Another year, another tour, another set of guitar picks. When it was announced that Per would go on a solo tour in 2018, one could be 100% sure there would be some new plectrums involved as well. Mr. G shared how the new set would look in August. The tour started on 7th October in Prague and ended on 16th November in Gothenburg. Many fans posted pictures of how lucky they were, catching picks at the shows. It was new that this year some could get hold of plecs covered by PG’s blood, since his power chord finger got hurt badly at 2 gigs (Linköping and Gothenburg). Don’t ever clean them, guys & girls! Haha.
You will find the 7 new picks added to the PER GESSLE’S GUITAR PICKS – PER GESSLE SOLO section and 1 pick has been added to the MIKAEL NOGUEIRA SVENSSON’S GUITAR PICKS section as well. Check out the PLECtionary HERE!
After Per Gessle’s new album, ”En vacker natt” was released, several questions popped up in my mind. I was reading and watching all the interviews with him, but many questions had no answers in any of them. So it was obvious there is a need for a RoxetteBlog interview and so I put all the Qs together and sent them in hope for answers.
We all know that Mr. G is faster than a shot from a gun, but while he is in the middle of a signing session tour, doing a lot of promo stuff and other interviews, you would think it would take much more time than just 2-3 days to have the answers. Not in his case! Yesterday I had the chance to meet him in Malmö and his answers were sent back to me before the signing session started. I was already prepared to ask him not be ”angry” with me because of those many Qs, but this way it was far much better. I could thank him in person! I told him I didn’t expect him to send the answers back so fast. He said it’s incredible that there are many interviews with him, but there are still this many Qs that weren’t asked by others. I told him I thought he might have felt tortured because of this. He said no, no. It’s a long interview, but he had a long flight and at least he had something to do while flying, so all fine. You must love him!
When you will read on, you might get the feeling that the long flight was coming to an end fast towards the last questions, related to the tour. On the other hand, all ”could be”-s sound rather ”yes” or ”partly yes” in my ears. Or… let’s see what happens! 😉
I’d like to thank D&D Management for their cooperation and of course, thanx a million to Mr. G for the answers. Very much appreciated!
So, now to the interview. Besides all the detailed info about the new album and the recording sessions, you will find out what Per thinks about Roxette’s future and you’ll have some hints regarding the upcoming tour as well. You’ll even read about a y.u.m.m.y. surprise release for the first time here! What can I say? Mahi Nana! Enjoy!
Patrícia Peres: – Hej Per! First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time to answer all nerdish Qs coming here! In each interview and in your posts it shines through that the ”En vacker…” project is a love project for you. How does it feel that you get so much positive feedback on the first album?
Per Gessle: – Hello Patricia, hope you’re doing fine. As always I’m very flattered that people are connecting in a positive way to my songs. You can never take that for granted. As you know, it’s been ten years since I did a Swedish solo album and so many things have changed. Not only in the ”real world” but also in the music industry. It can be really hard for artists my age to cut through the enormous amount of music and information that surrounds us. It’s pretty competitive out there. But I’ve been lucky this time. Hopefully the album will grow organically, more and more people will hear it and eventually it will be a part of their lives just like Mazarin became in 2003. That would be lovely. And I’m really proud of the records.
PP: – There were no leaks, everything seemed to be in order regarding the release and there is much promo around the album. It’s a perfectly organized release. Do you think so too?
PG: – Yes, it’s all been handled beautifully by Her Majesty Queen Marie Dimberg together with her sausage dog Harry + Josef Hermansson and Lotta Eriksson at Space Station 12 together with media mastermind Liza Berthelsen together with Sanken, Sebastian and Johanna at BMG together with Bosse-the-radioguru together with the distribution folks at Sony. So many people are involved in this release and they’re all bringing positive energy to the project. I’m a lucky guy.
PP: – The albums are released on Space Station 12 in cooperation with Sony / BMG. What is the role of SS12 and what is that of Sony / BMG?
PG: – SS12 is the home office, BMG is handling marketing and Sony is responsible for physical products, like CDs and LPs.
PP: – The first album’s title is ”En vacker natt”, then there is the summer tour, ”En vacker kväll” and in September comes the second album, ”En vacker dag”. Is it intentional that the timeline is in reverse order (instead of dag -> kväll -> natt)?
PG: – Yes, when we were mixing the records I decided that was the only way to go. Backwards. I have this song ”En vacker dag” which opens the second album and since I wanted it on album nr 2 that dictated the titles of the two records.
PP: – Does the first album contain more ”night” songs and the second more ”day” songs? Or how did you decide which songs to put on which album?
PG: – Well, there are no big differences between the albums. They basically got the same vibe. They’re all from the same sessions. Same coffee machine. As always I’ve tried to make running orders that make each album as strong and vibrant as possible and also ”easy” to get into and listen to. The tempos and keys have to be right etc.
PP: – We know you see songs in colors. Can you tell what color the album has in your mind? Does the ”color coding” in the booklet mean the color of the songs?
PG: – No, the colour coding in the booklets was done by Pär Wickholm. He did an excellent job. He’s really talented. For me the album contains lots of nuances from the 60’s and 70’s, beautiful shades, not too bright. Just like the pictures on the albums. Or like old polaroids. It’s getting pretty sentimental here and there.
PP: – The album is quite melancholic. Could you tell us which song in music history you think is the most melancholic?
PG: – Oh, there are so many songs that mesmerize you and make you slow down a bit. ”Duncan” by Paul Simon. ”Let the wind carry me” by Joni Mitchell. ”Bird on a wire” by Leonard Cohen. ”Sweetheart like you” by Bob Dylan. ”Pancho and Lefty” by Townes van Zandt. Songs that change your life forever. Powerful stuff.
PP: – You listen to the songs uncountable times during the recording, mixing etc. phases. How does it work after everything is done and the album is ready to be released and you have to say a final OK? Do you listen to the album from A to Z? In what circumstances? How did it happen with ”En vacker natt”?
PG: – For these particular records I had the running orders pretty much in place before we began to mix so we decided to start mixing song nr 1 (Min plats) and go from there. But with every mix the big picture altered a bit and in the end you have made quite a lot of changes. Sometimes songs get a different vibe in the mix. You remember it to have a certain attitude or feel but maybe it doesn’t when you’re done with it! Maybe it feels short. Or too long. It’s all about the emotion. Since I still think in terms of ”albums” it’s important for me to find the perfect spot for every track so they ”help” and assist each other. For instance, I didn’t want ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” too early on the first album since I want to give the listener four or five songs before the first classic ”pop song” occurs.
PP: – When we interviewed you after Roxette’s ”Good Karma” release, you said you think 40 minutes is a perfect length for an album. Now we got a 32-minute-long record. What’s the case with this length?
PG: – Well, there were two options. To release one album that was 64-65 minutes long or to split everything in two parts. Personally, I think an hours worth of music at once is much too much so the choice was pretty obvious.
PP: – The opening song, ”Min plats” sets the tone of the album and you say without ”Allt gick så fort” this project wouldn’t have come alive at all. Then it’s surprising a bit that the first single is not one of these 2 songs you seem to find the most important on the album, but a third one. How has ”Småstadsprat” become a single?
PG: – I told my partners-in-crime I’m not really that interested in releasing singles at all. However if they (SS12+BMG) prefer any of the songs as a ”teaser” for the album I’m open to anything. The duet with LW made sense since it was a very media-friendly choice for Sweden and Norway. Everyone got curious. And it’s a good song, I love it. But then again, I love them all!! This is not a project built on hit singles, this needs more attention than that.
PP: – The single was released digitally only and there were some promo singles issued. Why no physical release? It’s not too collector-friendly.
PG: – I know. However, there will most likely be a physical release of ”Småstadsprat” in a couple of weeks. We should have done that to begin with. Our mistake. You live and learn.
PP: – Anyway, collectors are crazy to pay an unbelievable amount of money for this promo single on Tradera. It’s sold for much more than your Peter Pop and the Helicopters single. How about that?
PG: – People are crazy. But you have to love the kings and queens of Nerdom.
PP: – You mentioned in interviews that there is no radio bomb on the album. But Swedish radio seems to play ”Småstadsprat” heavily. How does it feel?
PG: – Well, I’m very happy about this of course. I didn’t expect that at all. Maybe it’s because it stands out. Nothing on commercial radio sounds like ”Småstadsprat”.
PP: – Will there be a 2nd single off the album? If yes, can we get to know which song it is?
PG: – Yes, there will be another one and it will most likely be ”Tittar på dej när du dansar”. It’s got a great summer vibe to it, don’t you think?
PP (& Kiwein): – After listening to the album so many times, it feels that it could easily be used as a soundtrack to a movie. Are there any soundtrack plans in sight?
PG: – No, but I would love that. I would start working on it within the hour! Let’s tune the guitar!
PP: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”En vacker natt”? Which one do you think makes one curious about the album?
PG: – Titles are very important to me. It’s the first impression you get from a song. I like all of them. They make me interested and curious. ”Några glas rosé” was a title I had played around with for a while. I love that one.
PP: – Now in the digital era, in the times of streaming, it’s known that more than one third of the listeners skip a song after 30 seconds on Spotify. From this point of view, which song would you suggest to start listening to, so that the listener gets to know what the album is about and maybe decides not to skip?
