Per Gessle and Molly Hammar on Nyhetsmorgon

Per was Jenny Alversjö’s guest on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. Molly Hammar joined them via Zoom. Watch the interview HERE!

Jenny informs that Per is back with a new single, Beredd. On Friday we got a taste of what’s to come this autumn, because PG will release a new album, Sällskapssjuk. On Beredd we don’t only hear Per’s beautiful voice, but also Molly Hammar’s, Jenny adds.

Here they play a short part of the video to Beredd.

Jenny welcomes Per and asks how it feels to release this song. Mr. G says it feels great. There are only very positive reactions and it’s wonderful to have Molly in this. Per is very happy. Jenny understands that and she says now he works in Swedish again. PG says he has also done some Gyllene Tider in between, but it’s been seven years since he made his Nashville records that were in Swedish.

Jenny says Per is always active. Now this is the first taste from the album Sällskapssjuk, which will be out this fall. Jenny is curious if there is any special reason why the first single is released now. Mr. G says it’s mostly because he wanted to release different duets before the album is out and this way he needed some leadtime. The next single comes in May.

Jenny wants to know more about the background. Why Molly? Because that’s pretty much the only thing they can talk about now, since Per is so secretive about the other collaborations.

PG tells Jenny that he wrote a lot of songs and felt it would be fun to have a different angle this time, to do duets and work with different male and female singers that he likes very much. So he called around and found a bunch of singers that he likes. It’s been an incredibly fun project.

Jenny asks if it was difficult to find these partners. Per says it was easier than he thought. PG says you want to work with people you like, but who have something to add. When you write a song and another personality comes in, things happen with the song both lyrically and musically, so it’s important to find the right one. He thinks it has turned out very nice in this case.

Jenny says it sounds like no one refused to collaborate. Per confirms that and says smiling that it’s unbelievable.

Jenny asks how Per has chosen Molly. Mr. G says Molly is a favourite. She is an absolutely magical singer. She has this magnet, when you hear her voice, you can’t stop listening to her. Jenny says Per mentioned Molly could sing a phone book. PG says she is the classic one who could do that. She is a bit like Adele, she has that kind of voice. You can’t help, but listen to it. So Per is glad she wanted to join him.

That’s a nice compliment according to Jenny. Here they call Molly via Zoom. She is in London. They greet each other and Molly thanks Per for the compliments. Per asks Molly how she is. She feels great, and asks if she doesn’t look fresh. PG says she does look fresh despite that it’s Sunday morning.

Jenny says Molly looks splendid and asks her about how it feels to hear what Per has just told about her. Molly says it’s huge. When Per called her, it was a very big deal for her. Because Per is a legend and a fantastic musician. When they got to meet and then hung out in the studio, then she started liking him as much as a person too. Molly thinks it’s fun that you can be a legend and be incredibly nice at the same time. So she is very happy.

Jenny asks Molly what she thought when she heard the song for the first time. Molly says she loved it right away. She thinks that it’s a classic fine, cross-generational pop song, because it’s a theme that everyone can relate to.

Jenny is curious about how they did the recordings, if they were in Stockholm or in Halmstad.

Per says they met in Stockholm and tested some keys and such. Then Molly came down to Halmstad. The whole album was recorded in Halmstad, by the way, with lots of local musicians. So Molly came down to Halmstad and they had a good day in the studio and a very nice dinner in the evening in Tylösand. Molly confirms it was super nice.

Jenny asks Molly how important she thinks it is to hang around when creating together. Molly thinks it’s important to have a lot of fun together when making music. Otherwise it just gets weird and she doesn’t think this magic could happen then. You have to have fun and laugh together.

Jenny says they would have loved to see Molly in the Nyhetsmorgon studio, but she is in London. She is curious what Molly is doing there. Molly is running around writing songs and she has a great time. Jenny says she should come to the studio when she gets home. Molly says it would be her pleasure.

Jenny says it’s great that they could have her on the show this way. She knows Molly has a lot to do, so they will let her go now and wish her to have a nice time. Molly thanks for that and says goodbye to both Jenny and Per.

Jenny says Per has been in the business for a very long time, but she wants to know if Per has learned anything from this collaboration. PG says it’s hard to say that you learn something, but as he said before, songs grow and change when you work with other people. And as everyone knows, he has worked a lot with duets in Roxette. He wrote so many songs for Marie that changed and raised the quality of the songs simply because of her voice and her personality. And it’s the same here. All these people he has worked with have changed his songs. It’s not like he sat down with seven or eight people and wrote new music together. It’s his songs and his lyrics that they come in and sing to. So there is a big difference here.

