Per Gessle on Musikplats about his upcoming Swedish album

Per Gessle was Fredrik Eliasson’s guest on Musikplats, Swedish Radio on Friday. Fredrik asked Per about his new single and upcoming album, as well as the Gyllene Tider movie and the Roxette musical. Listen to the interview HERE!

Fredrik asks Per to talk about his new song, Beredd, which is a duet with Molly Hammar. Per explains his upcoming album will be a duet album and he wrote songs that he thought were lyrically suitable to be duets. Molly is one of his favourites. Mr. G thinks she is an outstanding singer. She is completely unique and Per was so happy that she wanted to join. The song turned out damn good. According to PG, it’s magical to work with the kind of powers that many of his partners on this record have. But above all, Molly is superb.

Fredrik asks Per why he wanted to do a duet album. Per explains, if you do it right, when you do duets, the songs become even better. A good singer has such a strong personality and such strong power that you can take advantage of that in the composition. Time usually flies when you listen to a duet that is well done. Then there is another aspect. Purely musically, it will be exciting. You usually work with different registers and different tones. You might make a lot of modulations from a purely technical point of view in the composition and how you arrange everything. That’s also exciting. Sometimes it can happen that you bring in a singer and it falls flat, because the communication between the two in the duet is not happening. Now that hasn’t happened, because he has chosen very talented and competent singers. In this particular case, he got lucky with each partner and it worked well thanks to the artists he has chosen. He won’t reveal who they are. Fredrik was already going to ask who else is there. PG won’t tell, he says Fredrik has to wait a bit.

Fredrik is curious if it was difficult to bring them duet partners along. Per says he is a bit like „will I really dare to ask this person”, because you never want to be rejected. But no one has actually turned it down. It is also the case that nowadays you work a lot together, e.g. in songwriting teams. But this is not like that at all. These are Per’s songs. So he sort of brings in guests for his music and his lyrics.

Fredrik wants to know if Per sees these partners almost as an instrument in his music. Mr. G says, you could say that in this case, it’s a bit like that. It’s a test. When you first go in and record a new voice, it’s automatically a test and you never know if it will work. You do everything you can, which is in your power, trying to find the right keys, trying to write a text, a song that you think fits this particular individual. But you never know. Per says he doesn’t know what to call it. It might sound negative if he calls it an instrument, but it has absolutely only been positive.

Fredrik says the thing with duets is that they must end up somewhere, so that you have the feeling that one and one makes three. That’s how it is, Per says. Fredrik is curious if that is what Per is after, in this form. Per laughs and says he tries to do that with everything all his life, that one and one makes three. The text and the music makes three. His family, inserts Fredrik smiling. It’s been like that through Per’s whole journey. He tries to find partners and people around him who make him and what he does even better. His job is very much to try to find such people that he feels that he or she and Per communicate well and they convey something that makes things a little bit better than they might have been in the beginning. And then if they succeed, one and one will make three.

Fredrik says Per has a lot going on right now. Per should have become a juggler. Haha. Per says he is retired, for God’s sake. Haha. Fredrik says Per is far from quitting his job. Per says he has a hard time doing that. He is his job in a way. It’s probably a bit of a coincidence that a lot is happening around him and his music this year. It’s the Gyllene Tider movie this summer and the Roxette musical has it’s world premiere in September. It’s super exciting, he says.

Sommartider, that’s the title of the Gyllene Tider movie. Fredrik asks Per what was it like to see himself on the screen. Per says it was super weird. He hasn’t seen the movie yet, he has only seen some scenes and they are great. The script is fantastic. The concept is that the movie is about five guys in a small town who form a band and for some inscrutable reason try to enter Café Opera in clogs. The film is not a tribute to Gyllene Tider’s long 40-year career. It ends when Sommartider is released in 1982. So it’s about five small-town boys who meet and get to be part of a very strange fate.

Fredrik asks what Per thought when they came up with the idea that this would happen. Per says he was both flattered and horrified and he thinks that applies to all of them in the band. But at the same time, it’s a very special story that they have been part of and how it happened. They had actually only done six concerts in front of an audience when they became No. 1 with Flickorna på TV2. So they were all rookies. Then it went so fast and with the background they come from, it’s a very exceptional journey. So it’s clear that it’s very grateful to make a film out of it.

