“…Probably our best LP since CBB…” Per meets TDR 2015 – Round 4

EXCLUSIVE – Per Gessle opens up about the brand new Roxette album!

“…Probably our best LP since Crash! Boom! Bang!…”  says Per Gessle in reference to the new upcoming Roxette album. It’s a big call to make considering some of the glossy pop gems such as Have A Nice Day and Room Service but Per seems really pumped up about the brand new Roxette recordings and he shares his thoughts with us.

TDR : Howdy Per, thanks for taking time out to speak to us, again.

PG: Oh, it’s always an honor. You smell so good.

TDR: Ahh thanks, must be the new cologne! Moving on, a while ago, in February, you spoke to The Daily Roxette and confirmed that the new single would be released in April with the album out in October. It’s now November. Is everything OK? What happened?

PG: Hahaha, yea. Everything is fine. Thanks for asking. The single and the album have been delayed due to the fact that we didn’t have a record deal. Until now. Since the XXX-tour has been so successful there have been many record companies showing interest in our little band and to create a set up that’s attractive for everyone takes a certain amount of time. And lawyers and business managers love to see time go by.

TDR: Indeed.

PG: We’ve been with EMI Records since Day One in 1986 and after lots of inner secrets have been revealed we’ve decided to continue our trek to stardom with them. But now, of course, they’re called Warner Music. It’s a jolly name that reminds me of Alice Cooper. It feels good. It feels like home. Almost. Everybody’s happy. And thanks for waiting, folks. You won’t regret it.

TDR: So, by not rushing the process and by taking more time on the new material, does this mean we’ll get even better quality of material than ever before? Remember, although the Roxers are hungry to hear the new sound – they are more than happy to keep waiting if it means Team Roxette are really, really happy with the final product!

PG: Oh, you’re so timid. And that is certainly a tough question, dear you! It’s all a matter of taste. But yes, since we realized we won’t have an album out until early 2016 I’ve continued to write and record new music with Marie and The Mad Hatters.

I do feel we have a killer album in the can. Probably our best LP since CBB. I don’t know until we’ve mixed all the songs. But, hey, you might think different. Maybe you’ll think it’s our best ever, hahaha!

TDR: I may, you can just hand the tapes to me right now and I’ll let you know! Seriously, can you now shed some light as to what type of sound we can expect from the new material?

PG: No, I shouldn’t do that, should I? However, I do think it sounds very fresh but still pretty classic Roxette. As always, we try to update our sound and production but this time around we’ve dug into the vintage vaults for a little sniff a couple of times which surely will make you…hmmm… smile.

TDR: Earlier in the year, you mentioned on Facebook that you had at least six options as a lead single and then suddenly, things went very quiet. Is that still the case? Have you all settled on what will be the lead single or is it still a work in progress? Are you down to 1-2 or are you contemplating 15 now?

PG: We’ve been fooling around with around twenty songs and out of those we’ve recorded fourteen properly. I think there are at least seven or eight tracks that will make you pump up the volume quite a bit if you’re in a singles mood. There’s a good flow on this album. It’s been a very creative and rewarding process.

TDR: That is good to hear. You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you’re not the best person when it comes to picking the singles from the album. So in this case, with a new album waiting in the wings, to whom do you leave this decision? And who in the Roxette camp over the past 30 years has had the best track record when it comes to picking hit singles?

PG: It’s a mutual decision led by Marie and myself, Chris & Clair, our management, the record company, various artisans and hairdressers as well as Åsa’s budgie. Pelle Alsing is the best hit picker by far. He’s got a good ear and he’s also a sonic daredevil and a true fan of quality pop music. And he likes his pasta spicy.

My problem is that I’m so involved in the songs. The composition and the chords, the production and the arrangement, every tiny sound and detail, the mixing, the blend of voices and all the candycoated studio tricks. And blah blah blah. My perspective of the songs gets lost in the limitless space of our pop laboratory.

SOSTDR: What can you tell us about the Roxette version of “Some Other Summer”. Is this song still on the new album? And how similar is the Roxette version to the version that Sebastien Drums released this year?

PG: Yes, it’s on the album and it’s really wonderful. It doesn’t sound like Seb’s version at all. Our version sounds like Roxette. As a matter of fact the two versions sound like they came from two different planets. And that was the whole idea with letting Seb have a go with the song before anyone else had heard it. He’s done several more remixes of SOS that you haven’t heard that’s really interesting.

