Per Gessle at the TV4 gala supporting UNICEF

Last night Per Gessle performed at the gala organized by TV4, supporting UNICEF. UNICEF works to give every child, everywhere, a fair chance in life. This year’s program, ”Världens kväll för alla barn” hit a record with 10 thousand more new “World Parents” in Sweden (monthly donors) than last year, resulting in 27505, collecting more than 33 million crowns for the good cause.

There was a 2-hour-long gala on TV4 where several Swedish artists performed. During the day, Team PG posted a rehearsal pic where we could see Per and the gang rehearsed together with Linnea Henriksson.

Before the show, Linnea Henriksson and Live Nation Sweden shared a pic of Per and Linnea on the red carpet. Expressen asked Per about what he expects from the gala and Mr. G said he would expect a fun and emotional evening and that a lot of money would be collected. He also mentioned it’s really great to work with Linnea Henriksson.

Expressen also shared a pic of Per and Åsa on the red carpet. They both look fab and they are such a lovely couple.

Per and Linnea performed “Småstadsprat” together at the gala. It did sound different to the album version or any live versions we could hear so far (with Lars Winnerbäck or Per alone). The band played beautifully and Helena’s tussilagos sounded wonderful too. Check out the performance HERE (or if you are in Sweden, you can watch it on TV4’s website as well)!

Still is from the video. Thanx Gabriela Demichelli for recording it!

 

Per Gessle interview in Aftonbladet Söndag

In yesterday’s issue of Aftonbladet Söndag magazine there is a Per Gessle interview on 6 pages, including some killer shots of Mr. G. The interview is done by Monika Israelsson, the photos are taken by Maria Östlin.

Nashville, autumn 2016

This time Per Gessle ended up in Nashville, Tennessee, in T-shirt weather in October. Per tells Monika that if he needed a harmonica in an odd key, he would have just walked five minutes to find one in Nashville. Mr. G brought his closest gang with him and a bunch of demos. Per says he thought they should record acoustic sketches only and then bring in local musicians and see what they bring. He asked the owner of the studio if they could take a pedal steel guy and Dan Dugmore got there, an old hero. He was so good. The result is two albums, first out ”En vacker natt”. Strings and steel guitar provide a classic country sound, yet the white sand dunes and an empty beach appear (referring to Halmstad). On the album cover there is a girl in a headscarf, singing at the sea in winter.

Stockholm, April 2017

The photos were taken in Ölandsgatan in Södermalm, Stockholm. At one moment, when a car was getting closer, the stylist shouted at Per and the photographer to beware, but they weren’t stressed. It turned out the car didn’t want to hit them, just stop by and ask Per how Marie is. Per walks to the car, leans down and says she’s just fine. They chat a bit, then the car is leaving. Per looks happy and is joking there was no selfie asked. Though it happened yesterday. And the day before yesterday. Since Per was at Skavlan a few weeks ago and said that he “gets depressed if no one wants to take a selfie”, there are even more requests.

They walk back to the record company’s office and there Per says his existence basically depends on what people think about the things he does. The new albums are not mainstream radio compatible. Per says to Monika that when you are used to meeting the public, you will be disappointed if you don’t get the cheering. At a concert he then thinks: “Why don’t people scream like they do usually?”. But if they scream extra much, you feel “calm down, you all”. Haha. He says one is analyzing things to death.

Per keeps his private life safe and people don’t know much about him. This is how he wants it. He says he won’t ever be on Parneviks (Swedish show that features golfer Jesper Parnevik and his family as they welcome celebrity guests to stay at their mansion in Florida for a few days) or on Så mycket bättre (Swedish reality TV show in which each artist attempts to do their own version of another artist’s well-known songs, with each person getting an episode featuring all of their songs being performed by the other musicians). He doesn’t know what he could win with it. He is very pleased that ”Tycker om när du tar på mig” means something for people, but he or his life doesn’t need to mean anything to anyone. He doesn’t feel the need to show his home or his cars or where he buys bananas. Åsa and Gabriel are the same when it comes to such things.

