Per Gessle on “Halv tre med Lotta Bromé” on Mix Megapol

Per Gessle was Lotta Bromé’s guest on radio Mix Megapol on 18th October. You can listen to the interview HERE.

Lotta welcomes Per in the studio and mentions that it was exactly a year ago when Per was on this show, October 2022. She finds it fun that PG always releases new music in October. Per laughs and says it’s a coincidence of course. He releases music all the time. Lotta knows it and says she was sitting here in the studio all Easter waiting for Per to come, because he promised to come back then when he was on the show last time. She had eggs and stuff, but PG didn’t come. Per laughs and says something came in the way. Lotta says it was Gyllene Tider. She asks how the tour was.

Per says it was fantastic. The GT tour was magical and Gyllene Tider is a wonderful little pop band. They have always been touring regularly with odd intervals. These days, it feels like there is almost no one left who makes that kind of music anymore. So all of a sudden, they kind of represent a bygone era. They felt it for the first time this year. It didn’t feel like that at all when they toured in 2019. Lotta asks if it was a farewell tour again this summer. PG says it wasn’t. He doesn’t think you should paint yourself into a corner. Only Micke thinks so. Per laughs. So Lotta is curious if another GT tour is coming. Per doesn’t know, but it’s always fun to play together with the guys.

Lotta thinks GT has a very mixed audience. PG confirms it. It’s mostly those who have been there before, but it’s a fantastic mix of all sorts and they have been lucky enough to have managed to build up a song catalogue that is still attractive to a lot of people.

Lotta says it must be fun to get to a younger audience as well and that there are people who only now discover the music that has been around for so long for us. Per confirms it’s cool. The case is that the majority of those who listen to almost all music he makes, it’s music that they have gotten married to, they have divorced, they have graduated and stuff like that. There is so much going on in their lives and the music represents so many life events. It becomes a kind of soundtrack to everything that people have been through. It’s cool to be a part of it.

Lotta asks Per if he himself should pick one GT song that meant the most to him, what song would that be. PG finds it difficult to pick one and Lotta says he can’t cheat and say a Roxette or PG Roxette or Per solo song. It has to be a GT song. So after thinking, Per says a song that was some sort of a stepping stone to something new is Det är över nu. It was the first time that they really sounded the way they always wanted to sound. They got a new producer and it was recorded in 1995. Per had been out for 7 years with Roxette and got more routine through Roxette, so that all of a sudden when GT got back together in 1995, they sounded damn good.

After they play Det är över nu on the radio, Lotta mentions that Per will be on stage tonight. PG explains that there will be a tribute concert to Pugh Rogefeldt at Cirkus. It’s Per, Tomas Ledin, First Aid Kit and other artists on stage. Lotta asks Per why Pugh meant so much to him. Mr. G says Pugh has been with him his whole life. Pugh’s first concert Per saw was when he was 14, in Halmstad’s folk park. Pugh played there with his band Rainrock. Per remembers that Pugh had a bandana on his head and a long ponytail and after a few songs he took off this scarf and then they saw he was completely bald. He looked like Kojak. The Halmstad audience had never seen anything like that before, so they were shocked. Afterwards PG and his friends went to the Esso Motor Hotel where the band lived. They waited for the band there at the reception. Lotta asks if they dared to say hi to the band. PG says they didn’t dare to talk to them. Lotta asks if Per had the chance to tell Pugh about this when they met. PG says he did.

The first time Per and Pugh met was when Gyllene Tider recorded their second LP. It came out in 1981 and Pugh came to the studio to read the stanza “mina damer och herrar, det är gyllene tider för rock’n’roll”, the intro to the song Gyllene Tider för rock’n’roll. It’s unbelievably big for the guys in GT that he did it. Then he went on tour with Gyllene Tider in 2004, on the biggest GT tour. Pugh was a special guest.

Lotta says people always talk about Pugh as the father of Swedish rock. His first album was Ja, dä ä dä! and he wrote lyrics in Swedish. PG says not only that he wrote in Swedish, but he actually created his own language. The second record was called Pughish and there he sings in his own language. Per has always been interested in lyrics and he thinks there are similarities between Pugh’s lyrics and John Lennon’s lyrics. There are these nonsense, odd lyrics, e.g. I Am The Walrus. That’s very attractive to Per. Especially Pugh’s early records, which are a little more fuzzy and a little more unstructured are incredibly attractive to PG.

He chose to cover Vandrar i ett regn. It came out on a live record called Ett steg till in 1975. That was recorded at Halmstad Theatre – among other places – where Per saw Pugh and Rainrock and Janne Lucas and Ola Magnell.

Lotta says Pugh was truly an idol. Per says he had great vibes and he looked cool. Mr. G says he made a video for Vandrar i ett regn and Ebba, who directed this video, has managed to find a lot of cool pictures of Pugh from the past. He looked damn cool.

Lotta says Per doesn’t wear a bandana. Per laughs and says he doesn’t have any. Too much hair to put under, Lotta says. Per laughs and then they play Vandrar i ett regn.

Lotta asks when was the last time Per met Pugh. Mr. G says he met Pugh in person at his last concert. He performed at Cirkus in Stockholm in 2019. Per was there with Clarence Öfwerman, Roxette’s producer. They were sitting in the first row of the gallery and at one song Pugh went out into the audience and sang the song. He caught sight of Per, walked up to him and then he hugged Mr. G. It made Per so happy, because they never had that kind of a relationship, but he just hugged PG. He was happy to see Per.

When Mr. G had recorded Vandrar i ett regn, it ended up with Pugh, so he listened to it and thought it was great that Per recorded it. It was only a couple of days before he passed away, so it also feels great that he got to hear it and Per got a response to it.

Lotta is curious how often Per makes covers. It’s not that often. However, PG likes covers as an artist, because you can use them to tell a little about where you are coming from. They did that with Gyllene Tider early on. They played, for example, ABBA’s S.O.S., Mott The Hoople, The Beatles, a bit of everything by Tom Petty. Roxette played a bit of Blondie and a bit of The Birds. One of Per’s favourite records is David Bowie’s Pin-Ups album, which is a fantastic collection of Bowie’s ’60s favourites. Lotta adds that Bryan Ferry has done some great covers too. Per agrees.

So, Per thinks covers are fun, but he doesn’t make covers that often. You have to prioritize your own songs.

Lotta wants to know how many times Per was asked to be on Så mycket bättre. [It’s a Swedish TV reality show in which participating musicians perform their own version of well-known songs by other artists. /PP] Many times, Per replies. Lotta is curious why Per doesn’t take part in it. Per says from what he understands, you have to go away for 6 weeks and live with other artists. It sounds like a nightmare. They are laughing. Lotta says that Per is touring a lot and asks if it is OK to live with the guys in GT then. PG says it’s true he is away on tour a lot, but there are no cameras all the time.

