Per meets TDR – Round 3 (Europe)
TDR meets Per to discuss upcoming releases, working with Marie, and much much more.
Roxette recently kicked off the European leg of the XXX world tour and with that lots of traveling back and forth all over Europe. We managed however to squeeze in a little chat session into Per’s schedule.
The Daily Roxette: The fans are eagerly waiting for the new single. What is it that is holding you back from releasing it?
Per Gessle: Good question, dear you. We couldn’t make up our minds since we’ve had so many options. Most new songs aren’t finished yet but we love them all. They’re all very different, some will become your best friend instantly, others are catchy but quite odd. Just like me on a Sunday morning.
Two weeks ago, just before flying down to Milan, we did final mixes of four songs and made the final decision. The single will most likely pop up in August. We try to find the time to make a video as well. And some remakes to make Magnus happy.
TDR: You’ve hinted at some “new blood” involved in the recording of the new material – care to shed some light on these people or at least how big of a role they have played?
Per: No, not really since we haven’t decided which songs will be on the album and which ones will be hidden away, buried and forgotten. The inner circle is still Chris, Clair and me with Marie singing as much as she wants. Most of them we have never worked with before. New coffee brands in the kitchen.
TDR: How much work do you still have left with the new album? What’s your working title for it?
Per: We’ve had a few working titles but we haven’t decided anything yet. Time-wise, I guess about 40 % is left so we have to work pretty hard to get it all together for a November-release. The tour takes a lot of time and energy. And Christoffer needs to sleep once in a while. And Clarence needs to take a shower. And I need to kiss my wife. Or the budgie.
TDR: What does Roxette 2015 sound like? More guitars or more synthesizers, or both? The ’80s style seems to be very trendy these days. Is Roxette going back to its roots sound-wise and riding that wave?
Per: I don’t think we ride any wave whatsoever. The songs I write are inspired by my ideas of life and death and the music I listen to and enjoy. I don’t want to Roxette to sound the same in the studio as we do on stage these days. I’ve done that trip already. By the way, Roxette live is pretty close to Gyllene Tider in the studio! And I’ll get my share of that once in a while. On stage it’s a different game. There we want Rox to be 100 % live, guitar driven, raw and organic.
Rox in the studio still spice things up with guitars but we certainly welcome the use of computers and electronic wizardry as well. You can only follow your gut feeling and your taste otherwise you’ll get lost. It’s not about being trendy or vintage or whatever. It’s about having fun, be surprised and getting goosebumps.
TDR: Indeed. How have you found the recording process with the lovely Ms Marie? Back in the Charm School days you mentioned it was an adjustment but that you found the recording for Travelling much easier. Has it gotten better this time around?
Per: Yes and no. Some songs don’t fit her so you have to customize the material a bit so she gets into it. But that has always been the case since we have different taste.
TDR: How much input is Marie giving on the direction you’re taking the album? I guess it’s you and C&C working on the album on daily basis, and Marie is only joining for some of the sessions, so she’s not always around for opinions.
Per: Well, Marie is never involved physically in the recordings or productions down at the Aerosol Geek Machine these days but we only record songs that she has approved. I send her a demo and she throws it out of the window or send me a love letter.
TDR: Is Clarence happy with the recordings? We know Clarence is a tough marker, does he like the new material?
Per: Oh yea, I get great feedback from him. He thinks I have too many projects going on, though. But hey, that’s me, I’ve only just begun! And he’s so old!
TDR: We tend to agree on that. The word is out that the Roxette Diaries movie is coming soon – what can you tell us about this project? Fan reaction to this news has been crazily positive so far. You’ve chosen the movie to cover the years 1886-1895 (well ok, 1986-1995, but ancient times anyway). Any plans to go through the next batch of Roxette home videos?
Per: Well, that movie started out as an inside affair. I wanted it to exist as a visual memory of the early Rox days basically for ourselves, the band and our families. So I gave about 180 hours of my and Åsa’s old VHS and Hi-8 tapes to Jonas Åkerlund to run through. Which of course he never did since he’s busy with his Gothic Rolls-Royce and Madonna’s tap dancing. But his assistants did and made it shorter and shorter until it became possible for humans to watch it. Since then Jonas has laid his divine touch all over it and it has become about 90 minutes which is perfect. It will be in front of you before too long. Don’t know where and when, though. It’s all about getting the right distribution. We might start with television. Or not. Have you seen the trailer? It looks cool.
TDR: Yes, but has been blocked since. Now, you have previously mentioned a new volume to the much loved Per Gessle Archives, when can our greedy ears expect to hear this material?
Per: Yea, I got material for at least two more volumes but there is so much happening around me at the moment so I won’t release anything until the next big gap. Whenever that is.
TDR: Regarding Roxette Diaries and Per Gessle Archives, you have recently authored many autobiographical releases. A huge demo boxset, lyrics books in both Swedish and English, and now a movie. Even the latest Roxette releases have been a 30-track greatest hits album and an update to Roxbox, another compilation of your lifetime achievements. Was there a specific reason that triggered you to start publishing your “memoirs”, so to speak?
Per: No, not really. I had a break and nothing to do for a weekend so I got going. And it turned into really charismatic projects for me. Especially the books. I hope I can make updated versions in a couple of years. The world needs some more of my complicated drawings, don’t you think?
TDR: Um… You have busy days ahead of you until August, with a concert almost every night. No jetlag this time, but a lot of time will be spent traveling. How will you manage all that? And how will Marie?
Per: Time will tell but Marie really wants to play live and so do I. And it’s all thanks to you, dear fans, who keep the ball rolling. Don’t forget that. We won’t.
We won’t either. Thank you Per for your precious time. Don’t call us, we’ll call you for the next chat.