tour?

H: I like Joyride, Silver Blue and Opp Nox the most:) But I hope we will play more from the new album soon!

RXB: If I don’t remember wrong, you were studying to become an optician.. is that right? If so, can you tell us about that? It’s quite different to what we know of you so far..

H: Yes, my sister is an optician. The Party Crasher tour was tough because my son was so young, and I was feeding him at night, I got very tired. I thought that maybe I need another job that is easier to plan. But I realized quickly that musician is my right element!

RXB: By reading your lyrics and reading about the “squirrel-action”, I get the impression you are a person who is very connected to nature. Are you vegetarian? What is nature for you?

H: I am selectarian, eat meat sometimes if it is game, but mainly fish! Yes, I love nature, and children too. I hope my music and voice can do good in some way.

RXB: And last but not least, can you tell us a bit more about the Dolly Parton film? Is there more to come?

H: We made a tribute to her, and it was filmed. The photographer decided to follow us for five years, and it became a movie, and yes, a record and concerts will follow!

Helena performing Stars with Roxette in Cordoba, Argentina (April 7th, 2011)

New interview with Per Gessle on Hallandsposten

Swedish newspaper Hallandsposten has interviewed Per Gessle via email while he is touring in South America with Roxette.

Per explains that the they are receiving an incredible response and the sing along with songs like “Spending My Time” or “It Must Have Been Love”, where Roxette has stopped singing to let the audience sing the songs for them, “it’s as loud as during the Joyride tour, who would have imagined this?”.

They are going play in front of approximately 1 million people until the tour is over somewhen next year.

Per tells that the concerts in Russia were incredible, despite the -30 degrees. Then they moved on to Baltic countries and sun started to shine, and South America has been a blast, “I hope all musicians get to experience shows like the ones in Buenos Aires” once in a life time,” he tells.

Per also informs that Marie is doing fine and that the response and respect she gets from the audience all around the world is “the best rehabilitation for her”, and that she keeps on smiling the whole time.

The reporter is interested to know more about the record deal in the USA and possible concerts in USA, Per tells that there is nothing booked yet, but “everything can happen.” He also tells that this year there is not going to be any Halmstad, since the schedule this year is very tight already, “but maybe next [year]..?”

 

New interview in British newspaper

British newspaper “Metro” joins the UK “Charm School” promotion and published an interview with Per Gessle yesterday. Nothing new is been told, besides maybe:

What’s the worst gig you’ve done?
I did a gig with the band I was in before Roxette at a festival in northern Sweden. It turned out the act on stage before us was a stripper.

Read more!

4-minute video documentary on Austrian website!

The Austrian website PULS4 features a 4-minute video about Roxette’s comeback, including new interview snippets with Marie & Per, scenes from the recordings and a look into the past. The video is dubbed in German, but you may translate the attached text version to understand the content.

Interesting detail: They are quoted to stay one year on the road! Per already told in the recent Mix Megapol interview that they’ll stay on tour until November.

Video | Article

Update: It seems like all this footage is a part of “Charm school” elektronic press kit – Marie and Per were interviewed in Swedish and subtitled into English. Another German report – this time with those subtitles to be watched here at Yagaloo.com.

Per Gessle about Roxette: “Marie decided to go on with Roxette after Amsterdam”

German newspaper Aachner Zeitung published an article including some quotes of Per Gessle during the presentation of “Charm School” which took place in Cologne some weeks ago.

Per explains Marie’s illness was a big shock for him, and he took two important decisions after the first schock-phase. He decided he would not go on with Roxette without Marie, because “our interweaved voices had contributed to the big success of our songs.” And that it would be up to Marie to decide if she wanted to go on with Roxette or not.

His view on Roxette is that when they work together, “there is this magic in the air, this idea of easy to recognise but still meaningfull pop.” The new album is released when Roxette turns 25 years, “I think we can really affirm that our carrier has been a joyide.”

Marie didn’t join Per during this visit to Germany, “the reason is that she is unsure,” Per explains. He thinks that the music business can be sometimes merciless and that one has to function (100%), “and this is for such a sensible person as Marie hard to bear.”

Of course, we all agree that it is a miracle that a new studio album is being released next week. Per explained how and when Marie took the decision to go on with Roxette: it was at his Party Crasher Tour concert in Amsterdam, where Marie joined Per on stage to play two Roxette songs, “the audience cried of the emotion,” he adds showing goosebumps on his arm, “we were so touched about this reaction, that she decided that evening to go on with Roxette.”

