SvD’s interview with Per Gessle about aging and pop music

Andres Lokko from Svenska Dagbladet did an excellent interview with Per Gessle and it was published together with Staffan Löwstedt’s wonderful photos in SvD last Sunday. It’s the first time Per let journalists inside his apartment on Strandvägen, Stockholm, so the article also gives you a sneak peak at where family Gessle live when they are in the Swedish capital.

The title of the article is ”Per Gessle, how is it to be so old?” and it predicts they were talking about aging. But once you have access to the whole article (which was published in paper on Sunday and available for subscribers online), you realize it’s about much more than that.

Andres writes Åsa, Per’s wife proudly shows one of Per’s 60th birthday present when they enter, a Playboy pinball game from the ’70s with a kitschy cartoon Hugh Hefner in a bathrobe and with a pipe, of course, flanked by blondes in bikini. The 2-storey apartment is a virtual Fort Knox. Where the guys could enter is the airy office with a grand piano in the room and shelves along the walls with CDs and art books on them. Wherever they look they can see framed pop-historical photos. In the toilet there is a black and white Iggy Pop, for example.

Åsa serves coffee and tons of cookies. Andres writes no one touched the bakery but a bowl of English liquorice disappeared very quickly.

Andres asks Per how it feels to be so old and Mr. G replies with a little self-ironic resignation that it’s cool and totally OK. Andres (born in 1967) says when he started writing about music 30 years ago, Mauro Scocco, Orup or even Per himself seemed to be old. Now they seem to be the same age. Per reacts that you don’t even notice when it occurs, you just all become adults. Then the older you get, the least important the age is.

Talking about aging, Andres says it’s strange, but suddenly he has a new role as a music journalist. It can happen that one calls him when Little Richard dies and he can also be waken up in the middle of the night to keep a knowledgeable eulogy of any pop legend. Per says aging with pop music is what both he and Andres do in a way. When Tom Petty died, it was as if a close family member had passed away. He felt things would never be the same again. When your idols die while you have the chance to get older and you have experienced how, for example, Marie got sick and others close to you have passed away, it becomes even more difficult to accept that David Bowie or Pete Shelley from Buzzcocks dies.

Andres asks Per if it is stranger to turn 60 himself than to see his idols turning 60. Per says it’s surreal to think of himself as a 60-year-old. 50 was one thing, 40 was also weird. There are periods when there is nothing happening in the music industry or in your life, but then suddenly you wake up in the morning and realize so many things have happened. Not only with music, but social media exploded, streaming services took over and you suddenly find yourself in a whole new world. And that makes you feel even older. Per says he even notices it on his son. Gabriel is 21 now and he is dealing with his own music while he is studying at KTH. He asks Per a lot of things and Per tries to answer, but they come from 2 radically different planets. Gabbe listens to music as much as Per does or did in his age, but he doesn’t care at all about artists, producers, album covers – all that Mr. G thought was vital. When Gabriel and his friends are listening to Post Malone and suddenly Dylan’s ”Subterranean Homesick Blues” pops up, they don’t even raise their eyebrows. Music has become something that just flows forward. Per tells Andres when he grew up he always listened to P3 and ”Release Me” by Engelbert Humperdinck was followed by The Zombies ”She’s Not There”, ”Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles and then an Evert Taube tune. On the same channel. According to Per, it’s the diversity that makes music much fun and interesting. He bought ”Delilah” by Tom Jones at the same time as ”Last Train To Clarksville” by The Monkees and his brother had records by MC5. During those times wanting to let hair grow over the ears was super-important, almost revolutionary.

Andres asks Per if he feels stuck there. Per says, a little. At least with the hair. It’s not just about age. As an artist you have a requirement to always rush forward. If he thinks of David Bowie, he changed his look all the time, but sometime in the mid-1980s he finished with it and was just David Bowie and it was alright.