Lotta says the last time they also talked about getting older and people passing away. Then Per also talked about the importance of nurturing relationships. PG says you have to make the most of what you have. He says you start to become like your parents, throwing out clichés like this about how you should behave when you get old. Per laughs. Lotta says she is very happy that Per came here today and nurtures their relationship. Haha.

Last time Per was on the show he had many things coming up. There was the PG Roxette album, the Gyllene Tider record, then a tour. PG says there will be a lot of stuff happening next year as well that he can’t really reveal yet, but he thinks he will have to do it before Easter. Haha.

What he can tell is that a Gyllene Tider movie will premiere next summer. The shootings end this week. Then next autumn the Roxette musical will premiere in Malmö.

Lotta asks Per about contemporary music. She is curious if Per heard anything lately that he liked. There aren’t too many new songs that Per gets hooked on, but there are occasional artists who are exciting. Weyes Blood, for example. He says now he is like his parents again and laughs. Mr. G says when he really needs to listen to music, he often goes back to the music he grew up with. He doesn’t need a new Joni Mitchell, because he has Joni Mitchell and he doesn’t need a new Tom Petty, because he has Tom Petty. He knows so much music and he has such a huge music collection that it’s enough for him. So it’s not that easy to knock on his door and get in with a new song.

Lotta asks Per to pick an old song they should play then. PG chooses American Girl by Tom Petty.

Lotta says it’s always a pleasure to see Per and a warm welcome back at Easter or even earlier. Per thanks for it and says he’ll be glad to come back.

Stills are from THIS video.

Per Gessle on Nyhetsmorgon on TV4 talking about Pugh Rogefeldt

Per Gessle was a guest on TV4’s morning show, Nyhetsmorgon on 13th October, release day of his new single, a cover of Pugh Rogefeldt’s Vandrar i ett regn. Program leaders Sofia Geite and Steffo Törnquist interviewed him.

The interview starts with premiering the song’s video and after they play a short part of it, Steffo says it’s such a good song choice, because one could think it could have been written by Per. It fits Per very well. PG agrees that it’s a fantastic song. Steffo says Pugh was great and Per discovered him early. Mr. G says the first time he saw Pugh must have been 1974 in Halmstad’s folk park. He played there with his band, Rainrock. He had a scarf on his head and a long ponytail and after a few songs he took off the bandana and everyone saw he had shaved his hair and was bald, just had the ponytail left. The whole audience was shocked. Per says you had never seen anything like that before. Pugh took a bet with his brother, but when his brother saw how Pugh looked, he withdrew himself from the bet. Haha.

The following year Pugh was on tour and played at Halmstad Theatre. There they played, among other songs, Vandrar i ett regn, Per says. Steffo says it’s a song that makes you happy and it’s lovely. PG thinks it has fantastic lyrics and it’s a wonderful song. Pugh was a great songwriter. Steffo mentions a word Pugh uses, “gamman” for happy. “Glad och gamman” in the lyrics, Per thinks it’s a nice expression. He had to check what that meant.

Steffo says Pugh was purely musical too and very innovative. Per agrees. He says Pugh actually created his own language, Pughish. That was even the title of his second album, Pughish. He simply wrote lyrics in his own language. It’s very unique. So there was a musical madness in all this fantastic melodic work he did. Per likes his songs a lot. He thinks there are similarities between Pugh’s lyrics and for example John Lennon’s lyrics. Sometimes there are these kind of nonsense lyrics that you can make your own and you can interpret them as you want. A bit like how Per tried to write The Look. That song isn’t about anything, but you can make it your own. That’s the cool thing about pop music and PG thinks Pugh was a master of it.

Sofia mentions that there will be a tribute concert for Pugh at Cirkus in Stockholm. That place has been chosen for a reason, also because it was where Pugh had his last concert. Per was there in the audience then. He says it was a great concert, but it was a bit strange, because Pugh behaved a bit odd. Per doesn’t know why. He says he was there with his producer, sitting in the first row of the gallery and at one song Pugh went out into the audience and sang the song. He caught sight of Per, walked up to him and then he hugged Per. PG doesn’t really understand why. It was a long hug and a bit magical in a way. In retrospect now it feels super wonderful.

Steffo says Gyllene Tider and Pugh toured together. Per smiles and says Pugh wasn’t a support act, because he was too good for that, he was a special guest for Gyllene Tider in 2004. It was a huge tour. They of course met during the tour, but they didn’t travel together. On a tour it’s when they play, you are in the dressing room, changing clothes, you are getting ready for your part, putting on your make-up and stuff, Per says, so you often miss out on each other.

Sofia says that the big hug Pugh gave Per must have been a surprise for PG, because he and Pugh didn’t have a very tight relationship. Per confirms he was surprised. Pugh was 5-6 metres away from him when he caught sight of PG, so he doesn’t know why he got the feeling. Sofia says probably this relationship meant a lot to Pugh.

Per tells Sofia and Steffo that Pugh asked him to help put together the setlist of what he would play as the special guest on the GT tour. He knew Per was a big fan. Mr. G made a list based on the early records that he loved, Pughish and Hollywood. Pugh always wondered why Per chose these weird songs that he had basically forgotten about. But those songs were so good.

Sofia aks Per what it was like to meet his idol when he was young. Because she knows PG had the chance to meet Pugh in some hotel foyer. Per says when Pugh played the folk park in Halmstad, he and his friends knew that they would be staying at a hotel in Vallås, outside Halmstad. They went there to the hotel and waited for the band to come. The band came and then they walked half a metre past. The guys sat there and were too shy to say anything at the age of 14. They just wanted to be close to the pop gods. Haha.

Regarding the Gyllene Tider movie, Per says the shooting lasts until next week and the movie is out next summer. Steffo asks how it feels. Per says it’s scary, but it’s cool. He has seen a bit of it and it’s amazing. The script is awesome, so he hopes the film will be as good as the script is. It’s a movie about 5 crazy guys in a small town who start a band. But in the end, it’s not like a documentary about Gyllene Tider. It ends with Sommartider released in 1982, so it’s kind of about how the band got there. Sofia asks Per if he recognizes himself or he sees new sides of him in the movie. [Here they show the group picture of Gyllene Tider and the cast.] Per points at the picture and says he recognizes himself there. Haha. PG says the actors interpreted the film well and they are incredibly talented. The director is also wonderful. The program leaders say it’s fun and they look forward to it. They also wish Per to have a good time at the Pugh gala.

