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

Per Gessle was Lotta Bromé’s guest on radio Mix Megapol on 26th October. You can listen to the interview HERE.

Before Per was on air, the radio played The Look by Roxette and När vi två blir en by Gyllene Tider.

Lotta welcomes Per on the show and he thanks for that. Lotta asks Per how he is doing. Mr. G replies he is actually very well. Lotta asks why and Per laughs, because it’s a weekday. Lotta is curious if PG has any fun things to do now that he is in Stockholm. Mr. G thinks there are only fun things around him and a lot is happening right now. Gyllene Tider ticket sales and tour and a new album and everything possible.

Lotta asks Per how he is functioning. Whether he is always in a hurry or he is one of those who have ADHD or if it’s just that he is a very creative being. Per thinks he is a combination of all that. He usually says that he probably has all the letter combinations except I and Q. [They are laughing.]

Lotta is curious if Per was good at school. He was quite uninterested in school. He liked art and drawing and English and Swedish. Lotta finds it strange that Per hasn’t mentioned music. PG says he wasn’t that interested, music teaching was quite boring in his time. He doesn’t know how it goes nowadays, but back then there were a lot of theory things.

So the question is, when he found music in his life. It came very early thanks to his 7-year-older brother who had a massive record collection. Already as a 6-7-8-year-old, he was completely engaged in the pop universe. Lotta asks if Per’s brother had a good taste. He had very broad and good taste that Per thinks he has carried with him. It was everything from Hepstars to Led Zeppelin. So Lotta thinks it was PG’s brother who laid the foundation for Per’s chords. Per agrees. It’s his brother’s record collection that he dug into until he got his own back then.

Lotta wants to know how many records Per has in his collection. Mr. G has gotten rid of a lot since then, but he has maybe a couple of thousand LPs left. A lot of singles too. He split the collection and keeps the vinyls in Halmstad, while the CDs are in Stockholm. He has a record player in both places. He is also using Spotify, but he likes to buy vinyls for the sake of the cover. He loves record covers and the smell of vinyl records. Holding the record and listening to it is magical. Lotta says her 16-year-old daughter started collecting vinyls, using amplifiers and speakers and stuff. Per can identify with that. You think about all the music you grew up with. Aladdin Sane by David Bowie or Sticky Fingers by the Stones or Sgt. Pepper. Without the cover it’s just empty. Album covers are like the face of the music.

Lotta says Per asked her not to invite him for too early on the radio show, because he is old. Now it’s afternoon and she asks Per if he has already woken up. PG has woken up.

They get down to Gyllene Tider and Per tells it was hysterical back in the days. It was crazy in 1980-81. He lived with his mother, his father had passed away by then and his siblings, 7 and 14 years older had already moved out. Lotta is curious what Per’s mother thought of the people standing outside their door the whole time. Mr. G says she took it pretty well, until people started stealing the laundry that was hung on the dash and the number plate of the car. Then she thought it was time for Per to get his own apartment. So he found one. He had a very close relationship with his mother. She was very supportive [Per says the word „supportive” in English], as it’s called in Halland. It was Per’s father who thought you should get a real job instead of fooling around with 3 chords. He had a real job, he was a plumber.

Per’s family members passed away in 3 years and it was tough of course, it always is, everyone knows that when you lose your relatives. But that happened when Per was quite mature himself and as a man you can handle it in a different way than when you are small. It was harder when his father passed away when he was only 19. It was difficult in a way, but there isn’t much to do. You go through that and you learn to live with it. The older you get, the more human people disappear around you, so you learn to deal with it in a way, even if it’s difficult.

Lotta remembers that Per once said that when relatives disappear, you get different values. She is curious what values he thought of. Per can’t remember he said that, but he thinks that when you lose friends and relatives, you become thoughtful. You think through what you are doing. This pandemic was a shock to the system that lasted for years. Per thinks people changed a lot, how they travel and stuff like that. Also one of the reasons for a Gyllene Tider comeback is because they have realized that, perhaps, you should value things and value things in a different way. Value relationships, for example.

