There is a short interview with Per Gessle in the March 2018 issue of SAS Scandinavian Traveler inflight magazine. The interview was done before the Melodi Grand Prix (Norway’s entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest) appearance of Charla K with ”Stop The Music” and it still states that Per would release his new English album this spring, which we already know will happen in autumn.
Love how the intro is written by Anders Dahlbom:
”An obsession. That’s how Per Gessle describes his relationship to music. An unadulterated passion for pop music that has colored almost the entire life of this simple guy from Halmstad.”
Anders and Per talk about Mr. G’s childhood, how it all started and the funny thing is, here it’s stated it all began with the hair. When Per as a 6-year-old went to have his hair cut. The barber was a relative, Artur and he promised not to clip Mr. G’s hair that fell down over Per’s ears, but in the end, he cut the hair off. Per cried for weeks as his Beatles haircut was gone.
It wasn’t really about the hair, rather the loss of a way of identifying with the pop world. The haircut had become such an iconic symbol. I wanted to get into the pop bubble.
During his teenage years, Per tried to find his way to express himself. He tried to learn to paint, shot movies with friends and worked in a theater. At high school he made friends with another student, Peter who was a bass player in a band, Audiovisuellt Angrepp. Mr. G went to see them practice in March 1977 and he tells Scandinavian Traveler that it changed his life.
Seeing how they created music together completely changed my life. The sheer power of expression, volume and creativity. From that moment, I just wanted to play in a pop band – nothing else would do.
Mats MP Persson was the drummer in Audiovisuellt Angrepp and they quickly became good friends. They started making music together and the rest is history.
Scandinavian Traveler writes that ”the joy of playing with others has been an everpresent feature in Gessle’s music over the years, regardless of whether he is playing with old friends in Gyllene Tider, on a huge world tour with Roxette, or with a country music band as he did during last year’s solo tour. But away from this, for songwriter Gessle, music has been mostly a job for a lone wolf.”
I’m quite comfortable working alone, even if the process has become a little more different at this stage in my life. I work more with others today than before.
Anders Dahlbom and Per talk about ”Stop The Music”, the Melodi Grand Prix contestant song penned by Gessle, Alex Shield and Charla K.
I actually don’t know who submitted the song. It’s one of many songs we’d written together sending files back and forth. I really come from another, older pop school, but it’s fun, mostly because it’s possible to write in this way.
About the upcoming album Per tells Scandinavian Traveler that he has employed a similar team approach to song composing. Many of his Swedish lyrics from En vacker natt and En vacker dag have been translated by American songwriter Sharon Vaughn.
Talking about the European tour in autumn, performing songs both old and new – the joy of playing with others remains as strong today as it was back in 1977.
Many of the songs I wrote as a young man I couldn’t write today. But it’s awesome to be able to interpret them now with a new group of musicians. A pop song is never finished; it just stops at different stages.
Thanx a lot for keeping your eyes open and sharing your pictures of the magazine with us, Erina Kuznitsyna!
Charla K’s name probably sounds familiar to Per Gessle’s fans, because she was signed by Per’s record label, Space Station 12 and together with Alex Shield she also performed as support act to Per Gessle on Mr. G’s summer tour last year.
Now she is among the ten finalists competing in the Norwegian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Charlotte Kjær (29) is from Tønsberg and currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2009, she participated in X Factor Norway as part of the group Shackles. In 2013 the group participated in Melodi Grand Prix as a duo. Charla K’s first single was “Should’a Let Me Go“, written together with Alex Shield and Sharon Vaughn. This year, she co-wrote Stamina for Anastacia’s new album.
In 2018, Charla K competes with a song written together with Alex Shield and none other than Per Gessle. “Charlotte is a natural talent who has that unique skill that you listen to her whatever she is singing!” says Per in today’s press release. “Charla K writes songs as well, Stop The Music is a fantastic creation she composed together with Alex Shield. I’m both proud and happy to have written the text. And suddenly we all ended up in Norway. And on Melodifestivalen. Life is full of surprises! Incredibly fun,” says Per.
Charla K is excited to stand on the scene of Oslo Spektrum and perform the song “Stop The Music” on March 10, 2018. “It’s great for me to be one of ten selected artists who get the chance to participate in one of the year’s greatest , most important and most influential music contests – MGP,” she says.
“Stop The Music” was chosen out of almost 1200 songs and that is a record for the competition in Norway.
In the 1980’s, Per Gessle already took part in Melodifestivalen as a songwriter. First in 1980, when Lasse Lindbom performed “För dina bruna ögons skull”, the song ended up at the 10th position. In 1986 Lena Philipsson competed with “Kärleken är evig” (lyrics written by PG) and ended up at the second place.
Fingers crossed for Charla K that she wins the contest in Norway, so we can all support her on the ESC later! Listen to the song HERE!
21 March 2017 is for sure a day to remember for the rest of our lives. From the RXB team Judith and I had the honor of being invited to the 1 year anniversary party of Space Station 12, Per Gessle’s and Marie Dimberg’s record label. Much appreciated! The event was announced to start at 6 pm and last until 10 pm. It took place at Skyddsrummet, Stockholm.
We arrived at around 17:45, at the same time as Helena Josefsson, Christoffer Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman. Marie Dimberg was welcoming the guests and a photographer took pictures of all who arrived in front of a black and white Space Station 12 background. We thanked Marie for the invitations and congratulated on the anniversary.
