Per Gessle interview on P4 Extra on Mother’s Day

Titti Schultz did an interview with Per Gessle today on P4 Extra on Swedish Radio. It starts at 1:42:42. After Titti welcomes Per, he says it’s an adorable weekend and the weather is fantastic on the Best Coast (West Coast). He is in Halmstad during corona time, because he lives there. He laughs. He has been home since Easter. Titti asks Per if he is thinking about corona or if everything is as usual. Mr. G says his life hasn’t changed a lot, because he most of the time works alone or only with a very few people. So it’s rather business as usual for him, but he has been very productive during this period. He wrote a lot of English songs and in between, Mamma and Pappa poppud up on a sunny Tuesday morning. He was dealing with a totally different type of music and then suddenly an idea came to his mind that shit, it’s mother’s day soon, so why not writing a song about a mom. It went quite easily and then he thought he should write a song about a dad, too. It was much harder. He laughs. He booked the studio, he worked there for 2 afternoons and then came Helena Josefsson to sing and then it was ready. It happened only in 2 weeks and it never went this fast before.

Titti says she knows Per’s mom is not among us anymore and asked Per if he celebrates her mom on a day like this. He said it doesn’t happen like this directly. Now there is another mom in his family, his wife, so it became rather her day. Per says when you are young, you don’t care too much about Mother’s Day, but by getting older, you think more about how it is to be parents and that kids are growing up. He thinks it’s a nice day. Tradition in their family is to give flowers and cake.

Titti asks Per if he thinks Mother’s Day has more meaning now for other families during corona time. Per thinks it could be. He thinks it’s a very special period we are going through now. It’s something we haven’t experienced before. When there is uncertainty, family and friends are more in focus and you realize that you can’t take any basic things for granted.

Per says he read that there were a lot of weddings cancelled. During this time people either still get married after the social distancing period or they get divorced. Titti says there can be a baby boom too.

Titti gets back to the songs and asks Per about the English songs he has been writing when Mamma and Pappa popped up. Mr. G tells he has Mono Mind, an electronic pop music project, but he was also writing guitar-based classic pop music. He doesn’t know yet what the future brings, but he wants to continue touring and play and make himself heard in a way. What he is writing now is based on the music he grew up with, the 60’s and 70’s (as usual) mixed with modern music. He can’t say anything about when this music will be out, but maybe next Mother’s Day. He laughs.

Titti asks if Per wants to say anything before she pushes the play button for Mamma. Per says just sit calmly and listen to the lovely lyrics and

Mom is the best!

Per Gessle interview on P4 Extra – ”There were so many Maries”

Swedish Radio P4 Extra did an interview with Per Gessle on 25th January, the day when the tribute concert was broadcast on TV. You can listen to it HERE. It starts at 34:10 and lasts until 54:38.

The program leader, Svjetlana Pastuhovic asks Per about the tribute event and if it was like a farewell. Per says it felt like a farewell, in a weird way. It was a strange evening. It was fantastic and tough at the same time. The hardest all the artists thought at the rehearsals was to see all those old videos between the songs for the first time. But later when there was the recording they rather closed themselves into their professional bubbles, so it became a bit easier. Per and Marie have been friends since the end of the ’70s and they did this fantastic journey of Roxette together. Those videos and pics made them remember Marie’s greatness. When you do such a concert it’s even more concrete and of course you get under its effect.

Here you can hear It Must Have Been Love from the tribute event. Only the first part that Per was singing alone, playing his guitar, accompanied by Christoffer. The program leader asks Mr. G how it was to play this song. Per says it was OK. He played it in this arrangement earlier too, so it wasn’t really new. But this is Marie’s song. He wrote it for Marie. One can hear it’s a hard work for him to sing it, but for Marie it was a piece of cake. She was singing it magnificently. Svjetlana asks what IMHBL means to Per. He says it is one of Marie’s signature songs. When you hear it you immediately think of Marie. It’s important in Roxette’s history, the Pretty Woman movie, how it all happened. All their songs have their own history, but this one is maybe their biggest ever. Then comes Listen To Your Heart and The Look.

