Per Gessle interview in Scandinavian Traveler magazine

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!

Per Gessle on SVT – Go’kväll

As you all know, Per Gessle appeared on SVT’s evening show, Go’kväll on 25th November. The recordings took place in the TV studio in snowy Umeå 2 days before. Even if the TV broadcast was at 18:15 CET, SVT Play made the whole program available on the web very early in the morning. Watch the whole show HERE!

The show starts with host Pekka Heino and Per Gessle standing in the front, the band sitting on the couch in the back. Pekka is having a discussion with Per saying he doesn’t know what he’ll become when he grows up. Per says it’s actually the same with him. So they’ll see if they come up with something during the show.

Besides Per, there is a chef, Gustaf Mabrouk in the studio to prepare some dessert and stylist Hedvig Andér. Pekka starts talking about fashion with Hedvig and apropos talking about fashion icons, he turns to Per. Before they are talking about clothes, Pekka mentions Per has released 2 albums, one in spring, one in autumn. Both recorded in Nashville last year. He also mentions that Per went on tour this summer, for the first time with songs from his entire career and he is going to release a live album and a photo book as well. Pekka says he is old-fashioned and still buys records at record stores. Per is joking and asks where he can find a record store. Pekka says there is at least one in Stockholm.

Getting back to fashion, Pekka says they found a recording from Jacob Dahlin era, from Jacobs stege show on TV. Per says “Help! Fasten your seatbelts!” Roxette’s Soul Deep performance is shown from 1986, Marie and Per wearing their stylish shoulder padded clothes. Then Pekka shows a picture of a young Per Gessle from the ‘70s, Per says it was 1977 when he was 18. He recognizes the nice white buttons and mentions wearing socks with moccasins is not so good. But it was cold in Halmstad. Haha. Then a 1981 Gyllene Tider pic is shown. Per was wearing a white belt to a pair of black leather pants. Back then it was cool, but not anymore. And it was the era of narrow ties. Pekka asks Per how many hair colors he has had over the years. Per replies now it’s mostly grey, but he had all possible hairdos. Blue-black hair, then blonde, purple and red like wine. Then carrot red during his David Bowie era. Pekka shows a picture of Roxette from 1989, from the breakthrough era. Marie and Per were styled and photographed in New York for this pic and had their clothes from Trash and Vaudeville that sold fantastic clothes on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan. The stylist confirms that the clothes are really cool and fit the era. The last pic shown is a private photo of Per and Åsa. Per says it’s from the ’80s, this is how they looked when they were young. Pekka asks whose hairdo took longer time to be done. Per says it was his. The stylist says Per’s jeans on the pic look quite modern for that time. Patched jeans. Pekka asks Hedvig about what is still to be found in today’s fashion in any form if they look at these pictures from the ’70s and ’80s. Leather jacket, as well as patched or torn jeans are still trendy. Maybe the striped tights aren’t, but everything comes back into fashion. Maybe not in the same combination, but everything comes back. Then Pekka and Per take out 2 pairs of boots. Per says they bought them in 1989 for photo sessions, TV shows and stage use. One can see on their sole they are hardly used. Per tells they had 1800 interviews in 8 months back then and 400-500 photo sessions at the same time. So they had tons of clothes. Especially Marie has a fantastic collection of leather jackets, one can see photos of them in her autobiography book.

 

Pekka walks back to Gustaf to see what he is doing in the kitchen. Per follows him. Gustaf is preparing lemon fromage. Gustaf asks Per to taste the yuzu cream he prepared. Per reacts, woohoo, there is minus sugar in it. He says it’s very good. Per looks happy when he sees Gustaf adds white chocolate to the dessert. Pekka is kidding Per, saying Per tries to memorize the recipe. Haha. He asks Mr. G how he is in the kitchen. Per says he is pretty bad, but his wife is very  good, so he rather lays the table, opens the wine and washes up the dishes. (Look at the band’s reaction when Per says washing up, LOL! 😉 ) Mr. G says he wishes he could cook. He says he is good at preparing mincemeat sauce though. Pekka and Per laugh when they see Gustaf as a man can do multi-tasking, 2 things at the same time. Before leaving Gustaf, Pekka says hi to the band and tells Per and Co will perform a song with a children choir. Then he leaves Per and there is a short discussion with Hedvig, without Per.