Jenny thinks that many people, including her, will forever associate Per with Marie, of course, even if he does duets with other artists. She asks Per what it was like working with others. Per says it’s always exciting. Before you go into the studio and you have a song, it might not feel right. The keys might not fit or there might be too much modulation for it to work. When he chose certain singers, he listened to what kind of voice they have and in theory he tried, this person fits this song, that person fits that song. And some have not worked at all. Then he already knows in advance that it won’t work. Jenny asks if there were a lot of singers on Per’s list to revise, if he had to revise Molly. Per says no, it was simple with Molly.

Jenny can imagine that when Per and Marie worked together, they must have known each other inside and out, so Per rarely got to revise things there. Per says no, but he was listening to the Roxette catalogue and sometimes he heard some strange key changes to lower and higher, so that they can both sing. You can do such technical tricks. The songs Marie sings herself, they are in her register what she enjoyed the most.

Jenny can imagine that there might be an extra reminder of Marie when Per has collaborations and someone else is at the microphone. Per says not really. It’s been so long since Marie and Per have worked together. It was a lovely era in his life that he preserves. But he doesn’t think too much about it now. But the loss is still there, definitely.

Jenny says she knows that Marie wrote some of the music on the new album. Per says it’s actually a song that is not a duet, but he sings it himself. Marie and he wrote it together in the ’80s. Per wrote the lyrics and Marie and Per wrote the music. So it is also a bit special. It was written long before Roxette, when Marie and Per hung out in his attic apartment in Halmstad in the early ’80s and watched Dallas and Dynasty and stuff like that in the evenings. Jenny finds it lovely and she can see Marie and Per in front of her like that.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds such a song. If it was on paper or they recorded it on cassette. Per says it was on cassette and there have been a few demos on it over the years. It has been a little too good to throw away, but it has never found its rightful place.

Jenny asks Per if he has an overview of everything they have worked on. Per says he doesn’t. A few things have appeared in recent years that he has forgotten about, but they are somewhere on cassettes and strange minidiscs. There has been a lot of technology over the years. It’s such a long time.

Jenny asks if the song that Marie co-wrote is also a duet. Per says it’s not a duet, he sings it himself.

The album will be released this fall. Jenny asks Per about the title, Sällskapssjuk. PG says he wrote a song called Sällskapssjuk and he thought it’s a good title when you have a lot of duets. He also thought it was a nice expression, a nice word.

Jenny says Per mentioned before that he worked on the album in Halmstad, he recorded it there. So some of the songs are probably very organically recorded. Per confirms it. He has worked a lot with local musicians to try to find a new angle, a new sound on the record. Everything is a bit homegrown. It’s hard to explain music, but it’s very organic. There is a lot of lap steel and there is a lot of violin. It’s good.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds inspiration again and again. Mr. G says he doesn’t really look for inspiration, but it pops up from time to time. He is not the kind of person who goes and sits down to play the piano and guitar and writes every day. He usually says that he writes as little as possible. Because when he has something on his mind, he becomes very focused and it goes quite quickly. So Jenny says this means Per doesn’t really like sitting and writing like that. Per says he doesn’t like it at all. He has to do it only sometimes. It’s something that has to come out in some way.

Jenny asks how it is to record in Sweden and elsewhere. There must be a big difference between Sweden and the rest of the world. Per has experienced both. PG says there really isn’t that much of a difference. It’s a completely different thing to work in the studio and to be on stage, of course. This communication that you work with when you have an audience in front of you, it’s fantastic. Many people always ask if it’s fun to play Sommartider or The Look, which you have played a thousand times. When you have an audience in front of you that gives so much back, it’s clear that you love to play your hits. That’s why you work, so to say. Jenny says it must be amazing to see those songs live on through different generations too. What a gift!

The album is coming this autumn, there will be more duets. The next single comes out in May. Jenny asks who will be Per’s partner in that, but Mr. G doesn’t reveal. Jenny asks for a hint. Per says it’s a fantastic male or female singer. Haha.

Jenny thanks Per for coming and hopes to see him again in spring. Per says it’s always fun to be here.

Stills are from Nyhetsmorgon.