PG: – You’re right and it’s totally stupid and silly and mindblowing when you think about it. I don’t want to play that game. This is not music for that type of restless audience. The whole idea with these two albums is that you have to give them time and get into the vibe and let yourself be seduced by this particular musical universe. I think you should start with ”Min plats” where you get eight seconds of waves and seagulls as a bonus!
PP: – When you start singing on ”Enkel resa”, one immediately has the feeling that he/she could sing along, because the lyrics sound familiar. Then we realize it’s a bit of ”Blåa jeans (och röda läppar)”. Haha. I love your recycling habit and the way you do that! How did these lyrics came into sight for this project?
PG: – I re-wrote that lyric from 1982 so it fit MP’s chords that eventually became ”Enkel resa”. I’ve always liked some parts of the words and the quotation-style but not until now have they made sense to me. Something was missing and I finally grabbed it. Probably thanks to MP’s weird chord progression.
PP: – One could sense it and in your ”song by song comments” you confirmed that ”Första pris” and ”Far Too Close” were originally written for Roxette. When did you write them, for which Roxette album?
PG: – Both were written for ”Good Karma” but we never worked on them for several reasons. The ”original” version of ”Första pris” is called ”The Finest Prize”.
PP: – How much did you change the lyrics of ”Första pris” when you decided to do it in Swedish? Have you recorded an English demo to it?
PG: – I tried to capture the same lyrical idea about a woman and a man living in their own universe. Content and strangely unaffected by life’s rewards. Yes, there are several English demos recorded. Tits & Ass have been on fire with this one!
PP: – Talking about Roxette, we are happy that you mention in interviews that Marie is fine. Good to have some news about her every now and then. In interviews you say that the touring period with Roxette is 100% over, which we have known since April 2016, but you also mention here and there that you don’t think you will record together again. Why do you think it won’t happen in the future?
PG: – I don’t think it will happen because of Marie’s situation. She can’t really be involved in the process of making Roxette records anymore and without her taking a major part it’s no point for me to make those recordings. Roxette is the two of us working together, not me, Chris & Clarence making records with Marie just singing on them.
PP: – Back to the album and the songs, you said it took only 20 minutes to record Savannah Church on ”Far Too Close”, because she was singing so well. Which song took the most time to record and why?
PG: – Everything went really fast. The only song that was a little tricky was ”Några glas rosé” since it doesn’t have any obvious chorus and five verses. There’s always a chance you’ll find it tiresome and long when you have a song structure like that. But we managed to work it out, making a key change for the violin solo and edit the ending section of the song. The original recording was much longer.
PP: – Mahi Nana is the new Sha la la! ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” is probably the most liked ”En vacker natt” song by those who have always been a Per Up-(or at least Mid-)tempo Gessle fan. Sha la la and Na Na Na Na Na are well-known singing phrases, but Mahi Nana is a bit like Inganakee leo yo. One starts wondering, how does such an expression come to your mind?
PG: – On the T&A-demo I’m actually singing ”na na na na…” but in the studio I suggested that Helena-The-Wizard should sing something else so I came up with ”Mahi Nana”. It sounded weird and catchy at the same time. I googled it and I found someone somewhere with that name but I thought that was kind of nice. Glad you like it!
PP: – Which ”En vacker natt” song had the strangest or funniest working title?
PG: – I don’t do working-titles that often. But ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” was called ”Kärlek låter så här” and „Mahi Nana” for a couple of hours…
PP: – You often say you’ve been lucky enough to work together with people who you get on well with and can learn from, even musically. What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned during the Nashville project?
PG: – I was reminded of how much fun it is to play ”real” instruments together. I’ve spent so many years programming in the studio so this was a blessing just to sit down and play together. That’s where I come from and it was really refreshing to experience again.
PP: – What was the biggest compliment you got from the musicians in Nashville?
PG: – Oh, I was really flattered that they liked the songs so much. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I thought they all would come in and ”do their job” like any sessionplayer. But they told me they found my music special and beautiful and that they never played on anything like it before. That made me smile and grab another donut!
PP: – You had the chance to use Roy Orbison’s guitars on the album. It must have felt amazing. What do you think, which song Roy Orbison would like the most on ”En vacker natt”?
PG: – Oh, he could have done a wonderful version of ”Far Too Close”.
PP: – Your mom, sister and brother have passed away during the past 3 years. Does this Nashville project make it easier for you to process the loss?
PG: – Hard to say. Life goes on, doesn’t it? But, of course, you change a bit as a person when your family disappears. I’m sure I’ve changed too. I don’t know in what way but I’m sure it has happened. That’s what life does to you.
PP (& Tomasz): – ”En vacker natt” is dedicated to your sister, ”En vacker dag” to your mother. Knowing your brother introduced you to the music world, it’s a bit surprising he is not mentioned next to your sister maybe. Or are these albums more like ”dedication to women”?
PG: – No, the second album is dedicated to both my mother and my brother.
PP: – In one of the interviews you mentioned that your mother sang a lot. Did she have a nice voice? Did it ever happen that you sang together?
PG: – She had a nice voice but she always sang silly songs. Just like parents do. And no, we never really sang together.
PP: – Which is the song Åsa likes the most on the album?
PG: – Oh, I don’t know. She seems to like all of them, she plays it all the time on her iPhone and in her car.
PP: – Now you are in the middle of a signing session tour, which came a bit as a surprise to us, as you already signed 3600 CDs for those who pre-ordered the album. It’s now harder to buy an unsigned ”En vacker natt” CD than a signed one. Haha. Why did you decide to go on a 1-month-long tour with 14 stops?
PG: – I think it’s quite nice to meet all those people that are interested in what I do. And also, I think it’s a good idea to support the physical format a bit. Here in Sweden Spotify and the streaming services have got 94% of the market so someone like me should wave the flag for the LP and the CD a bit since it’s my preferred choice of presenting music. And yes, I think we’ve shipped around 20.000 physical records and I’ve signed just over 4000 of them. Phew! Could be worse. Could be that nobody was interested!
PP: – When it turned out, many fans decided on meeting you on this little tour. People come to Sweden from several countries to get their signed copies directly from you. How does it feel?
PG: – Lovely. You’ve all spoiled me!
PP: – And after all the signings, how is your hand doing? Can you still play the guitar without any problems?
PG: – Of course, the in-stores are like going to the gym for the hand!
PP: – Will there be a signing session tour in autumn too, when the second album, ”En vacker dag” is out?
PG: – I don’t know. Time will tell. It all depends on how the summer tour feels and the common reaction to the second one.
PP: – Oh and not to forget about the vinyl! Bengans informed the ”En vacker natt” vinyl had been delayed. It almost didn’t make it to the shops until the signing session started. Not the limited edition though. It’s still not on stock. What’s the problem with the vinyl production this time?
PG: – I don’t know. I think nobody expected this kind of interest in my LP. A first batch of vinyl has arrived now but the red vinyl is still a couple of weeks down the road. It’s a shame but the good thing is that it looks (and feels) FAB!!!
PP: – The tour is getting closer and closer! I have to mention that we are grateful that the complete tour schedule was shared at once (except for the 2 concerts in Finland that were added later, in February). It makes a fan’s life a lot easier, because this way we can start planning early and add as many shows to our to-attend list as we can. So thank you very much for that!
Will you keep the tradition of having a pre-tour show at Leif’s? If yes, is there an exact date set yet?
PG: – Could be….
PP: – Our polls show it won’t be easy for you to put a setlist together. And mixing your 3 careers makes it even tougher. When do you start rehearsing? Will you have a separate session with the new band members?
PG: – We start rehearsing in June. I’m gonna decide what to play in a couple of days. It’s tricky. But lots of fun.
PP: – How Ola Gustafsson, Malin My-Wall and Andreas Dahlbäck came into sight? Did you know them before or someone suggested them to you?
PG: – No, I didn’t know them but had heard of them. I was looking for certain players and these three were my first choices. They’re amazing all of them.
PP: – You mentioned in an interview and well… we also know that you’re a fan of short concerts. You would keep the show around 100 minutes. Can we expect a varying setlist from night to night?
PG: – Could be….
PP: – Can we expect any surprise guests on tour? Besides a maybe obvious Lars Winnerbäck.
PG: – Could be…
PP: – Your support acts will be the amazing Good Harvest and Strandels. Why exactly them? Will both acts play before all your shows or will there be concerts where only one of them will play?
PG: – Both of them are great. I think they will be there every night. Hope so.
PP: – Is Micke N-S working hard on your new guitar picks yet?
PG: – Could be…
PP: – Gyllene Tider is rumored to go on tour next year. We hope it will happen. A 40th anniversary is worth celebrating! So this summer there won’t be many GT songs on tour or …?
PG: – Hmmm….
PP: – Talking about a 40th anniversary, will you see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their 40th anniversary tour?
PG: – No plans yet.
PP: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour! Awesome that you keep us busy all year in 2017!
PG: – My pleasure. And don’t forget that a Mazarin vinyl-LP will be out just in time for the tour. I couldn’t resist…
The last time we updated the PLECtionary was 5 months ago. The XXX tour’s European leg did deserve some new Per Gessle guitar picks, so it’s time for another update. Mr. G posted on Roxette’s Facebook page on 28th March that they had just ordered new plecs for the then upcoming tour leg. The picks were ready in time and he posted a photo of the new beauties some days before the first European gig in Milan.
Aaaah at last! My new guitar picks!!! Enjoy and grab one flying like a rocket at the shows, folks!!! /P.