Regarding himself being a small town guy, Per tells Monika that there is a difference in growing up in a big city and a small town, and there was even greater difference in the ‘60s and ‘70s. That small town mentality has colored him so much that it lies in his personality. He grew up in Furet district of Halmstad with his mother who was a teacher in porcelain painting and his father who was a plumber. He was a trailing child and a loner. He was more into lonely stuff, like painting and drawing. He always felt more like an outsider. His brother introduced him to rock music: The Beatles, The Kinks, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, who became a direct channel to another world, much more exciting than Furet.

Per tells Aftonbladet Söndag that he went to a tough high school. There were a lot of drugs, a gang that broke the seats in the bus. Being good at school was the worst thing one could do. His dad drove him to school because he didn’t want to take the bus.

He started to play in a band with Mats MP Persson. Per asks Gabriel if he knows what one misses when he doesn’t play in a band. There you have your friends and you can play together the same song and that sounds damn good. That thing is sensational. It brought him a kind of gratitude. He and MP started as a punk band that sounded terrible and developed into Gyllene Tider. Per was purposeful and he covered Halmstad with leaflets and sent cassette tapes to record companies. They succeeded when EMI offered a contract and they recorded their first album in 1979.

The early Swedish texts are like a highway into a teenager’s head and body. Over the years, the songs have become more thoughtful, but still they take off in everyday happenings, often including sadness. A fishing trip, a rainy morning on the beach, an old love on the bus. Per says he usually tries to keep a fairly high minimum level of texts. Sometimes a song is so contagious that the text doesn’t play an equal role in the context. But when the music is more naked and crisp, the lyrics become important.

Monika asks Per if he can really put himself in the lives of ordinary people, with his luxury cars and private jet. Per says he doesn’t write about townhouse life or a night on the subway. He thinks that just because you tell a story, it doesn’t mean it’s true. If that means something to someone, he has succeeded. Then whether  he has experienced it or not, it’s quite uninteresting.

To the question why he doesn’t write sorely or about politics Per replies he doesn’t think he has had any political substance to come up with. Besides that, he doesn’t think it would be interesting enough. He is more towards the dreamy stuff. He thinks all people are political in some way when in a society. Mr. G thinks it’s unacceptable not to vote, it’s a democratic right so it’s better to vote for anything in that case. But he doesn’t really know how to use it.

Monika asks Per about his musical self-esteem. Per sayst it started at minus 100, he thought he sang damn badly. He started singing in Gyllene Tider because no one else would. Now he has learned that this damn voice is an asset. Everything that stands out is good.

Per thinks of himself as a kind of director. He always choose to work with people who are much better than himself. That can help him to pursue any kind of vision he has. He knows something will be fine, but he doesn’t know how to get there. He has always thought Marie Fredriksson is the best in the studio when Per is there. Mr. G means he thinks he makes Marie take one more step.

Per met his wife, Åsa in the mid ‘80s. The early years were significant in their relationship. Gyllene Tider’s English album and Per’s second solo album flopped. When looking at Roxette and his actual life, it’s easy to think that it has always been so. But it has not. He was a ”has-been” when he was 24 and it was damn hard for him. He lived on Åsa’s salary from Vingresor and had no real master plan. When Roxette had its break-through, it was evident that Åsa, with her professional background took care of the gang’s trips. This way Per and Åsa didn’t spend much time apart, despite long tours around the world. She often documented with a cam. The films became raw material for the Jonas Åkerlund documentary, Roxette Diaries (2015).

Per’s voice is shining when he talks about the ‘90s, the years when Roxette had several songs on the Billboard charts in the US for 4 years in a row. Per remembers playing Joyride for 200 radio directors in the US. It wasn’t even released, but they came to them to congratulate on their next “number one”. If you’re lucky, you have this success once in your life. Back then Roxette was exactly what America wanted. Nevertheless, they were never completely in the heat. The US record company wanted them to move to the United States and they would replace musicians in the band. But Per and Marie said no. Per says it’s one of the things he is most proud of, that they kept their gang. They created the Roxette sound together.

