Interview with Pelle Alsing – it’s all about the groove

We have wanted to interview Pelle for a long time, and we actually did last year in April, just right after Marie’s tour. We hadn’t found an appropriate time during the tour and when we were waiting for the Arlanda Express to take us to Stockholm the day after Marie’s tour last concert in Umeå , Pelle just showed up and offered to do the interview right there, right then. So we found a place on the train and we started to shoot questions. Unfortunately, some technical issues made it imposible for the interview to be published so we went for an e-mail interview instead and sent our questions to him towards the end of last year. Pelle’s been very busy with touring with Roxette and finalizing the first album with his own band, Down Harrison, so understandably, it took some time until he could sit down and answer our shocking number of Qs some days ago.

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(C) Judith S. Taken during Marie Fredriksson’s solo tour 2014

Down Harrison’s debut album with the same title as the band’s name was released on March 28th. The band, besides Pelle Alsing on drums, consists of Tommy Cassemar (bass), Jesper Willaume (singer, songwriter) and Mikael Wedberg (guitar, keyboards). Ola Gustafsson joins the band from time to time on guitars and pedal steel.

Check out their album on iTunes, Spotify or Tidal and if you are into what they are doing, you can follow the band on Facebook as well.

Now back to where we started, here you can read the interview with Pelle, the “keep-it-simple” guy. Most of his answers will make you smile or even laugh and some of his extra short replies will leave you curious to know more about Pelle Alsing. Don’t be shy to ask him if you meet him on tour. At the beach or in a bar. 😉

RXB: – Hi Pelle, thank you for your time. How are you doing after the first two legs of the Roxette 30th anniversary tour?
Pelle: – I’m doing fine! Both legs were great! It’s always great to come back to Australia! 2 weeks left until the European tour, yippie!

RXB: – What have you been doing between tours? You recently came back from New Zealand and Australia with Roxette…
Pelle: – Working with my own band DOWN HARRISON! Both before and after NZ and Australia!

RXB: – Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you start playing the drums and why?
Pelle: – My big brother Hans bought a drum kit when I was 9-10 years! I couldn’t resist the kit!

RXB: – What do you think makes a drummer unique?
Pelle: – The groove!

RXB: – When you listen to another drummer, what do you listen for?
Pelle: – The groove!

RXB: – What are your favourite bands and who are your favourite drum players? Which ones made the biggest impact on you?
Pelle: – Wilco, The Band, Little Feat, Jackson Browne, and a thousand more bands and artists! The Beatles!

RXB: – Do you attend many concerts? If so, you rather go to pubs to enjoy live music or to see big bands performing in arenas?
Pelle: – No, not that many. Both!

RXB: – What was the last big concert you watched from the crowd?
Pelle: – James Taylor.

RXB: – Which is your most memorable concert (not necessarily Rox-related) of all time?
Pelle: – Gentle Giant 1975 and Genesis 1977 in Stockholm.

RXB: – What other bands or artists do you play with besides Roxette, Marie or The Husbands?
Pelle: – Billy Bremner live and my own band DOWN HARRISON in the studio.

RXB: – In April last year you mentioned you were recording an album with your band. Do you have any news for us?
Pelle: – Yes I have! We have just released our first album with DOWN HARRISON on iTunes, Spotify and Tidal! Check it out!!! Enjoy!!!

RXB: – What kind of music do you make?
Pelle: – Americana with a touch of pop and country.

RXB: – What are you the most proud of during your career?
Pelle: – Many things! DOWN HARRISON and Roxette for instance.

RXB: – Is there anything you would skip or change if you could start it again?
Pelle: – No.

RXB: – Do you listen to a lot of music? New music? What’s your actual favourite album?
Pelle: – Yes, sometimes! Right now Jackson Browne and Jeff Tweedy’s new albums.

RXB: – We know you are into sports. What was the last sports event you went to see and where?
Pelle: – Hammarby football club in our new arena in Stockholm!

RXB: – What do you think you bring to the bands you play with or is your trademark?
Pelle: – Humor and play simple.

RXB: – What is it like to be in the back on the stage? Do you concentrate on your drums or do you have time to look at the audience, see what’s going
Pelle: – Fantastic! Both.

RXB: – Has anyone ever asked you to teach him playing the drums? Have you ever had “students”?
Pelle: – Yes.

RXB: – When we did an interview with Mikael Nogueira Svensson, he said he decided to play the drums after he met you as a child, backstage in Gävle on the Joyride tour. How does it feel knowing that someone started playing the drums because you made an impact on him with your playing?
Pelle: – It’s great when people get inspired by what you’ve done!