Reading the word rocket I thought immediately of a real gem on The Per Gessle Archives and this went on and on in my head ”Picks are everywhere / catch a rocket in the air / be ready when they’re there / like a rocket in the air!” Oh well… Grabbing a flying plec is really not that easy, but not impossible at all. There are many lucky Roxers who will surely pop til they drop having a Gessle pick in their collection and there are many who still can’t believe they obtained a pick touched by the hand of Per.
I thought it was convenient to say a big THANK YOU to:
DUNLOP CUSTOM PICKS
for those custom made picks I do my best to spread around the globe with mixed results. Hey, you’re pretty good at catchin’!! To my defense, those red acoustic guitar picks are so thin, they won’t fly…..
Sandra Knospe is of course both handy and lucky, so the PLECtionary gets its update. Sandra found the time in between heavy touring and her also busy non-Rox-World-related life and now before the last show this year in Europe she took the photos and shared the trivia she knows about the plectrums. Check out the PLECtionary and look for the guitar picks No. 100-105! It also includes a new print of the latest Professor Lundquist pick. At No. 157 you’ll find another new item, a Mister Magnus pick. You know, he’s the viking member of the band whose fave Rox album is Baladas en español. Vikings don’t need customized plectrums. Haha.
Huge thanx again for the updates, Sandra! Your collection looks more and more eXXXquisite!
So, one more gig is left for this year and you have the chance to confirm that Per is right when he says we are pretty good at catchin’. Once you catch a pick you have to take care of it though. The print on them is a little bit dangerous. Good luck, you all!
Paula and Stina attended the premiere of “Roxette Diaries” and wrote the following report for RXB. Enjoy this thrilling story about watching the “Roxette Diaries” sitting almost next to Per and Åsa and sharing the experience with other long-time fans.
W.O.W. Way Out West…
The film “Roxette Diaries” premiere.
…Yes! It is actually very “WOW”!!!!!!!
We met at Gothenburg’s central station and we headed for Bio Capital cinema. A cozy little place, that you almost missed walking by! We were a bit too early so we were sent out in the streets again. We went on a food-hunting adventure and ended up in the area of Haga where we tried to get our heads around the fact that first of all we would be going to the cinema in a few minutes to see a Roxette documentary on the big screen, but most importantly we would be joined by Gessle himself!
We came back to the cinema by 14.00 and little by little fans began to arrive as well as other well-known faces. While taking some pictures of the place and posters, suddenly a big black car arrived in the parking lot on the opposite side of the street… and yessssss it was Per driving with Åsa sitting besides him. Marie Dimberg went to welcome them, it was fun to see how they went to the ticket machine to get the parking ticket for the day! They came to the cinema and said hi friendly and started to talk to some people. We were all together by the cinema door on the sidewalk, talking and waiting for the time to be let in.
The event started with a representative from Way Out West festival welcoming the few people/fans who had found their way into the darkness this Friday afternoon. We were approximately around 35-40 people who joined for this journey down memory lane. The film began with a small written introduction by Per himself and then it immediately took off beginning with the early days back in ’80s and the recordings of Look Sharp!
So many funny moments and rarities…going through TV-shows, recordings in the studio, private meetings, eating at restaurants, recording video clips, celebrating Usa #1’s, shows and concerts in different parts of the world, fans waiting and singing outside hotels, radio greetings, photo sessions… so much to take in and that as a fan you just soak up and it was absolutely lovely to see.
Laughter, happy emotional tears, goosebumps, vivid heartbeats of those you feel your chest is gonna explode, shivers… and so many memories from those times in our lives. It was incredible to recognise many moments during the film that we once had seen from another angle, we could even see the camera-man filming that angle as we now were watching it from mainly Åsa’s camera. And SO MUCH never seen stuff it was awesome.
Some of our favorite parts (out of way too many) were to see them fooling around, having so much fun with each other… being silly and laughing… And seeing everyone so young! At some point Micke (with hair!) joined the craziness.
The behind the scenes filming of some of the most well-known official videos. Maybe it’s because we watched the videos to pieces back in the early 90’s, maybe it’s because the videos are such a big part our teenage years, but seeing those gems from a different view, different angle, with attitude and humor…. It’s just goosepumpingly priceless.
Another era to mention are the many footage from the Tourism-recordings (including the suitcase-drum kit) as well as the recordings from Capri making C!B!B!
With “Roxette Diaries” we joined Marie and Per travelling the world many many times in only one and a half hour. As a viewer you really get the sense of hard work and how tough it can get being on the road touring. And you get this particular weird feeling that we had been part of this all. And in a way we fans are part of this all. Either because we had been present in person at some TV-show or concert shown on the film or just merely because of the fact we have all followed this amazing band throughout all these years, through their music and magazines and radios and other sources of information…
Specially these kind of old videos and films that we saw during endless evenings and nights, by ourselves or together with friends when we were so young, these old interviews, TV-shows, promo shows, concerts. We could spend a whole evening – or even long into early morning hours and through the whole night – watching those VHS tapes. Sharing laughters, amazement, admiration, commeting a look, a phrase, a face, clothes… We had so much to talk about. We even helped each other understand some word they had said in English that the other hadn’t really understood… and later came the Swedish!
The “pause” and “rewind” buttons were pressed way too much and often by then. It was common that the ink on the keys had faded after a while on the VCR-player!!
Those times were magic and are of those moments in life you’ll carry with you for ever. So many strong memories and laughters. And sharing this passion we have under the name Roxette, it´s magic! SHARE, we love that beautiful word! Share among friends from the “old” days and some others from recent years… many who are around in Europe and who started as pen-pals back in the mid 90’s!!!
So nostalgy and memories hit us hard while we wrote this!
… and you could really SENSE and FEEL in that cinema yesterday, the same way we felt then, all over again while watching.
When the film was over (what?? How can 90 minutes go this fast!!) Gessle came forward and answered a few questions.
He was asked how he felt when he saw the movie and he said proud and happy because he had forgotten 95% of it… Proud because this whole Rox thing originally started as a hobby and the idea was to play at clubs…
He was asked what had made Roxette so succesful and he said luck, and experience, the fact that they were not that young and that they both had careers from before in the luggage and all that experience. He mentioned here the amazing gift that Marie has as a performer singing and on stage, which made his songs and music so good.
He was asked who they made this film for… he answered for the band, the inner circle, to sum up all those video tapes that mainly Åsa had recorded when video cameras were not so common to own. It was important to cherish special moments like shows in odd parts of the world where other big bands never played before, like in South America or China.
Then fans could ask questions too and Sandra began with THE question: if they were gonna make this film available for us fans, specially the ones that hadn’t been able to come to the premiere. He said they are working on it, talking to TV stations in Sweden for them to broadcast and hopefully release it … or “ilegally put it up on youtube” 😉
Another fan asked if there is something negative about this whole glamourus and luxurious way of life we just saw on the screen and he said that there are some tough parts like all the travelling and the boring parts of promo and making interviews and photo shoots and miming the same songs over and over again, it’s very tiring and Marie hated it, specially since they both have a very good live tradition with lots of tours and playing live… but it’s part of the job and in the end you have the positive around you that beats the tough part.
He was asked if it was the first time he saw the film we had just watched. He said the first version was 12 hour long!!! Then cut to 3 hours… it was a lot to see and go through and there were parts they have “missed” like MTV Unplugged 1993, the show in Johannesburg in South Africa january ’95…
After this, fans could take pictures with Per and get some autographs. He was very social and positive and talkative.
We also talked to Åsa and she told us it was her premiere to see the movie as well and that for them it’s many happy memories and emotional going back in time, too. But I have to say it’s like that for us fans too!
So this 90-minute storytelling is a true pearl for both hardcore fans and for people with a genuine interest in music and it tells the crazy intense story of everyday life for one of the worlds biggest pop sensations. It’s worth watching many many times and we truly hope it won’t be long before it will be released out into society!
Quotes from fans AFTER the film:
– Tanja Hesse had brought her friend Patricia Bienko (both from Germany) and they were both speechless and so happy to have been able to take part of this.
– Karin Rubischung and Jörg Zimmerli from Switzerland said this was their best meeting (with Per and Åsa) ever, very emotional to see the film too!
Jörg added: “the movie is a very good memory for having been a Roxer since the very beginning”
– Nico Radoi from Romania living in Gothenburg was very pleased with the whole thing and happy she took many pictures to eternalize some of the many magic moments during the film.
– Marie-Claire from Holland living in Stockholm was also very happy and overwhelmed.
– Sandra and Jana were full of joy and couldn´t really sum up what they felt… so we went for some drinks and food afterwards to talk talk talk talk talk about this whole amazing happening in our Rox-lives and share it with each other… coz after all it isa ll about sharing! … and it all begins where it ends!!! ?
Thanks so much Roxette Blog and D&D Management for this amazing opportunity that we were able to be part of!
We had the chance to ask Per Gessle some questions about the books (“Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, Sketches & Reflections”), so we went through the books and thought of some detailed ones. Per, who is currently busy with the Roxette rehearsals, nicely took the time to answer to all these questions. Here is the result!
Don’t forget to grab the books and check them out while reading for a complete experience. Or to buy them if you haven’t yet (or you may be lucky in… read at the bottom!)
RXB/J&PP: So let’s start from the beginning. When did you get the idea to make these books? Was it born at the same time as the box? What came first, the idea of releasing TPGA box or publishing the books?
Per Gessle: Hello.. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind for a long long time. There are so many songs around, so many demos. It really is “a lifetime of songwriting”! Also I’ve got so many studio diaries that need some fresh air!!