Andres asks if it is something Per strives for. Mr. G says change for the sake of change is not necessarily ideal. As an artist, the change must come because you have a need for it. For example, the reason he searched for Marie Fredriksson was that he felt limited by his voice. He has a strange love-hate relationship to it and felt that he could write better songs than how he could sing them. So he needed a change to be able to maximize it. That was the main reason for him to start Roxette. THAT was a natural change for him. Andres says that in such cases the bonus is that after a while it’s fun to hear your own voice again. Per agrees. The more he works acoustically, the more he is longing to play power pop with Gyllene Tider and the more time he spends in an electronic world with Mono Mind, the more he suddenly wants to play acoustically. He thinks these cycles he has invented himself to keep the whole spectrum alive.

Andres says when he hears Per’s voice he often thinks of British singer-songwriter Al Stewart. He had a huge hit ”Year Of The Cat” in the early 1970s. Per asks Andres if he knows that Al Stewart recorded one of his songs once. It has never been released though. It was ”Call Of The Wild” from the first Roxette album. Per has it somewhere on a cassette. Andres asks if Al’s version sounds exactly like Per’s original recording. Mr. G says, not really. But he has a bunch of Al Stewart songs on a playlist he listens to quite often and then he actually thinks it sounds a little like Per himself.

Andres tells the fact that Paul McCartney has stopped coloring his hair was bigger news than his latest album. It was the same with Tom Jones. Andres thinks they went into a new, perhaps their last phases. He asks Per if he sees his paths this way. Per says it’s not far from him to think this way, but he hasn’t got there yet. The last few years he has done so many different things that he didn’t have the time to take that step where he would try to see himself from outside. He says he still doesn’t know what he’ll be when he grows up. The GT reunion this year is not news to him, because he has known since quite a long time that he would devote this year to it and has started writing songs for the last GT album.

Andres remarks that GT for Per is like a band on stand by. Per says it’s nice to have it like that. GT always comes back on a project basis and after a short intensive period it’s over again. Andres says Per constantly wants to move forward, but GT is a pure nostalgia machine. PG says it’s true, but everytime the band came back, one of his conditions was that they release a new album too. It’s not that they need new hits, because people want to hear the old ones anyway, but to get together in the studio and do a creative work. They have extremely good relationships within the band, but they hardly ever spend time together. Per works with Mats MP Persson in the studio in Halmstad from time to time, Anders Herrlin was there with him in Nashville when they recorded his solo albums ”En vacker natt” and ”En vacker dag”, but the others he follows basically only on Facebook. But during an album recording, they immediately find their original roles. Per thinks they really need to find that chemistry to be able to go on a tour together. Should they not do it this way, there is a risk that five strangers will suddenly play pop music in front of 150,000 people. Instead of partying together in Mallorca for 2 weeks, it’s more efficient to record some new songs, Per tells Andres.

It’s 100% right that Gyllene Tider is a nostalgia machine, but Per sees the band in a more serious way. He thinks GT is a very good pop band in the same way as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Now that they are 60, he wants to try to make pop music that is worthy and adult in the right way. They can’t do any ”När vi två blir en” songs anymore.

The guys are coming back to the aging topic again. Andres mentions that they are the first to experience that such things as the death of David Bowie can happen, that pop artists die of old age. He asks Per how he deals with it. PG says Keith Richards is 75. He saw ”Under The Influence”, a documentary about him on Netflix the other day and he just said “I’m no pop star anymore and I don’t want to be that”. He has been there since he was 17-18 and now he is a groomed old uncle and feels relatively good in his existence. He can’t be compared to anyone else.

To Andres, Carole King is an excellent example of how she in 1960 wrote ”Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the teenage girls in The Shirelles, but when she 10 years later sang it herself, as a ballad at the piano, she transformed the text author Gerry Goffin’s words into a sad and grown love triangle. Per says a good pop song works like this. Also some of Per’s songs work like that. For example, when Lars Winnerbäck sang ”Honung och guld” with Per on tour, the song got a completely different meaning.

Per tells SvD that as time goes by, he tries to understand how he was thinking when he was writing nearly 40 years ago. To find out what he was looking for. He was also thinking about it when he wrote the new songs for GT. He dreams to find a tone of adult dignity, but in their chosen form of pop.