He also tells that if there is anything they have learnt during the 25 years of Roxette, “then this must have been patience.”

Roxette to perform 6 songs in Warsaw

According to roxette.pl Facebook fan page user – Krzysztof Charchuta, Polsat TV broadcasted a new interview with Per Gessle in a showbiz programme “Sie kreci” yesterday. Per Gessle said that Roxette would perform 6 songs in Warsaw and he named 5 of them: “Joyride”, “It must have been love”, “The look”, “Listen to your heart”, “Sleeping in my car”. Unfortunately, he did not want to reveal the 6th song’s title.

At the moment it is still not possible to watch the programme online. The programme will be available on ipla.pl service on Wednesday, December 22nd

Update: Here is the photo from the interview. Per said that they would sing 6 biggest hits, so I do not see a possibility to hear “She’s got nothing on (but the radio)” in Warsaw.

Interview with Magnus Börjeson: “We just want to have fun on stage.”

Kirsten and Judith met Magnus Börjeson a few hours before the concert in Halmstad to talk about his career as musician and how he sees Roxette at the moment. We picked him up at the station and sat down at the station café to chat. It was actually us who wanted to know more about him, but he started asking about us:

Magnus: So where are you from? Germany?

Judith: I come from Spain, live in Austria.

Kirsten: Germany.

M: So when you are not Roxette fans, what are you doing for a living?

J: I work as project manager in a bank.

M: And you?

K: I am a journalist.

M: For a newspaper..?

K: Yes, for a local newspaper, sports mainly.

M: Where is that?

K: North of Frankfurt.

J: What are you doing, when you don’t work with Roxette or Per?

M: I do music, that’s all I do. Haha! In different shapes and kinds, I do a lot of music for films and TV commercials, that’s what I’ve done the last couple of years.

J: Could you explain us how did you get into music?

M: I started playing when I was a kid with my neighbour, we played in his basement. Then I had a band at school. I had a lot of bands, I had a band called Beagle in the early 90ies, we had two albums out, that’s the first time we really had a record deal.

K: I saw the videos from that time, they are funny.

M: Yeah, we did a lot of videos. It was the age of the video. And yes, they were fun. I had a lot of hair then.

K: It looks better now anyway.

M: haha, thank you! I think so too. That was like my first real major thing. We signed with Polar, which was ABBA’s record company. We were at ABBA’s manager’s to sign the deal, everything was very intense. It was really fun for a couple of years. Then it wasn’t fun anymore, so we quit.

K: Can you really make a living from music?

M: yes, I do. I’ve done since then. It’s a lot of work; I’m into a lot of things. But I cannot imagine doing anything else, I have always wanted to do this since I started playing, so I couldn’t think of anything else to do. That would be horrible.

J: How many instruments do you play?

M: I play bass and guitar, and some keyboards. I started playing drums when I was a kid, that was my first instrument.

 

K: Do you still play drums?
M: I know how to play, but you know, when you haven’t played for a while, you get very bad. But give me six months and I think I would manage.

J: So you mentioned you don’t do anything else but music, meaning you also compose your own stuff?

M: yes, that’s what I do when I am not touring or doing something with other artists. I compose a lot of music for films.

J: Do you prefer to play live or studio?

M: Well, both. I love to play live, I think it’s funny, you can show off a bit, be a rock musician, haha! But I work a lot in the studio as well, I have my own little studio at home, so I work there every day and I enjoy that immensely too.

K: You mentioned music for films, can you tell us about this film you presented in Cannes?

M: We’ve been working long on this project. We first made a short film, which you can find on YouTube. It was about six drummers breaking into an apartment and starting to play songs. We did that in 2000, with a couple of friends of mine who made short movies at that time. And then a French production company suggested we should make a feature film about this. So we started about four years ago and we just finished before Cannes, where we presented it. It’s called “Music for one apartment and six drummers” and it’s going to have its premiere in Sweden and France this December.

Read moreInterview with Magnus Börjeson: “We just want to have fun on stage.”

Clarence Öfwerman: “When Christoffer joined us, everything became fun again”

Kirsten and Judith met Clarence Öfwerman before the show in Munich on Saturday. In the following interview you will find information about the Night of the Proms, Clarence’s musical roots and family and much more..