Here they play a little bit from the trailer for the movie. Fredrik asks Per if what we get to see is how it really was, if the feeling is there. PG says the feeling is absolutely there and that is the most important thing. It’s there how they meet, how they rehearse and how Marie comes into the picture.

Valdemar Wahlbeck plays the role of Per. Fredrik asks PG how Valdemar found Per and the character. Per says he wasn’t at the auditions at all. Mr. G says when Valdemar was chosen and got the job, they met quite a lot and talked and he always came super excited and had a thousand questions about how it was, how Per did this, why Per did that etc. And Per answered as best as he could and what he remembered. So Valdemar must have brought that into his role in some way. Valdemar is from Halmstad, his father and family are from Halmstad, so he has this dialect that Per has. That also helps.

Fredrik says, the film takes place in the early years up to 1982, Sommartider is released and then, he is curious what happens next. If there will be a sequel. Per mentioned that Marie Fredriksson comes into the picture in the movie. So he is curious if there will be a movie about Roxette. Per says you never know, but there is nothing planned at all. One thing at a time and this is a really exciting thing. Per smiles and says, let’s see how it turns out.

Speaking of Roxette, Fredrik mentions that there is a very close connection between Roxette and Gyllene Tider. He refers to Per’s recent post on Instagram, where he states that Gyllene Tider was called Roxette internationally on the Heartland record. Per says, after the guys in the band, everyone but him did the military service in 1983, then they made a new album in English. Their first and only English album, The Heartland Café. That record came out under the title Heartland in the US on Capitol Records and then the band was called Roxette. So the first Roxette record is actually Gyllene Tider’s Heartland album. Per remembers that he was in Los Angeles in 1984 and found this Roxette album at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard next to Roxy Music. That was pretty damn cool. Fredrik says then Per saw straight into the future. Haha. Mr. G says he was very impressed. Fredrik says, and imagine that it turned out the way it did a few years later. Per says it’s unbelievable.

Here they play The Look, Roxette’s first US No. 1 in 1989. Fredrik informs that Roxette’s music becomes a musical. Joyride – The Musical premieres later this year, but it’s not about Roxette. Per says the musical is based on a book called Got You Back written by Jane Fallon, who is a great English writer. It is a love triangle drama about a man who has a wife in London and a lover outside London. The ladies find out about the situation and they take revenge on him. That’s the story briefly.

Fredrik asks how it all came together. Per says they have been looking for a good script for many, many years. And this is the first script that has all the components to build a good musical on it. Then people have processed the script to get the songs in at different places and tested and discarded and inserted new ones. Right now they are at a slightly too long version, Per smiles, but it’s fantastically cool to be a part of that journey.

Mr. G says that both the film and the musical are completely untrodden ground for him. He is just like, „wow!”, „oh my God!”, how many people are involved. He was at the costume department and there are 370 different garments that are handmade and hand sketched, ’80s and ’90s style. It’s a hell of a job and they have fantastic skills. It’s a completely different world. So Per is super happy to be a part of this. The musical premieres on 6th September in Malmö.

Fredrik knows the question is almost impossible to answer, but he is curious, when Per browses the Roxette song catalogue, which is the one for Per, no matter if it’s been the biggest hit or not, but that’s been the most defining song in the catalogue, that has really taken him to a place, emotionally or in any other way. So simply, which song means the most to Per. PG says the one that has taken him to another place should of course be one of the great songs, It Must Have Been Love or Listen To Your Heart, but one song that he has always loved is a song that is actually in the musical as well. It’s What’s She Like?, which is on the Crash! Boom! Bang! album. He likes that song for different reasons. He likes the song composition, the lyrics, and Marie is as good as only she could be when she sings this song. So PG thinks that’s his favourite song. Fredrik thanks Per for stopping by and plays What’s She Like? at the end of the conversation.

In the program it turns out that Beredd is the song of the week. Congrats!

Photo from Fredrik Eliasson’s Instagram

Vote for Roxette – Piece of Cake for Song of the Year 2020 on Musikplats!