TDR: Let’s talk a bit about Marie’s role on the new record. How have you found the recording process this time around with Marie compared with Charm School and Travelling? Can we expect a lot of “Marie-driven” vocals on the new album?

PG: Absolutely. There are a couple of classic Marie-is-God-songs on the album. We’ve recorded her vocals in her own studio in Stockholm and she sounds terrific. Vocally it’s a 50/50-split between our voices. That has been the ambition and I think it worked out pretty well in the end.

TDR: Yes, a published excerpt from Marie’s new book mentioned a song titled “It Just Happens” and was described as a power ballad. What else can you tell us about this track?

PG: Wanna know a secret? It’s the longest track on the album! Almost four minutes. Other than that? Nothing. You have to wait. But it’s a really powerful song. Wonderful vocals by Miss Effe on that one. Trust me.

TDR: OK, four minutes? In February you mentioned the plan was to release a short album of about 10 or 11 songs. However, recently, you commented that perhaps you needed to release a double album? Will you do a giant cull and stick to a short album? Or will you indulge us all with 2 CDs worth of Roxette goodness?

PG: No, it will be a single album with eleven or twelve beautiful babies. What’s left (one or two songs) we’ll keep as bonus-tracks or save for a rainy day. As I’ve told you before, leftover songs are not necessarily left out because they stink. Sometimes you have too many songs in the same style so you have to get rid of a few to make an album interesting as a whole. And, yes, we still ”think” in album-terms. We’re raised like that. We live like that. And we will most likely die like that.

TDR: “It’s Possible” popped up on a few live shows during the 2012 leg of the tour, is the intention to perform any of the new songs live on the 2016 XXX Tour? Or does that conflict with the “30 Years of Hits” philosophy that this tour represents?

PG: Good question again. What happened to you, you’re so focused!

TDR: Our server went nuts, gives you time to re-focus!

PG: Well, we don’t know. We have no scheduled rehearsals for the new ones. If new songs will get played we’ll rehearse them during soundchecks. It has happened before, it might happen again. I guess it all comes down to the reception of the new album. If people like it we might play it. We’re not fussy. Except Pelle.

ROX Studio 2015_bTDR: The 2012 tour album Travelling was a sister project to 1992’s Tourism. Charm School was made, as you said, “because we could” and to celebrate the return of Marie to Roxette, so what does this album mean for Roxette? Why is it being recorded? You could easily continue touring purely on your previous hits, so what is the intention and hope for this new Roxette project?

PG: I think that’s my fault, hahaha. I can’t see myself digging only in the past. Not with Roxette and not with Gyllene Tider or my solowork. I love to write songs and spend endless hours in the studio. That’s where I belong. I love to tour and perform live but it’s the writing process that really makes it for me. To have the pleasure of working with Marie again and NOT write or record new material is not on the agenda. I’m sure Marie feels the same even though she doesn’t spend as much time writing or sleeping in the studio as I do.

Then, of course, most fans come to the shows to hear their favorite songs from the past. That’s fine. I do the same when I go to concerts with artists I like. So we’ll continue playing the old favorites cos that’s what most people want to hear. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll stop working on new chapters in our lives.

TDR: Music videos can be an expensive thing and it’s always tricky for the “elder statesmen” of the music industry to compete with Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber’s new music video – so, having said that, is there a plan to make a new music video for whatever will be the new single?

PG: Yes, sir. Making a video or two is a good idea.

TDR: The Per Gessle Archives (TPGA) did well. You mentioned there might be a part II, including the elusive The Vintage Demos, how’s the time frame on that? Also, you are hanging a lot with MP in T&A these days, the last time that happened TPGA emerged. What’s your excuse this time?

PG: No, there’s no TPGA Part Two in the tunnel at the moment. But hanging with MP is absolutely something I can recommend. We’re having so much fun at the Tits&Ass Palace. He’s such a great guy with such beautiful t-shirts. I’m so lucky to have these wonderful geezers around me in various studios supporting my humble but somewhat complicated ambitions. Christoffer, Clarence and MP. What a trio! What I’m doing at T&A? New songs. Always new songs.

TDR: As always Per, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with The Daily Roxette.

When discussing his projects, Per’s enthusiasm and passion is incredibly infectious and as with anything in life, it’s always best to manage expectations, but after Per shared this thoughts, it’s hard not to get excited about Roxette’s new album which we think should be titled “Soon”. Looking forward to it!

  ★ The author:

  ★ Publishing date:

November 12th, 2015

Internal reference code for TDR's Good Reporters: [tdr 964381]

This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

News, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Roxette.