When Per is listening to old songs today he can be knocked out. Marie’s voice is amazing, Per says he can feel “damn how good she sings”. He smiles and says back then he didn’t sense it, it was more like “sing better!”.

Monika and Per talk about the times when Marie got ill and that Mr. G among others thought it was the end of Roxette. He started to work with Gyllene Tider and did solo projects. Then in 2009 Marie and Micke came to Amsterdam and Per asked Marie to come up on stage to sing Listen To Your Heart. He thought people would die for it. Marie didn’t want to, but Per knew she wanted, so it took like 15 minutes to convince her and she said OK, let’s try it.

Per is grateful for the Roxette tours and albums during the past years, saying he felt something of a “brotherhood responsibility”. Today they talk regularly.

There is a deep melancholy in the music on Per’s new album. In recent years, Per has first lost his mother and then his brother and sister, who both passed away in cancer. Mr. G says when people die around you, you grow older sooner. There is a thoughtfulness and one is thinking more about everything. He says he has to stop himself so that he doesn’t only write about what has been, but about what is and the future too. When his sister died, her son found a box of old diapositives from 1966. It is Gunilla who stands by the ice and sings. Per has selected some of the pictures for the albums. It felt like they fit the record.

Per’s replies to special questions:

5x the last time I…

… cooked: ”Scrambled eggs. I’m miserable in the kitchen.”

… bought something extremely expensive: ”A dulcimer, a string instrument. Pretty expensive but very fine.”

… loughed out loud: ”Quite a lot of times last week, when I was watching Dag, the TV series.”

… felt ashamed: ”I’ve stopped doing that. No, in fact, I feel ashamed just now about this answer of mine.”

… took a selfie with someone: ” Yesterday in a car shop. Then you just have to be in for it!”

3x the coolest cars in the world:

  1. Ferrari Dino: ”Cars don’t have to be practical. And they don’t have to drive at 350 km/h, because you never drive that fast anyway. However, it’s important that they are beautiful.”
  2. Mini Cooper: ”Classic, the one Austin Powers drives.”
  3. Rolly-Royce Corniche: ”So incredibly beautiful car. This is the one of these 3 I don’t own.”

3x people about Per:

Marie Dimberg, manager: ”Per, like most other artists, is hard-working, creative, target-oriented and focused. What distinguishes him is his amazing songwriting that gave him three careers: Gyllene Tider, solo and Roxette. I don’t think there is a big difference between the private and public Per. He is immensely positive and thinks fast both inside and outside the job. And he is just as bad at keeping the time in both cases…”

Marie Fredriksson, artist: ”Per is extremely creative, focused, positive and cheering in the studio. This is how he is as a person. We’ve had so much fun together through all the years. We had a lovely dinner together just the other day. There were many memories that came up and it’s obviously nice with such a long friendship that it continues even outside the stage and the studio.”

Mats MP Persson, band member in Gyllene Tider: ”My first impression of Per was that he was a real artist, translating Leonard Cohen’s and David Bowie’s lyrics into Swedish, and he had a tape recorder with microphones that could be used to play and record. He also had great visions. I thought it was really exciting and once we started doing covers with Per’s translated lyrics, for example, Doctor Feelgood. We did everything on our own and called us Graperock, if I remember right…”

3x this is how I wrote the song:

(Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän (Gyllene Tider, 1980): ”One summer I was weighing mushrooms. There were over three hundred girls and two guys. When we had nothing to weigh, we sat in our Ford Transit, where I wrote the text and then we made a song of it in the evening. Just because I could. In a way it was like solving crosswords.”

Allt gick så fort (En vacker natt, 2017): ”This song wrote itself. I was in France on a beach, a woman was picked from the water. I don’t know what happened to her afterwards. It became a catalyst for the fact that life goes fast.”

