Per Gessle was one of the guests on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. He entered the studio after Jubël (Sebastian Atas and Victor Sjöström), a Swedish duo originating from Halmstad performed their song, Someone. Per mentions how good they are and shows thumbs up to them. Program leader Jenny Alversjö asks Mr. G if they worked together and Per tells that for example, in 2018 they wrote music together for Name You Beautiful, the official song for the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad.
Jenny asks Per about Christmas. PG says it was calm of course. It’s been a quite long, boring time for everyone, Per thinks. Then Jenny tells there was the Late Night Concert on TV4 in December and it came as a consolation in the darkness when we needed it most. Per tells it was fantastic. They’ve been sitting isolated for such a long time and couldn’t play and even if there was of course no audience for this event, it was fun to rehearse and meet the band. It was fun to play in an acoustic arrangement, he thinks it’s always special. It was like finding new ways for the songs and certain songs fit this intimate format, e.g. Tycker om när du tar på mig or Listen To Your Heart. He tried to pick songs from Roxette, Gyllene Tider and his solo career. It was exciting for him.
Jenny asks how it works not to strip down something that is the core of the song. Per says the core things in his songs are most often the lyrics and the melody, so this way one can even put these elements more into focus.
Here they show some parts of the concert and Jenny tells it was incredibly nice. She asks Per how he picked the songs for this event. For this concert Per says he tested 10-15 songs, maybe more and he simply chose the ones that felt best. One can feel it that some songs just don’t work in a toned-down version. The Look, for example, would have been quite meaningless to be played there.
Jenny tells Per has Billboard No. 1 songs and sold millions of albums and she is curious about Mr. G’s relationship to music today. Per says it’s quite unchanged. Music has always been his thing and he has never thought of music as his job.
Jenny asks Per about his plans whether he is thinking about new things or planning to work with his already existing catalogue in the way we could see him at the Late Night Concert. Mr. G says partly this and that. He thinks he has always had a very good setup: Gyllene Tider, which is a certain type of power pop, Roxette, which is a totally different style also productionwise, his solo stuff, which is more lyric-based, more of a singer songwriter style and Mono Mind, which is also a totally different music. He used to say there are different things on the same tree and it fits him very well, so he can do diverse things.
Jenny asks Per whether he had done everything he wanted to do or there is still something he dreams about. Mr. G says he has no special dream, he just wants to keep going with all what he is doing and wants to see what happens, be curious and test things.
Jenny asks how Per finds inspiration and where his creativity comes from. Per says it’s his way to express himself. He expresses his personality and creativity through music and texts, so it comes by itself in a way. Many think that he ”goes to work” at 9 and plays the piano and the guitar for 6 hours, but it doesn’t work for him like that. He writes down just what he must write down and it’s when he has something that must come out. It can be a melody or an idea or a text.
Jenny asks Per about the secret of being a hitmaker and if he feels it when he writes a song that it would become a hit. Per says it’s been long since the last time he wrote a hit. Pop music has changed so much and he sticks to his roots, so he is not a modern hitmaker anymore. He says there are so many things that have to work for a song to become a hit. It’s not just the song itself, but it’s also about timing, cooperations, luck and a thousand other things that should work at the same time. Regarding certain songs, e.g. The Look, when they recorded it in the studio in the 80’s it felt that it was very special, but that it would become No. 1 in 30 countries, you never know in advance. It Must Have Been Love was a very good ballad and then it became part of the movie, Pretty Woman and it became such a monster hit. Coincidence also plays a big role, Per says.
Jenny mentions Marie passed away more than a year ago and is curious how it is to play Roxette songs without Marie. Per says it’s terrible that Marie is not there anymore, but he feels that the music lives on and he sees that all around the world. He still wants to play these songs, they are such a big part of his life, more than 30 years of Roxette. He doesn’t want to close that door, but it will be different and he will never replace Marie. Jenny asks Per about griefing and missing Marie. Mr. G says it’s a constant feeling. You can never call her or talk to her again. Now Pelle Alsing, their drummer also passed away before Christmas and it also feels incomprehensible. It’s tough.
Jenny says she also knows Per is working in the studio now and is curious what the future brings. Mr. G says he is recording an English pop album and it sounds a bit like Roxette’s origins. It’s a bit difficult to write uptempo pop songs at his age even if he wrote so many of such songs before. He simply took the challange to write an awesome pop record. Jenny thinks it’s very exciting and Per agrees. He has no clue when the album is out, but he plans to release it this year. When it’s ready.
Stills are from the interview.