Per Gessle is in the middle of his signing session tour and today he had 2 stops on his list. First he signed his new album, En vacker natt in Hässleholm (from 12:30 according to the schedule, but he was there already before 12:00). HERE you can read about that session (Hässleholm) and see a short video of the signing session.
The next stop was Malmö. Per was scheduled to be there from 16:00 to 18:00, but he arrived already at 15:15. He entered Folk å Rock in great mood. Met the organizers and disappeared upstairs. Olle Berggren, the journalist who interviewed Per, came also well before 16:00. They probably discussed how things would be on stage from 16:00. The stage was rearranged in the meantime to have 2 seats for Per and Olle and a table with water and a rose. Lovely. 2 microphones were set, the ones you have to hold in your hands. The whole interview can be watched HERE! Starts blurry, but it gets better after some seconds.
For those who can’t speak Swedish, here is an English summary of what they were talking about. Olle Berggren welcomed the Swedish King of Pop, Son of a Plumber and they started chatting about Nashville. First about the hat that appears on some pictures in the booklet of ”En vacker natt”. Per says it was Anton Corbijn who took the pictures and they went in a hat shop and they just bought it. Hats can be different, like there are the ones Clarence Öfwerman is wearing, but this type of hat fits country more. Olle asks if Per will wear a hat on tour too, probably not.
Olle asks why Per decided to record in Nashville. Per tells the first thing they were thinking about was leaving Skåne (which sounded funny, given that Malmö is also in Skåne) after he spent 420 days in Vallarum in Christoffer’s studio during the past 10 years. It sounded crazy, so they thought they should do the recordings somewhere else this time. They thought about France and England, but then suddenly Nashville came in sight and they thought shit, they have to record there. There is a natural fusion between Halmstad and Nashville.
Per says his old albums contain a certain country sound too. The old Neil Young style or Lee Hazelwood. They talk about Per’s album from 1983 that it already had this American style. Then the discussion goes on about pedal steel that it’s also not a new thing in Per’s life. They even used it on Roxette tours. This time pedal steel came in when they were in Nashville and started working with local musicians. He played the guitar and sang, but then there was the idea that pedal steel could be used e.g. instead of keyboards or so. Olle asks if it was OK for Clarence. Per says yeah, he went to sit in the back and sleep. Haha. Per says Dan Dugmore, who plays the pedal steel, is fantastic. Stuart Duncan plays the violin. Stuart worked together with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. When Stuart played, they thought they should skip the guitars and use the violin instead. So instead of guitars and keyboards it became pedal steel and violin. It makes a very big difference.
Talking about Alison Krauss, Olle says he heard Per wanted a duet with Alison. Per says he wished. His friend, who has an own record company said he could have Alison in the studio, but she is a bit tricky. So then they signed Savannah Church who sounds exactly like Alison Krauss. Olle says Savannah is very young. Per says yes, a bit younger than him, she is twenty-something. Olle says Savannah has a fantastic voice and they sounds very good together, like Per sounded so good with Marie together. Per says Marie was all the time fantastic. He says Savannah sang so clearly that they finished recording her part in 20 minutes. He asked Savannah if she ever sang false and Savannah couldn’t understand the question. Haha.
Regarding the tour, Per says he already met the band and designers and people ask about the setlist, what they will play on tour. But he has no clue yet. First he wanted the album to be released and now he has a band including a pedal steel player and a violin player. So there might be something like what we could hear on Skavlan, the live version of ”Småstadsprat”. They talk about Lars Winnerbäck. Olle asks who could replace him on tour when he is not there. Per jokes it could be Micke Syd.
Per says the whole album would be easy to play live. It’s very organic. Olle asks if there are any plans after the summer tour, besides releasing the autumn album. If a little club tour is in the plans maybe. Per says nothing is decided yet. He says it happens easily when you are on tour many times, you play your hits all the time and he has a huge hit catalogue. But he also has the need to try new things and that’s the easiest for him in the studio. Olle asks if Per writes songs also out of a project, being just inspired, without any project in sight, but Per says it doesn’t work for him. He likes deadlines.
Olle asks Per about Gyllene Tider’s 40th anniversary tour, if it happens next year. Per says nothing decided yet, but there are plans. Olle asks Per about the future, if he still sees an international career in his life. Per says he doesn’t know. He will go on writing both in Swedish and English. He tells Olle that for his own sake he has been zig-zagging among his 3 careers so far, doing something with Roxette, then with Gyllene Tider, then solo, to keep himself interested and also the crowds interested. Mainly in Sweden, which is a small country. People might get tired of you. As they say, how could we miss you when you won’t go away. So Olle thinks Per has plans to make an English album in the future. Per says could be. Olle says everyone knows when Per says could be, it means it will happen. Per says let’s see what happens, but he is always open to suggestions.
The last thoughts are on Per going back to Halmstad after the session and do another signing session tomorrow (in Ullared). He thanked for all and left the stage.
After the interview, the signing session started upstairs. It wasn’t too fan-friendly, since people had to be queueing on the stairs and had no chance to see Per until they got up to the top of the stairs. Per was standing behind a counter in a corner, which also made it difficult to take pictures with him for example. And the guy who organized the whole thing seemed to be more stressed than fans, as he was grabbing the stuff out of our hands to put them in front of Per, trying to make it faster. Oh well… Haha. I haven’t counted, but I think there were more than 100 people in the queue. Everyone got the autographs on whatever they wanted. En vacker natt CD, vinyl, older PG CDs, vinyls, books and even guitars. A guy from Germany came with 4 or 5 guitars to have them signed by Per. It was fun. Mr. G smiled all the time, he enjoyed the session and didn’t seem to be tired at all. Where does this guy gets the energy from? Haha. After the queue ran out of people, Per went into the office and probably signed some more stuff for the shop. He left the building at appr. 17:30.
It was a lovely session with the interview and the signing part, also a great meeting occasion for fans from Sweden and from abroad (Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, Hungary, The Netherlands, Denmark). Besides the fans, there was Sven Lindström at Folk å Rock. We could chat with him a bit too. I asked him about the Swedish Radio podcast, sequel of Gessles nio i topp which was to be out this spring. He said they have recorded everything, it’s under production now and it’s out in summer. And there is even more to come soon! Sounds exciting!
And what’s also exciting is that a RoxBlog interview with Mr. G is on the way! Probably out tomorrow. Stay tuned! 😉
Interview and signing session stills by Patrícia Peres.