Stills are from the morning show.

Per Gessle about the magic of songwriting and musical nerdiness – interview by David Myhr for Studio.se

David Myhr did a wonderful interview with Per Gessle about songwriting. The interview appeared on Studio.se in Swedish.

In the intro, David mentions that after ABBA, Roxette is Scandinavia’s biggest music export ever with their 75 million albums sold. Per Gessle’s success as a songwriter is monumental. He is one of only eighteen songwriters who as a sole songwriter had more than two No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

The guys met in Stockholm, in Per’s office on Strandvägen and talked about songwriting. Per thinks it’s always fun. Songwriting is an inexhaustible, hugely complex subject. At the same time, it’s also quite private in a way.

David says it has struck him that for all the incredible success, Per has often emphasized his musical limitations.

Per says:

I’ve always hid a little behind the fact that I was always the worst in the band, musically. Göran and I were always the worst in Gyllene! Because I wanted to write, I learned early on that I always have to work with people who are much, much better than I am. Even in Roxette, I handpicked everyone around me. And everyone was on a completely different musical level than I am. But… they can’t write my songs. I have used the fact that I can’t do many things to find other stuff.

David adds that Per believes that people who become too sophisticated and too good, easily lose the melodies, because they are looking for something else.

PG says a couple of his idols, e.g. Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, are good examples of people who have overcomplicated their music. He thinks that knowing a little doesn’t have to be a disadvantage when it comes to songwriting. For those old songs that he wrote, “Billy” and “När alla vännerna gått hem”, from 1977-78, he didn’t know what keys and such things were. There he copied his role models without reinventing the wheel.

David says he has noticed that there is sometimes a superstition among some younger songwriters that they should invent something entirely their own, while everyone is in some form of tradition. That even The Beatles listened to Elvis, Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry.

Per says:

Everyone listens to everyone, sort of. You hear Woodie Guthrie when you listen to Bob Dylan… Of course you want to be unique and be yourself. But I wanted to belong to pop, the whole romanticism surrounding the pop world. Long hair on guys. The album covers. To enter another world in the headphones and listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. There was an amazing romanticism about pop that wasn’t there in anything else.

Per talks nostalgically about his older brother, Bengt, who made Per as a six-seven-eight-year-old grow up with The Beatles, The Hollies, The Kinks, Lovin’ Spoonful, The Yardbirds and The Spencer Davis Group. To then find his own stuff like The Monkees. He also got into the singer/songwriter genre early on.

PG says:

I was very much a loner when I was growing up and lived a lot in this parallel universe called pop music. For myself. So I could kind of never see myself as a musician or an artist or singing or playing in front of people. It was absolutely not important. However, I was into writing and expressing myself very early on. I wrote lyrics long before I wrote music. I think it came from my mother. She always wrote her own fairy tales for us when we were small and illustrated them. Just for us.

David tells that Per got a Spanish guitar from his mother in 1976 and started playing Leonard Cohen songs fingerstyle. Then he also developed his understanding of both text and chords.

Per tried to translate Bowie’s “Cygnet Committee”. The long, really weird song on “Space Oddity”. And “Memory Of A Free Festival”. He loved that record, but he still doesn’t understand those lyrics. He bought a sheet music and learned the songs because the chords were written in it. He learned C, G7 and so on. But he also remembers his sister sitting and playing “Für Elise” on the piano. PG somehow never connected that (Per hums “Für Elise”) it’s an A minor! He realized it only many years later. Per learned to play the piano from some old lady in Halmstad and thought it was the most boring thing he had ever done in his entire life. Because she never connected that music to what PG was interested in. Had she told Per, “Look at this! Beethoven. A minor, E major, and so on. It’s exactly the same key as “House Of The Rising Sun”, it would have been a little easier. But Per gave up on that. He wasn’t interested in it. He thinks what saved him and made him really take a step forward was when he got to know Mats in Gyllene Tider. But it was also when the punk era came. The new wave. Then it was okay to be lousy and that appealed to Per enormously.

Per about song lyrics

Per talks about inspiration to understand what a song text can look like.

Mr. G says:

Take, for example, “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen. It’s a letter. It even ends with “sincerely L Cohen” in the text itself. And it’s fascinating that a letter becomes a song text, but it’s not really that strange. If you write a short and concise message to someone, you can repeat the most important thing in the message and it becomes a chorus. It’s not far-fetched. So I mostly think that I hadn’t really found or understood this thing about form, and that it becomes easier if you stay within a form. If you look at, for example, “Billy”, the verses are of different lengths. They kind of stop when MP took over with the guitar and started cranking with his solo.

Song titles as a starting point

David thinks Per is a master of titles and he imagines a song idea often starts with the title. PG says it can start with the title. Titles are important. The title is like the face of the song, what makes one curious. He tells he has an archive of titles or more stanzas than titles that trigger his curiosity.

David says a common songwriting tip is “write down ideas from TV shows or book titles”. He is curious how it works for Per.

PG says:

I do exactly as you say. I have learned – not only because of age – but also for other reasons, that if you come up with something that you think is interesting, you have to write it down or record it. My phone is jam-packed with messages, tunes and stuff. It could be a title or a stanza or something like that. Or a rhythm. You hear something. It could even be that I’m inside a store where they play music in the room. And then I think “damn this sounds good”. But why don’t they do this instead? And then I can record myself humming it. Although changed, in my way. And then time passes. So when I come home and listen to it after three days, I don’t understand anything. I learned that you have to count in first so you understand later where the one is. It can be very exciting. Because there will be something that triggers something in me. Then something else is created from it and it becomes a third thing in the end.

David understands that Per doesn’t like to work as hard on songwriting as many people say you should. Like Benny Andersson who goes to his grand piano every day and sits there week after week.

Per says:

No, I don’t get that. I love to write but I do it as little as possible. Because it must be fun! The most difficult thing for me is if, for example, you write a song in English. And then I realize that it would have been great if it was in Swedish. And then I have to start over. Because I almost always write music and lyrics in symbiosis – roughly at the same time – which means that melodies and consonants and vowels and everything kind of fit together. So when I need to translate, I get so locked into how it really was from the beginning. It takes an immense amount of time and very rarely turns out well. So I try to avoid it, actually.

David says it’s kind of an editor’s job to sit down and sift through all the hundreds of voice memos. He is curious about how Per is doing that. PG explains that as soon as he records an idea, he transfers it to the computer where he has a folder called “workshop”. Beneath that, there is a folder called iPhone and there are hundreds of recordings. Text fragments are in another folder.