Through our Facebook-site I’ve also noticed that many people are interested in the demos. That feedback was certainly important to me in my decision.
It’s been a great ego trip in spite of the endless hours of research that was needed to make (especially) the box happen, since the amount of material is so vast. Lots of people have been involved, primarily MP (finding & refreshing old tapes + recording & editing Sven’s and my conversation-pieces which took forever), Pär Wickholm (CD-box layout) and Benny Mårtensson (book layout). Without those guys it wouldn’t have happened. Not like this. I’m extremely pleased with the result.
The books are not simply some lyrics put together black on white with a few pictures but something much more personal, with comments, drawings and other things from your archives. What was your initial concept you had in mind? Did you have such design in mind from the beginning?
Yes. I didn’t want to do just standard lyric-books. I wanted them to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines. To write a song is a long journey and most of the time people only get to know the final destination.
Why did you decide to split them in two books, English and Swedish? Do you plan to release the English book outside of Sweden?
I’m sure both books will be available globally through Amazon etc. The reason for two separate books is that otherwise it would have been too thick. And I don’t want to compete with the bible. Or the complete edition of “Fifty Shades Of Grey”.
We also realized that some songs are missing from the books and some are missing your comments and only the lyrics are included. How did you decide on which songs to include and comment on?
I wrote down what I remembered and if there were any good stories or anecdotes connected with the songs. Some songs I don’t remember writing. Some lyrics didn’t make it due to copyright-reasons. “Tylö Sun” and “Skicka ett vykort, älskling” for instance. I don’t own the copyrights to those.
Every page on the books is different, some pictures are used more than once but each page has a different design. We know Benny Mårtensson did this part, but what was your involvement? Did you check every page or give hints to certain lyric pages how they should look like?
Yes. I wasn’t in favour of using the same pics more than once but Benny found that OK. A few of his pages I didn’t particularly like so he remade them. He’s done a fantastic job. A very talented guy. The original idea was just to mix the lyrics, my studio diaries incl drawings and combine them with a few comments about the songs. Then I realized that some of the original lyric-sheets looked really cool with coffee-stains and dead flies on them so we used a lot of those. The pics should not be the main thing. Just to spice things up a bit and make it even more personal and easy to look at.
One can read the books in (at least) 2 different ways: Either with or without the music to the lyrics. While reading the books without music one gets a deeper insight into your lyrics and realizes (once more) how great songwriter you are. Did you (re)discover parts of your lyrics that impressed you? Lyrics long forgotten where you thought “wow, did I write that?”? (or some you thought “what was I thinking?”).
Thank you. I’m happy you enjoy my work. My ambition writing lyrics has always been that they should be capable to stand on their own two feet. I think it’s crucial that you should be able to read a song lyric without getting too embarrassed. Both as the writer and as the reader. Sometimes I’ve screwed things up, sometimes it feels good when I bump into one of my lyrics.
We have both interviews in the Swedish book, but only the Sven interview in the English one. Both are great reading for fans or even non-fans and going through all the interesting things in the Tomas Andersson Wij interview, it would have been a good idea to translate it and include it in the English book as well. Why didn’t you decide for having it there?
I agree. TAW’s interview is great and should have been included in both books. If there will be a 2nd edition it will be translated and made available in English as well. The reason we didn’t include to begin with was that Tomas and I mostly talked about my Swedish work and thought it didn’t really interest that many people abroad. We were wrong.
In the Sven interview you say you try to avoid learning too much, because you are afraid of losing the unconscious. At the same time, working together with all those fantastic musicians, it’s impossible not to learn from them. How can you keep the balance?
Well, what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t really work for me to “educate” myself too much and learn the classic and proper rules of music. I want to trust my gut feeling and if I need help (which I do all the time…, I know what I want but I don’t know how to get it…) I consult more “educated” people than me, Christoffer and Clarence for instance.
I truly believe that I’d been a far less interesting songwriter if I didn’t follow my own set of rules and instincts. I don’t really know when I’m doing things “right or wrong” and that’s the whole idea for me. Follow that sweet smell of surprise.
We 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.
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.
Are 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.
If anyone had told me in the past that one day I’d have the chance to do an interview with Per Gessle, I would have surely told them they were insane. But life proves, you should dream also those dreams you don’t dare to dream! Getting myself together after the positive shock, I must say that it continuously gets confirmed that I’m a fan of the most amazing and most caring Artist in the Universe and the fastest on Planet Earth! Well, what else could I expect from the Son of The Fastest Plumber in the West?
It’s an interview done via e-mail to keep Mr G’s quotes correct. Per, thanx a million again for spending your precious time with this! It’s much appreciated and you definitely made me feel being the luckiest, happiest and most grateful person on the Globe. Also thanks heaps to D&D Management for their cooperation!
The interview is about the customized plecs, info about the customizing process, stories connected to the picks, some details about the phrases on the plectrums, Per’s thoughts about the picks in general and how he is using them etc. So everything you wanted to know about the plecs and more! Don’t forget to check the PLECtionary again, because some ”Trivia from Per” can now also be found at the picks he talked about.
Now the intro is over. Go and read the real deal, Roxers! Enjoy!
Patrícia Peres: – First of all, thank you very much for taking your time and I hope you won’t get tired by all the plec questions, but we, Roxers are very curious about any tiny detail about these precious little items and stories related to them. We got very positive feedback from the fans and we are very happy that you also like the PLECtionary. Sandra did a fantastic job with it and we are very grateful to her that she made it possible to see all the picks at one place. She has an amazing collection! How does it feel that there is such a dedicated fan of your plecs?
Per Gessle: – It feels, of course, most rewarding. I encourage every form of extreme and meaningful hobby, like collecting rare snakeskin-boots or grey square Russian cars.
PP: – Haha. Rare snakeskin-boots! Now that you say it… When and how did it all start for you? I mean having your own customized plectrums. What was your very first idea to print on a guitar pick and which became the first customized PG-plec?
PG: – Oh, I can’t remember. In the old days it was very rare that you’d find customized picks. I think I hooked up as soon as I heard it was possible. It’s a great way of sharing a joke and showing off your humble personality!
PP: – Do more plecs exist besides the ones you can see in the PLECtionary?
PG: – No, I think everything is covered in the article. It’s a shame in a way but the sad and plain truth.
PP: – Have you kept at least one of each of your plectrums over the years?
PG: – Yes, I think so. I’ve looked for the ones Sandra is missing but can’t find any extras. Only the ones I keep in my archive. If I find more of them I will of course give them to her. She deserves the best. The best and the complete. I consider it a mission to help her find Plectrum-Nirvana.
PP: – Wow! I’m 1000% sure Sandra is gonna be extremely happy to hear this! I was just about to ask if you have those plecs she is missing.
PG: – Yes, like I said, I keep them proud and polished in my archive. Clarence pops in once in a while to sniff them. He likes the smell of vintage success.
PP: – How should we imagine where you keep your plecs? Are they in a box in a drawer or maybe in a big glass bowl in the hall or they are just lying anywhere around your house / apartment? OK, knowing how pedantic you are, this latter one is surely not applicable.
PG: – Oh, they are kept in a red Ferrari-box in a metal cupboard in my office. Next to the diaries I always write when I’m recording. I try to keep my life tidy and in order. My cupboards are holy ground. If you open them things will never be the same.
PP: – Ferrari-box, metal cupboard, diaries. Aaah, sounds like holy ground indeed. When it comes to brands, are you more into Dunlop or Fender guitar picks? Or does it matter at all? What kind of plecs were you playing the guitar with before you started customizing the picks?
PG: – It never mattered. It’s the feel that decides. On stage I have a softer pick for the acoustic guitars, in the studio I rarely use picks at all when I play acoustic. I don’t like my picks to be very thick. Then the sound becomes too hard, too rough. I lose the touch.
PP: – So no thick picks for Gessle. OK. Is it always your actual guitar tech – earlier Falken, now Micke N-S – who is in charge of making the plectrums designed and produced or did it work in a different way in the past?
PG: – Yes, in the past I ordered them myself. The Party Crasher-one (with the sleeve on it) I ordered myself from Australia. Nowadays, MNS is taking care of business. I tell him what kind of slogans or messages I want and then he comes up with zillions of suggestions and colours etc.
PP: – How does the whole customizing process work? Micke N-S mentioned in the interview I did with him during the GT tour that you usually give him a few lines you want to see on the plecs and he does the rest. Is it totally up to him how the design (plec colour, font type) will look like in the end or does he send it over to you several times during the development phase to check and confirm if you’re OK with it?
PG: – Yes, he comes up with layout suggestions most often based on the current tour logo etc. It can, for instance, be the same logo on my picks as Pelle’s got on his bass drum. I guess you’ve noticed. I know I have.
PP: – Haha. Well, you can’t have all the stars just for yourself. Regarding the phrases we can read on the picks, there are some quite obvious ones, like ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” or ”HOW DO YOU DO!”, but other phrases are rather filled with humor, which is even more fun. For example, there are those early plecs with the catchy money reference: ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” or ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” or ”CASH BOOM BANK”. I think I also read ”WE ARE IN THI$ ONLY FOR THE MONEY” somewhere, however, I’ve never seen a plec like that. Did it exist?
PG: – No, I’ve never heard of that one. It’s a bad phrase, too clumpsy, not my style.
PP: – True. It doesn’t sound too Gessleish. What was that about the money those days?
