Interview with Per Gessle by Diario Popular

Sebastián La Mastra from Argentinean newspaper Diario Popular did an interview with Per Gessle about Mono Mind and songwriting and Per told some anecdotes and talked about his admiration for the Argentine crowds. Read the interview in Spanish HERE!

In the interview Per talks about how it all started with Mono Mind and tells it’s a little more groove oriented than what he did so far, but without losing his writing style. Almost everything was done on the computer. It has become a tool to try different ideas with different collaborators. Per hopes to continue with Mono Mind for many years. He has many plans, as always, and the possibility of performing live shows is on the table. Mr. G says he would love to perform in South America and Argentina, it’s just about making things work financially.

About songwriting Per tells it’s easier to write mid-tempo songs or ballads than uptempo ones. Those 3-chord gems are hard to make at his age. You have to have the ability to keep yourself “simple” and that’s hard to do when you have written as many songs as Mr. G. He always tends to complicate his music. He hates that.

PG says the songs he writes are not about him, but they are written by him, therefore he is there somewhere. But at the same time, everything is fiction. He is a writer, he’s not making confessions.

The reporter asks Per what the funniest and most emotional memories are during his long career. Per tells the story of his trousers got broken on stage in Mexico back in the days and their 1995 Roxette concert in Beijing.

If he wasn’t a singer-songwriter, he would have loved to work in another artistic field. Maybe as an architect or interior designer or art director. Who knows.

Per mentions It must have been love and Queen Of Rain, Sleeping In My Car and The Look as his favourite songs. He also tells that all those years of touring with Marie were incredible, she is an incredible singer. Per says he was lucky.

To the question how he would define himself Per replied “lazy, lazy worker” and he shares his biggest dream, “peace and love on planet Earth”.

The guys talk a bit about Baladas en español. Per remembers that when choosing which songs to record, he only picked songs for Marie to sing. Except Vulnerable, which is interpreted by PG. The songs sounded great in Spanish, without knowing what they were about. It was a very strange experience, but at the same time fun. Per says he knows only “Hi, a beer please” in Spanish. To the question if he records anything in Spanish again, Per replies he doesn’t think so. But you never know. That’s what makes life interesting. Anything can happen.

The reporter asked Per to tell about his memories with Roxette in Argentina. He says South America and particularly Argentina have always been their favorite places to perform. They didn’t expect that kind of affection the first time they went. The crowds were so loud and they knew the lyrics. If only they could go back and perform to Argentine fans.

 

Per Gessle about Mono Mind on Musikplats Stockholm

After Per Gessle got back from the US to Sweden this week, Fredrik Eliasson from Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm immediately did an interview with him to be broadcast yesterday on Musikplats Stockholm. Listen to it HERE!

The interview was about Mono Mind and before it was on air, they played I Found My Soul At Marvingate. Cool to hear it on the radio!

Fredrik introduced Mono Mind as Mr. G’s secret project that got out of the closet recently. Then he welcomed Per as Dr. Robot and Per said in a slightly changed voice that ”yes, I’m here” (trying to imitate Dr. Robot’s voice, but it didn’t work well without the computer distortion, haha). Fredrik wished a belated happy birthday to Per and asked how it was to celebrate his 60th. Per said it was quite intense for 2 days with a very few people. He said his wife is very social and he is the opposite, so he just sat in a dark corner and it went fine. Haha.

The guys talked about Mono Mind’s debut album that it was released on Per’s birthday. Mr. G shared the info that he started releasing singles in 2017 and the first single was Save Me A Place. He said no one knew he was behind the project and the song suddenly became No. 1 on the dance charts in the US and kept the position for 6 weeks. It was much fun to achieve this at his age and with an anonymous project.

Per talked about the characters and that he wanted to change his voice and how it worked in the studio when he was sitting there with Christoffer Lundquist for weeks. It’s not vocoder or any other gadget you can hear, but they created the new voice on the computer themselves. Each song took appr. 2.5 days to create. It was very exciting.

Per said the idea was to create some kind of modern pop music and pop music nowadays is made on laptops. So he wanted to try to mix it with his classic songwriting and it has become a new chapter in his career. Fredrik asked Per about Nashville where he went rather acoustic and Per said Mono Mind started already before Nashville.

Before they played Down by the Riverside, Per said it’s one of his favourite songs. He thinks Dr. Robot’s voice is the best on this one.

The guys then talked about Helena Josefsson. Per said she has a fantastic voice and it fits Dr. Robot’s voice very well and it brightens up all songs.