When Per is in town or sitting in a taxi, then it’s his iPhone that applies:

If you hear a strange person at Bromma airport singing in the toilet, it’s probably me. I usually call this part of the process “antennas out” and it goes on 24/7.

David says he has read that Per thought Gyllene Tider sounded the way he wanted at first around “Kung av sand” and “Juni, juli, augusti”. According to David, there is kind of a late Tom Petty vibe to that thing that the guys got together with Michael Ilbert.

PG says:

It was something I had felt all along. It’s hard to talk about Gyllene, because we finished so early. Lasse Lindbom, who produced us at the time, also didn’t understand what we wanted to aim at. When I tried to explain something, I couldn’t. But Ilbert understood it immediately.

David wants to know if Per works on a project-by-project basis, so that he didn’t happen to write a GT song in the middle of the Roxette circus.

Per says:

When I wrote Roxette songs, I wrote almost all the songs for Marie. Then there were songs that she didn’t want to sing for one reason or another. It could be that she thought it was a little too pop. But it was difficult to put a finger on where that line was. “The Big L” and “How Do You Do!” it gets a little bubblegum. But it kind of depended on what mood she was in. She loved it when I came up with this “Queen Of Rain” and the bigger songs. And when I tried to do something a bit R’n’B like “Soul Deep” or “Cry”, then she got to stretch that style a bit.

David is curious how Per works with demos.

PG says:

I often do several demo versions of the songs. It also goes in waves. Sometimes I just do acoustic demos. But if I’m going to involve other people, I often do it on synths. Maybe just a little loop or something, so that’s easy to change key then. So I don’t do five hours of work organically and then have to redo everything. I’m trying to find as much of the identity as possible for the song to go to the production level as soon as possible.

Key changes are an effective tool

The guys start talking about key changes or modulations as they are called. There is a variation David has noted in several songs that he tends to refer to as the “Per Gessle trick”. The verse in G and the chorus in A. Then back. He thinks it’s damn effective. “Jo-Anna Says”, “Kung av sand”, “June Afternoon” are just a few examples of Gessle songs where the choruses go a whole key above the verses.

PG says:

It is almost never sought. Or… I don’t think much. Everything is about efficiency in a song. If the melody is cool but ends up wrong, then there are different paths. If there are different singers – for example a boy and a girl – then you can use different octaves. Then it is solved by just the speed. But otherwise, if you want to keep the melodies as they are, you might need a modulation to make it “kick”.

It’s damn neat and that’s lovely. But people skip it! No one dares to change the key. It is such a simple trick that is only in your favor. Because once you’ve learned the song, you can’t hear the song without it. The melody gets better. It becomes a hook just from the speed!

David is curious whether it was usually Per’s experiments that led to these modulations or it was something that Clarence threw in as a hint sometimes.

Per says:

It certainly has happened. But usually they were written that way. There are so many songs that there were no rules! Clarence has probably done a lot of that too. But the songs for Marie that I demo sang on, when I wrote them, I might not have thought that I would sing the lead. Because I sang everything back then. If it was her song, her verse, her chorus and I’m going to sing it, then I have a problem that I have to solve. Both Clarence and Christoffer Lundquist have always been damn nice to help out. Magnus Börjeson too, for that matter.

David asks Per if he is talking in terms of tonic, dominant and subdominant parallel, but Per doesn’t really know what David means by that. Now David sounds like Clarence and Christoffer when they talk. When they sit and analyze something Per has done, they can sit and talk among themselves. PG sits next to them and doesn’t understand anything.

PG says:

I’ve gotten old enough that I’ve learned what I like. That’s also why I’ve always surrounded myself with like-minded people. But when you are in it for a long time, you have to leave your little house sometimes and test yourself and do things. It was probably a little bit of that too, which I think made us have such a relatively long, great career anyway. Because Marie knew her jazz, she knew her blues and Clarence knew his prog rock and Jonas knew his stuff, Jeff Beck tricks. And I knew a little of everything, but not very much.

The beginning of a song

David asks Per to take us into a typical scenario when a song is created.

Per says:

I usually never start writing a song with a title. First comes a musical idea that you think “this is damn hooky” or “this feels great”. Or “I would like to write something in six-eighths”. I’d like to have a certain feel, trying to play around with chords and stuff. And then comes something vague. When you have found a little temperature in what you are doing, you can start looking in your small archive if you want. Or maybe you already have it. While you sit and look for these chords, you might start singing something. Which might be exciting or trigger your imagination in some way. What takes time – much, much longer – is writing lyrics. Because when you get to writing the lyrics, you have quite a lot of music already written. Because otherwise you won’t get to the text anyway. The only time I’ve written music for a finished text is when that text has had another music that I didn’t think was good enough. Then the text remains.

David wants to know more about the process: „You have felt the mood of the musical idea and you may be browsing through your notes for phrases or alternatively start singing along to something. And then you enthusiastically finish writing the melody. Then comes the tough work of finishing the text?”

PG says:

But it can also be the case that the melody is ready, but it changes because I get into a text flow that requires a different melody. Everything works in symbiosis with each other. So it’s not set in stone. It is never set in stone. I also think that you should take that into account when it comes to songwriting, that songs are never ready. When you then play them with another band or with other people, they sound completely different. They are a creature in a way. After all, it can happen that you record a song, and then when you sit and listen to it during the mixing, you think “damn how long this is… we’ll cut out half the verse”. And then you get a completely different text.

David is curious about how Per finishes the lyrics.

Per says:

I have a hard time staying focused so I try to write a text in maybe an afternoon. Or… it’s different depending on how complicated the text is. Some texts are very strong for one’s self and sometimes I feel that I have something on my mind that I want to get down. I’m 90% there, but something is missing. And I don’t know what it is. Then it must take time and at least one night must have passed. And then maybe for breakfast… and then I might not even remember how the song goes. I haven’t worn it out. But then I just read the text straight up and down. That’s how I feel: “Damn it! It’s damn good. ” or “That’s clumsy. That’s not good!” And then I go to my office or to the studio and then I sit down again. I red-mark what I need to redo. So I’m constantly trying to trick myself into being focused somehow. Because I don’t get better from kneading. The song doesn’t get better from knowing it better. On the contrary. I trust 100 percent in my gut feeling, in my spontaneity.