Musikplats on Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm organized a voting for Song of the Year 2020. The jury for Song of the Week has voted and put together a list of 20 songs for the decision and now the power is in the listeners’ hands. Roxette’s Piece of Cake is also on the list, so hurry up! Click HERE and vote for it!

Voting runs until 11:00 CET, 18th December. Then 5 songs that enter the final are presented. After another listener voting (the counter is reset before this), the winner is published the same day at 11:50 CET. So don’t forget to vote on 18th December at 11:00 CET again!

Fingers crossed!

Top20 songs – pick your favourite HERE!

Vargas & Lagola – Always
Agnes – Fingers Crossed
Albin Lee Meldau – På Riktigt
Jakob Hellman – …Och Känner Mig Utanför
Victor Leksell – Svag
Dotter – Bulletproof
The Sounds – Things We Do For Love
Gustaf & Viktor Norén – Rise Again
Laleh – Det Kommer Bli Bra
Thomas Stenström – Ser Du Månen Där Du Är Ikväll?
Roxette – Piece Of Cake
Mando Diao – Själens Skrubbsår
Miriam Bryant – Nån Av Oss
Darin – En Säng Av Rosor
Sarah Klang – Canyon
Hurula – Tro På Er Ruin
Kygo & Avicii & Sandro Cavazza – Forever Yours (Avicii Tribute)
Miss Li – Komplicerad
Ana Diaz – Bästis
Håkan Hellström – Tillsammans I Mörker

Per Gessle and Micke Syd on Musikplats

Per and Micke were Fredrik Eliasson’s guests on Musikplats on Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm the other day. They talked about Gyllene Tider’s new album and their feelings before the band’s farewell.

Micke Syd says it’s a 40-year-long love story between them and their audience and now that both the audience and the band know it’s the last time, they will make the best out of it this summer.

Per talks about GT as a five-piece puzzle where everyone is important. It’s a kind of magic when them 5 play together it sounds totally different when they play their songs with other musicians. Fredrik asks what’s that Gyllene touch in their songs. Per says there are a lot of things that make their unique sound, but one of them is definitely the Farfisa, which became their trademark. It sets a special tone for the songs.

Fredrik remembers he was sitting in the living room in the ’80s with a cassette and recorded songs from the radio when När vi två blir en came with 40 seconds of Farfisa intro and a little from the first verse. He was stuck in the rhythm and feelings. Per says that’s the fantastic power of music. Certain music and songs are just magnetic, but they are not magnetic to all at the same level and not the same music is magnetic to everyone. Mr. G says he also has songs that turned his own world upside down. There aren’t many forms of art that can do this to you.

The guys are talking a bit more about pop organs. Micke Syd says they were not the first to use this instrument. Per mentions that e.g. in the ’70s Elvis Costello & The Attractions also played something on Vox organ.

Per, Micke and Fredrik talk about the new album. Micke Syd says they recorded 15 songs in 17 days in France. Fredrik mentions that over the years the guys went into different directions. Micke Syd says they all have their own inspirations. Anders works a lot with soundstracks, for example. Per says Göran doesn’t really play music outside GT, but he had a lot of great ideas in France. It seems that everyone is standing on their toes now and it feels wonderful before the tour.

Per says the idea was to write a pop album for GT, but it should sound like the band has become a little older, but kept their roots of course, to keep the Gyllene Tider touch. Fredrik asks Per if he feels it when he writes whether it’s a Gyllene song or not. Per says that with certain songs he felt shit, it’s not really GT, maybe it could be PG solo. He also says that when you have 5-6 midtempo songs of the same style, you need nice ballads too. And there is a song he wrote for Micke to sing, because he sang Min tjej och jag so fine in 1981 on Moderna Tider. Per says they weren’t inside when Micke sang Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga! in the studio. Micke says it was challenging for him to sing this song, but it’s nice he had the chance to sing on the last album and he likes it a lot.

Fredrik asks the guys about the cover of Sven-Ingvars’ Någon att hålla i hand. Per had this song on an EP when he was a kid. He recorded an acoustic demo and thought GT could Gyllenefy the song.

