Interview about “Room Service” on SOL Musica

SOL Musica is a very well known Portuguese and Spanish music channel that, during June, broadcast the promotional interview with Roxette about the new album “Room Service” and about the lead single “The Centre Of The Heart”. The interview was split into six parts, interrupted by small bits of the TCOTH video. While many subscribers to The Daily Roxette may already be familiar with the content, here is a full transcription of the broadcast:

PER GESSLE: We released the last album in the spring of ’99. “Have a nice day” was the title. We were doing promotion on that one and we decided not to tour with it and got back into the studio and started to work on this album in January 2000. Prior to this we worked on the HAND album (1998). It takes about a year to do an album.

MARIE FREDRIKSSON: It feels great. It’s always a lot of fun being together cause we know each other so well. And this album “Room Service” is really… we both like it very much. It has a couple of songs that are much Roxette. It’s a mix of the old days and how we sound today. We’re looking foward to promoting the album.

PG: The new album is a bit a reflection of what we tried to achieve with HAND. This one was the first album in four years and we didn’t know what it was supposed to be like. We just worked in the studio and did different several things. It’s a very complex album in a way because it follows so many different directions. “Room Service” is the opposite because we tried to go back into the classical Roxette. On the HAND album for instance all my vocals are distorted and on this one it’s played much better. We wanted to make it simple, obvious, easy-going and funny. I think this is the most commercial album we have ever done since “Joyride”. We just sat down and wanted to do something that was very much classic Roxette ’cause that’s what we are really good at, doing a POP record.

  We wanted to make an album that could be uptempo and had lots of energy. For many people a classic Roxette record is a big ballad but the ballads on RS are smaller. We have songs like “Milk and Toast and Honey” which could be very pompous but we wanted to do them a litle smaller. We do get tired of ourselves sometimes.

MF: When we work together it all starts with a demo from Per…

PG: My awful demos…

MF: No they are not that terrible (laughs)! This time we started in January last year and began with 5 or 6 songs all written by Per and…

PG: They turned out to be crap…

MF: No that’s not true there were some good ones. Then we took a break and I did my own stuff in Swedish in between these Roxette sessions. But then we re-started again in the end of March or April , I think, we recorded some new stuff and then we did the summer break.

  It’s so easy to work together cause we work for about 5/6 weeks in the studio and then we don’t need each other at all. I sit down writing then i pass him what i did and so on. This makes it so simple, so fresh every time we come to the studio and work togther.

PG: The way you do a record these days is very different from how you used to do it in the 80s when we started out. You work now in computers and “proto” systems and stuff like that. So the whole way of thinking is totally different. The negative side of it is that is very easy to overproduce or overdo things these days.

  Not that long ago in the old days you sat 5 people in the studio you played the song and that was the take. You don’t do that anymore. We don’t do that either. You make drums sound or bass sounds through the computers. So of course that is different and that changes the way of writing and the whole attitude.

PG: The title Room Service we thought it was… I mean, music is filling up a room with energy, communication a sort of room service. We always try to find a concept, an idea when you do a record. It could have been Roxette 7 or 8 or whatever…

MF: This time we recorded the album in Stockholm. I think we worked most of it in a studio called Polar and in another one called Atlantis. It was of course a big difference if we compare it to the HAND album, which was mostly recorded in Spain. It makes a bit easier when you work at home, we have our houses and our families. But it was nice there in Spain because the weather is so much better there than here in this time of the year.

PG: We got more things done in Stockholm because of the weather here is terrible. We spent more time in the studio. Working at Polar was cool, it’s a great studio, where ABBA, Led Zapplin, Genesis,Legacy had also worked in. It still is a very good studio. But it got some terrible restaurants down the road. It still have taxis and stuff like that…

PG: When we made RS as usual we tried to bring new people into the environment. We changed enginners for the sound of this album. And also we started to work with this guy called Shooting Star, a swedish programmer, who is 200 years younger than us (laughs). He’s got his hear into the streets in the a different way, which is an interesting things to do. If i make a demo, for instance, and i give it to him he starts to do it freshens it up in the programmer and in the end it turns out to be a completely different song.

  Well I mean we buy lots of records as always to listen to what’s going on but as i said before we wanted to make a classic Roxette album. Tried to get a litle bit of this a litle bit of that but still very obvious Roxette. Some songs still have the 12-string Rickenbacker guitars. some power chords, classic stuff (laughs)

MF: TCOTH, the first single is actually a very old song. Per wrote it 5 or 6 years ago, something like that. We recorded the first version of TCOTH in Spain when we were recording the HAND album. And then… (to Per) maybe you can tell the story about it, what it is all about TCOTH!

PG: The Spanish version, I mean, the version recorded in Spain was totally different, it was much slower. We felt that it was a good version but we didn’t like that particular version. So we kept it and had another go on for this album. As soon as we speeded up the tempo it started to make sence and sounded like a disco song. It happens the same with “Real Sugar”, it’s good when we can sing it both that makes an unique sound. So it’ s a cool pop song… with some chords changes here and there but it makes sence. It’s like “Frankie goes to Hollywood meets Giorgio Moroder” with disco strings. It’s fun…

MF: It’s always important in the big hits (laughs). We love good pop/rock songs, strong melodies. It’s always been our trademark. All our single have always been very melodic, easy to remember. Everything to “IMHBL” to “Joyride” to “Sleeping In my car”…what’s for the other singles? (to Per) … This is what we really love strong melodies and cool pop/rock songs. Of course we want the new album to be successful because we worked really hard for it. We love to perform and meet our fans. It would be great if we could do a tour in the future…it’s just that we’re older now! But in our hearts we think it should really be big!

PG: We haven’t done a performance for many years so we wanted to perform in the video. The whole idea for the video is being in a room, in several rooms actually, and there are many people in other rooms watching what we’re doing on the TV and lots of things happen in all these rooms. So basically it’s a performance video that takes place in peculiar place.

PG: Madonna Inn…the first time you see it you think it’s a joke because it’ s so american kitch of the 50s. It’s unbelievable but the people working there take it very seriously. It’s all for real, all the rooms, hard to describe them. There are pink, red, green rooms; there are waterfalls in the men’s room; big chandeleirs, Christmas trees, it’s unbelievable and we tried to use all that in the video and in the album sleeve. I’m so surprised no one has ever used that place before bacause it’s so special. Everybody knows it but no one has been there…it’s cool!

PG: I think that we didn’t do anything at all. You don’t change your life for anything just to get inpiration for a new video. Life goes on you do different things all the time. Even when you finish doing an album you start imediatly things on another following a different way. It’s a constant process all the time. You just go with your life with ocassional interference when you have to go to the studio and try to make sence there so it’s nothing really. It’s important i think that you try to… actually after so many years it turn out to be a natural thing. It’s our work the way we communicate we go to to the studio and spend a lot of time making records. It’s the way it’s been since I was 19 it’s a natural thing. That is great cause it’s a natural way of dealing with things.

PG: When we started out as young musicians everything is very romantic all the music industry, going into a studio. But of course things have been changing for a while and there’s not much romantic left for us. In the end it turns out to be a more professional thing. But I think it’s important to maintane the love affair we have with music. We have to be interested in music, you have to be interested in what you’re doing. So in that sence I don’t want to be a professional I still want to be a fan and that close is very crucial to have success. We can always open a “How to make a hit song?” book and have a hit but in the end of the day it won’t last. I mean to have a carrer that goes on for a couple of decades you have to be true to yourself.

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

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June 27th, 2001

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