Per meets TDR 2015 – Round 1

This time of year it’s both hard to find Per as he sneaks away for his tanning vacation, as well as hard for Per to find time to answer our nagging questions. He didn’t get any rain this time around, so just now we got the response, and once again from on board an airplane!

Hello Per Gessle in the sun! Happy New Year!

’Ullo you Daily Roxers. Hope you’re doing good in 2015! You deserve the best!

Per, the set list is almost identical to the previous tour. Was this a conscious decision?

– Well, the playlist is not identical. The running order is brand new which means that the flow of the concert is quite different. As well as removing several songs from the last tour we’ve also extended ”How Do You Do!”, added ”Real Sugar”, ”The Heart Shaped Sea” and good ol’ ”Queen Of Rain.”

And the ”Watercolours In the Rain”-version is quite refreshing with Dea and Marie becoming the most charming duo, don’t you think?

Yes, that’s what we hear, although most of our team didn’t have the chance to go to Russia.

– There will be more alternations and additions as time goes by, but it’s hard to escape the fact that there are about fifteen songs we ”have to” play considering we visit so many new places and cities all the time. We’ve decided to work within the ”Greatest Hits”-concept because that’s what most people want from us. And as a fan, I understand that. That’s the way I want it to be if I go and see Tom Petty or Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen or Engelbert Humperdinck.

I want to hear my favorite songs!

On the other hand, it could be fun one day to do the entire Look Sharp! or Joyride-album. With a few extras. It’s on the list.

Engelbert Humperdinck, that was before my time, does he have many hits in his repertoire? Regarding the new material in 2015. Do you have a specific sound or style you want for the new songs? Guitar based? Dancey? Etc

The new material is still very much ”work-in-progress” so I can’t really comment on it that much at this point. We’ve only recorded and mixed a few songs so far. However, most of it is written and demoed.

Yes, since we wrote this you have mentioned Chris mixing on Facebook a few times. You also mentioned the new XXX stage is coming in 2015, any hints or clues as to what we can expect?

– It’s very expensive…

An updated Rox Box is set to be released in 2015, what can fans expect from this project?

– Some major Warner-markets wanted this box-compilation since we’re touring a lot so we waved the green flag. We updated the box with a few recent songs as well as new comments and pics and layout. It’s a beauty. Buy two and give one to your mother.

Looking back on the opening leg of the tour, how do you feel it went?

– Awesome. The band is extremely good, we never really do ”bad” shows. If it’s gonna be a killer gig it’s all about the venue, the crowd and if Marie’s in top shape. She’s had some problems with her right leg a couple of times and that affects her focus, of course. But most of the time she’s terrific.

Yes, questions about Marie’s health made the news at one point, how is she doing and what can we expect from her in 2015?

– Marie’s fine, otherwise she wouldn’t go on tour. Like I mentioned, she sometimes has a problem with her leg. That’s what happened at one of the gigs before Xmas when she fell on stage during “The Big L.” She got stuck with one foot in the mike stand and off she went.

Things like that happens. And will probably happen again. But she’s really motivated to work with Roxette and her singing is still stunning.

In fact I think her singing gets better and better.

– I’m sure you agree that considering what she’s been through the last decade or so, it’s sensational this band is still alive and kickin’.


– The health issues that are the side effects from her cancer are something we all have to live with. Me, personally, don’t think about it too much.

I just love the fact that she’s enjoying what she’s doing and is delivering magic to the world so very often. It’s a pleasure and an honor to share the stage with her.

Some fans have noted that a lot of the same arrangements have returned for the classic Rox tracks. Can we expect some changes to some songs, will we be whistling to “Joyride” once again in the near future?

– Well, I can’t see us going back to the old days when it comes to the live arrangements. In the past we tried to present the songs in concert just the way they sounded on the records. That’s not the ambition anymore.

But but some whistling…?

– As you might know we don’t have any click tracks, sequencers or computers at all on stage these days so many of the ”production-tricks” and gimmicks are left out. We like to play everything 100 % live and keep it extremely organic and I love to be the 2nd guitarist and have a proper musical responsibility in the live situation, not only singing my parts. I didn’t have that in Roxette before Christoffer joined as the lead guitar player and we changed the concept.

10900170_10152616839062799_8090566285579474339_oAccording to our Aussie readers, at one point the “Roxette” section was removed from record stores and now, you recently announced a special show on the steps of the iconic Sydney opera house, what does a gig like this mean for you at this stage of Roxette’s career? I mean, how big is this?

Well, you have to remember that being away from the spotlight for so many years, like Roxette were, will make any artist disappear and move back into the shadows. Especially in the Top 40-field where we have our glorious roots.

New generations pop up all the time with new heroes and new favorite faces to adore. So, the Oz reception is really remarkable. The last tour down under got really crazy out of nowhere and it looks like the upcoming one will be something very special as well. We were very thrilled and excited to be invited to do the Sydney Opera House-thing. It will be magic. You should come! Put on your Men At Work T-shirt and have a Vegemite sandwich!