I notice that when I work in the studio with other people as well. What I’m good at is capturing their spontaneity. Because they are not good at it themselves. Because they don’t know what they are doing. Most of them are very good singers and musicians, they just play damn well all the time. But they have a very hard time understanding when they are extremely good. But it suits me just fine. It’s a subjective thing. I remember Marie saying that she always thought she sang best when I was in the studio directing her. Because she didn’t hear it herself. She always sang well, but that stuff that was exceptionally good, she couldn’t pick them herself. And so it is for sure with my stuff. I cannot judge the quality. It means a lot to me. But if it is commercial…? I’m the worst in the world at picking singles. What is a hit? How to write a hit? I have no idea! I’m interested in pop music and it’s in the nature of pop music to be catchy. But I’m not too fond of modern pop music, because I don’t think it’s particularly catchy.

About choosing not to move forward with a song

David asks Per if he is good at killing his darlings.

PG says:

I usually “kill my darlings” earlier than that. It’s very rare that I go so far as to record it, even as an acoustic demo. The reason I do an acoustic demo is because, for example, Clarence or Christoffer say: “We don’t want your bloody demos! Record the songs acoustically and we’ll do the rest. So we’re open-minded”.

David is curious whether Per ever speaks on the subject or gives any type of workshops, teaching songwriting.

PG says:

No, I talk about so many other things all the time. When I release stuff, I don’t really need to talk about it anymore. Then I don’t want to talk too much about being creative. Because it takes away a bit of the mystery, the creativity. I think it’s my thing.

To David’s surprise that he could come and talk to Per about songwriting PG reacts:

I think it’s fun to talk. It’s a little different these days too. Because I do so very little. When I sit in Nyhetsmorgon and talk or do TikTok stuff, I just talk about the new songs and talk about how they came about and I try to remember. Nonsense. But what we’re talking about now is fun!

What makes a good melody

David asks Per what a good melody is.

Per says:

I’m always looking for something that gets me hooked. It’s a kind of rush when you hit it right. I remember sitting in that room writing (points to the office) “The Loneliest Girl In The World” as it came to be called. I was just sitting there plinking and then I started singing this (humming) and thought “how cool is that”. I just felt – like all of me – cool chorus! And then it was like putting together a puzzle. How do I maximize the chorus? And then I wrote the verses that didn’t get in the way of the chorus. And “what’s it going to be called?”. Then this idea “the loneliest girl in the world” came up. And then I thought maybe it’s too depressing. But, no, because sometimes it’s really exciting if you have something dark in a text, although the music maybe is bright. And vice versa. A good example is “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, which everyone thinks is such a super pop song. But there is a hell of a lot of “doom” in that text. There are lots of such examples and I’m not particularly afraid of such things, but it is mostly that it should feel good to sing and that you should be able to write a story around it in some way. And how do you write a story? It’s fact and fiction. You pick things up. For some texts you write maybe three stanzas when you feel a certain way. And those texts might be very powerful for yourself. And you live with them. And then, all of a sudden, when you write something that goes at the same temperature musically, maybe those stanzas fit very well. And then you develop them. It may start with something that is sad. Or something that you think is unfair. Something you think is questionable in your life.

Especially during the Roxette era, I almost always did a so-called “middle-eight”, a bridge. And they were usually super hooky. I’ve always thought that a bridge should always be so good it could be a chorus. Like a B chorus sort of thing. “Listen To Your Heart”, for example, has a very good bridge.

David says „where the key goes up a notch! Nice modulation!” PG says you notice that at a concert. Everyone loves to sing that bridge. There are plenty of such examples. David asks Per if he no longer tries to do such bridges.

PG says:

No, I don’t anymore. Because I tend to keep up with my time. I make the songs shorter and shorter. And then there is almost no room for a bridge. It feels like the time of bridges is over.

David wants to know whether you get better and better the more you write or you get worse and worse.

Per says:

You don’t get better and you don’t get worse. You become different, develop. I will not say “against your will”. But you develop because time goes by. What we talked about at the beginning, it’s good not to know very much. The hardest thing when you are my age is writing uptempo songs. That’s kind of why I wanted to make the new Gyllene Tider album (“Hux Flux”). I know a little too much, I’m a little too sophisticated and usually choose a different means of expression, other types of instruments and other types of tempos. So that’s why it’s been a challenge and you like that sometimes. You can’t write young music when you’re old, but you can write music based on the music you liked when you were young. Although you do it in a different way.

10 things to learn from Per Gessle

1. Listen a lot and let yourself be inspired

– You have listened so damn much. And then you like a certain style. Or multiple styles. And then you make something of it your own.

2. Save ideas

– If you come up with something that you think is interesting, you have to write it down or record it. My phone is jam-packed with messages, tunes and other stuff. It could be a title or a stanza or something like that. Or a rhythm.

3. Always have your “antennas out”

– It’s 24/7. It can happen now as we sit and talk. You might say something that I think “shit, I could use that for something”. Although you don’t notice that I noticed it.

4. Don’t get lost in technology if you’re not interested

– I’m not technically interested at all. So setting up a mixing desk and start working… it takes too much focus for me, so I lose sight of what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

5. Dare to change keys in the songs

– I’m writing Swedish songs right now and I’m currently working on a song where, after the chorus, I don’t want a theme. So then I did a solo that is exactly the same chord as the chorus. Just lowered. If the chorus goes in G, the solo goes exactly the same way just in F. Which then means that when I go back to the original key, you get a lift. You experience it as a key rise to the chorus. And that’s it! But you haven’t raised as all the choruses are in G. You’re tricking the ear all the time like this.

6. Learn what you like

– I don’t like three-part singing. It’s mostly just that when I listen to it, I don’t like it when it gets too thick. When it comes to vocal parts, I prefer fifth harmony. Perfect! Fifth is always the best. And then you might find a major 7th or a sixth that colors in a special way. I like that!

7. Find and keep your essence

– We created the typical Roxette sound from all these ingredients that we come from. I don’t think people realized this until after time has passed. Today, when I hear a Roxette song on the radio, I can think “damn, that sounds special!”. But I didn’t think so at the time. I just thought it sounded like us. At the same time, when we broke through, EMI wanted us to move to Los Angeles or New York. Or at least London to be closer to the industry. But we said we don’t want to do that because then we lose our whole essence. If we remove Jonas and Pelle and Clarence and all of them, we would have played Richard Marx!

8. Dare to play around!

– You can play around and you shouldn’t lock yourself up. At the same time, you have to respect what makes the song strong. It could be that a melody is very strong. So if you want to change anything, you have to do it wisely and with respect. If you now want to max out your song, which everyone wants to, then you have to know what you’re doing.

9. Pick up the feeling and temperature from other songs

– It’s not like now I’m going to write a song like this and it will be the same. But it is the temperature in the songs that you can take with you. That temperature opens like a door in yourself in some way. If I listen to “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” and I get into it, I can’t write music like that, but I can write a song with the same feeling, in my own way.