Lotta plays Tittar på dig när du dansar and asks Per to tell something about it. He hasn’t heard it in a long time, but he recorded it in Nashville. Using flute and mandolin. Lotta asks if those were real instruments. Absolutely yes, Per replies, ”oh my god, it’s Nashville!”. Lotta says there are other projects when Per is not using real instruments, but rather technical stuff. She thinks of Mono Mind. Per likes switching between his projects, jumping between different things. You do an acoustic tour, then you want to do something electrical next month. Then Gyllene Tider. GT is very organic. It’s played hardcore.

Lotta asks when the tour starts. It starts on 7th July in Halmstad next summer. To the question how many gigs there will be Per replies you never know with this little band. Right now there are probably 15, 16, 17, 18 booked. Two extras were added today. Lotta asks Per how many times they said it’s over. Mr. G says they didn’t really say that more than once, in 2019. And that’s what they meant back then. The decision was initiated by Micke Syd, who thought they should stop when they were at their peak and alive, but as Per said before, the pandemic came and he started thinking again. He started writing songs that had that clear Gyllene Tider feel to them and presented them to the band. All of a sudden everyone wanted to be back on the train. On tour they will of course play the old goodies, but he hopes they will play something new as well, because the new record feels fantastic. Although you won’t be able to listen to it until next spring. Lotta asks Per if he comes back on the show when the date for the album release is decided. They kind of agree on meeting at 3 pm on Maundy Thursday.

Lotta is curious about this new project, PG Roxette. Per tells that a new album is coming out on Friday. It’s called Pop-Up Dynamo! and it’s actually a continuation of Roxette. After a lot of tossing and turning, he decided to go on with that train as well. It wasn’t an obvious decision, but time passed and he felt that he wanted to. Continuing that journey mostly comes from the fact that he would like to continue playing the Roxette songs live. He wrote almost all of these songs and he doesn’t want to put the lid on. He also has to say that he is not trying and has never tried to replace Marie in any way. There are these two fantastic girls who were backing vocalists on Roxette tours for many years. It’s Dea Norberg and Helena Josefsson who came forward when they were needed.

Lotta has just looked at the dates and realized that Marie passed away shortly after Per’s family members passed away, so it must have been quite tough years. Of course it was tough, Per says and then their fantastic drummer Pelle Alsing also passed away not long after. So it was tough.

Lotta says that Marie wrote it in her biography that the last tour they went on was the best rehabilitation. Per says Marie was absolutely fantastic, because she never gave up. He remembers when in the spring of 2016 Marie wanted to meet him in her home and said she couldn’t continue. They had a big summer tour booked and had sold several hundred thousand tickets in Europe. She said she couldn’t do it anymore, but she actually toured from 2009 to 2016. They did several hundreds of concerts together. She did that because she was so strong and she wanted to do that. She was just amazing. Lotta notices that it’s still hard for Per to talk about it. Mr. G says it’s tough indeed. She was a special person.

Lotta tells that Marie’s family has decided to put a part of her wardrobe on auction and the money will go to Stockholm’s City Mission in full. Lotta thinks she would have liked that. Per absolutely agrees.

From the new album Lotta plays Watch Me Come Undone. It has this wonderful ’80s style, Per says. This whole album is a cousin to the ’80s and ’90s records that they did with Roxette. Look Sharp! and Joyride.

Lotta is curious if PG Roxette will tour next autumn. Per thinks it’s not a bad idea. Nothing planned yet, but it’s in his plans to go out and play Roxette songs. Lotta says he should release this one in Spanish as well as they did before. Per hopes he doesn’t have to do that. Lotta says she heard Per was so lazy or didn’t want to sing in Spanish that he gave all the songs to Marie to sing. Per explains it was a ballad record and so he chose the ballads that Marie sang and he escaped.

Lotta wants to know how many ballads there are on the new Gyllene Tider album. Per thinks and says there are no ballads on the album at all. It’s full speed from A to Z, just like how it should be.

Lotta asks how much music Per has in his head and how it can be enough for this many projects all the time. Mr. G doesn’t really know the answer. He is writing all the time, so it gets more and more and as long as it’s fun, he won’t stop. He says that if you are motivated and having fun, it’s music, it’s not a job. He is not the kind of person who gets up every day and sits down at the piano or writes a song. He just writes when he feels like it. Per usually says that he writes as little as possible.