According to Per, the school of composing that he works in doesn’t exist anymore. Definitely not in modern electronic dance or pop music. It’s a bit like when Paul McCartney sits down and plays ”Martha My Dear”. No one writes music like that today, but he has it in his DNA. When Per started playing, the first thing he learned was Swedish songs. He and his friend Peter Nilsson were Sweden’s first troubadours employed by the city council. Swedish social democracy at its best, Andres reacts. That music school mixed with Simon & Garfunkel and artists like Bernt Staf and John Holm meant a lot to Per. That song tradition is in his DNA.

Cover photo and all photos in the original interview article are by Staffan Löwstedt.

© Svenska Dagbladet, Andres Lokko, Staffan Löwstedt

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.

 

Per Gessle’s 60th birthday present for himself and the fans

Per Gessle turns 60 this Saturday and wanted to celebrate in style. He releases a new album on 12th January! We have already written about Mono Mind before, but so far it was a secret project. Now it’s no secret anymore!

Mono Mind, consisting of the fictional members Dr Robot, Cooky Carter, Bright Jones and Rain Davies, has released three singles overseas during the past year, high on club and radio charts in the US and France. In the United States, the success includes a prestigious six-week first place on the dance charts in radio industry magazine AllAccess and No. 1 on both iTunes Electronica and Amazon Electronica. In France, Mono Mind was nominated in 2 categories in the NRJ DJ Awards 2018, as “Group of the Year” and for “Club Hit of the Year”.

Now Mono Mind’s album will be released all over the world and finally it can be revealed that it’s none other than Per Gessle who is behind this entire secret project!

Here is what the popmaster says:

After basically living in a recording studio for almost forty years I tried to find new ways of creating pop music. I wanted to do something I’d never done before. A new challenge. Still pop, of course (that’s in my DNA!) but created and presented in a new manner.

I started fooling around with different gadgets working with my own voice, recording in different octaves and different keys just to see what might pop up. In the end of the day it’s all about the voices. We all focus on the voices when we listen to pop music.

We didn’t use vocoders or anything like that. Instead we found ourselves spending days, even weeks “hand-painting” and “drawing” my melodylines in the computer. For some songs we created my voice in a r’n’b-fashion, others got a touch of Nine Inch Nails-desperation.

In the end you couldn’t really hear it was me singing which was a blast and felt really refreshing. So off I went creating a new little colourful band, four characters with different personalities and different kind of temper, humour and looks to represent MONO MIND. How gorgeous! I had so much fun. Still do.

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO TO FIND OUT WHAT PER SAYS ABOUT THE PROJECT!

 

Follow Mono Mind on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, check their videos on YouTube and most importantly, listen to them on the usual digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, etc.) and sing along.

Mono Mind live Q&A on Instagram

Mono Mind decided to do a ”live” Q&A on Instagram and announced it 2 days before the happening. It wasn’t a real instalive thing though, but you could type in your Qs in the Mono Mind instastory and they picked the ones they wanted to answer. In written form. So no live video with MM characters or real life members and distorted or non-distorted voices. It was much fun anyway. Mainly after Mr. G posted THIS pic on Instagram, right at the time the whole thing went ”live” at 19:00 CET. So you could be sure it was Per himself answering the questions. Not that from the style of the answers and the wording you wouldn’t know. 😉 Cool thing!

Here is the complete Q&A:

Q: – Do you plan any live promotion?
A: – YES, that would be lovely, wouldn’t it? Cooky cookin’ on stage and the other lads beefin’ things up!

Q: – When will other band members join Helena in the videos?
A: – Well, it isn’t really Helena in the video, it’s Cooky! They look similar don’t they?

Q: – How did you choose your pseudonyms? What do they mean?
A: – They don’t really mean anything! They are just great names. Don’t you like them?!