The program leader asks what Per thinks was Marie’s secret of having an effect on so many people. Per doesn’t really know, but he says there were so many Maries. She wrote so many songs, she was a fantastic songwriter. She wrote and sang about things everyone could relate to. She was a talented artist on stage too, one of the best Per has ever seen. She owned the stage and the crowds even in huge football stadiums with 50-60000 people in the audience. That requires a special personality. And one of course one can’t forget about her amazing voice. She was a very complete artist, but at the same time she stayed a small town girl. All this was in her DNA and Per thinks people felt that.

Svjetlana shares her memory of a concert where she went with her mother. It was at Brottet, in Halmstad. Then she asks about how it was to work with Marie. Per repeats that there were so many Maries. She has always been very ambitious, mainly at the beginning. Mr. G tells the story that they printed T-shirts with the text ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world” when they were recording their first album. They had a common dream. From day 1 they wanted to conquer the world. Everyone wanted Marie to concentrate on her solo career, but she wanted to work with Per. They were very good friends and had much fun together. They were a team where 1 + 1 makes 3. Per had the capacity to write all those songs and Marie had the capacity to sing them. And the better Marie was singing, the better songs Per was writing. They triggered each other. The last album before Marie got ill was Room Service (recorded in 2000) and until then everything worked like this. Later it became different of course, she was good in another way. The comeback she did in 2009 and lasted until 2016 was absolutely incredible. The doctors advised her not to tour, but she wanted to. She was longing for the stage and meeting her fans, as well as making a new Roxette album.

Here they listen to Den ständiga resan and then they talk about the fact that Per mentioned Marie was like a sister to him. Per says many thought over the years that they were a couple, but they never were. They were very close friends and it was more like a sister-brother relationship between them. But when you are working together so intensively, the friendship changes with time. When they were on tour constantly, it wasn’t Marie who Per called first when they finally got home. This is how a good marriage or a good friendship works according to Mr. G.

The program leader asks if they liked fame. Per says they could do another program about fame. Svjetlana is happy to invite him for another program where this would be the topic. Haha. One wants to achieve success with his music and at the same time you have this pop star dream. There are many negative things around when you are famous. For example, you go out and you always have to take selfies with people. It’s a special life, but it’s OK. Per thinks those who want to become famous don’t know what it is all about. But once you become famous, you can’t rewind the tape. Svjetlana asks if Per regrets it. He says absolutely not, but it affects your life all the time. In 1991 they did 1800 interviews in 7 months. But this is how the music industry works. Marie disliked all those promotional trips. It was very tough for her. Per tried to understand that this is how the industry works, so they need to do that to be able to compete with other bands. Marie didn’t like it, but she was a pro. They did all those many TV shows, back then it was playback almost all of them. You can find them on YouTube.

Many of Roxette’s songs are still played on the radio. Svjetlana asks how it feels for Per. He says he wrote all these songs, they are his babies and of course he would like to perform them still. He is very proud of them. But he also knows the soul in those songs was Marie. He tells he was touring with his own band in 2018 and played a lot of Roxette songs. It worked, but it was a different thing. One has to accept that Marie is not there anymore and it will never be the same as it was, but life goes on in a way.

They finish the interview with Things Will Never Be The Same which Per asked to be played.

Per Gessle and Micke Syd Andersson on P4 Extra

Per and Micke Syd were guests on Swedish Radio P4 Extra. Listen HERE! Their part starts at 28:40 and lasts until 53:35.

Reporter Titti Schultz asks the guys how long they have known each other. They say too long. Titti asks Micke if he worked at a bar before and what he did there. Micke Syd says he did everything except for doing the washing up.

Titti is curious if it is really going to be the last tour and the guys confirm it is. She asks how many summer songs they promise to release on the new album. Per says he doesn’t know, but there will be a lot of summer songs on tour.

Det är över nu is played and Titti shares with the listeners that Micke was air drumming in the studio during the song. Per says Det är över nu and also Sommartider, Det hjärta som brinner or Tylö sun for example are songs that can’t be rehearsed, because it’s a bit comic without an audience.

The guys say it’s the ’90s when they sounded the best. It was the period when they came back for the first time, with songs like Det är över nu, Kung av sand, Juni, juli, augusti, Gå & fiska!

Titti says one of her absolute favourite GT songs is Juni, juli, augusti and asks the guys if they have any favourite GT songs. Micke Syd says Juni, juli, augusti is much fun to play live. Per picks Faller ner på knä.