Lotta and PG agree again on meeting at Easter. They wish merry Xmas to each other and happy new year. And with this, the show ends.

Stills are from PG Roxette’s The idea behind the album video.

PG Roxette – from tour to album – Per Gessle interview on Hallandsposten

Jan-Owe Wikström did an interview with Per for Hallandsposten. You can read it HERE!

Eight days after Gyllene Tider announced their comeback with the album “Hux flux” and tour in the summer of 2023, Per Gessle now releases PG Roxette’s debut album “Pop-Up Dynamo!”.

PG explains:

Well, it was maybe a bit tight there, but since the tickets for the tour were to be released this week and PG Roxette is an international launch, it turned out that way.

In December, it is three years since the other half of Roxette, Marie Fredriksson, tragically passed away after a long illness. But then she had already been forced to step down in 2016 due to failing health.

So the idea of nurturing the legacy of Roxette has been there latently ever since and Marie and I also talked about it.

Finally he arrived at a crossroads.

It was to drop Roxette completely or to find a way to move on without Marie. Either on or off.

And what made me decide was that I noticed how much interest there was still for Roxette out there in the world through Spotify and all the streaming services. At the same time, I have written all the songs and felt that I wanted to keep them in my life.

I mean, I’ve devoted my entire adult life, almost 30 years, to the band, so it’s not something you just let go like that.

In 2018 Per went on a new tour under the name Per Gessle’s Roxette and the idea was also that there would be a new one as PG Roxette in 2020.

Per tells Hallandsposten:

Yes, the goal from the beginning was not to record new music, but to go out and tour with Roxette songs.

Until a certain pandemic struck and shut down and redrawn the world. Then Per had to think again. And song after song grew into a first PG Roxette record.

The idea was to make uptempo and very ’80s-’90s songs like on “Look Sharp!” and “Joyride”. But in 2022.

Jan-Owe says it sounds like Per has been listening to The Cars a lot, among other things.

Well, you had to root out all the old synthesizers from that time. Jupiter 6, Jupiter 8, Prophet and all those…

Instead of Christoffer Lundquist – who was responsible for Gyllene Tider’s and Per’s own solo albums lately – it was also Clarence Öfwerman and Magnus Börjeson who became producers.

Per says:

It has never been an issue to try to replace Marie, because it’s not possible.

So even though the idea was that I would now sing most of the time, I have always wanted to have girls along as well. And since Helena (Josefsson) and Dea (Norberg) were doing backing vocals on Roxette tours during the past few years, it was natural to bring them along.

The effect surprised even Per himself.

Yes, it was actually when we with PG Roxette were going to record “Nothing Else Matters” for Metallica’s anniversary album that we used both voices at the same time for the first time.

And then I discovered that together they became like a third persona, a new, completely unique voice. Much like Frida and Agnetha in ABBA. So then Dea had to go into the studio again and add her voice to the parts that Helena had already sung.

During the journey, Roxette’s drummer, Pelle Alsing, also suddenly passed away in 2020.

It came completely unexpectedly, like a shock. But it made me even stronger in my conviction to manage Roxette’s legacy, that the music should live on.

Therefore, Roxette guitarist Jonas Isacsson also became involved in PG Roxette early on.

Yes, it really will be Roxette with his guitar. Just like Gyllene Tider only plays Gyllene Tider with the five of us together, me, Micke (Syd), Anders (Herrlin), MP (Mats Persson) and Göran (Fritzon). It kind of just happens like that, can’t be explained or touched on.

Per about “Pop-Up Dynamo!”:

As the title suggests, it’s electric, pops up and is very uptempo. So if Gyllene Tider’s new record is like four tequila shots, this one is like seven…

The international PG Roxette tour will have to wait. There is a new Gyllene Tider trip in between.

New Roxette album without Marie Fredriksson – German News Agency

The names Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle will forever be associated with pop duo Roxette. Three years after Fredriksson’s untimely death, Gessle is now releasing an album with a new project that bears their band name – and also the unmistakably pop Roxette sound of “Joyride” and other world hits of the past. “Pop-Up Dynamo!” will be released by Warner Music on Friday.