10. Everything leads to the next thing

– My songs are very much me and I live to write songs. That’s what I am. My wife and son and friends will probably sign it. But it also means that everything I do leads to the next thing. Every riff that doesn’t lead to anything allows me to get it out of my system, so I can move on to something else. You learn. It’s a long, long process.

About David Myhr

Besides being a writer, David Myhr is also a songwriter and artist and wants to know more about the phenomenon of songwriting. As a university lecturer, he both teaches and conducts research in the subject. He has discovered that trying to put into words what actually happens in the creative process of writing songs is extremely difficult. But he has just as fully given it to trying to get some of the biggest songwriters to do just that.

For the original article in Swedish and more photos click HERE!

Interview with Åsa and Per Gessle about Hotel Tylösand in Hallandsposten

Jan-Owe Wikström from Hallandsposten interviewed Åsa and Per Gessle about Hotel Tylösand. The hotel was originally built by court photographer Johan Hallberg as Restaurant Tylösand in 1915 for 13,000 SEK. Until 1929 it could only be accessed by boat. Today it is one of Halmstad’s strongest brands and tourist magnets, but also – the hotel in the hearts of Per and Åsa Gessle.

The hotel has come a long way until it has transformed into an exclusive spa hotel.

Per notes that there is nothing worse than a hotel where you are greeted by an empty entrance or a deserted reception. He explains:

We want a wow feeling when you enter Hotel Tylösand. You can directly see the car hall, fantastic works of art and sculptures. And we’re going to build a bar in the reception where you can hang out a bit. Sometimes there will be a pianist, so that you automatically end up in a lively environment when you check in.
Because it’s just like with everything else, album sleeves, intros to songs – the first impression is the most important.

Åsa agrees:

The reception is important, the first contact. No matter how shabby hotels are, the reception almost always looks reasonably nice. We also have a nice reception, but it has been there for many years, so it’s time to rebuild, so that it blends in with the new “Front House”.

Åsa – spider in the web

The Front House is a new part of the hotel, with large brown-glazed terraces, the Ronnie Peterson conference room and the car hall with Per’s exclusive Ferrari collection. The rooms in Strandhuset and in Stora huset, the reconstruction of Solgården, Bettan’s Bar, Leif’s Bar & Grill and the new The Spa, but also details such as the small unique room signs, the wrought iron fence around the hotel, the color of the staff’s different clothes, the porcelain in the restaurants and of course – the green apples. Everything bears, in one way or another, Åsa Gessle’s signature. She says humbly:

I don’t think many people know what I do apart from the lamps I have designed. After all, I’m here on an almost daily basis and see things that are good and things that can and need to be improved.
I guess I’m a bit of a spider in the web, as far as aesthetics are concerned. Then when it comes to the actual design of, for example, a room, the architectural firm is responsible for the shell and I for the details, the choice of materials and the colors.

But despite all that, Åsa has no official title at the hotel.

No, not as far as I know. I’ll probably have to ask Jonas.

She laughs, referring to the new CEO Jonas Karlén, who a while ago replaced the long-standing CEO Elisabeth Haglund, who has now in turn replaced Björn Nordstrand as chairman of the board.

To have a significant role alongside Per is extra important for Åsa.

When you live next to a famous person, like Per, you easily become just his wife. But for me it goes without saying to have my own identity. It’s fundamental in my life. I started working more when our son Gabriel was ten years old and I felt that I could be away more than before. And Gabbe – who is just as motivated as his father – once said: “Mum, I don’t want to be known for being my father’s son, but I want to be known for having done something myself”. That’s exactly how I feel too.

At the same time, Per has become more actively involved in the hotel in recent years.

Yes, Åsa has always been involved, but in the last ten years I have taken up more and more space, had more and more ideas and opinions. We have had a strong and common line that our hotel should not only be a place where you sleep and eat, but also a place where you can be creative, socialize and have new experiences.
What makes Hotel Tylösand so special is the diversity. We have a huge art and photo gallery. We have a Spa with skin and hair care, various treatments, laser technology and a Spa shop. We have 230 rooms and suites, we have four restaurants, 32 conference rooms with room for up to 750 people at the same time. Then there is Solgården, the amphitheater, all the DJs and the Roxette and Gyllene Tider museum. Plus Northern Europe’s coolest car hall is now located in the hotel.

Jan-Owe asks if it’s only Northern Europe’s coolest car hall.

Okay then. The only one in the world I know. I think a hotel in Las Vegas had a Ferrari store once upon a time, but that hotel is torn down now.

Took over the run-down Reso hotel in 1995

But it wasn’t like that in 1995 when pop star Per Gessle and businessman Björn Nordstrand took over Hotel Tylösand. It was a run-down Reso hotel with simple rooms, a restaurant and Tylöhus that reeked of the old ’80s.

Åsa says:

We had travelled around the world and stayed in many nice hotels and seen many fun interior details. But when we took over the hotel… the old house was rotten. The rooms were spartan with small, small bathrooms with a small mirror and a shelf underneath with toilet paper rolls on them.
So the first thing I did was fix and place the toilet rolls where they belong, a little further down. And to introduce green apples in the hotel. Philipe Starck and his hotel had apples and in their receptions it was written “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. I liked that. At first, people didn’t think I was smart. But I got through it. It’s only for Christmas that I give in, but then the apples have to be dark red, haha.

Hotel Tylösand 2023 and Hotel Tylösand 1995 have not much more in common than the name.

Åsa remembers:

No, we have added a lot during these 27 years. But we have also removed a lot. All the artificial plants that collected so much dust. And the entrance in lime green and pink, with tiles that looked more like a bathhouse entrance.
At Tylöhus there were mirrors on the ceiling. And the restaurant had pink carpet with seagulls in burgundy and burgundy velvet curtains. It was horrible.
But now we have a line, a common thread in all activities at the hotel and I think it creates a sense of calmness for the guest when there is completeness.

Craftsmanship in the blood

Jan-Owe doesn’t think that Åsa is a trained designer and has attended a lot of great courses.

No, no, I’m just like my husband is in music, self-taught. And we both take help when we need it. It is important to find the right people to collaborate with, preferably personalities who inspire and think a little differently. It is of course also important that the employees understand your vision, so that we pull in the same direction.
And there, Abelardo (Gonzalez), the architect who designed our house, has been a great inspiration and teacher. I rejected eleven kitchen suggestions from him when we built the villa before we agreed. He likes cold materials while I like warm, but eventually, there was a tension where he taught me to keep my eyes open and that nothing is impossible.