Weeell, it’s a tad far for me personally, but we will send our main Aussie Stevo, if that works for you? Moving on, comparing your latest album sales versus your touring success. It’s clear that Roxette has now very much become a live act and not so much a charts band anymore – with that in mind, what’s the motivation for going back into the studio? What is it that Roxette has to say musically in 2015?

– Most artists that have been around for decades don’t have hit singles anymore. We had a decent sized one in 2011 with ”She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” which surprised us all. And the Charm School-album actually went to No 1 in Germany because of it. Unbelievable when you think about it.

So, I consider working in the studio and playing live to be two different things. In the old days you went on tour to promote your latest album, it doesn’t work like that anymore.

The whole music industry has changed so much. The way people are listening to music these days is so different. It has become a very song oriented market with streaming and YouTube etc and if you don’t get any airplay on the radio or a hit single through any other format nobody is gonna hear about your new long play. The ”older” artists, used to working within the album-format are, of course, the ones most affected by this.

I see the studio as a tool where I can explore new fantasies and challenge myself as a writer and producer. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to pick either working in the studio or doing a live show I would most likely have picked the studio. That’s where I’m feeling most creative. I’m a songwriter to begin with.

On the other hand, I have toured so much the last six years for one simple reason: I love that too.

I truly adore to be in a band playing live and to communicate with all those beautiful people who are interested in my songs. It’s a blessing to have both worlds around the bend.

I hope it will stay like that forever. And by the way, I do think Roxette will have hit singles in the future as well. We’ve got the power.

I for one cross my fingers (or hold my thumbs as we say in Sweden.) Speaking to the live-Per; feedback from the fans regarding the new tour is that they love the flashy adrenaline building intro before “Sleeping in My Car.” Whose idea was this and can we expect more cool tricks in 2015 such as this?

Nice reading. I guess the idea came from me after conversations with our lighting guy and it was created in an instant by Mister Magnus. He’s a closet EDM-freak! Very talented but a lousy ping pong-player.

When can we expect more dates to be revealed for the XXX tour? You mentioned North and South America before, will they get a visit this time around?

– I can’t really say. There are a few more European dates being official quite soon that you don’t know about yet. South and North America will probably happen in the autumn of 2015 or in the spring/summer of 2016. South Africa will most likely also happen. Asia? Maybe.

One of the ideas behind this tour was to take pretty long breaks between the continents so there is time to do other projects as well. And most people in the band have families and kids and pets and don’t want to be on the road too many weeks in a row. People have hobbies, I hear.

Hobbies?? Losers. In the past year you’ve collaborated with different producers, specifically those in the world of EDM. Now that’s a hobby! Has this experience given you a changed insight or approach as to how you go about creating new material? Or has it done the opposite and confirmed that your way is the preferred option?

– Both. I have changed a bit musically since I started trying out things with new people, including EDM-folks like David Guetta etc. There is so much music I have written and recorded since early 2013 that you haven’t heard. It’s been a revelation for me. I really needed that.

At the same time I came to a point when I started to appreciate my ”traditional” songwriting-skills and beliefs and I guess the new Rox-album will reflect the effects of all this. Some of you will love it. Others will cry, call in sick and desperately dig for the closest Bon Jovi compilation.

Bon Jovi are underrated, ask Clarence. Looking back, what are some of your favorite songs of 2014?

Oh, most of them are the obvious ones that you’ve heard so many times on the radio lately.

”Prayer In C” by Robin Schultz/Lilly Wood & The Prick, ”My Gun” by Tove Lo, ”It’s All About That Bass” by that girl I can’t pronounce.

Meghan Trainor…

There are more; ”Burn” by Ellie Goulding, ”Crazy Something Normal” by Donkeyboy and ”Safe And Sound” by Capital Cities all got a superb productions. These last three probably came out in 2013 but I’m a late bloomer!

”Monument” by Röyksopp is truly fantastic, ”Halmstad” and ”Cecilia” by Linnea Henriksson are awesome, the latest Lana del Rey album is stunning sometimes, ”I stan” by Fritjof & Pikanen sounds really young and makes me feel curious about everything. The best Swedish single of the year for me has been ”Underhåll oss” by Love Antell. I love that one.

At the same time I’ve enjoyed the most recent Leonard Cohen-album a lot and today I’ve played that old ”Time Will Crawl” by David Bowie at least seven times! And the latest record I bought (yes, I still buy CD’s and LP’s) was a ’60s compilation of instrumental hits. And a Jim Reeves-album.

Right. My dad loves Jim Reeves, lovely voice.

– Oh, and everyone tells me I have to listen to the latest The War On Drugs-album. I haven’t. Maybe I should.

Magnus jokes on stage that he likes the Joyride album because of “Excited.” He’s not the only one. Has this, “almost-a-single” been considered for the tour?

– Yes, it has. It might show up. It’s a tough one to play live but it’s one of my favorites too.

Last tour you guys responded to various fan site polls and performed “Silver Blue.” This time around, did you check out some of the fan fave requests ?

– Of course, we’re Touched By the Hand of Roxers.