After some minutes, Pekka greets Per again. Now they are sitting on the couch and the real interview starts. At this point you realize that torn jeans are really trendy these days… Haha. Pekka talks about the fact that actually in Swedish media he was the first one who came out with the news of Roxette having a No. 1 in the US, The Look. It was in Frukostbrickan on P3 Swedish Radio. Pekka asks Per if he remembers how the news about No. 1 got to him back then. Per says he was in Halmstad, Marie was in Stockholm. They knew that they had the chance to become No. 1, but they were in separate places not to become disappointed together if they don’t become No. 1 in the end. But they became No. 1 and it was silly to be in 2 separate cities.

Pekka then remembers a story he read back in the ’80s. ABBA-Frida released her first solo album in English in 1982. Per wrote music to a Dorothy Parker poem that Frida read a lot of times. What Pekka read is that when the album came out, Per asked his financial adviser ”Am I a millionaire now?” Per laughs and says it’s not true. Not everything is true what one can read.

Pekka says ABBA members were around 30 when they broke through and that was the case with Roxette, too. Per says both Marie and him had approximately 10 years of experience in Sweden before they broke through with Roxette. Pekka asks how they handled succes after that. Per says they could make decisions differently. When they became big in the US, their record label wanted them to move to the US, but they wanted to stay in Stockholm and work with their band and they could decide for themselves.

Pekka asks if there is a difference between luxury back then and luxury now. Per says he doesn’t know. The more you get older, the more you value other things. Time, for example. When you are 25-30, you don’t think about time. Then you waste it, with all rights. But when you get older and lose your friends, parents and siblings, time becomes valuable. At this point they start talking about ”En vacker natt” and ”En vacker dag”. Per tells he recorded the albums in Nashville and EVN has his sister on the cover, while EVD has his mother on it. He tells he lost his mother, sister and brother in 3 years so he is the only one who is left in the family. It was tough. He handled it via working further. This is how it works for him. He uses his experiences and feelings in his work.

Pekka and Per talk about the fact that long relationships are important for Mr. G both in his private and professional life. Per says he is together with his wife since more than 30 years, he works together with the same guys in Gyllene Tider since 1979, his manager since 1986, the same booking company and Marie and producers and almost the same record label.

Pekka talks about the 2 Polish guys, Jakub and Dawid who made a video to Roxette’s song, ”Some Other Summer” and Per surprised them at the QX Gala in Stockholm earlier this year. Per says Roxette has the best fans in the world. They are very creative, active and have always been supporting them, especially when Marie was ill in 2002. Per says the surprise at the gala was cool. The guys got a lot of shit in Poland and it was lovely that they came to Stockholm. They are wonderful people.

They move on to the songwriting topic. Pekka asks Mr. G if he decides in advance whether the song he is writing is for Gyllene Tider or Roxette or for his solo career. Or if it is the song that comes first and then he decides where to use it. Per says both can happen. One deals with several projects and writes for a certain project, but it can happen that a song is too heavy for Gyllene Tider for example, then he can put it in his solo box and take it out 3 years later. Pekka says there are songs that have Swedish lyrics and also English lyrics. He asks Per whether it goes smoothly or it’s challenging for him. Per says he translated his Nashville albums to English and it was actually quite hard to do, because the texts are very private and personal. To find the feeling in English was very hard, so half of the texts is written by a Nashville girl. The album is to be released in spring 2018.

Pekka says he is quite convinced that one day there will be a jukebox musical, the question is only whether it will be based on Gyllene Tider, Roxette or Per’s solo songs or all together. Per says each can have an own musical, why to choose.

Pekka mentions that Per has described his career as a tree. Per confirms, he has many branches on his tree and he tries to exploit it, not to tire out his audience. Working internationally provides a much bigger market. It’s harder to work only in Sweden, you can make people feel ”not him again”. Per says he is very fortunate to have all these branches.

Pekka asks Per about what he thinks about songs all people want to hear at the shows. Mr. G says when he works in English, the audience is international. They don’t know Sommartider or Gå & fiska! or Leva livet or Här kommer alla känslorna. But Gyllene Tider never rehearse Sommartider for example. They would laugh, but when there are 10000 people in front of them, then it’s wonderful to have these songs. Every artist loves their own hits, those are the spine of their activity.

