Per talks about “Party Crasher”
Hej Per, another summer full of work is over. You never tire do you, huh?
Well sir, as a matter of fact my whole summer was free and easy. We stopped our studio work in May and didn’t continue until late August so I got my fair share of suntan, go-karts, bikinis and belinis.
I see, so another well deserved vacation? Where do you get your energy from? The vacations? It's not like you need the money or the fame anymore, what drives you onward and forward?
Ooops I did it again, didn’t I? You know, I don’t really write songs anymore unless there is a purpose. A couple of weeks after the “En händig man-tour” last summer I got into this idea of writing songs based on “grooves” and a steady beat instead of just fooling around on the guitar. I had a field day! Before X-mas I had about 10 new songs.
You could as well "lay on the beach earning 20 %" you know?
Nah, not me.
I agree, it doesn't sound like you, does it? Great though to see yet another branch of the good old Gessle tree. How long have you wanted to make an album like this? What gave you the inspiration this time? I know same old question, but hey…
After all these years you’re always looking for NEW spices, NEW angles, NEW chord progressions. So when this idea popped up writing to a steady beat I knew something interesting could happen. Some grooves I made myself on my computer, some grooves I found in existing songs from The Bee Gees, Chic, Donna Summer, The Human League etc. I’ve heard that Björn & Benny wrote “Dancing queen” to the groove of George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby”. Check those two songs out and compare and you’ll know what I mean. They’re very different but they have the same mother.
Interesting! Now, what do people who already heard the new songs say? Which tracks will be hits? Tell us a little about the individual tracks.
People are responding exceptionally so far. Some media people have heard bits and pieces and they’re all quite surprised. But in a positive way. I won’t go into individual tracks at this point for obvious reasons.
Obviously, can't blame us for trying though, can you?
Good old MP stands for dancable tunes. Any MP on the album this time?
Oh, MP visited the studio once but only to have dinner and some bottles of Chianti. Clarence, Christoffer and myself played all the instruments on this one. And Helena has been a frequent guest, of course.
So tell us, demos or no demos this time?
No demos because C&C hate them!!!
Hmmm, maybe we should send the mob after C&C? You know we love demos!
The '70s and '80s were times full of musical experiments. What new instruments did you try this time?
Well, we’ve basically worked with old analogue synthesizers like the Mini Moog and Jupiter-6 etc as well as new computerized technology. No big strings this time, no live drums either. But the Syn Drum made a welcome return!!!
Aha, no live drums, back to "Joyride"! So when you wrote the songs for this album, you mentioned that you started with the groove and made the melodies from that. Do the lyrics not matter anymore? Not that the '70s were well known for great lyrics anyway…
The lyrics do matter! I’ve tried to make them psychedelic, sexy and mature (in that order). But sure, when you write songs based on rhythm it is a different thing. I mean, sometimes you write a lyric first and then put music to it. This was never the case here.
The "Theme from 'Roberta Right'" (a song that now is off the album) was co-written by your son, Gabriel. What is the story behind it?
Gabriel was sitting on the bed in Halmstad humming a melody. I thought it sounded terrific so I grabbed the nearest guitar and put down some chords to it. That’s how it all started. He was singing: “Ro-bot ro-bot robot dans” which of course immediately became “Ro-Ro-Roberta Roberta Right”. Great chorus indeed!
It turned out a little bit too bubblegum to be included on this particular album, though, so I kept it away. It will pop up somewhere else.
Awright Gabriel! You always say the last album is the best one. Will "Party Crasher" rule out your beloved project "SOAP" then?
Ha ha ha, yep could be!!! I love this album and I love the fact that it sounds really fresh and I adore listening to Helena’s vocal performances. She’s been EXTREMELY good on this one. Wait ‘til you hear it, you’re gonna freak out, dear Thomas!
Yeah, thanks for mentioning it… "Freak Out" is also a song that could fit the album!
Talking about the idea behind SOAP for a moment… it reflected your memories of the '60s and '70s, the era which formed your musical background. "Party Crasher" plays with the sound of the '70s and '80s. Wouldn't "SOAP 2" be a better name?
I didn’t invent popmusic. Everything I do and listen to have its roots in the music I enjoyed growing up. So, sure, this could have been a SOAP album but then again… the SOAP project is quite different. I preferred this to be a Per Gessle-album.
Furthermore, the SOAP songs had clear homages to existing tunes from those times. How about the "Party Crasher" tracks?
There are a few Nile Rodgers-licks, some Timbaland sub bass, some B-52's jerks and some T. Rex glam and, oh yeah, we listened a lot to the Saturday Night Fever-soundtrack.
John Travolta? Fans will be pleased to read that, I'm sure! What is the release schedule? Which countries will get the album? Will there be different editions again? Maybe even another vinyl?
EMI worldwide is, as I’m writing this, very interested. But that usually doesn’t mean anything ha ha ha… We’ll find out what’s gonna happen in the next month or so. Yes, there will be a standard CD, deluxe CD and a vinyl album.
Good man! And how big are the efforts to go huge international with this album?
I’ll go as huge as possible!!! I’ll do my best to convince the masters of the universe to do the right thing.
Nice! Other media has reported that you may want to tour this time, but not in Sweden? Please continue your thinking out loud!
I might do a small tour in Europe early next year. If I do I’m sure there will be a few shows in Sweden as well. Time will tell.
You are very famous around the globe, is there nothing you would like to do that you haven't done so far? I mean, go out of the box so to speak. Art, movie soundtrack, write a book, etc.
I take it as it comes. A movie soundtrack could be fun. An acoustic album could be fun. Some more Roxette and Gyllene Tider projects could be fun. I’ve got no plans. And zillions of them in the drawer.
Right… You once told me you always stay with the same producer/team one album too long, when is this coming up for Per Gessle? You know, nothing ventured, nothing gained…
Yea, I know. I’m the exception to the rule! As long as C&C are motivated, wear clean shirts and make me a happier person I can’t see any reason replacing them. They are two of the most talented people I’ve ever encountered and a pretty hard act to follow. But you’ll never know.
All right, so we'll see after the new album is out! Now that X-mas is approaching. Apart from your own stuff, what other albums can you recommend buying this year?
I like the Sebastian Teller-record. I like the Shelby Lynne-record. I still play Nelly Furtado’s “All good things must come to an end” too much but my most played album this year is a 3-CD box called “Philly sound”, recommended to me by Expressen’s Mats Olsson. A sensational collection of 70’s soul. Mats got such great taste!!!
And almost lastly; presenting the "Party Crasher" songs on a stage should involve some funky dance steps, don't you think? How good are your dancing skills actually? Not counting your red wine and air guitaring…
Clarence has promised me to step out of the closet as the next big thing on the dance floor. I’ll sell the tee-shirts…
Before you go we also have to ask the token questions as many fans out there are wondering:
– Will there be more Roxette? "Look Sharp!" turns 20 next week or so…
I don’t know.
– Will there be a tour next summer?
– GT will be alive again somewhen, right? GT30? Single, album…
You tell me.
I am telling you!!
– How satisfied are you with your Rolls Royce?
Oh my God, it’s sooo big!!! But a treat to drive and to have in your garage. I drive it to the local burger stand with Gabriel and his friends watching The Simpsons in the backseat.
– How is your Harley doing?
The Harleys have left the building.
With that The Daily Roxette thanks Per Gessle for his time, and we'll see you soon, somewhere, somewhen.
Technical errors may occur.
October 9th, 2008
Internal reference code for TDR's Good Reporters: [tdr 111356]
This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:
Archive, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Per Gessle, vintage.