Although with a mother who was a seamstress, a great-grandfather who was a slipper maker and a grandfather who was a blacksmith, Åsa already had craftsmanship, creativity and a sense of color and form in her blood.

Well, I was always tinkering around my bed at home, making sure it was nice. After all, we were four children and we grew up with a single mother in very simple conditions, so if you wanted something, you had to be creative and fix it yourself, learn to do well with small tools.

Åsa, who eventually got to display a few stores in Trelleborg, has also brought that thinking to the hotel.

Creating environments doesn’t really have to cost a lot of money. I’m not a geek for branded furniture, but the important thing is that it should feel right. Then if I go to Myrorna and shop, it has no significance. It’s all about the feeling.

Åsa glances at one of the large Monstera plants and smiles:

SEK 299 at Blomsterlandet. So I took the shuttle service there.
In this environment, you also can’t have too expensive things, because they get broken, they are used a lot. There is a huge amount of wear and tear everywhere in a hotel. This is why function is important. And we buy large quantities.
I also don’t like to throw things away, so we reuse what we can.

Sketches by hand

There are also lots of Ferrari details on the shelf inside the Ronnie Peterson Lounge.

Åsa says:

Apart from three books, everything is taken from our private collection. And we had the coasters for the conference table in the hotel’s hiding places. They were unused for some reason, but now they fulfill a function. Super stylish as well.

In the new part of the hotel, The Front House, there are several large sun terraces inspired by the Whitby Hotel in New York, the car hall and the Ronnie Peterson Lounge conference room are Åsa’s latest creations.

I wanted the Ronnie Lounge to be “masculine” and “with a motor feel”, but still with a lot of warmth. Stone is quite cold and cars are tough, so it automatically becomes masculine. And the big screen was really important. When you come from outside and look in, I think it’s beautiful and important that you see movement. Cars and life are always in motion.

The giant conference table inside the Ronnie Peterson Lounge is one of the things that Åsa has designed by hand.

Unlike the rest of the family, I don’t like computers but still sketch with pen and paper. I love to draw and then have it built. A bit like Per. He sits and tinkles on something and then, out of it, comes an idea that eventually becomes a finished text or song. For me, it’s the same when I sketch. I have everything in my head. I can see it in front of me, but cannot present it technically, like a construction drawing. Then it’s important to surround yourself with sensitive people who understand me, such as Östra’s Carpentry here in Halmstad when it comes to fine carpentry.

Inside and outside must meet

The large glass partitions also allow visitors outside to see in and those inside to see out.

It is important that the inside and the outside are connected and become a unit. The greenery outside plays a big role, how everything looks outside the hotel. Here we have boxwood, grass and ivy – not so much flowers, but more evergreen.
When I made a display apartment for HFAB (Halmstad’s real estate company) in 2007, that was also one of the basic ideas. And the person who eventually bought the apartment ended up keeping everything as it was presented. Including all furnishings. Then I felt that I had succeeded.

The end wall inside the Ronnie Peterson room is adorned with huge black and white photos from Peterson’s Formula 1 era. And the walls in the hall are made of granite.

I want a basic tone based on earth and nature and instead add the colors in the details. I basically have a rather sacral taste and am convinced that calm colors make people calm. And stone is very soothing. I designed the statues and the bench from scratch where visitors can sit and relax and look at the cars through the windows. It’s fantastic. A bit like in a museum.

The car hall top secret

Åsa reveals the fact that it would become a car hall was well hidden for a long time:

Yes, it was top secret. We designed it as a conference room, because even the builders wouldn’t know about it from the beginning. We didn’t want it to leak out.
Then it became a long process. I started building a fitting room in November 2019, which was ready in January 2020. But when we were about to put the shovel in the ground, the pandemic came and shut down Sweden in March 2020.

The inauguration of the new hotel part happened this spring, where there are now also guided tours of the car hall held by Dick Jönsson Wigroth, well-known in the motor business.

Per says:

I have known him for many years. When his name came up I thought I hope, hope, hope he wants to do that. Dick is both an aesthete and a technician and is cut and ready for the job.
And I have spoken to a lot of staff in connection with us building the new Front House. Both Åsa and I want it to feel special to work at the hotel and when many people said that they were proud to be part of this fantastic new building, then of course I’m proud that they are proud!

Today, Hotel Tylösand has 120 employees, which during the summer will multiply to over 400.

Per points out:

We are basically full over summer until August. December is also a party month when we serve over 9,000 Christmas dinners. But it’s not like that in January, February or in October or November. It is during those months that we have to be extra creative and invent things so that, above all, companies will come here. We want to keep our staff even when it’s not peak season.

Pay attention to the details

Even though Per, with the support of co-owner Björn Nordstrand, together with the CEO and the board is responsible for the big brushstrokes, he also, just like Åsa, pays attention to the details.

Yes, every time I’m at Hotel Tylösand I do some check-ups, I won’t say where. But I can, for example, go into a toilet and check that the toilet lid is attached, that there are towels and that it is generally fresh. If there is something crazy, I report it immediately and then it will be fixed right away.
Because it’s important that it’s clean and tidy everywhere. It’s invaluable that the staff learn how we think and that everyone helps to ensure that the guest has a maximum experience. If you pass a pillow that has been sucked down, you lift it up and puff at it. Not everyone sees that because not everyone cares. But exactly that is the key to people saying “I’ve never been to a hotel like that in Sweden!”. We hear that often.
Therefore, it’s also important to get involved for the entire Tylösand area, that it is neat on the beach, safe and inviting, that there are good rescue routes if something were to happen. Everything has to work, because the more we invest, the more people come here.

New projects underway

More to come. In December, the pool project will start when that part will be renovated.

Åsa says:

Then I would like to build a sun roof on top of the spa with a staircase up the side. But also extend the roof over Bettans so you can sit and enjoy and have a drink or coffee. In that case it would be called Bettan’s roof.
So I constantly have new projects and wishes. Then you can see if you get through with them. The board is tough, haha…

To own a hotel of 23,000 square meters is an ongoing process. Or as Per himself puts it:

It’s a bit like washing windows on a skyscraper. You will never be finished. Because when one thing is done, it’s always time for the next.

Photo of Åsa and Per by Linus Kamstedt Lindholm.

Per Gessle interview in Västra Nyland

Before Gyllene Tider perform in Ekenäs, Finland, Kjell Ekholm from Västra Nyland did an interview with Per Gessle. Kjell met Per in his Stockholm office on Strandvägen.

As Kjell says, Per is a music addict. He has lived and breathed music since he was a child. In addition, he is the only artist who has managed to keep three different careers going at the same time and succeeded in all of them.