Per Gessle on Nyhetsmorgon

Per Gessle was one of the guests on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. He entered the studio after Jubël (Sebastian Atas and Victor Sjöström), a Swedish duo originating from Halmstad performed their song, Someone. Per mentions how good they are and shows thumbs up to them. Program leader Jenny Alversjö asks Mr. G if they worked together and Per tells that for example, in 2018 they wrote music together for Name You Beautiful, the official song for the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad.

Jenny asks Per about Christmas. PG says it was calm of course. It’s been a quite long, boring time for everyone, Per thinks. Then Jenny tells there was the Late Night Concert on TV4 in December and it came as a consolation in the darkness when we needed it most. Per tells it was fantastic. They’ve been sitting isolated for such a long time and couldn’t play and even if there was of course no audience for this event, it was fun to rehearse and meet the band. It was fun to play in an acoustic arrangement, he thinks it’s always special. It was like finding new ways for the songs and certain songs fit this intimate format, e.g. Tycker om när du tar på mig or Listen To Your Heart. He tried to pick songs from Roxette, Gyllene Tider and his solo career. It was exciting for him.

Jenny asks how it works not to strip down something that is the core of the song. Per says the core things in his songs are most often the lyrics and the melody, so this way one can even put these elements more into focus.

Here they show some parts of the concert and Jenny tells it was incredibly nice. She asks Per how he picked the songs for this event. For this concert Per says he tested 10-15 songs, maybe more and he simply chose the ones that felt best. One can feel it that some songs just don’t work in a toned-down version. The Look, for example, would have been quite meaningless to be played there.

Jenny tells Per has Billboard No. 1 songs and sold millions of albums and she is curious about Mr. G’s relationship to music today. Per says it’s quite unchanged. Music has always been his thing and he has never thought of music as his job.

Jenny asks Per about his plans whether he is thinking about new things or planning to work with his already existing catalogue in the way we could see him at the Late Night Concert. Mr. G says partly this and that. He thinks he has always had a very good setup: Gyllene Tider, which is a certain type of power pop, Roxette, which is a totally different style also productionwise, his solo stuff, which is more lyric-based, more of a singer songwriter style and Mono Mind, which is also a totally different music. He used to say there are different things on the same tree and it fits him very well, so he can do diverse things.

Jenny asks Per whether he had done everything he wanted to do or there is still something he dreams about. Mr. G says he has no special dream, he just wants to keep going with all what he is doing and wants to see what happens, be curious and test things.

Jenny asks how Per finds inspiration and where his creativity comes from. Per says it’s his way to express himself. He expresses his personality and creativity through music and texts, so it comes by itself in a way. Many think that he ”goes to work” at 9 and plays the piano and the guitar for 6 hours, but it doesn’t work for him like that. He writes down just what he must write down and it’s when he has something that must come out. It can be a melody or an idea or a text.

Jenny asks Per about the secret of being a hitmaker and if he feels it when he writes a song that it would become a hit. Per says it’s been long since the last time he wrote a hit. Pop music has changed so much and he sticks to his roots, so he is not a modern hitmaker anymore. He says there are so many things that have to work for a song to become a hit. It’s not just the song itself, but it’s also about timing, cooperations, luck and a thousand other things that should work at the same time. Regarding certain songs, e.g. The Look, when they recorded it in the studio in the 80’s it felt that it was very special, but that it would become No. 1 in 30 countries, you never know in advance. It Must Have Been Love was a very good ballad and then it became part of the movie, Pretty Woman and it became such a monster hit. Coincidence also plays a big role, Per says.

Jenny mentions Marie passed away more than a year ago and is curious how it is to play Roxette songs without Marie. Per says it’s terrible that Marie is not there anymore, but he feels that the music lives on and he sees that all around the world. He still wants to play these songs, they are such a big part of his life, more than 30 years of Roxette. He doesn’t want to close that door, but it will be different and he will never replace Marie. Jenny asks Per about griefing and missing Marie. Mr. G says it’s a constant feeling. You can never call her or talk to her again. Now Pelle Alsing, their drummer also passed away before Christmas and it also feels incomprehensible. It’s tough.

Jenny says she also knows Per is working in the studio now and is curious what the future brings. Mr. G says he is recording an English pop album and it sounds a bit like Roxette’s origins. It’s a bit difficult to write uptempo pop songs at his age even if he wrote so many of such songs before. He simply took the challange to write an awesome pop record. Jenny thinks it’s very exciting and Per agrees. He has no clue when the album is out, but he plans to release it this year. When it’s ready.

Stills are from the interview.