Per said Mono Mind is still like a playhouse for him. The album was released on 12th January and on 11th he was thinking shit, if it was really a good idea to reveal this project. What if people don’t like it? He would be a bit sad. And what if people like it? How to go on with it? And then there were questions if he goes on tour with Mono Mind. But how to do it? It can be something similar to how Daft Punk or Pet Shop Boys tour, but who knows. The only sure thing is that Per wants to continue working with Mono Mind and develop the whole project, the characters and their stories. One can do anything with such characters.

Per talked about the market for this type of music. He said there are a lot of competitors out there and you need much luck to succeed. He can’t see the same journey with Mono Mind as they had with Roxette, but it’s much fun to record and talk about it anyway. Fredrik jokes with ”are there any exchange students around?”. Haha.

As a last question, Fredrik asked Per which song he is the most satisfied with on Mind Control. Mr. G was thinking for a while, then he said In Control. They had some magical hours when they recorded that song. He likes its construction, the changes in it that don’t usually happen in dance music. There is a kind of progressive rock 1972 in it, Barclay James Harvest style. He thinks it’s magnificent music coming from him and laughs. After the interview they played In Control.

 

Lyrics for all the French LaLaLovers

Dr. Robot was kind enough to share the lyrics to LaLaLove’s French version, LaLaLove (LaLaL’amour). Merci beaucoup! Listen to the song HERE on the LaLaLove – The Remixes EP and sing along! Cooky Carter does make French sound cool, doesn’t she?

LaLaLove (LaLaL’amour)

We loved to drive a million miles
A fastback car and you and I
You craved the speed, I don’t know why
Some simple need to feel alive

Every heart is a weaver
Of dreams of la la la la love and devotion
When the two of us are put into motion

We run on la la la la love and devotion
I really loved ya
Ooh how I loved ya

Je m’souviens de toi, tellement bruyant
Un t-shirt gothique dans la foule
Tu n’étais jamais satisfait
Ce DJ nous a fait tomber amoureux

Every heart is a weaver
Quand nous deux sommes mis en mouvement

On marche à la la la l’amour et à la dévotion
C’est vrai, je t’aime
Oh comme je t’aimais

Chaque cœur est un tisserand
à la l’amour et à la dévotion
Quand nous deux sommes mis en mouvement
à la l’amour et à la dévotion

We run on la la la la love and devotion
C’est vrai, je t’aime
Oh comme je t’aimais

On marche à la la la l’amour et à la dévotion
C’est vrai, je t’aime
Oh comme je t’aimais

 

Words: Per Gessle + Martin Josefsson
Music: Per Gessle + Alex Shield
© Jimmy Fun Music 2018

 

Massive birthday celebration of Per Gessle’s 60th on TV4

TV4 already did a short phone interview with Per Gessle on 11h January. Per said that he was in the US, working a bit on Mono Mind, his new project under which he released an album the next day, on his birthday. Mr. G said he would be celebrating his 60th birthday in Florida. Åsa organized a surprise party for him. The program leader asked what the most heart-warming moments in his career are if he looks back and Per said there are so many, but Roxette’s greatness at the end of the 80’s and in the 90’s is sure one of them. He said he is fortunate that he can work with his hobby and to the question if he likes getting older he replied that he still feels quite young and he still doesn’t know what he will become when he grows up.

Then on 12th January TV4 shared a video report about 5 times Per Gessle made whole Sweden sing along. With Gyllene Tider, Roxette and as a solo artist. The video is based on footages from some concerts during the past 40 years and earlier reports, as well as some photos from the past and PG walking on Tylösand beach recently and some years ago. Watch it HERE!

Nice to see Mr. G on TV so many times, but the main thing came on Nyhetsmorgon on his birthday. TV4 invited Per for a longer interview in the morning show. Watch it HERE! The interview was recorded some days before. The reporter, Anders Pihlblad and Mr. G talked about Per’s career, aging, success, future and his actual project, Mono Mind.

Anders first asked Per how it feels turning 60. Per said it’s surreal in a way, 60 is very much. At the same time it’s awesome, because he is reminded that thanks to his age he has been through so many things and lived a lot. Anders is curious if Per has ever worried about his age. Per says kind of. He realizes that time goes by and he sees for example that a lot of his friends or relatives have health problems when they are getting older and this is how they are reminded of getting older. Then he thinks that he is not 58 anymore. It was tough for him to lose his mother, brother and sister after one another in a short period of time. But nothing stands still and you have to learn to live with it. It’s hard to understand though, but you have to find your place in life. The Earth is actually still spinning. When people close to you die you feel emptiness and all people are handling it differently. Per says he partially uses his songwriting for that.