Q: – How did it feel that SMAP reached No. 1 on different charts just for the music itself, no one knowing who behind the band are?
A: – Isn’t it lovely that music can have a life on its own? Mono Mind believes that a great song is always gonna stay a great song!

Q: – If Madonna’s 60th b’day is a song, what would it be?
A: – Oh, we love Madonna! We can’t really believe she’s turned 60! A song? We’ll send out LaLaLove any day!

Q: – How important do you think lyrics are in EDM songs?
A: – Our idea is that a good lyrical really makes the song better in any genre. It’s as simple as that!

Q: – Any plans on releasing a full album?
A: – Yes! We have an album in the can. Hopefully, it can be out before we get the chance to change our minds! We do that all the time…

Q: – Do you plan to shoot more videos?
A: – Yes, hopefully we’ll do a videoclip for every single we release. Sometimes we’re gonna use humans, sometimes it’s cartoons. They look lovely, don’t you think!

Q: – How do you look for the DJs who are making your remixes?
A: – Well, we try to use our network and also listen a lot to what’s happening on the remix scene. There is so much talent out there it makes you dizzy!

Q: – Why ”Mono Mind”?
A: – Well, the project started out as ”one man’s vision” but then expanded into something else. But we kept the name!

Q: – Who writes the songs? Dr Robot maybe?
A: – There are quite a few people who have been involved in MM so far. That’s the whole idea. The Doctor is like parmigiano on the pasta!

Q: – I love your group! Will you be touring?
A: – Well, nothing is planned yet but we would love to tour. We think the world needs Mono Mind more than Mono Mind needs the world. Or is it the other way around?! We need to release more songs first, though. But, short answer: Si, Si!

Q: – Any physical releases?
A: – That’s a very good question! We’re talking about it. Mono Mind is definitely a vinyl group. Si si!

Q: – How did this project come to life? Tell us how you decided to start MM, please?
A: – It’s a very looonnngggg story. We will reveal everything in the Mono Mind book 🙂 or in the Mono Mind musical 🙂 or on Netflix 🙂

Q: – ABBA or Roxette?
A: – HAHAHA. Dr. Robot fell to floor and grabbed after his Voulez-vous T-shirt!

Q: – Your laboratory is in Sweden, but you started spreading your music in the US. Why did you start from there?
A: – It’s the land of opportunities, dear you!

Mono Mind finished the Q&A at appr. 20:10 CET with this bye-bye note: ”That’s all folks! Thank you for all your questions! Until next time, loves!”

Follow Mono Mind on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, check their videos on YouTube and most importantly, listen to them on the usual digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, etc.) and sing along. Enjoy!

Mono Mind shows a real face

The first – and so far the last – time I myself wrote or posted about Mono Mind was almost a year ago. I remember when I saw the lyric video to Save Me A Place (Bridge & Mountain Remix) on SiriusXM’s YouTube channel in September 2017 and couldn’t believe my eyes it was already uploaded a month before. Then I started searching for more info and was amazed by finding out that this song had something to do with David Guetta (at least according to BMI). We’d been wondering since 2014 what kind of project it could have been, what Per worked on with Guetta. Then some more research and found out Mono Mind had existed even longer, since 2016 when they released a song called Sugar Rush, however, it was withdrawn later and Save Me A Place became the gang’s debut single.

I couldn’t imagine how come we (Gessle fans) didn’t know anything about this project until September 2017. Then I remembered some kind of interview in which Per said it’s not important for him anymore to let us hear what he records. He is doing it for fun. That’s something hard to accept for a fan. Not the fun part, but that you might not get to hear ”everything” what your idol records.

Then there were these Mono Mind characters. No real names mentioned, just fantasy names for each of them (we all know PG loves aliases), and how they looked as Per on some of the Party Crasher booklet pics or as the characters on The Per Gessle Selection’s champagne labels.

A playlist including some of Mono Mind’s favorite tunes and musical inspirations across the decades provided one more clue who could be behind MM.