Talking about the new album, Samma skrot och korn, Per says it’s a bit more adult, more thoughtful and also sentimental and sad vs. their previous albums. It’s very nice pop music. The title refers to the band members. The guys recorded it in France and they went through a creative process that couldn’t have happened in a studio in Stockholm.

Regarding the tour Per and Micke say there will be some unexpected happenings, surprises, but they can’t tell anything about it yet. Micke Syd jokes there will be pole dance. Haha.

Titti asks if the guys are sentimental and feel nostalgic now that all this comes to an end. Micke Syd says he became sentimental already in France. At last there is a song again that HE sings, Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga! Titti asks if she can get a little snippet a capella. Per jokes that then he has to go away.

To the question if they get together often, the guys replied that they didn’t meet the five of them together since the last tour, but the recording sessions in France were fantastic and much fun.

About the new single, Jag drömde jag mötte Fluortanten, Per says there is a little Van Morrison turn in it, which is a little unexpected. Titti says this must be the very first song about a Fluortant. The song is played on the radio.

Titti asks Per if he could write a song like Flickorna på TV2 today and Mr. G replies he couldn’t. Titti asks if they will play it this summer. Per says for sure, because it’s great to play it. Regarding the setlist Per says they circulated a list of 51 songs that they will narrow down to 25-26 songs. There are 17-18 songs that they MUST play, but then they also want to include surprises and songs from the new album. The concerts are planned to be 2 hours long.

Titti thinks fans in the ’80s were different than fans today. Per says they are not, it’s juts that we live in a different era. It’s just that there is social media and mobile phones nowadays. Titti asks if there are groupies around, Micke Syd says no, they never really had the talent for that, to have groupies waiting for them at the hotel.

Faller ner på knä is played, but cut short due to news.

Titti asks Micke Syd if he has become a better drummer over the years. Micke says he has, just not technically, but how he plays. When he plays elsewhere, even when he played for Roxette in June Afternoon or She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, it’s different vs. when he plays in GT. In Gyllene Tider it’s like coming home. In France for example the recordings went so fast, because they went with the flow.

Titti asks how they know a song is ready. Per says a song develops all the time. When they play it live it becomes different. He thinks sometimes it’s a pity that one writes a song, they record it in the studio and take it to an audience only later. It could be the other way around, playing the song for an audience 20-30 times before recording it.

 

Gessle doesn’t take life for granted – Per Gessle interview by P4 Extra

Per Gessle was the guest of the day on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio on 26th April. The interview with him was done by Johar Bendjelloul. If you listen to the 113 min online version (including music), Per is on from 28:44 to 52:07, if you listen to him in the downloadable mp3 version of the program, he is on from 15:00 to 33:27.

Johar first talks about Per’s career that he sold an unbelievable amount of albums, 80 million with Roxette, Gyllene Tider and solo. Then he welcomes Per, the hitmaker music nerd in the studio.

They talk about last year’s announcement that Roxette had to stop touring and that this way Per had much free time left. Per thought he would do something different than what he did during the past 5 years. Johar asks Per if Roxette is over. Per replies touring is definitely over, but if they will record something together in the future, he doesn’t know, doesn’t think so.

The guys are talking about country capital Nashville, why Per chose that location. Per says he started writing songs in Swedish. Acoustic based songs with the lyrics and voice in focus, in really simple production. First he thought he would record in London or in France, but then the idea came why not making the obvious fusion of Nashville and Halmstad. Per says he always liked classic country, Neil Young or Gram Parsons.

Johar and Per are talking about Per’s voice. Per has not always liked his own voice. In the beginning he had a huge problem with his voice actually, he thought it sounded bad. Not that he sang badly, but the sound of his voice was bad. But later he learned it’s special and sometimes it’s quite good even (laughs). He says he talked a lot about it with his psychologist. Haha.

There is a premiere of ”Min plats” in the program. Per says it’s the type of song you need to have on an album. It’s the opening song and it sets the tone of what Per wants to say with this album. There is pedal steel, violin and acoustic instruments in it. Per and Helena Josefsson are singing on this track. It’s a 3-minute-long song. (You can listen to it in the online version of the interview from 32:10 to 35:15.)

Johar asks Per why he chose to work with new musicians while he is known as a control freak. Per says he is not really a control freak, just a little bit. He tries to put himself into new situations and it was really good to work with these musicians. The pedal steel player, the violin player. Per wanted something new to happen.