Neverending Love (Pearls of passion, 1986): ”I wrote a song for Pernilla Wahlgren, Svarta glas. Then I accidentally heard that her brother Niclas had recorded it and that was not the idea. I made an English text instead and recorded it with Marie.”

There are captions next to the photos in the article including Per’s thoughts on Roxette was the second pop group ever to play in Beijing. The concert in 1995 was met by both criticism and praise. When they played It Must Have Been Love, there was a banner in the audience saying ‘one world one unity’. One felt they became their longing for a Western life. The whole band went out and cried afterwards.

Another caption says that despite his worldwide success, Per Gessle remains a small town guy. He has never left Halmstad. By many, he is still perceived to be private – and that’s exactly how he wants it.

In a third caption it’s written that Gyllene Tider’s first hit wasn’t obvious. Per says they were told that the first single must have a certain pace to make it disco comaptible. But just then Frank Zappa happened to have a hit with Bobby Brown and that was very slow. So some discos in Stockholm started playing Flickorna på TV2, which had the same pace. Slowly but surely people began to recognize it. An organic hit, that’s the best kind.

The article closes with Monika’s thoughts that among the memories flowing from Per, names, places, anecdotes, she can’t find the right moment to ask why Per makes new records and gets out on exhausting tours when he has millions on his bank account. But eventually it becomes irrelevant. It is clear that Per Gessle lives and breathes music.

Great interview! Thanks for that, Aftonbladet Söndag!

Per was asked to draw a portrait of himself. Of course he made a Leif drawing. Haha.

 

Update on 3rd May: Aftonbladet shared the article online for subscribers.

Per Gessle: “I often cry” – Aftonbladet interview

Aftonbladet published an interview with Per Gessle on 25th April. he interview was done by Jan-Olov Andersson. The title already grabs your attention and you get curious about what Mr. G has to tell.

Jan-Olov states that even if Per has sold 80 million albums so far, he is not tired of it all. When they meet to talk about the new album, the love towards his wife, his role as a father and missing those who have passed away, both artists and those in his family, Per reveals what makes him extra fond of meeting his fans.

According to Jan-Olov, ”En vacker natt” is one of the best albums Per has ever made. Per says he wanted to write lyrics-based music, with his voice and acoustic guitars. It wouldn’t be pop, but thoughtfully beautiful music. Sentimental, but not tearful. It was quite easy to write and he also noticed that it became much more private than what he wrote earlier. Country sentimentality didn’t come until Per came to Nashville and met the musicians, especially Dan Dugmore and Stuart Duncan, who play pedal steel and violin. Then Mr. G felt shit, they don’t need strings, guitar loops or piano. It was something that was created in the moment.

Even if ”Småstadsprat”, the duet with Lars Winnerbäck is played extensively on the radio, Per wasn’t sure how the audience’s reception would be. He means there is no ”radio bomb” on the album and some might think the music is too slow and the violin is too whiny.

Per says that’s amazingly fascinating about his job is that one can never predict what will happen. It might not be an album for everyone, in times of Spotify, when some only listen to 24 seconds of a song. This is from another tradition. It has probably taken 58 years of Per’s life to come to a point where he dares to do it.

Jan-Olov asks Per how he will combine this country melancholy with all his previous hits. Mr. G says his original idea was to select songs from his entire songwriter career. Roxette, solo and Gyllene Tider songs. He feels that with the band he goes on tour, including a pedal steel and a violin player, he has the opportunity to change even the other songs a little bit. But he hasn’t decided yet how exactly.

Regarding Roxette, Per says the last touring years they did on Marie’s terms. That they had to cancel the tour he understands and respects Marie to 100000%. He says it felt nice that Marie herself made the decision, she could decide if it was on or off. Per says Marie and he talk sometimes, not every day. They had dinner together a few weeks ago. She is fine that she doesn’t have the stress and pressure now. That was crucial. Having 10000 people in the audience waiting…, she now feels damn good that she doesn’t have to deliver this way.