PG: – The ”money-picks” came from an idea to harass the Swedish media who always considered me / us to be too commercial and never could read between the lines. ”Money never sleeps” came from the ”Wall Street”-movie (a quote by Gordon Gekko), ”Another day, another dollar” was a phrase our American lawyer used all the time. It’s always rewarding to try to make fun of reporters, I think every artist agrees on that. Come to think of it, most humans probably do.
PP: – ”ART FOR ME IS JUST SHORT FOR ARTHUR”. Knowing you are very much into art, it’s too funny to read something like this from you. Is there any special story behind this phrase?
PG: – Yes, it’s a quote from Keith Richards. I thought it was pretty cool at the time. It’s very old. I wouldn’t use it today.
PP: – All the plecs are real gems, even if they only have the text ”ROXETTE – PER GESSLE 2011” on them. But there is one which we don’t know too much about. It says: ”TEDDE GOES 50! – WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. Can you tell us who Tedde is?
PG: – He’s a dear friend to me and my family. We gave him a Les Paul as a birthday-gift and of course he needed his own guitar pick! Doesn’t everybody?
PP: – So now Tedde plays that Les Paul with another pick. Different number of plectrums were designed in the past and nowadays for one tour. Do you have lucky numbers? Or how do you decide on how many different picks to produce for one tour(leg)?
PG: – No, I suggest a few lines or slogans and then suddenly MNS comes up with 25 different suggestions. He likes things plenty. I think we should slow it down a bit in the future.
PP: – Talking about luck, do you have any plec you consider as a lucky charm? Do you believe in such things at all?
PG: – No, I only try to hit the right strings with them.
PP: – And you do it so right. At least most of the time. By the way, how many pieces of each plec are produced nowadays? Was it the same amount per plec in the past?
PG: – No, the editions are much bigger nowadays. We use them as giveaways a lot, I throw a lot of them out to the crowds. In the past it was more of an internal thing. Like those hidden messages on the vinyl records. ”Don’t forget you’re a rocker” etc.
PP: – Which is the all time favourite plec of yours and why?
PG: – They’re all part of my family tree. No personal favourites. Sorry.
PP: – I can completely understand you. Is there a guitar pick of yours you like the least? We know, for example, that you don’t really like baby blue plectrums, as you gave some of them to Chris to play with.
PG: – It’s not really true, I like blue plectrums. The thing is that I prefer lighter colours (white, for instance) because when you play, often in the dark on the stage, it’s really hard to know / see what you do with black picks. I’ve hit the wrong strings far too many times because of this. It makes you feel silly. And it sounds shit.
PP: – Now I’ll pay more attention to the shitty sounds next time you are playing the guitar with a dark plec on a future tour. The plecs related anyhow to Åsa are usually the nicest or coolest ones. E.g. the latest ”WOODY – VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” is one of your funniest picks ever. The design with that marbled blue base colour and that silver print looks fab! What is Åsa saying about the Woody / Åsa picks? I bet she likes them a lot.
PG: – She ordered them. I had nothing to do with those. It’s something she and MNS came up with.
PP: – Ahaaa, now that’s really cool! Well done, Fru Nordin! She was also the one who made the ”Ta mej… nu är jag din! / Åsa” plec produced as a surprise for you. Can you tell us a bit more about it? How many plecs like this were produced?
PG: – Oh, I dunno. There are always some goofy ones like that on every tour. It makes us smile.
PP: – Thanx to you, I’m a lucky owner of one of those misspelled ”WODDY / HEJ DIN TOK JAG ÄLSKAR DIG” picks. Which year is that from exactly? What’s the story of it and what was your first reaction when you saw the misspelling? Rumour has it, you gave these plecs to MP to use them. How come?
PG: – Can’t remember. It certainly wasn’t me who ordered them, I know howh too spel.
PP: – Yeah, sure you do! Was there another production of these plecs with correct spelling?
PG: – No, I don’t think so. We were poor in those days, one edition was enough to crash the budget.
PP: – Talking about MP and also Chris, did you encourage them to have their own customized plecs or was it them (or maybe their technicians) who came up with the idea to have their own picks?
PG: – Yep, it was their guitar guys who came up with those picks. It’s not really neither MP’s nor Chris’s cup of tea to order personalized plectrums. Trust me.
PP: – I trust you, Sir. Were there ever customized Marie Fredriksson plectrums back in the days when Marie was also playing the guitar? I remember a TV show – I think it was in Argentina – when the hosts found 2 ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” picks after your playback was over. So that means Marie played the guitar with the same customized plec you played it with. Was it always the case?
PG: – Yes, I believe so. She used anything. Or wait. Maybe she had one of her own. It rings a bell. Let’s keep it ringing for a while….
PP: – Oh! It sounds exciting! Anytime the ringing is over and you find it out, just let us know. Sandra mentioned the gauge of the plecs you used in the early years was heavier than nowadays. Micke N-S said in the interview with him that he is using one gauge thicker plec than what you are using, because it’s more accurate to tune with. What makes you decide on what gauge to use? We can see you use the thin plecs for the acoustic guitar, but what about the medium and heavy ones? Does it make any difference to you?
PG: – Yes, I hate thick ones. It makes your playing very clumpsy and too ”masculine”. I like medium gauge for electric and light for the acoustics on stage. I’m a delicate guy! A ballet dancer. You know that.
PP: – A ballet dancer? Dunno, but a left leg stomper for sure and a delicate guy indeed. When you post pictures of the plecs on Facebook, fans get very excited and you can see many comments regarding how much we want to have them or how awesome they look like. You even mentioned in your 2012 Xmas message on roxette.se that ”… loads and loads of autographs signed, letters written, stamped and sent, guitar picks urgently needed by all of you”. How does it feel that we are so crazy about these tiny little picks of yours?
PG: – I think it fits the Roxers really well to spend quality time on stuff like that. I can fully identify with it. Groove is in the heart.
PP: – And we stomp on a stoop when we hear your pop loop. Now this might be a stupid question, but take into consideration that I’m not a pro when it comes to how to use plecs properly. What happens to the plec when you lick it? I think you did it the most often at the Snowpenair concert in Switzerland, kind of once in every 5 minutes. No clue whether it has anything to do with the cold or it makes a better sound or it just sticks more to your fingers.
PG: – It sticks to the finger. Normally (not necessarily at Snowpenair) you’re very sweaty everywhere (including your hands) so you tend to drop the pick if it doesn’t stick. It has happened a lot.
PP: – Ah, OK. Thanx for the clarification. Do you chew on plecs while writing songs or doing demos? I mean chewing like others chew on the end of pens.
PG: – No, I never use picks when I write. I actually never use picks at all playing acoustic guitar at home or in the studio, I only use my nails to get the right feel. On stage however, you need a pick to get the volume.
PP: – We often comment on Facebook that it would be great if you could include your plecs in the merchandise. Do you plan to include them in the future?
PG: – Well, yea. We try to come up with new things for the store all the time so custom made guitar picks, why not? We had guitar picks with the Gyllene Tider-cartoons on for sale last summer, didn’t we? In a tiny black box. I have a few of those in the cupboard.
PP: – Yes, that special pick collection is very cool. I have one of that tiny black box on my holy shelf, too. Well, OK, the more difficult to obtain the plecs, the more precious they are for us. I remember a chat where someone said he got a plec from you in Karlstad and asked how much you think that plec would worth in 20 years. You replied: ”The question is what Karlstad is worth in 20 years.” That’s a good one. There are people (mainly not fans, but traders) who are selling your plecs at a ridiculously high price on eBay, Tradera etc. and of course there are fans who are buying them. What do you think about this fact?
PG: – It’s like you say, the more rare an item is the more people want it. I don’t really have an opinion on this, some people sell, other people buy. The wheels keep on spinnin’!
PP: – Talking about catching picks at the gigs, you throw much more plecs these days than earlier (and definitely much more plecs than towels). During the GT tour Micke N-S even put an extra plec holder on the mic stand after some gigs to have 18 picks there instead of 12. Do you throw more just to make more fans happy or is it just cool throwing the plectrums and you do it automatically?
PG: – I throw them because I know a lot of people want them. And like I said earlier, MNS orders so many of them I might as well distribute them myself.
PP: – Keep throwin’ them! The adhesive tape on the guitar is of great help to have some plecs always at hand. Does it happen often that a plec falls out of your hand and you can’t pick another one quick enough during a song, so you have to play the guitar with your fingers / nails? OK, your nails are surely touching the strings as the nail polish almost disappears by the end of a show.
PG: – It happens but not that often anymore. I lick ’em!
PP: – Yeah, now we know lickin’ is of great help, too. There was a video you posted after Brisbane show in 2012, where Christoffer’s hand and guitar were covered with blood. Ouch! It has also made it to the Roxette Blu-ray. Did it ever happen that your fingers got hurt badly while playing the guitar?
PG: – Oh yea, many times. For me the most common injury is that I crash my right arm very hard into the body of the guitar when I try to look cool and do a massive sexy move hitting some adrenalin-droolin’ power chord. Oh, it hurts. It hurts to be alone. The plan’s gone wrong like a runaway train going down.
PP: – OK, Mr G… I can imagine all Gessle Girls are now sliding down a dream when you are mentioning your massive sexy moves in the same sentence as adrenalin-droolin’. Ehm… Come back to the original topic, PP… Last summer we saw a girl in Tele2 Arena at the GT gig picking up a Woody plec from the floor. She just found it there and the concert hadn’t even started. Do you usually throw plecs during the soundchecks, too? Checking how it works at the certain venue or how far you have to throw the plecs?