Together with Marie Fredriksson, Roxette became bigger than ABBA themselves in the US. The duo managed to get a total of four songs to the No. 1 position on Billboard Hot 100 and over the years, as a solo artist, he has given us many immortal pop classics in Swedish. Now Per Gessle is coming to Finland and Ekenäs for the first time with Gyllene Tider.

According to Kjell, it’s always fun interviewing Per, because he is still so enthusiastic when talking about pop music. Already as a child, Per was able to experience various forms of creation via his mother. She wrote a fairy tale about Ferdinand the ant for him and made her own illustrations for it. As an 11-year-old, he started writing his own songs, but without music.

I have always liked to express myself and when I started school, I also liked to write essays. I created pop music first through lyrics, because I could not yet play an instrument.

He tried to translate songs by David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. He admits that the result would hardly stand the light of day today. But the fact is that Gyllene Tider got their first record deal largely thanks to Gessle’s lyrics.

Per Gessle has always been obsessed with pop music. He says himself that it has meant everything to him since childhood. He and his older brother bought a lot of records, by the time he was ten, he had 100 LPs, while his friends owned five at best.

He earned money for the records by handing out newspapers. Sometimes he managed to get the records a little cheaper when he bought them from his brother’s friends, who needed money for cigarettes. That’s how he came across Lovin’ Spoonful’s album and Los Bravo’s single Black Is Black. But he didn’t just invest in records.

When I was ten, I started buying the English music magazines Melody Maker and later, when punk came along, also New Musical Express. I actually still have those magazines.

20 years ago, Per Gessle coined the expression that a new song must be better than the previous one. Kjell is curious if he still thinks that way today.

Oh no, that no longer applies. I was talking to my wife the other day and stated that if I were to stop making music now, I could probably feel quite satisfied with the songs I’ve written.

I am in the same situation as, for example, Bryan Adams and Tears for Fears. I’m simply not what you could call mainstream anymore. Pop music must always reflect its own time. When I was a child in the ‘60s, the entire youth culture was dominant. It influenced visual arts, film, theatre and clothing. Everything belonged together.

In today’s digital era everything is controlled from our phones and laptops and you notice that in music too. All the music on the charts today sounds the same. There is no place for madmen like Brian Wilson, David Bowie and Frank Zappa. Other artists, who are the same age as me, like Belinda Carlisle and The Bangles, have fallen into the classic “vintage guys and girls” category. We represent a different era.

When Per was 16, he received a Spanish guitar as a gift from his mother and when he learned the basics, things quickly progressed. After school, he was unemployed like so many other young people in Sweden. Quite surprisingly, he and a friend got employed as troubadours at the county council in Halmstad. They went around to nursing homes and hospitals and played and sang. Gessle says it was a great school for him to play at four locations a day and entertain the patients and the elderly.

It was a success and their contract was extended to six months. The repertoire was a blissful mix of Drömmen om Elin, Svarte Rudolf and Streets Of London, but they could also throw in the occasional CCR classic.

He laughs when he suddenly remembers a special event in the long-term care ward at the hospital in Halmstad. They had never played there before and when they arrived, there was no one to receive them. They went in, took out their guitars and started playing. They thought it was a little strange, because in the great hall there were only two beds, and the people in them did not take much notice of the young troubadours.

We settled down and played “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. At the same time, a nurse arrives and asks what we are doing there. At the same moment, one of the patients sits up in bed and looks at us. The nurse is completely shocked. It turned out that we had come to the wrong place and in this room there were two patients who had been in a coma for a long time.

The nurse lost her temper, the troubadours quickly scurried out of the room and a whole medical team came in to confirm that a small miracle had happened to that patient.

It was fate that wanted us to be there and this is a proof of the strength there is in music.

When Gyllene Tider started their career, the whole band went to London to buy guitars. In a guitar shop far outside the city, Per bought a burgundy Gibson Les Paul Custom. It was a similar one that Ray Davies had in The Kinks.

They also bought amplifiers, which they had shipped to Sweden, but they wanted to take the guitars home as hand luggage. When they arrived in Sweden, they had no money left and tried to smuggle the guitars in without paying customs.

Of course we were caught for it and customs seized all our new instruments. We were completely devastated. When I got home, I wrote an emotional letter to customs and explained that we had no money left and that we were still young and ignorant. They were human and we got the guitars back, but I was fined 2000 SEK, which was a lot of money at the time.

Today, the financial situation for Per Gessle looks different. He is a partner in eleven companies and has built up a fortune and millions of assets. His music business is divided between three companies, of which he is also chairman of the board. Together, they have assets of over 30 million euros.

In addition, he is a partner in Tylösands Havsbad and Tylösands Kompaniet Aktiebolag, which are estimated to be worth over 50 million euros.

He has a passion for cars and owns 15 exclusive cars from brands such as Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and McLaren. His favourite car is a Ferrari Dino from 1972. His interest in cars had been awakened when he saw the pictures of John Lennon’s psychedelic painted Rolls-Royce as a child. Then he had to settle for collecting Corgi Toys toy cars and building car tracks with his older brother.

The guys discuss the beginnings of Gyllene Tider and the early songwriting. Kjell claims that the style he had then was a combination of The Beatles’ melodic loops and the energy of new wave music. Per agrees, adding that he always liked bands that could combine good melodies with energy, like the Ramones and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The latter became the house gods of the entire band.

I’ve always had lousy self-confidence when it comes to my music and especially my voice. I’ve always hated my singing voice. What punk and new wave music did for me was that I realized that you didn’t have to be very good. I felt safer when I heard that everyone else also had faults and shortcomings.

If you have a band that is not super competent, there is often more energy and adrenaline in the playing than technical quality. I still like that today. For example, I never liked Mariah Carey’s singing style. That’s the expression I want in the singing and playing.

Kjell is curious what the secret is behind Gyllene Tider’s success.

There is something strange that happens when we play together. I know I sing differently when I play with these guys. There is some DNA molecule in all of us that is activated when we play together. It’s impossible to explain, but it feels absolutely magical. Age and experience certainly play a role as well. We now have a film in the works and then we have gone through old memories and it is a wonderful journey we have made together.

Kjell says the guys will probably never say it again that they are quitting.

No, I didn’t like it either when we said in 2019 that now we are saying goodbye. It was our drummer, Micke “Syd” Andersson who thought we should finish with the flag at the top as long as everyone was alive and well.

Over the years, I have learned that it’s not good to paint yourself into a corner. I remember an American lawyer I hired once upon a time used to say, “my preliminary opinion is”. Then you can always change your mind. Then came the corona pandemic and nothing was the same anymore. In addition, we made a new record and therefore it felt good to go on tour again.