About the studio in France Per says Anders went there in autumn to check if it suits them. It’s a spacious studio, great for bands. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Morrissey and Rammstein recorded there too, for example. At this point, a mobile rings and it turns out that Anders calls the guys. They pick up the phone saying he is live on radio. Fredrik asks Anders how it was in France and he says it was awesome, creative and overwhelming. They had a blast.

Regarding the tour Per says it’s going to be huge. They are playing big venues, Ullevi and Stockholms Stadion among them. They have a lot to organize, because it’s a huge production. At the same time they are aware of the fact that the audiences are coming for the songs, so it will be more about the communication between the band and the audience than a lot of technical stuff. Both the audience and the band will enjoy this last, special tour. Per says they are super happy that they are still there and can look back on such a fantastic journey.

Fredrik asks the guys which song they think could summarize the Gyllene feeling, production and sound. Per says it would be Det är över nu. He says it’s funny that when they came back in the ’90s they were actually better than when they finished with GT in 1985.

Listen to Musikplats HERE!

 

Per Gessle about Mono Mind on Musikplats Stockholm

After Per Gessle got back from the US to Sweden this week, Fredrik Eliasson from Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm immediately did an interview with him to be broadcast yesterday on Musikplats Stockholm. Listen to it HERE!

The interview was about Mono Mind and before it was on air, they played I Found My Soul At Marvingate. Cool to hear it on the radio!

Fredrik introduced Mono Mind as Mr. G’s secret project that got out of the closet recently. Then he welcomed Per as Dr. Robot and Per said in a slightly changed voice that ”yes, I’m here” (trying to imitate Dr. Robot’s voice, but it didn’t work well without the computer distortion, haha). Fredrik wished a belated happy birthday to Per and asked how it was to celebrate his 60th. Per said it was quite intense for 2 days with a very few people. He said his wife is very social and he is the opposite, so he just sat in a dark corner and it went fine. Haha.

The guys talked about Mono Mind’s debut album that it was released on Per’s birthday. Mr. G shared the info that he started releasing singles in 2017 and the first single was Save Me A Place. He said no one knew he was behind the project and the song suddenly became No. 1 on the dance charts in the US and kept the position for 6 weeks. It was much fun to achieve this at his age and with an anonymous project.

Per talked about the characters and that he wanted to change his voice and how it worked in the studio when he was sitting there with Christoffer Lundquist for weeks. It’s not vocoder or any other gadget you can hear, but they created the new voice on the computer themselves. Each song took appr. 2.5 days to create. It was very exciting.

Per said the idea was to create some kind of modern pop music and pop music nowadays is made on laptops. So he wanted to try to mix it with his classic songwriting and it has become a new chapter in his career. Fredrik asked Per about Nashville where he went rather acoustic and Per said Mono Mind started already before Nashville.

Before they played Down by the Riverside, Per said it’s one of his favourite songs. He thinks Dr. Robot’s voice is the best on this one.

The guys then talked about Helena Josefsson. Per said she has a fantastic voice and it fits Dr. Robot’s voice very well and it brightens up all songs.

Per said Mono Mind is still like a playhouse for him. The album was released on 12th January and on 11th he was thinking shit, if it was really a good idea to reveal this project. What if people don’t like it? He would be a bit sad. And what if people like it? How to go on with it? And then there were questions if he goes on tour with Mono Mind. But how to do it? It can be something similar to how Daft Punk or Pet Shop Boys tour, but who knows. The only sure thing is that Per wants to continue working with Mono Mind and develop the whole project, the characters and their stories. One can do anything with such characters.

Per talked about the market for this type of music. He said there are a lot of competitors out there and you need much luck to succeed. He can’t see the same journey with Mono Mind as they had with Roxette, but it’s much fun to record and talk about it anyway. Fredrik jokes with ”are there any exchange students around?”. Haha.

As a last question, Fredrik asked Per which song he is the most satisfied with on Mind Control. Mr. G was thinking for a while, then he said In Control. They had some magical hours when they recorded that song. He likes its construction, the changes in it that don’t usually happen in dance music. There is a kind of progressive rock 1972 in it, Barclay James Harvest style. He thinks it’s magnificent music coming from him and laughs. After the interview they played In Control.