PG: – I was probably aiming at Pelle or someone who was running late for the soundcheck.
PP: – It must have been Micke Syd then. When it comes to throwing distance, do you pay attention to it before the concert starts? Do you try throwing your plecs into the crowd at venues where the distance of the crowd from the stage is quite long (e.g. China)?
PG: – Yes, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have a system, I just throw them. Or I don’t. If the feeling’s right those picks have to go.
PP: – Was there any memorable moment for you regarding your throwing the plecs? Maybe 10 fans jumped on each other just to catch your pick or anything else?
PG: – No, not really. Most of the time it’s hard to see from the stage where they land. I try to throw them up in the air so I don’t hit anyone in the eye. Or in the mouth. Or, God forbid, what would happen if I make a scratch on a smartphone?
PP: – Trust me, if you would scratch any fan’s smartphone with your plec, that smartphone would become one of the most precious items of that fan’s collection. Oh, and that throwing moment at the end of Man blir yr video looks so hot! How many times did you have to record it to be this perfect?
PG: – It’s a first take. Of course.
PP: – Of course, silly me! Until now I asked you about YOUR plecs and those related anyhow to the Rox World, but I’m curious about the coolest guitar pick you have ever seen in your life. Could you describe it? Whose plec was it?
PG: – We have a great collection of Jonas Åkerlund’s photos of guitar picks at Hotel Tylösand. All of them are fab! Nikki Sixx’s ”Fuck The Fucking Fuckers” is pretty spot on, don’t you think?
PP: – Haha. A fab one, but let’s say I prefer your phrases on a pick. I’m not a Mötley Crüe type of girl. As a last question: do you have plectrums from any of your idols? Tom Petty or David Bowie maybe? Or from any other guitar players? If yes, how did you get them and where do you keep them? If no, would you love to have a pick of theirs one day?
PG: – I don’t actually. A Dylan-pick or a T.P.-pick would be nice. Or from Nick Lowe. But I don’t lose any sleep over it.
PP: – That’s nice to hear, but in case insomnia is reaching you because of this, I suggest you go to their concerts and stand in the front row. You might get lucky! Thank you very much again for taking your time. Can’t wait to see your next set of plecs (coming hand in hand with a next tour) and update the PLECtionary with them!
PG: – That makes it two of us! Cheers!
Update on 2nd February, 2014: Per shared 2 pics of a box in which he keeps plectrums in the guest bathroom. Check out pic No. 1 and pic No. 2.
I always wanted to see Sandra Knospe’s amazing plec collection. Then I thought this is something that probably everyone else would be happy to see. So I asked Sunny what she would think about presenting her guitar picks on RXB in a separate section and she liked the idea. We immediately started working on this project and it took some time, but now we (Sandra and RXB) are extremely proud and happy to present the PLECtionary.
What other date could we find to publish it, if not Mr G’s 55th birthday? 😉 Have a splendido birthday in the sunshine, Per!
In the PLECtionary you can find all the plecs – except those few ones Sandra is missing – which are related anyhow to the Rox World.
Hats off to Sunny to take all these beautiful shots. I can tell it’s not easy to take pics of the metallic print on plectrums and sometimes even the base colour of the guitar picks is tricky to be photographed, but as you can see, Sandra did a great job with it. Not mentioning the trivia she shared with us. It’s always a pleasure to work together with PERfectionists. 😉 HUGE thanx again, Sandra and I hope to see the missing bits of your collection here soon!
Click here and check out the PLECtionary! You’ll always find it in the menu above.
From the title you might guess that the interview is about the plectrums. 😉
While we’ve been working on the PLECtionary, I did an interview with Sandra and she happily shared some more details about her passion, the guitar picks, as well as some further nice stories related to these precious little things. Enjoy!
Patrícia Peres: – First of all, huge thanx for your hard work with this PLECtionary. It’s awesome to have all plecs’ photos and knowledge at one place. How did it all start for you? Which is your first memory and which was your first plec?
Sandra Knospe: – You’re welcome. It was fun to do it. I love going through the plecs once in a while. It all started in Helsingborg 1996 at the second Gyllene Tider concert from the Återtåget tour. That was also the day when I got my first plec. I found it after the show, somewhere on the dirty ground. I saw Per throwing the plecs away during the gigs and I was just curious if I could find one. I knew chances were low. It was like searching a needle in a haystack together with all the other fans who knew that there might be something to find on the floor that’s worth to pick up. And it felt like a triumph when I finally succeeded, it was kinda thrilling. I was surpised to see that it was customized. I didn’t know that before. That made it even more interesting, of course. But back then I did not really start collecting in the way I do it today. I was just happy that I found it. The wish to make my collection as complete as possible came later in 2003 when I received an envelope from Per with 10 different plecs including real rare ones from 1989 and 1991. So I had a few different ones thanks to him and also from the Rox tour 2001 and Mazarin tour 2003 which I attended as well. I liked the design and little phrases on them and I wondered how many customized plecs by Per exist at all and wanted to find out how they looked like and from which tours they were. So I started some investigations. From then on the hobby turned into a passion.
PP: – So the first plec you got 17 years ago. Wow! How many picks do you have actually? How many of them are Per’s plecs and to whom are the others related?
SK: – Oj, need to count… Without the doubles it’s 114 different plecs (and 3 of them in different gauges). 71 from Per plus 2 from him which are not customized, 17 from MP, 4 from Christoffer plus 1 from him which is not customized, 4 from Micke N-S, 1 from Jakob Johnzén, 12 T&A studio plecs and 2 plecs of which the origin I don’t really know. One of these two could be a tech plec as well and the other one is dedicated to someone whose name is Tedde. No idea about it really, but on the other side it says ”WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. So I guess it comes from Per at least. All together (including the doubles) it’s 224.
PP: – Who would have thought that there are so many plecs related anyhow to the Rox World. I know the whole collection is very close to your heart, as one day when a friend asked what you would take with you in a hurry if there would be fire in the house, you replied: ”The plecs, the plecs!” But which is the most precious item if you can choose only one? What is your story behind it?
SK: – Urmmm… I would rather get my ass burned before I would leave any of them behind in case of a fire. A fav plec? Hard to say, it even changes from time to time. Maybe the ”LOOK SHARP! / IT’S ONLY PLAYBACK” plec, because it’s probably the oldest one. Even if mine is not in top condition. I got it from a friend with the right connections. But then again, it could also be one of the plecs that have a more sentimental value to me, like the plecs Per sent me in 2003 that made me start collecting more purposeful. They are indeed very special to me. Tough question. So many goodies, really can’t decide. Sorry.
PP: – I can totally understand you. I can’t choose any favourite either, as all of them are beauties. Is there a pick you don’t like at all? Maybe because of the design or anything else.
SK: – I wouldn’t say there is a pick that I don’t like at all. I’m maybe not so much into the latest GT picks with the record and the cassette on one side and the GT emblem on the other. That might be because I am not a fan of pictures on plecs. I like it simple. A cool phrase is better than anything else. The ”WOODY / VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” pick for example is a great one. Great colour of plec and print and a cool note on it. Simply perfect.
Year 2013 has been a fantastic year for Roxers, Marie fans and GT fans, it’s been fully packed with surprises: GT’s album and tour, Marie’s album and announcement of 2014 tour, to mention just a few. And last but not least, the very first live DVD/blu-ray released by Roxette… so we thought the best way to end this year would be with a contest!
In cooperation with D&D Management and Parlophone, we are giving away 2 copies of Roxette’s blu-ray “Roxette Live – Travelling the World”, which will be out next week (the DVD+CD is out since early December).
In order to participate in the contest simply answer this question:
As you know, there are two versions of the live recording: DVD and blu-ray. Both come with a live CD but the are some extras on the blu-ray that you will not find on the DVD.
Name one of these extras!
Send an email with your name, home address (so we can send the blu-ray) and the answer to the question to email@example.com until December 31st 23:59 CET. The 2 lucky winners will be announced the first week of 2014.
Update January 9th: The winners are Rodica Luntraru (Romania) and Andreea Seferian (France). Congratulations!
And here is the small letter, contest terms and conditions
– In order to participate, you have to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with name, address and answer to the question. We will consider all emails we receive until the 31st of December 2013, 23:59 CET time.
– 2 winners will be picked up randomly among those who have participated and sent the correct answer.
– As it is usual, you can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice will lead to your disqualification.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by standard mail only once (so basically, if the envelope gets lost.. we won’t be able to send a replacement) by Roxetteblog.
– Winners will be announced on this website and will also be notified per email. You’ll be required to answer to the email confirming your address.
– Roxetteblog.com will not enter into any correspondence regarding the result of the contest and is not liable for any damages, loss or expenses that may result in connection to the prize
– All submitted data will only be used for the purpose of the contest and, in case you are one of the lucky winners, to send you the prize.
As we already informed you about it several times, Tove Meyer and Tara Moshizi, who are also Roxers just like all of us here, did interviews for a radio documentary for the 25th anniversary of Look Sharp! It’s gonna be on air for the first time on New Year’s Eve.
Marie Fredriksson’s album “Nu!” is out since Wednesday. Reason enough to ask her husband, Mikael Bolyos, who wrote most of the songs, to ask some questions about the process of recording and some well-known names who came with “Nu!”. Thankfully he made a slot in his tight agenda to answer our questions. We appreciate that!