Ha ha, OK. Thank you for your time, and if we don’t talk before next week: Happy Birthday from the team.

Quick summary:

  • – New Rox Box in the works!
  • – Working with Guetta has made Per appreciate new writing as well as made him grateful for traditional approach
  • – New songs are still a “work in progress
  • – “(Do you get) Excited?” MIGHT get played
  • – Expect an “expensive” XXX Stage Design!
  • – No more whistling in “Joyride” (sorry Stevo)
  ★ The author:
Thomas Evensson

  ★ Publishing date:

January 7th, 2015

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This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Per Gessle, TDR:Roxette.

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  • Ettexor

    thank’s for interview 😉 i hope in a new single by getta whit per’s voice and can’t wait for the tour….. I am very happy for the concert in Italy, but unfortunately I can not go and I am very sad because I’ve been waiting for so many years; unfortunately my friends fans around Italy have preferred to organize their own ….. I hope to see the concert on you tube!

  • Barry Mieny

    Well, seeing as the greatest hits releases have now been done to death it’s only logical that they start releasing basically the same box set over and over…

  • Daniela

    Very interesting interview!

  • Skyrider

    Thank you for the interview. I’m really curious about the new Rox material.

  • Alejandro

    Per is such an inspiring guy. I could spend hours reading his interviews.

    • Scott Johnson

      I agree!

  • Thomas Lawrie-Clark

    Wow, interesting to hear that there will be a new version of the RoxBox this year. I’m hoping for some additional unreleased demos with Marie on vocals. One can but hope! Wonder when it will be released? Any ideas TDR?

    Also – looking forward to seeing the new XXX Stage design and of course the setlist and merchandise!

    • Um yes, but we aren’t allowed to talk about it, yet. 🙂

      • Thomas Lawrie-Clark

        Thought that would be the case. Well, I just hope the RoxBox will be released in time for my birthday in April 🙂

  • Scott Johnson

    Nice interview, thanks to TDR and Per!

  • Zaharie Ilijev

    I think it’s time for their mature albums as their fans are getting older. For Per’s and Marie’s creativity may be not so hard, but I also think it’s time to stop ‘break” at fast and heavy songs as even in the “Sleeping in my car” just to say “the night is so pretty”. It works, but not always. Go with the time as you did with the “Stars”, “Crush on you” and “Speak to me”. Get some new instruments. Find new theme, new words, language or way to express different things. Make different, interesting videos for new singles (it’s half of the sell). Play and sing heavy as in the “Lies” or “So far away” and get back on the tops. Try to keep listeners from the first to the last song as YOU DID until Room Service came. You made that criteria with all previous albums: 14 (and more) interesting songs with 10 possible singles in the time when even Depeche Mode offered only 3-4 worth listening songs from 10-12. But they grow up and made “Playing the angel” and “Sounds of the universe” under your criteria. And don’t keep ghost tracks, use them as singles when they are fresh.

  • Krischan76

    Sounds like the next Have A Nice Day is approaching. Oh, well…

    • Stevo Petkovic

      That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Remember “Crush on You”, “Wish I Could Fly”, “Beautiful Things”, “727” and “It Will Take A Long Long Time”? Anything’s got to be better than Charm School and Travelling!

      • Chris

        Totally agree with you Stevo! HAND is an amazing record. It even did not aged that much. It still sounds so fresh. I hope they will return with a record like that!

      • Krischan76

        Matter of taste, eh? While I agree that, for example, 727 is a great song, it’s the general style of arrangement (and the voice distortion) that is putting me off. The demo of 727 is way more like it, IMHO. Plus, I happen to prefer Charm School or Travelling over HAND. Suum cuique! 🙂

    • RobS

      You make it sound like it’s a bad thing. i’d rather listen to all of HAND over RS or even Travelling, even though both of those have same good tracks.
      I don’t think they will come out with something that isn’t “Roxette” though.

    • Ettexor

      i love have a nice day album and the tecno sound of songs like, crash on you and 7 twenty 7

  • Chris

    I think that there are a lot more Hits that they can play live. There are hits that were never played live since the comeback and STILL it would be a greatest hits gig.

    I also think it’s cool that Per isn’t just a singer on stage and of course Christoffer plays very well guitar but I really miss Jonas in Roxette. He always was a very important part of the band. Hopefully he joins them at one point in the future again.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Agree Chris, but it won’t happen. Jonas’ chapter in Roxette has SADLY come to an end it seems. At the end of the day, Per and Marie will play and work with the people they want to and unfortunately, it seems there is no role in Roxette for Jonas anymore… even though the fans overwhelmingly want him back!

    • RobS

      You can probably make a number of different setlists with the amount of well known songs they have and they’d still be greatest hits gigs. They want to perform what “people want” which is understandable, but less so from a long time fans view though. Hopefully Per’s idea of doing a full album live might come to fruition some time soon.

  • Mohammed Bahri Bekkay

    lovely interview

  • Mohammed Bahri Bekkay

    i hope they will come to Dubai again

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