I met Sven Lindström, the author of “Att vara Per Gessle” and the new book “Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” in Stockholm just right before the release party of the book. Sven told me about himself and especially about the making off the book. Enjoy the interview!
Judith: To start with, could you tell us about you, how you started to write about music and what you’ve done so far?
Sven: I started as music journalist in Malmö for Sydsvenska Dagbladet, which is the biggest morning paper in the area. I became a music journalist back in 1983 and one of the first guys I interviewed was actually Per Gessle. We connected; I thought he was a fun guy. It was when Gyllene Tider were having a break due to military service and he was about to release his first solo album and he was starting a new chapter in his career.
Some years later I quit writing about music, I got fed up with doing nothing but reviewing concerts or albums, I wanted to keep this more as a hobby, so I went into advertising. I’ve been working as a copywriter since the end of the 80’s.
Some years later, Per called me up and wanted me to make an interview with Marie and him to be used as a press release for the Joyride album, so I met them in Per’s apartment in Halmstad in December 1990 and wrote the piece which was then given a magazine look where we tried to emulate the feeling of Rolling Stone interview.
And since then I’ve been working doing a lot of press releases, biographies, CD booklets, tour programs for Roxette and GT. So basically I am a music writer that tried to quit but didn’t really manage to. And I’ve published three books so far.
J: One of them is another Rox-related book, “Att vara Per Gessle”. How did that happen?
S: The idea came up at the after-show party at the last concert of the Room Service tour in Göteborg, it was Per who suggested that at 5:30 in the morning when most people had gone to sleep and the others who were still around were not terribly sober. He said, “You know, one day somebody will write about the Roxette story, why don’t you do it?”
I heard myself say “Yes, of course,” I didn’t realize what I had just said yes to, haha! So afterwards we decided to make a biography on his career and life, we wanted to do it very candid open and very interview based. But it took forever to do it because I worked with other stuff as well, so it was released in 2007 in the end.
J: And what can you tell about the third book “Han sitter där nere mellan Clapton och Hendrix – Jan Olofssons galna tripp genom pophistorien”?
S: It’s about a photographer from Malmö, Jan Olofsson. It’s a very funny story, a bit like Forrest Gump in the pop world of the 60’s. He met The Beatles in Hamburg in 1960, when he was just 16 and The Beatles had just arrived from Liverpool. And then he went to London and stayed there, working as a manager, photographer, record label boss, producer, club owner etc. Whenever something amazing happened, he happened to be there. It would make a great movie.
J: You are also the voice behind Nordic Rox. When did you join this radio program?
S: Nordic Rox started in 2006. There were quite a lot of people involved, like Pelle Almqvist of The Hives, Per and the ABBA expert Carl Johan Palm. I am not sure what happened before I joined, but around the time when “Att vara Per Gessle” came out at the end of December 2007, Per asked me if I was interested in taking over as the show’s host together with him, but that he would be more of the flagship of the show, and I would do the work, haha! So that’s how it started for me.
J: But you don’t travel to the US every time for the show, or?
S: No, I do it from Malmö. My kids have found me in the closet sometimes because it’s good acoustics there, so when you hear the “Hello, you are listening to Nordic Rox – good looking music” you now know where it was recorded, haha! I still do it from home, recording voice breaks with the regular Mac stuff like GarageBand and doing playlists of songs in iTunes. Then I send it to the Sirius XM headquarters in New York where they produce it into a proper show. I still haven’t really understood that it’s aired in USA, it’s amazing. A friend of mine who was once somewhere in California, was at a hotel with a few business people and he heard the program on the radio and called me “I am sitting here at a restaurant and they are playing something called Nordic Rox, is that you??” haha! So you see, it’s a small world.
J: But it’s great that you are able to spread Nordic music in the states, what is your favourite Nordic band right now?
S: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from Denmark, I listen to them a lot lately. But there is a lot of good music coming from the Nordic countries, so I think Nordic Rox is a good call.
J: You explained how “Att vara Per Gessle” happened, but how did you get the idea to write this book about Roxette?
S: The original idea was to make something out of the tour, but that idea changed in-between. I realized that the only book that had been written purely about Roxette came out in 1992, I think. So much has happened since then, everything that happened before the 2011 tour, and then how it progressed into 2012, I thought this had to be recorded and told. Of course, fans know about this and are totally involved, but the majority of people didn’t know the whole story. Some knew parts of it of course, but they didn’t really know the details of the struggle that went on, so I thought the story deserved to be told.