Anders and Per talk a bit about the book Att vara Per Gessle in which Per’s mother and his siblings also talked about Mr. G. Anders asks Per how it feels to have all this documented. Per says it’s awesome. He says that he learned it over the years that documenting as many things as possible is important. For example tours, recordings, projects. Nowadays it’s getting easier with mobile phones. They already recorded a lot of backstage videos and album recordings, as well as took photos during the 80’s. The quality of those materials is catastrophic though, but it’s of course much fun to have them anyway.

Anders reads a short part of the book. It’s when Per’s mom tells about Mr. G’s dolls. Per says he had a little Barbie doll collection. He has always been into style and design and it probably comes from his mother, because she was always good at such things. She was kind of a female Ernst, fixing everything. (Ernst Kirchsteiger is a Swedish interior designer, also program leader on TV4. – PP) So Per learned a lot from her and he likes when everything is in order and likes nice things. His mom was always quite modern and supported him even when his conservative father – who died in 1978 when Per was 19 years old – said he should have get a proper job. His mother bought his first guitar for example and encouraged him to play and sing. She thought it was fantastic that Per was creating his own world and wrote songs. So she was Mr. G’s first and biggest fan for sure.

Anders says Per was his first big idol. Per says ”wow!”.  Anders says he brought some stuff from his collection. Per says ”shit!”. Haha. Anders shows the first LP he bought and it was Gyllene Tider’s ”Moderna Tider” that came out in 1981. Per says everyone felt that it was a great record, but they expected to sell like 10000 copies. They sold 140000 in the end. Per says it was awesome and they were so young back then. They were suddenly superstars, but also very uncertain and didn’t know much about anything. They did only 6 shows in public before they became No. 1 with ”Flickorna på TV2”. Per says they learned quite soon that as soon as you become successful it also has it’s backlashes that some wouldn’t want to deal with you anymore because they think you became too commercial. It was the same with Roxette and that also happened to ABBA in the 70’s. One has to be persistent, have the self-confidence and move forward.

Anders shows ”The Look” maxi single. Per looks at the cover and says ”tough guy and girl”. Haha. He says that Roxette had a fantastic journey. Roxette was huge during the first 10 and the last 10 years, but actually it’s still huge. The songs live on.

Anders shows a picture from 1988. Per smiles and says ”shit!” again. He appears in the pic and Anders is there too. He was interviewing Mr. G back then when Roxette had their tour premiere. Per says he looks like he wanted Anders to understand what he was saying, his gestures show that. Anders says then he asked if they would hit other countries too and Per replied they will hit the world. And some months later they became No. 1 in the US. Per says he can’t remember he was that optimistic, but he remembers he printed T-shirts with the text ”Today Sweden – tomorrow the world” and the Roxette logo. So he was determined and focused. He tells that they always wanted to work under their own terms. When they broke through in the US, their American record label wanted them to move there and work from New York or Los Angeles, but they didn’t want to. They wanted to keep their Swedish team and work from Stockholm. This is how they could keep their very own sound.

 

Anders and Per talk about Marie that she had to retire from touring. Per says she lives a quite private life nowadays, but they talk once in a while. It’s very sad what happened, but they had a wonderful journey together with Roxette.

Anders says it feels like Per is still curious and is trying out new things. He asks Per if he is satisfied with his success. Per asks back if one can be satisfied with his own success. He doesn’t know. He likes the creative work and write when he feels like it. The whole creative journey is very attractive for him and of course he wants as many people as possible to listen to his songs and sing along.

Anders wishes Per a fantastic birthday and Per thanks and says it was nice being there.

Then later during the morning show there was another report with Per about Mono Mind. Anders tells a bit about the project, that it has 4 fictive band members and they are releasing an album on Per’s 60th birthday and it’s actually Per Gessle behind this project. Watch it HERE!

There is manager Wicked Pete talking first and Harriet, the dog appears too, as well as Dr. Robot dancing in the crowd. Then Per starts talking and says he felt he wanted to record songs in a different way. He felt his voice limited his possibilities, because as soon as he starts singing everyone knows it’s him. So he tried out different manners, singing in various octaves and wrong keys, changed on computer. This way he found a new voice which is quite technical and maybe not too easy to recognize. It was exciting to record the songs this way and new ideas came up during the recordings. Then there were so many songs that he thought it could become an album.

