A word with Per regarding the new album

STOCKHOLM - Per, the last time we spoke you were doing the final touches of the mixing, now the album finally is mastered and finished and the sleeve is done. Do you still feel it's "tuh-riffic"? Is there anything you are especially happy with this time? Is there anything you aren't happy with?

I'm extremely pleased with the album, I'm a very lucky man indeed, having this profession. I'm also glad that I managed to convince everyone that this brilliant EP had to be included! The four "extra" songs are as important as the other fourteen, no sub-standard third division tracks here, dear boy! And getting Anton Corbijn onboard doing the cover shots was terrific. He's the best there is! And really hard to track down!
The whole package looks fantastic and feels very personal and even slightly "luxurious". Just the way I like it.

You mention in the liner notes that you recorded "En händig man" with horns and that it somehow ruined the song, what went wrong?

Well, nothing went wrong. Clarence and Christoffer wanted to try out a brass and a string section. But I felt my voice sort of disappeared in the arrangement. I had a completely different route planned for this song. The version you hear on the album and single is more or less the way I wanted it to be. But you know, you have to try different things all the time otherwise everything would sound the same at the end of the day.

Which songs on the album are your favorites, at the moment?

"Min hälsning" became an unexpected winner. It's recorded completely live in the studio with vocals and all. "Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke” became just as good as I had hoped for. That’s probably my favorite track of them all. "Samma gamla vanliga visa" has that lovely '70s pop feeling that I adore. Sort of like "Hjärta utan hem" from "Finn 5 fel!." But I like all the songs, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it to the album, right! "Hon vill sväva över ängarna" from the EP is also excellent in my book. And "Pratar med min müsli" has got a killer organ-intro!

What can you tell us about this year's tour? Have you decided what you'll play yet? "Mazarin," English material, Gyllene Tider, Plumber, a mix? We talked about it the last time as well, but you hadn't yet decided. You did order sun, didn't you?

Yep, I have booked a heatwave and sunshine throughout July and August! You can do that at Ticnet nowadays. But I haven’t, believe it or not, decided what to play yet! We'll try out lots of songs during the rehearsals. But for sure, a few GT sledgehammers will be included but no Rox. Hardly any SOAP, I guess I'll be sticking to the Swedish bonanza.

"Om jag vetat då" was written as "If I'd Known Then (What I Know Now)" for Roxette 2002, but it was never recorded. Was there no time or…? I also happen to know that Gyllene was scheduled to record it for "Finn 5 fel!," but it never showed up there either. What happened?

Regarding Rox, there wasn’t any time, Marie was ill so we had to concentrate on just one track. So we chose "Opportunity Nox" instead. Regarding GT: the song didn't fit the concept. Everyone in the band liked it but we felt we needed another type of material for that particular record. But for this album, it was perfect.

My favorites are, just like yours, "En underbar tanke" and "Om du kommer ihåg." They both have great lyrics and amazing, sweet melodies. I come to think of "Om du kommer ihåg" as a prelude to "På promenad genom stan," am I right or is it subconscious?

The lyrics to "På promenad gemon stan" are quite old so I don't know… I haven't really thought about it. "Om du kommer ihåg" I’m very proud of. It has one of those very intimate lyrics and melody lines that just pops up in your head. In my head anyway… hard to put my finger on it. I wrote the melody and the lyrics at the same time in my library here in Stockholm, they fit rather good together. And my fingerpicking is of course out of this world, ha ha ha…

"Min hälsning" is an old (1978) Gyllene Tider-song, how in the world did you find that again? One can recognize your harmonies from that era, I think, "Parkens paviljong" et cetera, what do you say, old chap?

I was looking for old demos and tapes that looks "vintage" and worn and can be shown in the forthcoming PG-book and I ran into this old cassette. I had totally forgotten about it. I remember I liked the song a lot at the time, but it didn't fit into the concept of the first GT album. Mind you, I kept the old lyrics except two sentences in the second verse that were truly awful. Sorry to say…. I've forgotten who the song was about… such a shame…

I understand. So will there be any record signings, as usual?

Yes, full speed ahead in Stockholm June 13, Halmstad June 15 and Gothenburg June 16.

If you got to choose the next single (which I know you don't want to,) what would you pick?

Probably "Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke." I think it can be really really powerful live. It’s got that semi-religious feel to it, hallelujah, have a beer and a smile, you know what I mean?

Actually I do! Now, "En händig man" (the album) both tastes and smells 50 % Mazarin and 50 % Plumber I think, a very nice mix in my ears. Is it the Skåne soil, your cooperation, or what is it that makes the sound so cozy and nice?

Half way through recording the SOAP-album I almost wished it was done in Swedish instead because it felt so damn personal. So very much "me". And in Swedish, of course, it gets even more personal and intimate. So my original idea with EHM was to make a slightly similar album but in Swedish! Something that was improvised, warm and very relaxed. After I had made SOAP I felt that, now I can retire, ha ha ha, this is the ultimate album, the best I can possibly achieve. But then a bunch of Swedish songs kept appearing in my hazy lazy afternoons. Most of EHM was written on the balcony in Halmstad last summer.

I really love working with Christoffer & Clarence, I love their generosity and brilliance and how they transform my usually quite vague and silly ideas into something unique and meaningful, at least for me. It such a treat to have them around.

I know that some fans want the old heavier powerpop sound back, but I'm not in that part of the universe at all at the moment. I want to make beautiful, personal, delicate music showing as little muscle as possible. I want my recordings to sound like springtime forever!!!! I might return to a heavier drum sound and a zillion overdubbed guitars sometime in the future, but at the moment that feels very remote.

The EP feels like an entity of its own, one that could well stand totally alone. What made these four songs end up on it?

We made dozens of different running orders and simply liked the one we ended up with. "Solen kom från ingenstans" was the ending track of the album until "Min hälsning" was born. And we couldn’t find any other position on the album for "Solen…". But on the EP it’s perfect.
In the end it's all about the perfect balance between up tempo tracks and ballads, warm acoustic sounds and young frenzy. And with this running order the album ended up being approximately 40 minutes, which was a target of mine. And…if you want even more, please go ahead… the EP is there for you. Pretty clever, I thought…

Indeed it is! What else can we expect in the future? Demos, iTunes specials, things like that? More Bad Hair Day á la En händig man?

I'm sure, but nothing I can talk about right now.

Are you worried about the alleged bad ticket sales? And is it really that bad after all?

No no no! It was so predictable that the evening/gossip papers should compare EHM with the GT25 tour. And that’s an impossible act to follow. Everybody knows that. GT25 had about 25-26,000 people per show, Mazarin had almost 9,000 which is VERY good in itself and I think that's where the EHM tour will end end up as well.
By comparison the major Swedish tours during the last few years has had an average of around 4,000.
But Jeez… does it really matter? The album is finished and I feel good about it and it's gonna be released soon. That's what’s important to me. If there are 7,000 or 17,000 at my concerts doesn’t really matter really. Except for the hot dog vendors.

True enough, true enough. We get to meet a few more figures from the Gessle universe this time; TomTom, Karolina, Dixy and a girl that has been around before; Hanna (from Gyllene Tider's unreleased song Henry, dansa inte disco), where do these people come from? Do we get to hear more about them? Are they friends with Jo-Anna, Billy, Chrissie and the others?

Yes, they belong to the same sect.

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

  ★ The author:
Thomas Evensson

  ★ Publishing date:

May 30th, 2007

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