RXB: – We know guitar strings are changed very often, but how often is it necessary to change the heads on your drums?
Pelle: – Every 5-6 shows.

RXB: – Is there any special exercise to keep your wrists fit on tour?
Pelle: – Tap dancing at 6 o’clock, every morning!

RXB: – Did it ever happen during your long career that you got injured during your playing? Or if the drumsticks fell out of your hands so you had to stop playing for some seconds or longer time?
Pelle: – I put the stick up my nose last tour and started to bleed, haha! Sometimes you loose a stick, then you have to play with one stick for a couple of bars, until you get a new one!

RXB: – It’s strange that now there was no song when you came to the front. Even during “The Heart Shaped Sea” and “Queen of Rain” when everyone else came to the front you stayed in the back. Was it you who insisted on staying there?
Pelle: – No, but I prefer to sit behind my drums!

RXB: – You have been playing drums with Roxette for many years. In between you also joined Marie during her solo tour last year. What was the biggest difference for you?
Pelle: – All the songs I’ve never played before.

RXB: – You have also known Clarence for many years, and of course, also Marie and Per. How is it to play with people you know for so long? Are you afraid it may become a “routine”?
Pelle: – No, never! I love working and hanging with these guys!

RXB: – You also work in the studio with Roxette, not only on tours. Do you come up with the beats “on the fly” in the studio, or give ideas how something would sound better?
Pelle: – I listen to the songs, to be prepared! It differs from time to time.

RXB: – What about live? Do you like to improvise?
Pelle: – It depends on what music you play.

RXB: – Which Roxette song is the most fun for you to play live? And which is the most “boring”?
Pelle: – “Joyride” and “Listen to your heart”. “Goodbye to you”, hihi!

RXB: – Any tricky songs where you have to concentrate more on your hands or when to join in with the drums?
Pelle: – No, not really.

RXB: – How much are you involved in the design of your drum kit? Do you have several set of drums and for example, the one you play on the Roxette tour is only for Roxette and you play another with other bands? Or do you use the same set with all acts?
Pelle: – I’m involved in the design, but also open for ideas. I have several drum kits and use a couple of them with Roxette only!

RXB: – How many drum sticks do you use during a concert? Do they become worn during one concert or you can use them at more gigs?
Pelle: – 2-4 sticks per show and I can use them again.

RXB: – Do you have any drum sticks from any of your idols? If no, whose drumstick would you love to have one day?
Pelle: – No. Ringo Starr.

RXB: – Once you said you also like to visit the places you go to when you are on tour. What did you see during this tour so far?
Pelle: – Bars and Beaches!!

RXB: – Do you plan these trips or visits before going to the countries or cities or is it more a spontaneous thing depending on weather, mood?
Pelle: – I plan it.

RXB: – You grew up and live in Stockholm. I think it’s a beautiful city and every time I am there I just love the view from Slussen/Fotografiska. What do you like about Stockholm?
Pelle: – I live just above Fotografiska! Södermalm where I live and the Archipelago!

RXB: – Do you try to “discover” new places in your own city as well?
Pelle: – Yes, everyday.

RXB: – What do you like the most about tour life? And the least?
Pelle: – Everything! Nothing!

RXB: – Per is often kidding you in backstage videos and interviews that you are always late and you tell the same about him that you all always have to wait for him. So who of you is more of a late person?
Pelle: – Definitely Per!

RXB: – Does it happen nowadays that you play e.g. table hockey or any other game during the tour, like you did in the past? Or is it like everyone is rather on their iPhones and you meet up only for a walk or having dinner or a drink together?
Pelle: – More bars and iPhones nowadays!

RXB: – We heard how the plush koala got on stage in Russia and since then we could see it next to your drums on each concert last year. Did you give a name to him?
Pelle: – Yes, Sibyllfibia!

RXB: – Thank you for the interview and your awesome drum playing! See you soon again.
Pelle: – Take care and see you in Europe this summer! Tell everybody you know about DOWN HARRISON!!!!

Interview by Patrícia and Judith.

Helena Josefsson’s new album to be released in October

helenaHelena Josefsson visited SR P4 Göteborg today and revealed during the interview (click below) that she has been recording a jazz album with the trio Kontur. The album will be out in October 2015, but you can already listen to the first single out of the album, “Time After Time”,  a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s song. The track is available on iTunes, or Spotify, among other digital music providers.

Besides explaining about the album, she performed the songs “Happiness” and “Det vi saknar nu” live in the studio.

Helena performed “Time After Time” with Kontur back in October. The performance of “Ordinary World” and “Det vi saknar nu” are also available on YT.

Micke Syd makes a stand for more organ donation – VOTE!