After Roxette was over, Per was thinking about what to do. Jan-Olov thought Per had hundreds of songs ready on stock, but Mr. G says the only ones he has is a few left-overs from earlier recordings. Otherwise, he doesn’t write until he knows he would make a record.

Per says he always has the antennas out. It might be something a taxi driver says, something he heard on TV or saw at the cinema. If he goes to a clothing store in London and hears a groove he likes, he records it on his iPhone. Jan-Olov asks Per what he is doing with all of these things. Mr. G says he has an idea archive. Titles, verses, words he thinks can be exciting, which can open doors. Often when he is in a writing phase, if he fails in the second verse, he can go to the archive and see if he finds something that fits.

Per talks about the fact that he uses symbols in the lyrics. If we look at his Swedish texts, there is a lot of sea and summer. He never tries to show the way, say how things are, he rather tries to let people form their own view. Then he has to use symbols. Like tussilago in ”Småstadsprat”. That means everything goes on, you get a new chance.

Per tells Jan-Olov that when people say they sing his songs on weddings or birthdays and say it’s about them, about their boyfriend or about their siblings, that they have interpreted it that way, it’s the coolest thing for a songwriter. He says then he knows he has succeeded. Mr. G says many of the lyrics that meant a lot to him, by Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, he feels like they are about him. He mentions that it was Mauro Scocco who once said it doesn’t happen often that you go and look at a sculpture and start crying. But the identification, it’s so amazingly awesome with music.

To Jan-Olov’s question if he cries often Per replies he is a weepy type when it comes to movies, in the most ridiculous context. He thinks it’s super sentimental when, for example, you portray injustice in a movie. He cries a lot more often than Åsa. She thinks it’s great fun. Per says men are raised to try to hide it.

The guys are talking about several rock icons who have passed away lately. Jan-Olov asks Per if any of them touched him extra much. Per says David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. Bowie was a shock, the day after his birthday, they were on vacation. Cohen was old, Per tried to see him as often as he could in recent years. His feeling influenced his record quite much. Girl choruses that give an angelic sense. So sometimes he uses Helena Josefsson’s voice, already since ”Mazarin”.

Jan-Olov asks Per about Sven-Erik Magnusson from Sven-Ingvars, who has died recently. Per says he wrote some songs to them. He can’t say he knew Sven-Erik very well, but he always felt young. Sven-Ingvars was a fantastic band. Their ‘60s hits can’t be copied. Listen to ”Börja om från början”. Highest elite! But when Per was young, they didn’t like the band had a ridiculous name and the guys had short hair. Back then everyone wanted to look like The Beatles on the ”Rubber Soul” cover.

Per Gessle was still living at home when Gyllene Tider became Sweden’s most popular band. His brother Bengt, who was 7 years older than Per and his sister Gunilla, who was 14 years older than him, had moved from home. Per’s father Kurt, who ran his own company as a plumber, passed away when Per was 19 years old. So when he suddenly became famous throughout Sweden, it was he and his mother who were affected. Jan-Olov asks if Per’s mother understood the strange journey Per has done. Mr. G says yes and no. He lived home for quite a while and it was so terribly hysterical around Gyllene Tider. Everyone who rang the door, the huge amount of mails, things stolen from number plates on the car to the laundry on dry. But the Roxette stuff, his mom thought it was amazing and she was always reminded of success by the people in her vicinity, but she understood just enough. She was barely outside Sweden, she was in France once. When Per showed pictures and videos she said worried: Ojojoj, I hope you take care of yourselves. Bengt passed away in spring 2014, Per’s mother Elisabeth 3.5 years ago and his sister last autumn, in cancer. Per says he hasn’t had any depression, but when your relatives die, you find other values important. Losing them certainly affected him and probably his new album too. Old photos of Gunilla and Elisabeth now are on the 2 new albums’ covers.