The musicians who were to appear on stage were 1 floor above the event area and were getting prepared for their performances. Per Gessle was among them, too. Some minutes after 6 pm Mr. G came down and also welcomed some guests. We had the chance to thank him too for the invitation and congratulate. He said he didn’t realize that already 1 year passed since they started this label. Time flies when you’re having fun. Thomas Evensson from TDR was taking some pics and Per kindly posed for them. Even for a group pic. Oh well, he said on Skavlan he gets depressed when he is out and no one asks for a selfie. Now he told us he will regret what he said for the rest of his life. Haha. Nah, he was really easy with it.
At appr. 7 pm a curtain was pulled away, so we could see the stage and go to the area where the performances were to happen. The stage was so tiny and low, the whole place so cozy! Of course, we, a small bunch of fans got in the front row, however it felt being too close to the stage. Everyone else was standing at least 5 steps behind us. Haha. It was funny. Then we also stepped back a bit, to have a better view of the not too high stage.
First Marie Dimberg went up on stage and she talked about Space Station 12, how they started it with Per. She talked very nicely about Mr. G and about their signed artists. She also mentioned their very good collaboration with BMG and she said they decided on a simple principle regarding what to release under SS12 and it’s that they release what they like. She also said there will be musicians on stage now who have their live debut, so she asked to applaud them. Then invited PG on stage saying even if Per doesn’t have his live debut now, he also loves being applauded. Haha.
So Per came up on stage to perform. He had Helena Josefsson (backing vocals), Malin-My Nilsson (violin), Clarence Öfwerman (keyboards) and Christoffer Lundquist (guitar) with him. Mr. G was playing an acoustic guitar while singing. He performed 2 songs, Tycker om när du tar på mej and Småstadsprat which he said we might have heard on Skavlan or whatever. Both songs sounded fantastic live and in this very much stripped-down-acoustic versions. Space Station 12 was live on Facebook during Småstadsprat, so you can watch a great video of it on their Facebook page.
Åsa was filming both songs too, so videos will surely appear on Per’s and Roxette’s Facebook pages shortly. After Småstadsprat Per told they leave the stage now and give the chance to SS12’s young artists to perform. After he left the stage we congratulated him on their wonderful performance. He thanked for it, but also said he was missing our banners in the front. We were wondering what kind of banners we could hold up for these 2 ballads and he said why not a tussilago sign. Haha. Yeah, OK. For the summer tour he gets it!
Before the next act, after some minutes break Marie Dimberg came up on stage again saying she wouldn’t sing, but please welcome Good Harvest. They performed 3 songs. All three were beautiful and one can melt hearing how the 2 girls’ voices blend! As Christoffer later mentioned, they both sound like one voice together. We are happy to see them on tour with Per this summer!
There came a little break again and Alex Shield was next to perform together with Charla K. They played Alex’s 3 songs, Charla’s debut single and a new duet that they mentioned were going to test with us, the audience. Everybody cheered afterwards, so we would say – thumbs up! We were all surprised how different Alex sounded live. He is a fantastic songwriter and now it turned out he is a great live musician as well. He and Charla K got the audience in a real party mood. It would have been fun if PG joined Alex on Good Fight as in the album version, but it didn’t happen. The song sounded cool live anyway.
We missed Fanny de Aguiar very much. It would have been fab to see and hear her live. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to perform and wasn’t present at the party either.
Even if Per was on stage only for 2 songs, he didn’t leave the concert hall. He was chatting with the guests and enjoying the performances of SS12’s artists while eating hot dog and drinking beer. Talking about beer, it seems that Per now is involved not only in the wine business, but the beer industry as well. There was a beer at the party, called Rocket Fuel which has Space Station 12 label on the bottle. The label says: ”Space Station 12 is an independent record label with the finger pointing at the future, always in love with great music. No matter what we release it will always be unique, interesting and something you certainly can’t live without. Just keep your ears open. And we love beer. Our favourite ones are made by Krönleins in Halmstad. Enjoy!”
Per was in a real happy mood, he even came to us asking if we were having a good time and we had a small talk. He is very proud of the acts they signed, he finds them real talented. And he is so right.
Among the guests, besides other artists, journalists, people from the music industry, TV, radio, wine people, we were happy to meet Pelle Alsing, Dea Norberg, Lasse Lindbom and see 2 members of the usual crew, Micke N-S and Peter Fredriksson. Christoffer said these events and performances are also good for them, because otherwise they don’t meet too often.
Regarding the summer tour, we got to know that besides Helena Josefsson, Christoffer Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman, Magnus Börjeson will join and play the bass, woohoo and there will be a new drummer this time. We also heard a few times from different people that maybe they will also have a violin too… Is it July yet???
The party ended at 10 pm as it was stated in the invitation. Each guest got a SS12 bag when leaving. There were promo singles of SS12 artists inside – including Småstadsprat – and an SS12 badge. You can see this badge on the pics of Per as he was wearing one during the event.
All in all, it was really a fantastic event. We want to thank once again for letting us being part of this celebration. Good luck to Space Station 12 with finding even more exceptional artists to join the already fab team of signed musicians!
Per performing at the party. Pics by Patrícia Peres.