Pekka asks Per if he thinks about what comes next when he creates playlists. It happens, but Per has a long playlist that suits most. It’s an easy listening how he calls it. Sounds a bit like guilty pleasure. There is everything possible from old jazz to James Taylor.

The interview ends here and the guys go back to the kitchen to see what Gustaf is doing. Per enjoys seeing the final steps of preparing the dessert and says it looks fantastic. He also touches and smells the lemon verbena plant that’s right in front of him. Gustaf asks Per if he is a dessert guy. Per says, unfortunately, he is. He says he loves Italian kitchen and so he loves Tiramisu. The guys talk about TV series and Per says he likes it when the whole season is available and can watch it at once. One can get hooked to some series.

Before they can all taste the dessert, Pekka leaves the guys and goes back to Hedvig. After the discussion, they all gather to try Gustaf’s treat. Per is joking and says he has crumbs all over his mouth already – trying before others. They all like it and say they will save Per’s portion, but Mr. G has to leave for the stage, because the band is already waiting and they perform ”Det är vi tillsammans”. John Holm isn’t there this time, Helena Josefsson is singing the parts John sings on the album. What an incredibly amazing performance it is! You can also watch it separately HERE!

The band: Helena Josefsson, Malin-My Wall, Christoffer Lundquist, Ola Gustafsson, Martin Höper; children choir: Vasakyrkan Amigos.

Per Gessle on TV show ”Robins”

A week ago it turned out that Per Gessle would be a guest on Swedish talk show “Robins” on September 30 on SVT1. We all got excited to see an interview with Mr. G on such a program. It’s similar to the late night shows you can see on US channels and stand-up comedian Robin Paulsson, the host is often called the Swedish David Letterman.

The recordings happened on 28th September and since then we could see many pictures where Per, Robin and the other guest on the show, Keyyo appeared. We couldn’t wait anymore for tonite when a teaser video was published yesterday, with Keyyo getting pranked. Seemed to be a fun TV program and we could already see in that teaser that Mr. G had a good time during the show.

Finally, tonight we could watch the real deal, the complete program with the Per Gessle interview in it. The show starts with Robin telling Per backstage that the lyrics to The Look is a bit confusing. Keyyo starts reading it, then Robin continues. Per says he finds nothing strange in it, but Robin says they don’t understand the text. Then Per says it’s in English. Robin and Keyyo say: aaaah, English, then they can understand the rest too, na-na-na-na-na-na… Haha.

Per enters the studio at around 5 minutes in and gets a huge applause and loud woohoo from the audience. First Robin and Per are talking about the differences between their jobs. Robin says he envies Per, because he can play his songs from the ’80s and people love them, but no one wants to hear a comedian telling a joke from 1981. Per says it might not be true. He saw Monty Python on their farewell tour in London and was wondering if it could be fun to hear a joke what he already heard so many times, the ”Parrot Sketch” and it was much fun even if he knew exactly when the fun part came and what the joke was about. Everyone loved it. Robin says he as a comedian can get tired of certain jokes and throws them away. He asks Per what happens if he is doing a concert and skips Sommartider. Mr. G says it’s good to have some more songs. As a last comparison of their jobs, Robin tells Per he can fill in The Look with nanananana and everyone loves it, but he can’t come up with nanananana in his jokes, people would miss something. Per says nanananana is good, because it’s international.

The guys are talking about Per’s new album. Per tells he recorded 2 albums in Nashville, En vacker natt and En vacker dag. Robin mentions it’s said to be Per’s most personal release ever. Robin asks Mr. G how he means it’s the most personal and Per tells about the tough times in his family, that his mother, brother and sister passed away during the past 3 years and it affected the atmosphere of his music. Robin asks Per whether it is more difficult to write a personal song or a summer song like Sommartider. Per says one of the questions he gets most often is how to write a hit. He has no clue. He never plans to write a hit, he just can’t plan it. Robin is surprised that it means that Per never knows which song would become a hit. Then Per tells him he is the worst at choosing singles. He wanted to leave “Här kommer alla känslorna” off Mazarin. Robin concludes Per is a very good musician, but at the same time also very bad.