Per says that a lot of lyrics he has written now required a whole life to mature. He says a few years ago sometimes he drove past the house where he grew up. Now he doesn’t do it anymore, they have changed so much so you hardly recognize it. It’s strange that you want to do it, but it’s also human. When time passes you become restless, you want to belong to something. You imagine how it was, but it looks quite different. It’s like in Per Myrberg’s song ”34:an”.

Now his family is his wife Åsa, they have been together since Per was 25, and his son Gabriel, 19. To the question why Gabriel came so late Per replies his life was much about his career and Åsa was so involved in it. Organized the travelling and such. They prioritized their job. Marie set the trend when she became pregnant. She had two children, so we also took the opportunity. Roxette took four years of child break.

Jan-Olov asks Per how he is as a father. Per says he shouldn’t ask him, but he thinks he has a great relationship with Gabriel. His upbringing is quite special. There has been a lot of travelling, sometimes he had a teacher on the tours. Per thinks Gabbe has become a very easy going, normal guy. He has surely got it from his parents. Per says they are quite common people, even if it doesn’t seem so in the media.

Jan-Olov asks Per how he and Åsa have managed to keep their love alive for so long. According to Per, it’s probably just because they are pretty alike but still different. They fit well together. Per can’t see his life without Åsa. They have never had any heavy schisms, even if sometimes they think different. To the question about what, hereplies small things. Shoes choice or something like that… (laughs).

In the video which is inlcuded in the article, Per is asked about the similarity between him and Lars Winnerbäck. The reporter says if he listens to Per’s first solo album from 1983, it sounds like anything from Lars. Per couldn’t really get what he meant. He says he hasn’t listened to it since long and asks the reporter if he likes the album. The guy says yes, absolutely. Per says Lars is a fantastic songwriter and artist and Per is very happy and proud that he is on his new album now. He is a wonderful person. That he is also a small town guy, it fits well for ”Småstadsprat”.

 

Gessle doesn’t take life for granted – Per Gessle interview by P4 Extra

Per Gessle was the guest of the day on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio on 26th April. The interview with him was done by Johar Bendjelloul. If you listen to the 113 min online version (including music), Per is on from 28:44 to 52:07, if you listen to him in the downloadable mp3 version of the program, he is on from 15:00 to 33:27.

Johar first talks about Per’s career that he sold an unbelievable amount of albums, 80 million with Roxette, Gyllene Tider and solo. Then he welcomes Per, the hitmaker music nerd in the studio.

They talk about last year’s announcement that Roxette had to stop touring and that this way Per had much free time left. Per thought he would do something different than what he did during the past 5 years. Johar asks Per if Roxette is over. Per replies touring is definitely over, but if they will record something together in the future, he doesn’t know, doesn’t think so.

The guys are talking about country capital Nashville, why Per chose that location. Per says he started writing songs in Swedish. Acoustic based songs with the lyrics and voice in focus, in really simple production. First he thought he would record in London or in France, but then the idea came why not making the obvious fusion of Nashville and Halmstad. Per says he always liked classic country, Neil Young or Gram Parsons.

Johar and Per are talking about Per’s voice. Per has not always liked his own voice. In the beginning he had a huge problem with his voice actually, he thought it sounded bad. Not that he sang badly, but the sound of his voice was bad. But later he learned it’s special and sometimes it’s quite good even (laughs). He says he talked a lot about it with his psychologist. Haha.

There is a premiere of ”Min plats” in the program. Per says it’s the type of song you need to have on an album. It’s the opening song and it sets the tone of what Per wants to say with this album. There is pedal steel, violin and acoustic instruments in it. Per and Helena Josefsson are singing on this track. It’s a 3-minute-long song. (You can listen to it in the online version of the interview from 32:10 to 35:15.)

Johar asks Per why he chose to work with new musicians while he is known as a control freak. Per says he is not really a control freak, just a little bit. He tries to put himself into new situations and it was really good to work with these musicians. The pedal steel player, the violin player. Per wanted something new to happen.