If you are following the adventures of Micke Syd (Gyllene Tider’s fab drummer) on Facebook, you surely know that his son, Dennis had to go through a kidney transplantation earlier this year. The donor was Madeleine, Dennis’s mother. The whole family is very supportive when it comes to organ donation. Living with Dennis’s health problem for so many years makes it even more understandable.

Micke Syd is the spokesman of MOD (Mer organdonation = More Organ Donation) and the latest support he provided them with was that he and Dennis took part in the charity show of Postkodmiljonären (= Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). They played brilliantly and won 75,000 SEK for the organization MOD. Now there is a chance to add 10,000 SEK to this by a simple vote on Micke Syd’s and Dennis’s winner dance posted on Postkodmiljonären’s Facebook page. To vote, you just have to click ”like” for the video HERE. Simple as that. Give the organization a chance! Thanks for your help in voting!

 

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Photo by Postkodmiljonären

 

Interview with Dea Norberg: “I live and breathe music all the time”

pressbild 4_1We took the opportunity that we were spending some days in Stockholm end of September to set up a last-minute meeting with Dea Norberg to talk about her EP “Storm”, which was released on the 1st of October. We talked about the EP and the process behind it, but also nature, travelling and, of course, the upcoming Roxette tour.

“Storm” EP

RXB/Judith: Thank you for taking some time to meet us so short notice! You are going to release an EP next week, on October 1st. When did you come up with the idea of doing this EP?

Dea: As a singer you have your creative side too, the writing part has always been a little bit there for me, but I hadn’t really done anything on my own before. I actually released an album with a friend of mine in 1999, some of my old songs were there, but this EP is all on my own. That release was so long ago, so when fans came up to me asking me to sign that one, it felt like it was time to do something else, haha! This EP shows where I am right now.

We know the album will be released digitally, but will it be available physically too? [You will find information about where to purchase the album at the bottom of the article]

Yes! So far the physical can only be bought in Swedish music stores, so I am in contact with CDBaby, they sell worldwide, so I hope I can set it up so that everybody can buy it. I am doing everything myself, so I am also learning a lot with this release. It’s a big process. And I actually have a copy for you!

[we look at the EP, a very nice digipack with lovely pictures of Dea]

Åsa Elmgren, the make-up girl at the Roxette tour, did the make-up for these pictures. And I was lucky to be able to have a horse of a friend of mine for the photo session.

I just thought, you could take some CDs with you and sell them at the merchandise stand during the Roxette tour?

Actually, Per said “you should sell it on the tour” haha! I was like “Can I?” and he said “of course!” So that is super nice. But I am still not sure, I have to see how many I can carry with me and if it works out. It may be a bit tricky to take them in some parts of the world, with customs and all. But somehow it will be available for you all, either this way or via CDbaby.

Dea_cover_600Are you planning on doing a lot of promotion with the album?

I never had this need of “I wanna be a star” now, be out there in the spotlight. I like to be in the background, so I don’t have the ambition for this to become something huge. I also don’t plan to do any release party, I don’t have time now, I have to concentrate on the upcoming Roxette tour. But if someone listens to the EP and likes it then it’s fine. Like I said in a couple of radio interviews I did the last weeks, the main reason I made this was for the Roxette fans, who either came up to me with either the old CD or asked me if I would ever do something solo. So I will be happy if people listen to it and like it.

I just heard the song “Storm” so far, I liked the melody, it’s the kind of music I have been listening to a lot lately, kind of indie, very much about the instruments…

Yes, for me it’s about emotion. To create a little world, almost meditative, with music but still in the pop world. And indeed, the focus on the CD is more the music than the singing, you will see.

When did you record the album?

In April this year. The recording process was very quick, the producer, Andreas Dahlbäck, and I spent quite some time deciding where to go, but once the musicians were in the studio, it was just two days. The rest was mixing, finishing the small details and also lots of paperwork to be able to actually release it.

Have you been writing songs for a long time? Have you written the songs yourself?

Yes. I was always writing fragments, bits and pieces, when I was travelling, waiting at the airport or at the countryside. I also play piano, so it’s more like putting thousands of ideas together. I think I will try to do this more often now, I enjoyed the process.

Two of the songs, “Stay For A While” and “Have You Ever” were composed with Jens Frithiof, the guitar player on the album, back in 2008. I wrote “Storm” and “Say” this year. All lyrics were written by me.

I see that all four songs are in English, do you always write in English or also in Swedish?

I also have a couple of songs in Swedish too, but I gave all the stuff to the producer and he tried to find the central theme for the album, so these four songs made it in the end. Maybe those in Swedish will be released later.

Read moreInterview with Dea Norberg: “I live and breathe music all the time”