Per Gessle interview about PG Roxette on Göteborgs-Posten

Per Gessle had an interview day in Halmstad and replied to Johan Lindqvist’s (Göteborgs-Posten) questions in a video call. Roxette is back with a new single, an upcoming album and certainly also a tour. There are the initials PG in front of the band name to indicate that this is something different than it was before.

For Per Gessle, it’s an obvious choice to continue. He sees it as managing Roxette’s legacy and mentions the Bohemian Rhapsody movie about Queen, Fleetwood Mac’s sudden TikTok hit with old Dreams and ABBA’s project with Mamma Mia! and the new avatar show in London as inspiring ways to keep old bands and songs relevant.

Per says:

75% of everyone who listens to Roxette on Spotify is under 45, which is absolutely fantastic. I’m proud of what we have created and of course want the music to live on.

He continues:

Roxette is thirty years of my life, so it would be strange if I didn’t want to continue. What is important to point out is that it’s definitely not about trying to replace Marie. It’s not possible.

PG says that British journalists asked if, for example, Belinda Carlisle was relevant for the job as a Roxette singer. She wasn’t. It’s Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg who share vocals together with Per. There are also other well-known Roxette musicians in the band: Jonas Isacsson, Clarence Öfwerman, Magnus Börjeson, Christoffer Lundquist.

Who is missing is drummer Pelle Alsing who passed away in December 2020. It’s drum machines that do the work on the upcoming album, Pop-Up Dynamo! which will be released in September. It will be PG Roxette’s debut album, but it’s clearly inspired by Roxette’s biggest records from the past.

I wanted to write a positive uptempo record but it’s the most difficult thing there is as a songwriter at my age. When you’ve been doing this for so long, you simply know too much and have already used all the tricks in the book.

Per continues:

A really good pop song should come by itself, it’s not possible to sit down and write a “Dressed For Success” or a “Joyride”.

After all, Per Gessle picked up the pace and flow and when the first songs were written, they continued with trying to produce the music so that the new record would sound like a sibling to Look Sharp! and Joyride. Clarence Öfwerman and Magnus Börjeson were able to bring out suitable sounds from the latter’s collection of synths from the ’80s and ’90s.

Per, who is excited about how it turned out, says:

It may sound like 1991, but there must be a modern touch. It should be heard that it has been done now.

He doesn’t count on commercial success:

It’s my kind of pop music, take it or leave it. I really don’t expect a new US No. 1.

The fact that Roxette, or rather PG Roxette, is no longer at a level where football stadiums are sold out also gives Per Gessle artistic freedom.

As it seems right now, he is leaning towards taking down Roxette’s joyride for a quieter ride, a continuation of the acoustic tour that started out as a test at Hotel Tylösand last summer and then grew into a sold-out concert hall tour across Sweden.

Per says:

It’s one of the funniest things I’ve been through. I didn’t really feel comfortable at all playing acoustically and talking so much to the audience, but I dared and it turned out great. I am so proud.

He continues:

I’ve learned that I can trust what I have done all my life. It may sound strange considering that I was playing at Ullevi, but you are really walking the plank when you do acoustic gigs.

Per Gessle says that during the concerts he discovered things in his own old songs he hadn’t thought of before. Not least how the Gyllene Tider lyrics he wrote as a 20-year-old got different meaning when the arrangement of the music was changed and they were sung by the 63-year-old man.

So instead of playing in half-size ice hockey rinks, it’s appealing to do the upcoming PG Roxette tour in an intimate format.

We will decide before midsummer, but it would be completely magical to play songs like “Queen Of Rain”, “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” and “Things Will Never Be The Same” with lap steel and double bass.