The guys are talking about the 4 characters and Anders asks Per which one is him. Per says it’s Dr. Robot, the one who sings. He has a very similar personality to Per’s. Mr. G tells in pop history there are a lot of projects with fictional characters. He for example didn’t know David Bowie in 1973. Back then everyone was a figure, a character. Per says the fun thing is that a fictive band like Mono Mind can do anything.

Anders asks about the future, about touring with Gyllene Tider, as Per Gessle or with Mono Mind. Per laughs at the thought of Mono Mind touring. He says MM got 2 nominations on the NRJ Radio Awards in France and they were thinking as a fictive band how they could accept an award if they win. Haha. He also mentions that he would like to see the band members appear in a Family Guy episode. Why not.

 

Mono Mind interview with Per Gessle à la RoxetteBlog

Together with the Mono Mind press release 2 days ago, there was the opportunity to ask 5 questions from Per about his latest project. 5 might be even too many for most journalists, but too few for a fan who already has more than 30 in her mind. Fortunately, some of my relevant questions were answered in an earlier Instagram Q&A and the „Per Gessle presents Mono Mind” videos include quite some details too, so I could reduce the number of questions. But not to 5, no way. Haha. I thought Per knows anyway that I like novels, so I sticked to sending some more questions hoping for at least as many answers. He is fast, the answers are just in! And they are detailed. Enjoy!

Patrícia Peres: – Hi Per! First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity regarding the interview. What a fab birthday gift, a new album under a new project! Pure awesomeness! As far as I know, the songs were recorded years ago. (Not sure if all of them though.) Why did you decide to wait for so long with the release?

Per Gessle: – Hey Pat! Thank you. I started fooling around with this idea in 2014, spent weeks and weeks trying to find out how I could create different sounds with my voice. I did all this work together with Christoffer Lundquist in his fancy studio way down south. Why did you try to change your voice, Per? Well, that’s a very good question, Pat.

PP: – Haha. Thanks for asking in my name. Since the number of questions was limited, I didn’t want to use some which I thought journalists would ask anyway. But of course I’m very much interested in why you wanted to change your voice.

PG: – The thing is that the voice is the main thing you listen to in pop music. I felt a bit tired of my own tool and wanted to dream up something new and fresh. I tried out different manners, singing in various octaves and „wrong” keys to see if something special happened. We tried to out different gadgets in the computer and eventually found a way to stretch/ shorten the words, vowels and consonants and create different styles of melodies. We basically „drew” the melody lines by hand. I didn’t really sing it the way it sounds. Exciting, heh? It took forever, don’t try it at home.
Most of the stuff on the album was finalized 2016 and 2017. „LaLaLove” was recorded 2018. I wanted to start with at least three singles before I put together the first album. The big moment for this project was, of course, the six weeks at the Number One spot on the MediaBase Dance chart in the US with „Save Me A Place” in the late summer of 2017. That’s when I realized I had something special going on.
My ambition with Mono Mind has always been to create a „classic” album, that’s why you have instrumentals like „Away Away Away” and „Lap Dancing” in there to glue things together. Also, I wanted to use the same lyrics in different songs to see what happened and how they worked in various environments. It’s all been a magic carpet ride for me. Every song has created a new urge for another one.
Musically I wanted to create songs à la PG but made in the computer. We certainly used some guitars and keyboards from the outside but I wanted the production to sound electronic. Funny thing is I did most of this stuff while working on the Nashville albums which are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Two sides of the same coin? The dark side of the moon? Fascinating.
And when I finally found the sound I liked I created the four characters. They were not there from the beginning. If you think about it… the history of pop is filled with „characters” with fake names; The Ramones, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper. It made sense to me to create my own little circle of friends. Four cool names, looks, voices and opinions. It’s been very exciting to visit the Mono Mind quarters from time to time. And, of course, I had to invent Wicked Pete, their manager who takes all the money. He’s been all over me sometimes.

PP: – Amazing to hear so many details about how it all started and the way to what it has become! What is the main thing that you think differentiates Mono Mind from any other EDM band?