“I decided early on that we should go for this sound from the late ’80s, early ’90s, where my heart is basically,” Gessle told the DPA (German News Agency) ahead of the release of the album. Instead of adapting to very new formats, it’s better to stick with what you’re good at. “At the same time, I didn’t want to be nostalgic or too retro. I also wanted to sound modern,” emphasizes the now 63-year-old Swede. The result was an uptempo pop album. “It’s a mishmash of 1989 and 2022 – or 2021 when it was recorded,” Gessle said.

1989 – around this year was the heyday of Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson. As Roxette, the two Swedes stringed together one world success after another, including “The Look”, “Listen To Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love”. They sold about 80 million albums worldwide. Gessle wrote the songs, while Fredriksson’s stunning voice became a hit on German radio too.

In 2016 Roxette gave their last concert. On December 9, 2019, Fredriksson died at the age of just 61 after a long battle with cancer. Gessle also processed this musically, one year after her death, the song collection “Bag Of Trix” came out with unpublished and partly lost Roxette recordings.

Roxette is now continued as PG Roxette, the world hits of that time are followed by the album “Pop-Up Dynamo!”, dedicated to Marie Fredriksson. The sound remains the same, but a hardly replaceable voice has to be replaced. “This is a new chapter beginning,” says Gessle. “It would have felt strange to do a Roxette album without Marie.”

Fredriksson is therefore not heard on the album, but the longtime background singers Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg. “Pop-Up Dynamo!” is different vs. music by Roxette, but somehow not. From the very first few seconds, “Walking On Air”, the record’s strong first and pre-release track, feels like a ’90s car ride with the radio turned on. The voices of Gessle, Josefsson and Norberg invite you to sing along, the melodies of several of the eleven songs remain supple in the ear.

In the middle of the album, for example with “You Hurt The One You Love The Most” and “Jezebel”, the music sometimes becomes calmer and more thoughtful, in between with “The Loneliest Girl In The World” – despite the sad title – audibly happier again. So Gessle has remained true to this mixture of the cheerful and the thoughtful, which also characterized Roxette. He’s not trying to be Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.

Gessle didn’t shy away from getting the old synthesizers out of the basement. The Swede admits that “Pop-Up Dynamo!” is something different than today’s pop music. The album sounds so completely different from everything else that is musically circulating today. “Most pop music today is made on laptops or in that style,” he says. “It’s a development that has limited the music a bit.” Gessle himself stays within his old comfort boundaries – those of Roxette.

PG Roxette’s second single is out!

PG Roxette released his debut single, The Loneliest Girl In The World on 3rd June. The song was the first taste from the upcoming album, Pop-Up Dynamo!, which will come out on 28th October. Before we get to hear the debut album, Per decided to surprise us with a second single. Walking On Air is released today, 23rd September and just like the first single, it also contains another song that won’t be included on Pop-Up Dynamo! The vinyl single has two B-sides: Necessary and a remix of Walking On Air made by Bridge & Mountain.

You can order the 7” vinyl at Bengans, Ginza and some more Scandinavian online shops. The single is also available on all streaming services. Actually, on streaming it became a mini EP, because now all PG Roxette releases will appear under three “brands”: PG Roxette, Roxette and Per Gessle, to make sure anyone can find them easily. Listen to the EP on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music or YouTube!

Regarding the vinyl single availability Per says:

It’s up to the local Warner office to order it. If they don’t, you won’t find it in that particular country.

To the question if it was the original plan to release two singles before Pop-Up Dynamo! comes out PG replies:

Well, this album has been postponed a few times for various reasons; Covid – legal things – internal Warner reasons. It was finalized already in April 2021.

This spring we made a plan where Loneliest Girl” became the first single. Then the album-release got delayed again because we couldn’t get any slot time making the vinyls. So we decided to go with a second single before the album comes out. There will be a lyric video popping up soon, too!

The lyric video is set to premiere at 12 pm CEST on 23rd September. Don’t miss it! You’ll be able to watch it HERE! The video was made by Ebba Gustafsson Ågren, based on filmed material and photos by Fredrik Etoall and Per Gessle.

Per tells about WOA:

“Walking On Air” was the very first song written for “Pop-Up Dynamo!” I got a request to write something for the “Top Gun: Maverick”-movie in the fall of 2019. So I wrote “WOA”.