Per talks about the fact that he releases 2 albums. ”En vacker natt” now and ”En vacker dag” in September. He says he had so much material and it felt too much to include all on one album only.

The guys are talking about the album cover. There is Per’s sister, Gunilla on the cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per’s sister died last autumn and his son found a box full of photos. The picture is from the ’60s and Per thought this one fits the album and he dedicates this album to his sister. ”En vacker dag” is dedicated to his mother, Elisabeth. Per tells his sister, mother and brother have died during the past three years. He has been the youngest in the family and now he is the only one left. It of course has affected him, but it’s not directly in there in the songs. You realize that time passes and nothing stands still. And that’s what you reflect on when you grow older. When you are young, you take it for granted and there is an energy and a hunger that decreases over the years. It’s an important ingredient in pop music, however, it’s not pop music now on these two albums. There is an obvious connection between youth and pop music. Per thinks the task of pop music is to reflect its own time. Pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s is very typical of its own time and also today’s pop music is very typical.

Johar wants a confirmation from Per that he won’t give up on pop music and Per says take it easy, he won’t. Haha. Johar says a lot of Per’s songs and lyrics will remain after Per will be gone. Per asks if Johar really thinks so. He asks Per what he thinks about it now that they are talking about the passing of time and deaths. Per says he doesn’t know, he doesn’t think about it. Johar is surprised and asks if Per doesn’t think his songs are classic. Johar mentions for example Sommartider being played at the school year end happenings in Sweden. Per says it’s just not a pleasant thing to think about his songs remaining after he’s gone. So they just move on to another topic.

They start talking about Per’s books he published 3 years ago, “Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, sketches & reflections”. Per laughs and says it was exhausting to collect all the things together, because it was too much material. But he was happy that people liked the end result. The books are a compilation of studio diaries, Per’s lyrics and all possible stuff. During the project, reading through and checking all things, he saw how different the ‘80s and ‘90s were. For Per, writing lyrics is a bit like writing a diary in a certain way. Sometimes he writes lyrics including what happened during the day. He writes about things he likes. Love, disappointment, stuff people can identify with. Johar says it’s kind of magical that people can feel Per’s songs are like they are written about themselves.

The guys listen to Dolly Parton’s song, Jolene. Per thinks it’s a fantastic song. Johar says the listeners couldn’t see it, but Per was listening to this song intensively, concentrating deeply on it in the studio. Johar asks Per what he thinks as a songwriter, what is the success behind this song. Per says the songwriters succeeded with everything here. For example, there is the exact same chord in both the verses and the choruses. The same chord goes round and round. It has a classic country text of a nice story. It’s a wonderful song, wonderfully arranged with pedal steel. When talking about the country milieu, Per says, on the new album he used milieu sounds between the songs.

Johar asks Per about songwriting again, if he sees colors when he writes. Per says he is always looking for some certain color, the temperature of the song. In a way it’s hard to explain though that he wants a yellow song with a little blue in it. On the new album there is everything possible. There is a certain melancholy. It’s very melodic and effectively arranged.There is happiness and there is sadness.

The guys are talking about the summer tour. Johar states Per tours terribly much, all his life, actually. He asks Per if he still finds it fun. Per replies it’s totally amazing, it’s the best thing. He likes the creative process in the studio, but it’s damn good to stand on stage and perform to the crowd. He is looking very much forward to this summer. Johar says a lot of artists say they hate touring, but Per enjoys it much. He says there is of course a price you pay, for example you wake up in a new bed each day and you don’t know where to find the toilet. Whether it’s on the left or on the right. Haha.

Johar mentions he read that Per was in Nashville once before he recorded his album. Per says he was, but can’t really remember. It was when they toured with Roxette in the US.

Johar asks Per if he likes attending other artists’ concerts. Per says sometimes he goes to shows, but often it’s boring, because tons of artists have pre-recorded CDs. It’s not like cheating, it’s just a style. Some music in the digital technology can’t be played live. But of course, he likes to attend concerts. To the question which was the last concert he saw and liked Per replies he has to think about it for a long time. He doesn’t know, he can’t say it. And here, the interview ends with this unanswered question.