Robin says it feels like Per is a normal person despite him being a pop star, very down-to-earth. He asks Per if success has ever gone to his head. Mr. G says he doesn’t know, it’s hard to tell, because he was 19-20 when Gyllene Tider broke through, so he lived all his life in this “celebrity fame”. So he doesn’t know how life is without all this. Maybe he would be unbearable. Robin says he is not unbearable, they met backstage. OK, he had to pay for an autograph, but that’s OK. Haha.

To see how the pop star life touched Per, Robin asks questions and Mr. G has to answer whether it’s typically an everyday thing or a typically luxury thing. If he replies everyday, he has to drink milk, if he replies luxury, he has to drink champagne. Per asks what kind of champagne it is. Haha. Robin says Per is such a gourmet. Ready, steady, go! Robin’s first question: Ferrari or bus? Per takes a sip from the champagne. Next question: Russian caviar or Kalles caviar? Per chooses Kalles and takes a sip from the milk. Next: patent shoes or clogs? Per takes a sip from the champagne. Robin asks if Per has clogs. Mr. G says no, he drinks. Next: Venice Beach or Tylösand? Here Per asks which one is which. Haha. Good question. He chooses the champagne and says Tylösand. Next: watching a Real Madrid or a Halmia match? Per chooses Halmia and drinks champagne. Robin concludes Per is a big fan, but also mentions that it doesn’t go so good for Halmia now as for Halmstad. Per says: soon! Haha. Last question: sitting on a throne in a palace or on a rock by a lake in a forest (på en sten vid en sjö i en skog)? It’s the rock! And Mr. G takes a sip from the champagne and says it’s a good one, the champagne.

Robin says let’s turn back time to the ‘70s. How was it being Sweden’s biggest pop star at the age of 20? Per says it was bewildering. Gyllene Tider did 6 concerts before they became No. 1. They came from nowhere. Robin says 6 gigs are nothing, one can’t become confident on stage after only 6 shows. Per says they weren’t too confident at their seventh gig either. Haha. Robin asks which song was No. 1 then. Per says Flickorna på TV2. Robin says it must have changed Per’s life. Mr. G says totally, it was cool. Suddenly he got 2000 cards on his birthday, people stole his laundry that hung in the garden to dry, everything movable disappeared, e.g. the number plate on the car.

Robin asks Per what the key to success is. Per says the 3T: tur, tajming, talang, i.e. luck, timing and talent. Robin adds hard work maybe. Per says yeah, one has to do his own 10000 hours, but there are a lot of coincidences and you also have to be in the right place at the right time.

Robin says it’s easy to believe that Per’s career has always been going upwards, but there was a period between Gyllene Tider and Roxette, around 1985 when it was a tough time. He asks Per if he could describe that period. Per first says no and laughs. Then he tells Gyllene Tider was over in 1984 and he didn’t have a record contract or a vision what he should do. He started writing songs for others, because he had the reputation as a songwriter. He says the coolest was that he knew Marie Fredriksson since years then as they shared a rehearsal room in the ’70s and they were talking about doing something together. Per wrote a song to Pernilla Wahlgren, Svarta glas, but she has never recorded it. Then Per translated it into English and that became Roxette’s first single, Neverending Love, which was a big hit in Sweden in 1986. They recorded an album from all his refused Swedish songs. Per translated the songs into English and that became Roxette’s first album.

Robin says when he was a child he thought Per and Marie were a couple. Per says many thought so and many others thought he was Marie’s manager and Marie was called Roxette. A TV studio had a dressing room for Marie and they showed the green room for Per.

Robin mentions that It Must Have Been Love was played 4 million times already until 2005 on the radio in the US. It’s like playing it non stop for 35 years. Per says he can talk about this song for long. It was written in 1987. They tried to get on the market in Germany and they were said that it’s easier with a Christmas song. So he wrote “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for The Broken Hearted)”. When they played it for the German, they hated it. So they released it in Sweden and it became a Christmas hit in 1987. Robin says one doesn’t think about this song as a Christmas song. Then Per tells the story how it became a song for the movie Pretty Woman some years later. Robin concludes Per recycles a lot. Everyone laughs.

Robin asks Per if he has ever felt it’s enough now. Per says he is not done yet. Nowadays he feels more confident about what he is doing than 20 years ago, because back then he wanted to prove things for himself. Now everything is more relaxed and he is doing things for his own sake. It’s more fun now. It was fun before too, of course, but now it’s devilishly fun.

