Sandra Casalini from Schweizer Illustrierte did a fun interview with Per, asking mostly not the usual questions. Here is the English translation to it. Enjoy!
SI: – Per Gessle, was it always clear to you that you would continue solo after the end of Roxette?
PG: – Marie could hardly move during the last Roxette tour, so the only right decision was to “bury” the band. It was her wish that I carry on alone. But I wanted to do something completely different than Roxette.
SI: – What?
PG: – Songs in Swedish. Also because I lost my mother and siblings within a short time, I wanted to do something private for myself. When I travelled to Nashville to record the songs, everything changed: now it’s become an English album.
SI: – What kind of everyday life would you urgently need to change from an environmental perspective?
PG: – Everything! I fly too often, I drive too often – in fact, I’m very careless.
SI: – By what percentage would you have to reduce your workload to be massively happier?
PG: – Zero. Of course, there are days when I don’t find it funny to be asked for a selfie every few steps, which is the case in Sweden. But it’s part of my job. Communication with the fans is important.
SI: – Are you on social media?
PG: – Not privately, but I manage Roxette’s Facebook page and the Twitter account with 1.5 million followers.
SI: – Have you ever had a nickname?
PG: – In my first band I got the nickname “Gellner” missed. Why? One of the first newspaper articles about us said that this was my name – no idea why!
SI: – When you were a child, what did your mother always tell you?
PG: – “Cut your hair!” I always wanted long hair. My uncle was a hairdresser and I cried every time I had to go to him.
SI: – When did you last do something handmade?
PG: – I write notes to my wife every day: “I’m going for a walk.” or “When’s dinner?”
SI: – In other words, have you ever written a song for someone special?
PG: – When writing a song, you always start with something personal, that can also sometimes be a person. But during the process, you keep getting farther off, so in the end it’s often fiction.
SI: – What kind of background image does your mobile phone display have?
PG: – A picture of me and my wife dressed up for a Halloween party. I look scary – and more!
SI: – What music should be played at your funeral?
PG: – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python.
SI: – Do you have a tattoo?
PG: – No. I always thought I should stay original.
SI: – What act of you do you think people will still talk about long after your death?
PG: – Nothing is forever and that’s good. Of course, when you’re doing music, you hope that some songs will survive for a few years. But new generations come with different musical tastes.
SI: – The best song you have ever written?
PG: – “It Must Have Been Love” – I managed that pretty well.
SI: – Which of your qualities do you want your son to inherit from you?
PG: – I don’t think he should have my qualities. My greatest quality as a father is being open to what he is and what he wants. Gabriel is studying computer science. I am very proud of him.
SI: – The best advice you have ever received?
PG: – To follow my gut feeling. That’s what some people told me at the beginning of my career. You have to have something to rely on. For some it is a religion or a political party. I think trusting yourself is the best.
SI: – Do you remember your first love at school?
PG: – (Thinks for a while.) Ah yes, I remember. I was seven or eight. But I won’t reveal her name.
SI: – Who is your best friend?
PG: – My wife. We’ve been married for 25 years and have been together for 33 years.
SI: – That is long. How do you do that?
PG: – We want it to work. That’s a conscious decision, that we meet again and again for each other.
SI: – What gift have you been happy about for the last time?
PG: – A signed photo of musician Tom Petty who died in 2017. He gave it to a journalist who knew that I was a fan. He wrote, “See you one day.” Unfortunately, I received it only after his death.