 

Gomorron Sverige interview with Per Gessle

Per was one of the guests on today’s Gomorron Sverige on SVT. As he mentioned on his Instagram account: ”Early morning TV show. Really early. Really.” Haha. Poor guy, having some long and busy PR days this week.

If you are in Sweden, you can watch the show on SVT Play, if not, then you can watch it on YouTube (thanks to Gaby for recording it).

In 10 years, this is the first material Per releases in Swedish. To the question why Nashville, he replies he wanted to change the milieu a bit, not to record again in Skåne. He was thinking about recording in England or France, but suddenly Nashville popped up. Per thinks the combination of Halmstad and Nashville is perfect. He says he likes classic country, Neil Young, for example.

The host on the show says Per’s music is not really country, but Mr. G says there are country elements, for example, on Mazarin. Now he worked together with local musicians and all the instruments they used add the Nashville sound to the album, but at the same time he wanted the lyrics and his voice to be in focus.

Regarding the duet with Lars Winnerbäck, the hostess asks Per if it is a bit like looking for something new after Marie. Per says he just wanted to do something different. He likes to test different things all the time.

The host asks Per if this project is more about looking back than looking into the future. Per says in a way it is. He tried to write the lyrics from the point of view who he is today, even he writes about the same topics as usual, love, disappointment, longing, dreaming. The host asks if it is easier to write in his mother tongue, Swedish than in English. Per says it is.

They talk about the album cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per tells it’s his sister on the cover. She passed away last autumn. Her son found a box full of photos from 1965-66 and Per chose to put this picture of Gunilla on the cover. The pic was taken in Halmstad.

The hostess asks Per if losing his father, mother, brother and sister had any affect on his music. Per says of course it had in a way. Everyone who loses someone close is affected by the loss.

They are talking about the fact that a second album is out in autumn. Per says they worked fast and there was so much material, he decided to release 2 albums instead of one damn long album.

The hostess says the album looks like an old LP. Per says that was the idea behind the design. The cover also helps to create the milieu of the songs. And it will be released also on LP. The hostess asks why Mr. G thought it should be released on vinyl as well. He says mainly in Sweden, Spotify is huge in streaming music, but it’s a bit anonymous. There are no album covers, but pop or rock culture doesn’t exist without album covers. Nowadays Per still buys LPs and he is looking at the sleeves while listening to the songs on Spotify. He likes to have the lyrics in front of him when he is actively listening to music.

The hostess asks what Halmstad means to Per. He replies he has been travelling a lot around the world, but he always gets back to Halmstad. He likes Halmstad and he likes small town life. He of course likes Stockholm too, but he is more of a small town guy. Lars Winnerbäck is also a small town guy, Marie Fredriksson is also a small town girl.

The host asks about that one English song, ”Far Too Close” (duet with Savannah Church) on the album and they play a short snippet from it. Per says this is a homage to Nashville to have an English song as the last track on the album, a duet by a local country singer.

Per says the musicians in Nashville of course knew the songs ”Listen To Your Heart” or ”It Must Have Been Love”, but they thought Per’s music was strange. Per was happy about it and thought their cooperation would be exciting.

About how he wrote the songs Per says he always writes either on acoustic guitar or on piano. The host asks how long they rehearsed together with the musicians in Nashville. Per says they didn’t rehearse at all. He played the demos to them and explained some things, but then it was more like jamming. There were like 3-4 takes for a track, then they just put the whole song together. The pedal steel and the violin are very characteristic.

Per says his summer tour has its premiere in Helsingborg, but he couldn’t remember the exact date. Haha. First he said 7th July, then smiled and said or maybe rather 6th July. Yes, it’s the 6th. He won’t have Nashville musicians in the band, but Swedish guys and girls. They will play songs from Per’s whole career.

Still is from the TV show