With this the interview ends, but Per stays in the studio while Robin’s other guest, Keyyo arrives. She is a 20-year-old YouTuber who is very popular in Sweden. She is originally from Russia, but lives in Sweden since she was 8. Robin asks Keyyo if she listened to Per, his music. Keyyo says she has to be honest, she didn’t listen to Per, but her mother did and now her mother envies Keyyo a lot for being on the same show as Per Gessle. Keyyo tells a story that when she was 8-9 years old and they were driving in the car and Tycker om när du tar på mej came on the radio and exactly this part: ”Jag tycker om dina bröst i morgonljuset”, she always thought it was so filthy. Haha. She also compliments Per saying he is so normal. Everyone laughs.

Then the show is about Keyyo who also got pranked and you can see Per had a good time also in the second half of the show. It was a nice program. Would be fun to see Mr. G more on TV shows like this. Cool thing!

Watch the TV show HERE!

 

Per Gessle – “En vacker dag” entered the charts!

In April, 1 week after its release date, ”En vacker natt” entered the Swedish album charts at No. 1. Now ”En vacker dag”, the second Nashville album has entered the album charts at No. 2 and it’s No. 1 on the vinyl charts! The album was No. 1 on iTunes in Sweden already on release day and it stayed there for some days and switched places with other artists’ new albums in the Top3 for days.

Congrats to Mr. G!!!

You can listen to the album or get your copy here: Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, Amazon, Bengans, Ginza, CDON.

Jan Gradvall’s podcast interview with Per Gessle

Jan Gradvall in his podcast tries to find out what drives Per Gessle, what his secret is and what happens if you analyze Gessle’s songs in depth. Jan is trying to do it via analyzing ”Allt gick så fort”, which is one of Per’s most personal songs he has ever written and can be found on the new album, ”En vacker natt”.

Per says it’s the central song on the album. He tells he read an interview with David Crosby who told he had five guitars in his bedroom and that all of them were tuned differently. Per thought it’s cool. Mr. G experimented a lot with traditional tunings, but then he googled David Crosby’s tunings and found out there are a lot of variants and found one which was very odd. So Per tried some new tricks, playing his old chords in a new way, creating completely new sounds.

”Allt gick så fort” is very text-oriented. It starts with an accident Per witnessed during a visit to France. Per says it’s a song that kind of writes itself. It matures through a whole life and suddenly it feels ready to be written down.

Jan asks Per what he is singing about when it’s in the lyrics that he was 8 years old. Per says the lyrics tell a whole life in a way. The text starts with an unknown person, but then suddenly, you sing about yourself, when you are a child and then it’s about when you are 18 and in love for the first time. In between there is another person seeing the whole thing from another angle, in the middle of his life, in the middle of his career and realizes it all went so fast. Per says the song was written very fast, but the guitar tuning was tricky. Jan asks how exactly that tuning is done. Per says when he wrote the song he went to Halmstad, to MP’s studio to record a demo. It went very well with all that new tuning. Then he went to Nashville to record it properly, but he had no clue how he did that in Halmstad, so they had to use his demo.

The whole Nashville project was different to whatever Per has done before and it’s not like today’s pop music when everything is done on computers. Per wanted to try something new. It became a completely organic album. It’s not an album for everybody. It’s for a certain audience. Per thinks many can identify with it, but many will think it’s too slow or the violin is too whiny. But it doesn’t matter. For him it was important to make this record. He wanted the lyrics and his voice to be in focus. The fantastic musicians in Nashville added a lot to it, Dan Dugmore with his pedal steel playing or Stuart Duncan with his violin playing.

Jan finds the expression ”I sin icke dansande generation” (= in his non-dancing generation) fantastic and he asks Per how he came up with this. Per says when you are sitting and chatting you realize that your generation is a non-dancing one. He finds the rhymes and songwriting exciting.

Jan mentions there are many returning symbols in Per’s lyrics on the new album, like sea, beaches, nature. Per says he has always used symbols like flowers, sea, winds, things you associate with images when you are listening to a song. It somehow makes the listener be part of the song. They recognize the smell, the taste, the feeling.