Besides these, there was the voice of Per (that you can recognize no matter how distorted it is) and Helena Josefsson singing, so all the obvious clues who Mono Mind are. Still… I felt kind of guilty writing about them, revealing the connection to PG & Co. Even Billboard kept the whole Mono Mind project a mystery. When the gang entered the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts at No. 39, Billboard still wrote it was a mysterious act. Then bang, in October Save Me A Place (Bridge & Mountain Remix) became the No. 1 dance song on the US radio charts and the No. 1 electronic song on iTunes and Amazon in the US. On the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts SMAP climbed up to No. 2! History repeated itself. Reaching such success in the US without using Per’s fame, just by the music itself. I can imagine it was a fantastic feeling for Mr. G.

And I think then I understood the whole mystery act thing. To get to see how far they can get without revealing who is behind. A bit like Daft Punk (however, it’s a different story) don’t really show their faces and wanted to succeed with their music instead of making too much fuss about who they are. Or The Fireman, the experimental music duo of Paul McCartney and Youth. Even if the band members’ names had been known to the public since soon after their first album release, they remained officially anonymous for 15 years, until their 3rd album release. Blame it on the 21st century and social media, these days it’s even harder to keep such secrets and mysteries.

Fortunately, with every Mono Mind release there are more and more details revealed. Some on purpose, some ”by accident”(?) – a collaborator posts about a common project with his childhood idol here, a digital platform shares Per’s name as the songwriter there. By the latest reveal, namely Helena appearing in the LaLaLove official video shared on several MTV websites I start feeling relieved. That sooner or later all members in Mono Mind show their real faces. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. G, pardon me, Dr Robot in the videos as well.

As per PG, there is nothing left to prove for him, but he proves to be an Artist who can constantly renew and challenge himself, while still keeping his trademark in songwriting. I admire him for being able to do so. He is so incredibly talented!

I can’t say I’m a fan of remixes or better said, I don’t find it interesting enough for me to hear a song in different types of remixes, because I’m mostly interested in the original artist’s thoughts on the arrangement and less in what other musicians think what they could do with a song. There are of course cool remixes. If I have to mention one related to Roxette, then it’s definitely Bassflow. At the same time, I must admit some remixes in general sound better than the original song.

From the 3 Mono Mind releases so far I have 1-1 favourite version. Save Me A Place was released in 5 remix versions and the Bridge & Mountain Remix is the one I consider being the ”original” and that’s what I like the most. I would love to hear an original original of this one though. I Found My Soul At Marvingate sounds the best to me in the Sofa Tunes Remix version, better than the original (being too slow). LaLaLove sounds better in its original version than in the Hugel Remix.

A dream would be to hear the demos one day, without any distorted PG voice. However, I must say Per’s voice sounds attractive to me in any version. 😉

What do we know so far?

So, what we know about Mono Mind so far is that ”is meant to be a musical laboratory where everything is possible. Mono Mind’s home turf is Sweden but the collaborators are plentiful and can be from anywhere. Mixing the inspiration from the current music scene with an insatiable appetite for vintage pop, electronica and ambient music Mono Mind strives for electrifying beauty and something quite different. The journey begins here.”

Members: Dr Robot (Per Gessle), Cooky Carter (Helena Josefsson), Rain Davis (Clarence Öfwerman) and Bright Jones (Christoffer Lundquist).

They started introducing the band members in short videos on their Facebook page, but stopped after 3 Rain Davis, 2 Cooky Carter and 1 Dr Robot videos. Where is a video with Bright Jones?

There was an Ask Anything Chat with the guys and girl last October. It contained more fun & fantasy than reality: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. Very creative with tiny references only hardcore fans can connect to the real people behind.

Songs released so far (credit info from Mono Mind’s website):

  1. Save Me A Place Words by Mono Mind; Music by Mono Mind / Jack Hisbach / Giorgio Tuinfort / Michael Einziger (however, BMI also mentions David Guetta among the composers, so could Jack Hisbach be an alias of DG?)
  2. I Found My Soul At Marvingate Words & Music by Mono Mind
  3. LaLaLove Words by Mono Mind; Music by Mono Mind / Alex Shield

   

NRJ DJ Awards 2018 – Vote!