Mikael, we saw that you collaborated with 4 other songwriters. How did you choose them? Did they offer their texts or did you kind of order them? We remember Ulf Schagerström, who wrote Mot ökända hav and Aldrig som främlingar. How come you worked with him and the others and how was working with them?
Mikael Bolyos: I quite recently started to express myself in lyrics. It’s not that easy for me, so it takes mostly a while to finish a song. I always liked the simplicity and poetry in Kenneth’s lyrics, so when I had the song ”Bara 3 ord”, I just gave him a call and asked if he was interested in helping me out. Luckily he was. He is such a talent!!! Johan Kinde was the singer in a band I used to play keyboards in (Lustans Lakejer). We always got along wery well so it was easy asking him for a text. To me ”Stjärna som brinner” is one of the best texts on the album. Uno and I met during the Roxette concert in Göteborg 2011, and we talked about doing something together and Ulf has, as you know, been working with Marie since day 1. He contributed on several songs that we recorded, but only 3 of them are on the album.
Good choices. The lyrics on “Nu!” are really impressive. And how and why did you decide to produce the album with Christoffer Lundquist and how can we imagine the producing process? Have you been to Skåne or did he come to Stockholm?
Mikael: As you know, Christoffer has during the years made an exceptional good job in recording Marie with Roxette. They are such a great team in the studio, speaking the same language (Skånska). Although Marie is such a great singer, I wanted to improve the vocal part from what we’ve done before. Chris became more & more involved in the process so we decided to produce the album together recording in AGM in Skåne and Atlantis in Stockholm. We are both (Marie and me) so happy working with Chris.
When I first asked you for the interview you wrote that you are satisfied yourself with the album. Now that it’s released, what are you most satisfied with? Which song is your favourite song and why? And which is Marie’s?
Mikael: I must say that I’m very satisfied with how the leadvocal turned out. Thanx to Chris! Favourite song ? Hmm … maybe ”Kom vila hos mig”. I think I managed to say something with the lyrics and I like the beat. Marie says her favourite song is ”Vad vore jag utan dig”.
To get more insight (since we are very curious, of course). When Marie writes a song, does she do it on her own and presents it to you when it’s done or are you evolving it together? Speaking of Sista sommarens vals! How did you develop this song?
Mikael: Marie writes on her own and presents it to me when it’s more or less finished. We made a demo on the song and then we re-recorded it in AGM with Chris.
How did you choose the first single, “Kom vila hos mig”?
Mikael: Marie wanted an uptempo song and “Kom vila hos mig” felt like an excellent choice.
From the lyrics and looking at you 2 we know how you feel towards each other, but how would you describe working together with Marie?
Mikael: Working with Marie is a blessing. She is so patient and a great source of inspiration. She is amazing in her concentration and has extraterrestrial singing skills.
Do you have demos to all songs? Are you considering to release them all?
Mikael: Mostly, we record a serious demo that we can develop into the final version. Like put real bass & drums into it instead of programmed. We never thought of releasing the demos.
Are there demos with your voice to the songs you wrote for “Nu!?
Mikael: Yes! Some of the songs are with my vocals on it. I can assure you that those demos won’t be released as long as I’m alive.
Three words you think describe the album the best?
Mikael: Life is good!
After I read most of the reviews of the album in the internet I really didn’t know what to think of the Swedish music journalists. Some wrote it’s one of the best albums ever, some wrote it’s weak and nothing special and most important: all of them picked different weak or strong songs which shows that it’s really only a thing of taste and nothing else. Do you care about those reviews? Do you read them at all or is indeed the most important thing that the artist is satisfied with his work?
Mikael: Yes, I admit that the reviews have been different from each other, but no one has been really nasty so far. Still it’s interesting, as you say, that they pick different songs as their favorites. To your questions I answer Yes, Yes, Yes! I read them, I care about them and after all what matters the most is to be satisfied yourself. (Another review on the left)
Final question. Is there any question you want to be asked about the album that we didn’t ask? Feel free to ask and answer yourself. Maybe we missed the most important aspect!
Mikael: Hmm. I really don’t know what that could be. Maybe that the first two songs we recorded were already mixed in Jan 2010. We thought the album would be released in 2010/2011, but as you know something else came between.
Mikael Nogueira Svensson is the most well-known member of the crew among fans. Many people know him as Micke N-S, the guy behind the iPhone, taking the panorama pics we can see on Roxette Official and on Gyllene Tider’s Facebook site. We know his face and sometimes fans are chatting with him at the venues, but still, we don’t know too much about Micke, just that he is doing a fantastic job as backline technician.
He took his time between Gyllene Tider’s Örnsköldsvik show and 2nd Halmstad gig and was happy to share some more information about himself & his work and told us some interesting and funny stories, too.
PP: – On a Swedish drum workshop website I read this: ”Workshop leader is Mikael Nogueira Svensson, one of the most experienced and hired drum technicians in Sweden.” When did you start your work as a drum / guitar technician? What came first: drums or guitars?
MNS: – I started around 1997 with some local acts in the middle of Sweden, Dalarna. First it was only drums. The guitar bit of it came in the picture in around 2002, when I ran a rental company in Stockholm and had to go on tour with a band and also help the guitar player. And basically, it’s more common in Sweden that the techs help the guitar player more than the drummer.
PP: – Do you like working with drums or guitars more? Or does it depend on the person whom you are working with?
MNS: – It’s totally up to the artist I work for, so it doesn’t matter at all if it’s drums or guitars. But I toured with Prince between Roxette tour legs, which was more of a challenge, because then I did keyboards and piano for him.
PP: – Even keyboards and piano. Great! By the way, have you ever been studying music? Or you just learned to play the instruments by yourself?
MNS: – I’ve been studying at Stockholm Conservatory of Music for 3 years. But the fun part of it is that I decided to play the drums when I was a child, after meeting Pelle Alsing backstage in Gävle on the Joyride tour. And now I work for them.
PP: – Really? That sounds cool! What was Pelle’s reaction, when you told him you decided to play the drums because of him?
MNS: – Can’t remember. Nothing special I guess.
PP: – Oj, Pelle… Any other instruments you play besides the drums and guitar?
MNS: – I can only play the drums, can’t play the guitar. I only know a few chords. But I guess I can set up a guitar better than most of the guitar players out there…
PP: – You’re kidding! I thought it’s evident that you can play the guitar. Hats off then! Besides Roxette and Per Gessle you worked together with many other artists on tour (e.g. Peter Jöback, Carola) or played the drums for (e.g. Rod Stewart and the producer of U2). Who is the one whom you enjoyed to work together with the most?
MNS: – First, I didn’t play the drums for Peter or Carola. I was a tech for them. I played the bass on a singback performance with Peter Jöback once at the Swedish football gala. I kind of like to work with artists who are very aware of everything. It’s a give and take. I like to make it nice for them and they appreciate it. If it’s an artist who doesn’t care about anything, I don’t like it. You get no positive feedback then.
PP: – You are now on tour with Gyllene Tider. How different is it to work with them vs. Roxette?
MNS: – There’s no difference, except that I sleep at home from Sunday till Tuesday. We are the same crew and everything is the same.
PP: -Who is the easiest to work with in GT?
MNS: – I would say it’s equal. Everyone demands a certain kind of professionalism and everyone is just as kind as the other. But I’ve known Micke Syd for the longest time, so he is kind of the same ”father” figure for me as Pelle Alsing.
PP: – You are taking care of Per Gessle’s guitars, Micke Syd’s drums and also Anders Herrlin’s bass guitars, as well as many other things before, during and after the GT concerts. Which is the toughest part of your job now and what do you like the most?
MNS: – I wouldn’t say that I take care of many other things than Per, Micke and Anders. Actually, I only take care of them (their gear). And if you think that something is not connected to them, it is. No one would think about it, but it’s kind of boring to change strings every day.
PP: – Every day??? That must be boring indeed. When do you have to be at the venue on a concert day? What’s the daily routine? What are the first tasks and what is the last thing you do after a gig ends?
MNS: – I’m the last to arrive, at around 11 am. The stage is built the day before by the second unit crew. The riggers and light crew set up everything from 8 am on a concert day. Then I start building the drums, which takes about 1 hour including tuning, head change and miking the drums. After that I set up Per’s VOX rig and Fender amps of Anders. Then it’s lunch. After lunch I set up my tech world [see photo] and connect everything to the sound desk. Around 2 pm we do line check with the crew. Then we remove all the things in front of our risers, so Linnea and her band can set up.
PP: – You do soundchecks in the early afternoon with or without the band, but you are also checking the sounds before the concert starts. Were there any difficulties during this tour that you had to solve very quickly before a concert started to make everything work in the end? Or all is going smoothly during these soundchecks?
MNS: – There was no problem so far. Knock on wood.
PP: – I remember there was a moment in Karlstad, when Per looked at you and showed he has problems with his guitar. They were just coming back to the stage for the 2nd extra with Sommartider. You had to come up the stage and change the guitar settings from silent mode to normal, while Per was playing the guitar. It was hilarious. Are you and Micke Syd teasing him a lot with this since then? (At least in Örebro I saw you and Micke Syd were teasing him and showing the guitar was then set to normal mode.)