Jan and Per talk about Per’s family, that he has lost his mom, brother and sister during the past 3 years. When his sister, Gunilla died, her son found a box of 25-30 old diapositives from 1965-66. Even Per appeared on some of them. Mr. G chose a pic of Gunilla, standing and singing probably in Tylösand, to be on the album cover. Per thinks the colour of the diapositive fits the album very well.

Per tells Jan that Anton Corbijn was in New Orleans, shooting Arcade Fire when Per was in Nashville and so Anton came over and took some fantastic pictures of Per. First Per thought one of those should be on the cover, but after her sister’s diapositives were found he changed his mind. This way it is more personal and even more unexpected. The second album ”En vacker dag” will have a 1965 pic of Per’s mom on the cover, with a picnic table just behind the family’s Volvo Amazon.

Jan asks Per if losing his relatives has affected Mr. G in a way that it can be heard on the album. Per says yes and no. It of course has affected him, but none of the songs are directly about this. ”Allt gick så fort” might sound like that a bit, but the rest of the songs were written last spring after Roxette stopped touring. Some of the songs were left-overs and were re-written, but most of them are newly written.

Jan and Per talk about an earlier interview from the Son of a Plumber times and Jan remembers Per told him that his father died when Gyllene Tider broke through and Per wrote ”När alla vännerna gått hem” after his dad died. Per says it’s true and of course what happens in your life has its effects on you. These two albums he has made now he couldn’t have done 10 or 15 years ago. You must have a certain experience, a certain security, a certain courage to be able to do it. You have to find your style, your language, your strength to be able to do it.

Jan tells Per he feels that when Per sings on this new album, he is more ”naked” and asks if it is conscious. Per says he wanted to put the lyrics in focus.

Jan says the album sounds in a way very much Nashville, but also very much Halmstad. Per was travelling around the world, but always came back to Halmstad. Per says the older you get the more you go back to your roots, where you come from. It’s like when sometimes he is sitting and checking songs on Spotify and sees billions of them and he goes back to listen to songs he likes from 1967. And yes, there is a Nashville sound on the album, but at the same time, it’s Per’s stlye.

Mr. G says he wanted an album that is text-oriented and very simple, acoustic. First they just thought they shouldn’t record it in Sweden. They thought about studios in England and France, then Nashville popped up and Per liked the idea of a fusion between Tennesse and Halland. A little country has always been there in Per’s solo music. Neil Young’s “Harvest” stlye. They had no plans at all when they left Sweden for Nashville. First Per played the acoustic guitar and sang a bit, then they asked the studio if they could help to find local musicians. There are two world famous pedal steel players, Dan Dugmore and Paul Franklin. Dan Dugmore is the one who plays the pedal steel on Per’s album. When he listened to Per’s songs he wrote down numbers instead of chords. How Dan played changed the songs. Since they wanted to save time, they recorded 3-4 takes and then edited them later while mixing.

The same day Dan Dugmore came to the studio, Stuart Duncan came too to play the violin. When Per heard him playing he said wow. Everything became better and better, like the intro to ”Småstadsprat”. Then they needed a harmonica player, so Mickey Raphael plays on 3-4 songs.

Jan asks what Per thinks why his melodies are so special that they are attractive even to those who can’t speak Swedish. Per thinks they are beautiful, that’s why the albums are titled “En vacker natt” and “En vacker dag” (“A beatiful night” and “A beautiful day”). At least that was his ambition. Jan asks where Per’s melodies come from. They come from the ‘60s, but also from the Swedish traditional music. Here Per talks about his adventures with his friend, Peter as troubadours who played at nursing homes for old people. Per played the guitar and sang, Peter also played the guitar and the flute. They played everything they could and it included a lot of country as well. As troubadours, once they had to play at an old people’s nursing home in a new place in Halmstad. They entered a big table tennis hall and there were two men lying in there, they were not moving at all. They didn’t know what to do, there was no personnel around, so they just sat in the middle of the hall and started playing some songs, Proud Mary or something. Suddenly a nurse came and asked what the hell they were doing. They said they were just playing songs. A lot of doctors rushed in and then it turned out that one of the men there was in coma and he woke up to the sound of Per and Peter playing music. The day after it turned out that they shouldn’t even have to be there, at that place, but he will never forget that day. One can see that music makes miracles.

Pic from Jan Gradvall’s Instagram.