It was actually written for a particular scene in the film where someone was going to dance on a beach (hence the lyrics “oh I’m sure you love to dance on the beach”). However, the movie people involved didn’t use the song. Maybe they didn’t like it as much as I did? Or maybe they took away the scene? I don’t know. I haven’t seen Top Gun yet.

So I kept it to myself and started writing more stuff in the same ’80s-’90s style that reminded me of “Look Sharp!” + “Joyride”. That’s how the whole new PG Roxette album came about.

It’s Helena and Dea combined that sing the lead vocals in the choruses. Helena is the driving force but Dea is overdubbing her and also sings harmony vocals. And they share the “wailing duties”. They have such different styles which I love to work with.

This is the sound, combined with my own voice, that shines through the whole new album. Together they create almost a “third persona”, it’s hard to say who’s who. A little bit like Agnetha + Frida in ABBA.

Btw, there is a version with Helena singing the verses. That’s how I wrote originally for the Top Gun-movie.

Mr. G shares some details about Necessary too:

“Necessary” was one of the songs I wrote for “Pop-Up Dynamo!” It’s one of only three recordings I did with Christoffer producing this time. And only one made the album! You’ll notice!

One of them was actually a different version of “Sunflower” that I didn’t like… I preferred my own version that’s on TLGITW single.

The rest of the album was produced by Magnus Börjeson + Clarence Öfwerman + myself. Christoffer came in late in this production to do some overdubs. Jonas joined us a couple of days as well. It’s basically the same people that did the Metallica-song who are involved.

Besides other Gessleish phrases, there is one that pops out in Necessary. Here is what Per has to tell about it:

Glad you like the “pop just like a bubble”-phrase. “Pop Like A Bubble” was actually the working title of the album!!!

There’s no doubt the new PG Roxette single Walking On Air is keeping the Roxette sound alive. The classic and familiar Roxette ingredients of a smart production with great hooks and a “don’t bore us, get to the chorus”-attitude shine through the entire song.

Per says:

There are millions of people out there who still love Roxette so of course I want to keep our music relevant. At first, I wasn’t sure which way to go but as time passed by it became clear that I want to continue this fantastic joyride. I want to keep the legacy of Roxette alive.

Tracklist (7” vinyl)

Side A

Walking On Air

Side B

Necessary
Walking On Air (Bridge & Mountain Remix)

 

Walking On Air

If you could stick around
No need to bother with the other side of town
Set the mood make it bright
I wanna go and be your Saturday night
Oh oh oh – it couldn’t get better
Yea yea yea – listen to what I say

Hey hey, my eyes just stop and stare
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re coming around
I wish you were here to stay
Hey hey, my eyes can’t look away
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re getting so near

Would you mind stick around
No need to bother with the glass on the ground
Summertime within reach
Oh I’m sure you love to dance on the beach
Oh oh oh – it couldn’t be better
Yea yea yea – listen to what I say

Hey hey, my eyes just stop and stare
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re coming around
I wish you were here to stay
Hey hey, my eyes can’t look away
I got it good you got me walking on air
Every time you’re getting so near
I’m walking on air

WORDS + MUSIC BY PER GESSLE

Necessary

When I walk
I tend to move sideways
When I talk
I only get halfway
Well, you pop just like a bubble
And I only want to keep good company

Oh oh oh oh
I’ve been up all night where I used to be
Oh oh oh oh
Hey I can’t believe my own memory
Oh oh oh oh tell me baby
What are you doing to me?
Is it really necessary?

When I call
It sounds like I’m praying
When I fall
All songs keep on playing yea

Oh oh oh oh
I’ve been up all night where I used to be
Oh oh oh oh
Hey I can’t believe my own history
Oh oh oh oh tell me baby
What are you doing to me?
Guess it’s really necessary

WORDS + MUSIC BY PER GESSLE

Per Gessle interview about PG Roxette on Göteborgs-Posten

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

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

Per says:

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

He continues:

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

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

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

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

Per continues:

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

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

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

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

He doesn’t count on commercial success:

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

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

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

Per says:

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

He continues:

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

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

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

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