PG: – Mono Mind is not really about EDM. Mono Mind at this point is about combining classic pop music with electronica. That’s what’s been going on on the first album. However, next recordings might be different. It all depends on who I’m working with. I want to stay open to anything. I might lose the robot voice eventually. But right now I’ve been into putting together computerized pop and computerized voices with my style of writing which, as you know, is based on the 60’s and 70’s songwriting tradition. The EDM elements you are referring to must be from some remixes that’s been done. Some of them have been wunderbar, others have been crap. You haven’t heard those. Lucky you.

PP: – Yeah, the remixes might have misled me, but also I’m not a pro when it comes to defining genres. What can you tell us about your laboratory co-workers besides the wonderful trio of Helena Josefsson, Christoffer Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman?

PG: – They’ve been crucial to the project. Especially in the beginning. Dr Robot’s unique voice wouldn’t have happened without Chris. I also wanted to use a female voice here and there to soften things up a bit and Helena is da shit! She makes a perfect Cooky. Also, I’ve been working with quite a few people from all over Europe and the US. Lots of stuff are not included on the album. Some things didn’t work out.

PP: – From your career so far I think Good Karma is the closest to Mono Mind. What was the difference in the process and cooperations of recording MM songs vs. GK songs? Or the difference to any other earlier project of yours.

PG: – GK was a Roxette album which was pretty complicated to create due to Marie’s illness. For me, Mono Mind is VERY different. And if I’m gonna be frank, the MM album got much better songs.

PP: – Your latest album lengths were quite short. Now with this release you get back to a length that is over 50 minutes. That’s really cool! Why did you decide for a longer album this time?

PG: – I have so many versions of various Mono Mind songs lying around. My first idea of the CD was over an hour long. But I skipped two songs (that I love) and put them on the double vinyl instead. I hate it when CD’s become too long.

PP: – Which was the very first song you wrote especially for Mono Mind?

PG: – „In Control”.

PP: – Now that’s really interesting. This is the song that has become an instant top favourite for me off the album, right after the first listening. Is there any song you wrote for another project of yours, but it has ended up as a Mono Mind song and is now on the album?

PG: – Yes, „Couldn’t Believe My Luck” was written for Roxette but was never recorded. And „Shelter From The Storm” (from the vinyl album) was written in the 80’s. The rest are Mono Mind originals.

PP: – Which song on Mind Control would you suggest a non-electronica fan to listen to for sure that you think it would engage the listener and would start to like EDM music?

PG: – Like I said I don’t consider MM to be an EDM-act. If you listen to „Tell Him I Said Hi!” or „Mile-Melter” or „Couldn’t Believe My Luck” or „In Control” for example, I don’t think the first three letters that pop up in your head will be E and D and M.

PP: – Before I get on your nerves with those 3 letters, I promise I’ll never use them again regarding Mono Mind. On the vinyl there are 2 extra songs. How did you decide which ones not to include on the CD & digital release?

PG: – „Shelter From The Storm” is amazing but very long so I kept it away from the CD. „Have Another Go” felt similar in style to „Love Is Loud” so one had to go.

PP: – Your Mono Mind lyrics also have that PG trademark on them. It’s amazing that no matter in what genre you write songs, it shines through. How can you keep your own basic style in such different projects?

PG: – That’s the whole idea. To mix my style of writing with new ingredients and other collaborators’ visions. It’s not that complicated. You have to have your antennas out, though. You have to like the final result. Sometimes I didn’t and those songs will not be released. Mono Mind will always be, first and foremost, my vision.

PP: – When you turned 50, you turned towards disco and released Party Crasher. Now when you turn 60, you come up with a whole new electro project. What do you think you’ll be dealing with when you’re 70?

PG: – Hahaha. Heavy metal? Haven’t got a clue. As long as I think I create interesting things (for myself, that is….) I will have a go. Ten years is a long time. Maybe we’re all dead and gone by then and will be singing „Love Is All” upside down on a cloud.

PP: – Oj… Don’t even joke with that, Per! I mean not with heavy metal. I would love to hear your growled vocals one day. Haha. I know I had the option for 5 questions only and I’m well over it, but let me ask one more. Is there any chance we will get to hear the demos to the songs with your non-distorted voice one day?

PG: – No, there isn’t any. I didn’t make any demos for this one. There is an acoustic version of „Couldn’t Believe My Luck” (or at least half of it…) but that’s it. The rest was made in the studio. And in bits and pieces on my iPhone.

PP: – No demos? Wow. Now you really surprised me. Good luck with the album release and I wish you a bright future with Mono Mind, as well as a fabulous 60th birthday!

PG: – Thank you. And thanks for your great support. Appreciate that.