Magdalena Barczyk did an interview with Per Gessle for Radio ZET in Poland.
Magdalena’s first question is about Bag of Trix. Per tells her he started digging in the archives in spring and found a lot of materials, e.g. the Abbey Road sessions from 1995, as well as their first demos that served as the basis for their debut album in the 80’s, or leftovers from their Good Karma album. This compilation is kind of a mishmash of everything. He didn’t expect to find that much, so it was a bit overwhelming.
Magdalena is curious if there is still something unreleased left in the drawers. Per laughs and tells there is more. After completing this compilation, he came across even more recordings. It seems to be some kind of infinity. It’s been a really long career. He also found a lot of live tapes from the Joyride and Crash! Boom! Bang! tours. Maybe one day he will release them, we’ll see. He says they sound pretty good.
Magdalena tells Marie passed away a year ago and asks Per how this year was for Mr. G without Marie. Per tells it’s been a crazy year because of the pandemic. He thinks it’s been a special year for everyone in a way. Marie was ill for 17 years and everyone was slowly preparing for the worst, because she wasn’t in good shape. But when the time came, he felt like he couldn’t really prepare for it. He thinks everyone who lost a family member or a close friend understands it. He tries to think positively about what they went through together, their relationship lasted a very long time. She has always been and will always be one of Per’s closest friend. They met when they were teenagers and the adventure they experienced as Roxette is still amazing and difficult for some to understand. He feels lucky that he had a friend like that and a partner like that in his music.
Magdalena asks Per how he sees contemporary music and if anything surprises or annoys him in it. Mr. G tells he noticed that as you get older, you realize how much you are stuck with the music you grew up with. He started listening to pop and rock when he was 6 or 7 years old. So he can say that pop of the 60’s and 70’s is his DNA. Therefore, in his work he has always tried to come back to it. He just likes that style and he likes the way the songs were written. Looking back, pop is a reflection of the era in which it’s been made. In the 60’s it referred to societies, now we live in the times of social media, computers and laptops. You can hear it in music, it’s done on computers, it’s done differently. If you turn on 40 of the most popular radios, you will notice that all the songs are in a similar style. It’s hard to tell these songs apart. He doesn’t say pop music today is better or worse, it’s just different. It’s reflecting its own time.
Magdalena tells now there is a noticeable trend of musical return to the 80’s and is curious how Per likes it. Mr. G tells it puts a smile on his face. Those were his times and he immediately recognize the synthesizer or even the drum sounds. He can hear the sound that young people try to imitate and the way they arrange their songs. It’s cool, he likes it and thinks that The Weeknd captured it sensationally in the song Blinding Lights. He thinks it’s a nice trend.
Magdalena is curious which contemporary artist Per finds interesting and if he likes specific songs. Per says it’s a good question. He likes a lot of artists, but if he is listening to e.g. Billie Eilish for too long, it’s too much for him. The same applies to The Weeknd, even if they make very good pop. Per has always been a fan of creating concept albums where he would write 12, 14 or 16 songs. However, these days people only listen to one song. Album format is dead.
Magdalena mentions that Per is not only a musician, but also a businessman. Mr. G says he doesn’t consider himself a businessman. He has a hotel, which he bought 25 years ago. It’s in his hometown on the Swedish West coast. But he is not managing it, his wife is doing that. Per drives there and checks out everything from time to time. Sometimes he signs autographs and takes selfies there. Haha.
Magdalena asks Per how this strange year was for him personally. Mr. G says it’s been a crazy year. None of us have experienced anything like this before and he doesn’t even know what to say about it. He spent his time in isolation with his family in their house on the coast, although now he is back in Stockholm. He misses travelling the most, because he has always lived out of suitcase. He would like to meet his friends from all over the world in real life, not only via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. He just misses the socialization that doesn’t exist today. Besides that, they can’t tour. Many of his fellow musicians and technicians barely make ends meet because they have no jobs. It’s a tough year for this business. He hopes next year will be better.
Magdalena tells the word „Poland” and asks for associations. Per says there has always been great concerts there. He always tells that he has travelled the whole world and saw nothing. This is how it is on the road. You come to a country or a particular city, you go to a hotel, then you have to do a soundcheck, you play a concert and you leave. But he knows that every concert in Poland is a great pleasure. They have a lot of fans there who are still supporting them and he appreciates it. If it weren’t for them, he probably wouldn’t be here talking today. It’s the fans who make the band big.
Magdalena asks what Per wishes for himself and Radio ZET listeners for the upcoming holidays. Per thinks the previous months were a nightmare for all of us. It’s depressing for everyone working in hospitals, for children not going to schools and for teachers working in difficult conditions. That’s why he thinks that during this holiday, the most important thing for everyone is that we return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.
Magdalena thanks Per for the interview and Mr. G thanks for it too.
The radio also recorded Per telling their slogan: ”Hi! This is Per Gessle from Roxette. You are listening to Radio ZET – Si?a muzyki.” (= The power of music). With Per Gessle’s Polish accent. Lovely, haha.
Thanks for the technical support, Tomasz Wysocki!