Kirsten: So we heard the Olympia Halle is not standing anymore since yesterday.

C: Hm. Maybe not haha! It was fantastic.

J: Even better than Frankfurt?

C: Maybe the same, but the crowd was a bit wilder yesterday. Second and third in Frankfurt were excellent too.  The first wasn’t that good. Stuttgart was the best so far, and the 2nd in Munich.

K: We are going to top it today. The balloons are ready to be used.

C: Balloons! We saw some of them yesterday as well, it’s great you are doing this.

J: It’s actually just 1 week left of NOTP, how do you feel about that?

C: Yeah, Dortmund next Sunday is the last one. It’s kind of sad, we’d like to go on forever.

K: Christoffer mentioned last week it’s quite long time away from your families.

C: Yes, that’s true, but at least we had the family come down to us a couple of times in between, so I think it’s ok. All in all it’s great, when you get into it it’s wonderful to be on tour.

J: What are you going to do through Christmas?

C: I will be home with my family and Santa Clause..

K/J: ..and Kalle Anka..

C: Yeah! Do you know that? Haha! Well yeah, it’s typical Swedish. Specially if you have kids.

K: How did you start making music, playing instruments? Your family is quite musical, too?

C: My father did kind of the same things that I do, he played piano, jazz, and got into producing Swedish artists and later from all around the world. He always said to me “don’t become a musician, it’s very difficult to make a living on it”, he thought I should study economy, because he actually wanted to do that but never succeeded. He once produced an album with Toots Thielemans and he came down to Rotterdam and they hung out one night together, which was great!

But I started to play in bands when I was a teenager anyway. I started playing guitar, then I met a guy who was a lot better than me playing guitar, so I switched to piano. I think that was around 73, 74. You weren’t even born then I think!

Then I started to play with different people in Sweden, as a session musician in the studio, later I started to produce some albums. Then I met Per in 86, and from then on it’s been Roxette all the way.

J: How did you meet Per?

C: I met him once a couple of years earlier, when I played with Ulf Lundell on his tour. We were in Halmstad and Ulf gave a birthday party after the show, the Gyllene Tider guys joined us, and then we were introduced. Anders and Göran and I became friends.

The idea to produce Per’s third solo came actually from Kjell Andersson at EMI. He told Per “Why not try Clarence”, because I did some productions before for EMI, like 2 or 3 albums, so I was the new guy around.

I actually didn’t like his previous solo albums, I hadn’t listened to them very much. I liked the early Gyllene Tider, and Marie. Marie was involved in the first song, “Neverending Love”, so we did that one just to try and see what happens. It was actually Pelle who told me to go for it and take this production job, because I wasn’t much into this Per Gessle type of music.

J: And you brought Jonas and Tommy along.

C: Yes, I had known them for a long time, so I always wanted to have them as a band in the album. So I told Per, I wanted Pelle, Jonas and Tommy. Per himself wanted Tommy as well, but he preferred other guys on drums and guitar. So we reached a compromise, and we kept Tommy to record “Neverending love”, which was a success. Then for the album Jonas and Pelle joined, as well as Alar Suurna as engineer.

J: Were you also oin tour with Rock Runt Riket?

C: Yes, in 87, with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Each of us, Jonas, Pelle and myself played with two bands each. I played with Roxette and Ratata. Pelle with Roxette and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas couldn’t play with three bands, and since Roxette was the newest band for him, he went for the other two bands.

J: What can you tell us about this tour?

C: Each artist played a bit longer than one hour. We also had a support act, Orup, who became successful after that. Then Eva Dahlgren, Ratata and Roxette played. It was about ten minutes break between the acts, so after Ratata I had to go and change my clothes and make me ready for Roxette. It was kind of strange.

J: The pictures from that time are also kind of…

C: Strange? Yeah, that’s true. 80ies. Specially Per and Marie looked strange. Eva looked very different to now.

K: It’s interesting you’ve all been in the same band for such a long time.

C: Yes, it’s very unusual. But it’s very good as well not to have new people coming and going. Christoffer joined in 96, so it’s also a very long time. The band changed a lot when he joined, to the better, of course. He is an amazing guy, he can play anything.

Read moreClarence Öfwerman: “When Christoffer joined us, everything became fun again”