Per talks about the fact that he releases 2 albums. ”En vacker natt” now and ”En vacker dag” in September. He says he had so much material and it felt too much to include all on one album only.

The guys are talking about the album cover. There is Per’s sister, Gunilla on the cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per’s sister died last autumn and his son found a box full of photos. The picture is from the ’60s and Per thought this one fits the album and he dedicates this album to his sister. ”En vacker dag” is dedicated to his mother, Elisabeth. Per tells his sister, mother and brother have died during the past three years. He has been the youngest in the family and now he is the only one left. It of course has affected him, but it’s not directly in there in the songs. You realize that time passes and nothing stands still. And that’s what you reflect on when you grow older. When you are young, you take it for granted and there is an energy and a hunger that decreases over the years. It’s an important ingredient in pop music, however, it’s not pop music now on these two albums. There is an obvious connection between youth and pop music. Per thinks the task of pop music is to reflect its own time. Pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s is very typical of its own time and also today’s pop music is very typical.

Johar wants a confirmation from Per that he won’t give up on pop music and Per says take it easy, he won’t. Haha. Johar says a lot of Per’s songs and lyrics will remain after Per will be gone. Per asks if Johar really thinks so. He asks Per what he thinks about it now that they are talking about the passing of time and deaths. Per says he doesn’t know, he doesn’t think about it. Johar is surprised and asks if Per doesn’t think his songs are classic. Johar mentions for example Sommartider being played at the school year end happenings in Sweden. Per says it’s just not a pleasant thing to think about his songs remaining after he’s gone. So they just move on to another topic.

They start talking about Per’s books he published 3 years ago, “Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, sketches & reflections”. Per laughs and says it was exhausting to collect all the things together, because it was too much material. But he was happy that people liked the end result. The books are a compilation of studio diaries, Per’s lyrics and all possible stuff. During the project, reading through and checking all things, he saw how different the ‘80s and ‘90s were. For Per, writing lyrics is a bit like writing a diary in a certain way. Sometimes he writes lyrics including what happened during the day. He writes about things he likes. Love, disappointment, stuff people can identify with. Johar says it’s kind of magical that people can feel Per’s songs are like they are written about themselves.

The guys listen to Dolly Parton’s song, Jolene. Per thinks it’s a fantastic song. Johar says the listeners couldn’t see it, but Per was listening to this song intensively, concentrating deeply on it in the studio. Johar asks Per what he thinks as a songwriter, what is the success behind this song. Per says the songwriters succeeded with everything here. For example, there is the exact same chord in both the verses and the choruses. The same chord goes round and round. It has a classic country text of a nice story. It’s a wonderful song, wonderfully arranged with pedal steel. When talking about the country milieu, Per says, on the new album he used milieu sounds between the songs.

Johar asks Per about songwriting again, if he sees colors when he writes. Per says he is always looking for some certain color, the temperature of the song. In a way it’s hard to explain though that he wants a yellow song with a little blue in it. On the new album there is everything possible. There is a certain melancholy. It’s very melodic and effectively arranged.There is happiness and there is sadness.

The guys are talking about the summer tour. Johar states Per tours terribly much, all his life, actually. He asks Per if he still finds it fun. Per replies it’s totally amazing, it’s the best thing. He likes the creative process in the studio, but it’s damn good to stand on stage and perform to the crowd. He is looking very much forward to this summer. Johar says a lot of artists say they hate touring, but Per enjoys it much. He says there is of course a price you pay, for example you wake up in a new bed each day and you don’t know where to find the toilet. Whether it’s on the left or on the right. Haha.

Johar mentions he read that Per was in Nashville once before he recorded his album. Per says he was, but can’t really remember. It was when they toured with Roxette in the US.

Johar asks Per if he likes attending other artists’ concerts. Per says sometimes he goes to shows, but often it’s boring, because tons of artists have pre-recorded CDs. It’s not like cheating, it’s just a style. Some music in the digital technology can’t be played live. But of course, he likes to attend concerts. To the question which was the last concert he saw and liked Per replies he has to think about it for a long time. He doesn’t know, he can’t say it. And here, the interview ends with this unanswered question.

 

Interview with Marie on P4 Extra: “I am looking forward to the tour!”

Marie was interviewed by Erik Blix on P4 Extra. Marie talked about the upcoming tour, meeting her fans and also about a project she has longed to do for a long time: something with jazz and soul.