MNS: – Hahaha! Shit happens to everyone. And actually Syd is not talking about the guitar, he is just teasing me, because Per makes fun of me holding the guitars for so long. He’s fooling me and decides to wipe his face once again and have another drink. So I have to stand there and look like a fool. Sometimes I walk back before he can take the new guitar.
PP: – Now that’s too funny. Anyway, which is your personal favourite among Per’s actual guitars – Cherry Gibson, Blonde Gibson, Black Gibson or the Black Acoustic – and why?
MNS: – I like the Black Gibson, because it’s the easiest to work with. But I bought the Blonde for Per during the Roxette tour and that one has grown in my mind and feelings. (Also in Per’s, I guess, since it’s used for more songs now.)
PP: – Between the support act, Linnea Henriksson and the GT gig we see you on stage with a red plec saying ”Tänk att få sätta på” (part of the lyrics of Flickorna på TV2). Lookin’ good. Is it your personal plec? Is it an own design?
MNS: – It’s my personal tuning pick. It’s one gauge thicker than what Per plays with. It’s more comfortable and more accurate to tune with. I have had own tuning picks since Roxette started the tour. Purple ones.
PP: – We know that for the Roxette tour you had many ideas regarding plecs and Pelle’s drumkit with the star was absolutely your idea. How much have you been involved in designing this year’s plec collection and drumkit?
MNS: – I have designed all of them. Per gave me a few lines he wanted to see on them and I did the rest. The drumkit setup is designed by me. The front head design is Gyllene Tider’s official tour shield, not my design, but I made a few changes to it. It’s 3D, if you look closely at it. Peter, who printed and helped out with the Roxette drumkit, also did the graphic work and printing for this and the Leif on the small kickdrum.
PP: – Talking about ideas, we could see one of your greatest in the Roxette live concert film, namely the small cam on Per’s guitar. Awesome camera angle. Can we expect anything like this in the coming GT live film?
MNS: – No, but I pitched the idea for the show designer to add the GoPro wide angle cameras in the production inside the drumkit. But that is shown every night, so it’s nothing new.
PP: – Back to your past. Have you ever played in any band? Are there any plans that you want to leave backstage and come into the spotlight one day or it’s not your cup of tea at all?
MNS: – I was playing in a band during my years at the Conservatory of Music. We did a reunion in 2009 and played for 2 weeks in St. Anton ski resort. But there are no other plans and it’s nothing I want to do.
PP: – Do you already know what’s next, whose backline are you going to be after the tour ends? Or do you take a good rest and have some free weeks?
MNS: – I do all the pre-work for the Swedish / Norwegian talk show, Skavlan at our national TV station (SVT). I take care of the acts playing there when it comes to all backline work and logistics. It can be any artist: Foo Fighters, Take That, Alicia Keys or a local act. Funny thing is that Sinéad O’Connor asked me if I could get her a guitar for her performance. The only one who I knew he had a guitar Sinéad wanted was Per. So I called him and borrowed his guitar for that show. He told me to say hello to her, since earlier they met in another TV show (where she ripped a photo of the Pope).
You can watch Sinéad O’Connor’s performance in Skavlan show here. She was playing Per’s Gibson Les Paul Jr. /PP/
PP: – One last question came into my mind when I looked at your cover picture on Facebook – Bruce Springsteen throwing the guitar to his technician. Cool one! Who is the artist you would love to work with if you had one wish and why?
MNS: – Foo Fighters, because it’s good music and they are nice guys.
PP: – Fingers crossed for you to work with Foo Fighters then. Thank you for your time and for the fun stories. See you on a next Gessle-related tour!
MNS: – Thank you for coming to the shows. We are nothing without you. And who knows. There might be something in the future, or not…
We met Micke Syd in a café in Södermalm, one of the nicest districts of Stockholm, the Monday after the Stockholm concert. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days, but still allowed us to sit outside for “fika”, the Swedish word for “drinking coffee”. After a bit of chit-chat about our stay in Stockholm, travelling here and there to go to concerts and how Micke Syd is feeling today (“better today, yesterday I was totally KO!” he told us) we started with our interview.
Judith: So let’s start with some background. How did you get into music and when did you start playing drums?
Micke: I think I’ve always wanted to play drums. I remember when I was 5 or 6 and my parents had parties at home and played music and danced, I had a metallic ashtray and I played with knitting needles on it, just for myself, following the rhythm of the music. I don’t know why! (says with a smile). Then I got a drum kit for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, so I learnt to play myself. When I was in 9th grade I had some music lessons for some months but I learnt the rest myself. Then I started to play with Anders and a friend named Martin and the rest you know.
J: and did you have any favourite drummer or inspiration?
M: I think I had when I was younger; I always liked all those good drummers who had a personal sound when they play. A beat is a beat, but there must be that special something.
The thing is, you can be technically very good and fast but that doesn’t mean that it’s good. So, of course, Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts were some of my inspirations. When you hear them play, just one beat, you know it’s them playing, it’s their personality coming through the drum sticks.
J: I think there are just a few drummers you can put in that category, I just got into Bruce Springsteen lately. I sometimes like to concentrate on an instrument when listening to an album, mostly it’s the drums or guitar. So I am amazed the way Max Weinberg plays.
M: Max Weinberg is fantastic. The feeling you get from him is very strong and precise. Love it.
J: It reminds me in a way you play, very much defined strong beats, very fast and catchy as well. And that’s one of the things I love about Gyllene Tider. You hear the difference if you are not playing the drums. You have a very much defined strong beat and you totally miss it when somebody else plays GT songs.
M: Thank you! I think this is the biggest thing with us in Gyllene, we have a totally own sound. All the 5 of us need to be therefor this special thing to happen. And the fact that you hear when it’s me playing is the key. It comes with age, I know that I am never gonna be playing faster than *beep*, but I know that I can play ME. Like MP plays himself, or Anders and Göran and Per. And that is the formula that makes us so special. It’s important to know who I am when I play. And what happens with me and the others in the band. And this is the kind of drummers I like and what I like to hear in other bands too. I am rather old now so I don’t listen to songs that way anymore, but sometimes you just have to. Like for instance, Paul McCartney’s drummer – have you seen him live?
J: Yes, just a month ago!
M: that is great to hear. Did you notice the drummer? Abe Laboriel Jr. His father is a legendary bass player; you can check him on Youtube. Abe Jr. is a huge guy, he also sings and has a very soulful voice and he plays fantastic drums. We could do the same beat on the same drums and it would sound totally different. Just because of the way we do this. And that’s all about music. Find who you are and play the best you can.
J: How did you create the drum parts for the new songs? I understood that Per sent you the demos, which are basically guitar and some keyboard, and that’s all. Was it on the fly in the studio or did you prepare yourself?
M: that’s one thing that was so magical about “Dags att tänka på refrängen” and the difference to when we did “Finn fem fel”. Per had written like he always does, on guitar and him singing, maybe some rhythm pattern or keyboard. He sent the songs bit by bit in spring I think, and I decided for myself to just listen to the songs once this. Sometimes when you listen to them more often, you listen to the chords, you may think ‘I have heard it before’, and you get a wrong input or idea about the song. Then you also start to think how you will play things. So I just listened to them once and left them. I think that one of the best things with us is that when we are together things just happen, we just do it. Of course, I have my box of fills and my beats and rhythm, you will probably hear the same or similar on more than one song. But it’s my way of doing it. So this time we just played.
J: And it worked out amazingly, because the album is great and you really seemed to have fun, some songs sound even like having been recorded live.
M: I think one of the good things was that we started out with “Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” because it’s a very powerful song and because we had already played it 32 years ago, but we still remembered it. Now when we rehearsed we even did songs from the EP “M”, like “M” which we never played back then, so we just said ‘let’s see if we can play it’ and we could. So songs are somewhere here in the brain, and when we get together it all comes back.
J: So what happened after “Det blir aldrig…”
M: We recorded this song in two or three takes and that was the beginning of the creative thing going. The first day we did a lot of takes, everything went so fast we didn’t even have time to think and I think that was the good thing, we simply played.
And many times what we played then became the arrangements, so you could say that we did the arrangements for the songs in real-time. And when you do that, often the stuff that comes out is amazing and the way it should be.
And for me this is very important too, I have to keep the tempo, I have to know what is happening to put the beats and the fills so it melts with the rest, so I like when it’s flowing, it shouldn’t stop, it should be like a dance. The parts between the verse and the chorus should be together with some nice … something. So when we do it like this, that fast, it just happens, this is nothing you can talk about. And it’s so special to be in a band where we have such a communication that is not verbal, it’s totally something else.
In cooperation with the author of the book, Maria Sörgjerd, we are giving away 2 copies of “I en underbar ballong”.
Since the book is about what it is to be a Roxette fan, we would like to hear your story. Write in a few sentences what it is for you to be a Roxette fan or your best memory from the 2011 – 2012 Roxette tour. Note that we will randomly select the 2 winners and your story will be published here.
Write an email with your name, address (so we can send the book) and your story to email@example.com until December 21st.
And here is the small letter, contest conditions
– In order to participate, you have to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with name, address and your story. We will consider all emails we receive until the 21st of December, 2012, 23:59 CET time.
– 2 winners will be picked up randomly among those who have participated.
– As it is usual, you can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice will lead to your disqualification.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by standard mail only once (so basically, if the envelope gets lost.. we won’t be able to send a replacement).
– Winners will be announced on this website and your story will be published here. You will also be notified per email and you’ll be required to answer to the notification email.
– Stories sent in by all participants may be used as well on the website, anonymous if wished.