Why I also decided to write about Mono Mind now is that there is a voting taking place in France. MM is nominated at the French NRJ DJ Awards 2018 in the following two categories – ”Group Of The Year” and ”Club Hit Of The Year” (Save Me A Place – Hugel Remix). They are now in the same league as David Guetta or Tiesto or Armin Van Buuren. It’s already very cool, but imagine if they won! You can all vote until August 26, but the results will be announced at a ceremony only on November 7. Click HERE to vote for the ”Group Of The Year” and HERE to vote for the ”Club Hit Of The Year”. Don’t get scared by the French website. Once you are on the voting site, click Mono Mind. A sign in window will pop up. You can sign in with your Facebook account (that would be the easiest to get through). If you’re signed in for the first time, you will have to validate your e-mail address and click the confirmation link in the e-mail you get. Then you’ll have to go back to the voting site (click the links I mentioned above) and click on Mono Mind again. To be sure that you have really voted, you can see a tick at the category you’ve already voted for. Until you can’t see the tick next to the category, your vote doesn’t count.

Follow Mono Mind!

Some Roxette fans who are not much into jazz or country can identify with Mono Mind’s music more than with any other PG or MF solo project these days and that is also why I think their tunes have to reach more people worldwide.

Follow Mono Mind on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, check their videos on YouTube and most importantly, listen to them on the usual digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, etc.) and sing along. Enjoy!

 

Save Me a Place, Per Gessle!

In case you missed some EDM, here is a recent Per Gessle collaboration in that genre. The song is: Mono Mind – Save Me a Place. Actually, the single was released already on 14th July, but somehow we haven’t heard about it until now. And the most interesting about it is that THIS seems to be the common project with David Guetta from 2014. I share what I found, but we definitely miss some more details. 😉

As stated on Mono Mind’s Facebook page:

Mono Mind is meant to be a musical laboratory where everything is possible. Mono Mind’s home turf is Sweden but the collaborators are plentiful and can be from anywhere.
Mixing the inspiration from the current music scene with an insatiable appetite for vintage pop, electronica and ambient music Mono Mind strives for electrifying beauty and something quite different.

Billboard info on Mono Mind, “Save Me a Place” published on 17th August:

Sweden-based conglomerate Mono Mind starts at No. 39 on Dance/Mix Show Airplay with “Save Me a Place,” the first Billboard chart entry for the mysterious act, which describes itself on its official Facebook page as “a musical laboratory where everything is possible.” “Save” takes the entirety of its airplay from two core-dance outlets: SiriusXM’s BPM and Music Choice’s Dance/EDM channel.

You can listen to the song on these digital platforms or watch the lyric video HERE. Sooo, is that Per Gessle and Helena Josefsson on vocals? Sounds like that! And who is (are?) Mono Mind? PG himself? Hopefully, we get to know more about this project and this whole Mono Mind thing. Actually, there seems to be another song, Sugar Rush, which was also published under Mono Mind already in 2016, but there is much less info about it than about Save Me a Place.

 

Save Me a Place

(David Guetta / Mono Mind / Giorgio Tuinfort)

When you come around
Doesn’t matter when
I’m soakin’ up the sound
I dare to face the bend

And I won’t miss a beat
Attack and then sustain
Lose myself in love
Dryin’ in the rain

And I will look at you
When you look at me
Mighty like a mountain
Precious like a sea

Save me a place next to you
Save me a place next to you

That’s where I wanna be
That’s where I wanna be
That’s where I wanna be

Almost like a prayer
When I go to bed
Underneath the layers
Deep inside my head

And I won’t miss a beat
Attack and then sustain
Lose myself in love
Dryin’ in the rain

I will speak to you
Like you speak to me
Everything’s in motion
Leaves upon a tree

Save me a place next to you
Save me a place next to you

That’s where I wanna be
That’s where I wanna be
That’s where I wanna be

 

Thanx for the hint with the YouTube link, Roxette Rosario!