Here is a summary of what Marie said:

Erik Blix thinks that Marie’s blonde haircut is a kinf of signature, and wonders if people would recognise her otherwise. “Haha! Well, I have had it for such a long time..  haha who knows, but yes, everybody is used to it now”.

Erik Blix congratulates Marie on the Hall of Fame selection and asks her if she thinks an artist is missing “naah.. haha I don’t think so.. but.. there are many great bands out there”.

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Marie will go on tour in just 11 days and she is looking forward to it. “I am just so much looking forward to it,” she says. She hasn’t been on tour for more than 10 years, Marie explains that she has been touring with Roxette the past years and that things just take some time. But now the time has come.  Marie explains that they are having so much fun at the rehearsals and that it feels exciting to perform her songs in Swedish.

The reporter wonders if she still feels nervous when it comes to touring. She tells that she does! Marie also explains that it makes a difference if she is on tour with Roxette, because Per is a great support, and now she feels a bit of alone on stage, but she has a great band with her, so it’s going to be fantastic.

Erik Blix saw that there are some competitions for meet&greets with Marie and wonders how it is to meet her fans. “It’s going to be great, meeting my fans is the best there is because they have always supported me and believed in me.” The reporter wonders if there aren’t any crazy fans who for example want to cut off a bit of her hair or something like that “yes, sure, there are many idiots out there, but most of them are extremely nice, they are the best.”

Marie’s latest album is called “Nu!” – this means live for her, just living the moment. That’s how she’s living right now, after all what she’s gone through. She explains that she tries not to plan long-term and just enjoy what happens now. Of course, she has become better in living the moment because of her illness. She also explains that she loves to just sit down and listen to birds sing, specially when birds start to wake up and show up again. She reveals she can even distinguish some of the birds she hears tweet.

It took Marie and Micke a long time to finalise “Nu!”, but now that it’s finally out, Erik Blix wonders how it feels to release something that they have been working on for so long. She says it feels great, to just be done with it and then look forward to the next project. The album is full of love, Marie talks about her husband Mikael Bolyos who has supported her all the way and has written (with other composers) most of the songs on the album. She explains that it takes very long for her to write texts, so she is happy that she wrote “Sista sommarens vals” and it turned out so nice.

Erik and Marie look back in time into the 80ies and even before that, when Marie was into the “progg” movement, but she doesn’t want to talk much about that “haha! it was cool.”

Marie also reveals that there is one thing she really wants to do: start with her jazz project again. “I love jazz and blues and always wanted to do something with that.” But she doesn’t want to reveal any details, even if the reporter tries to find out if she will record old jazz songs or new ones, “no sorry, cannot talk about it, haha! it’s too early!”

Marie also tells that she hates winter and snow and that therefore she loves her house in Spain. She gets inspiration there and she writes music and also paints.

Erik Blix asks about her illness and what it has given to her. She is happy that she managed and that she is here now. There was a time when she had to take many pills (up to 25 a day even!) and it was very hard, but she was always sure inside that she would manage. Her faith helped her too as well as the fact that she has always believed in herself and, of course, her family. Marie doesn’t want to go into further details about her faith, but she tells that she sang a lot in the church when she was a kid and it gave her strength, so she grew up with it and it means a lot to her. She also explains that nowadays she feels fine but that when she is tired she has problems with one leg, but “I have started to like my leg, haha”.

Roxette and Marie have done music for some films (Pretty Woman, Arn, Sånt är livet…), so the reporter wonders if she could choose, for which film would she have liked to make music for. Marie tells that there are many great films out there, so it’s very hard just to pick up one.

Erik comments on Marie’s rock look and some pictures where she is wearing T-shirts of Beatles or Ramones, she explains that she just liked the T-shirts and got them. Of course, she loves the bands too. Specially Jimmi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell meant a lot to her, but also a lot more. She listened to them when she was a kid, she is not much up-to-date nowadays, but she explains that her son has a great ear for music and has a great music taste, also her daughter, they like all kinds of music.

The first Marie thought when she was asked to sing at Princess Madeleine’s wedding was “oh, what am I going to wear? haha!”. She was very happy that the Princess asked her to sing at her wedding and what was amazing for her was that she wanted to listen to “Ännu doftar kärlek”, she felt very proud about that. So they rehearsed a lot and she also found a dress to wear that day. For Marie this song means strength.