  ★ Read more about...

  • Daniela

    Indeed a very interesting and funny interview! The budgie decides the songs, I can’t stop laughing! Hopefully it has a good taste in music, haha!
    And I wonder why Per compares the new album to Crash Boom Bang as he had first described the new style as very different! Personally, I prefer guitar-driven rock music to techno music which has always meant nothing to me! And my real big love are still all the beautiful power ballads from the 80ies and beginning of the 90ies! I also know a few young people who really adore this kind of music and consider it as the best ever, so it doesn’t seem to be dead! However, today everything in the charts seems to be more or less the same so that it has become very boring. I have the impression that most of the music isn’t made with the same love and enthusiasm as before. Apparently everyone wants to finish everything very fast, without striving to reach the best working result possible. I’m glad to read how much Per loves writing songs.
    By the way, what about some autograph sessions during the world tour 2016 to get stuff like the new album signed? There are still some fans like me who haven’t got one yet and who have never been closer to Marie and Per than the second row during a concert and who haven’t had the pleasure to meet them yet!

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Thanks for the reading. Per didn’t compare the new album to CBB. He’s simply saying that it’s their best since CBB. He’s saying it’s better than Charm School, Travelling, HAND and RS 🙂

      • Wicf

        I doubt the new album can beat Travelling. IMHO, many songs on Travelling were true return to form. I can’t imagine my life without LLL, TBTHOG and EMSDYWMTCOYW 🙂

        • Stevo Petkovic

          Wow, LOL, I’m speechless – but I have to respect your opinion 🙂 “true to form” is not what springs to mind when I think of Travelling, probably best I refrain from sharing my thoughts, so all I can say is thanks for reading and joining in on the discussion 🙂 Let’s hope the new material makes us all happy!

          • Wicf

            Well, opinions differ and I respect that you may not like Travelling (or maybe you like it, who knows :)), but let me just quote what people from dailyroxette thought of Travelling back in 2012:
            Colin: ” I think this is the strongest album Roxette (or Per) has made in years.”
            Thomas: “This is easily Roxette’s best album since Crash!Boom!Bang! (or maybe Have A Nice Day) in my book.”
            Paul: “Well, this is truly a fantastic album. The ‘bubble-gum’ pop is gone (except for “Me & You & Terry & Julie”) and what’s in its place is a more mature style of pop music which, as this album shows, Roxette is at their best at producing.”
            Kai: “They took their best ideas and created what I would call the most mature Roxette album ever. It’s not as easy listening as SOAP but it lives from its vibes. Still I have my problems finding a red line through the songs.” (OK, here I can see a bit of criticism)
            Judith: ” I think this is definetely one of the best albums Roxette has done. You feel they are now back on track working together, and I like the new more relaxed sound, if you can call it like that. ”

            It just seemed to me that you were rather surprised by my positive feedback concerning Travelling, but as you can see, there are many people with such an opinion 🙂

          • s1974x

            I also think Travelling is one of their best, but it also has that nostalgic vibe for me too since it really was a sequel to Tourism. When Almost Unreal grabbed me back in 1993 I decided to get an album of this band I had never heard of before and I bought Tourism. I etched many grooves in that CD with that CD player laser. Travelling really had the feel of that album, and was a quality one on its own standing. It also has my favorite version of It Must Have Been Love (while Tourism has my least favorite).

  • Maria Besedina

    A brilliant interview, thank you! A good bunch of optimism and sunshine for dull November days. And of hope:)

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Yes, definitely exciting times ahead!

  • Anne Rosvall

    Wonderful interview, and thanks for all the info! Just one question, since I don’t have any glasses and the text is small, is that The Mad Hotties, and I guess that included Pelle? 😉 😀

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Thanks and it’s “the Mad Hatters” 🙂

  • URCogProf

    The three sweetest words in the English language: “New Roxette album.” I can’t wait!

    • Stevo Petkovic


  • RoXoR

    And what is the name of the cologne?

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Sweat and shame

      • RoXoR

        😉 sounds disgusting and tells a lot about Per… but no need for shame, it’s a great interview!

  • RobS

    Well that was a surprise! Great stuff.

    Per is very upbeat about this project which is very promising. Curious as to what he means “digging in to the vintage vaults”? Remake of an old song? Sample from an old song used in a new one? Vibe from an old style? hmmm

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Imagine if we saw the return of the original players like JONAS??? 🙂

    • They already did this kind of joke. Do you remember this one second silence in the middle of The Center Of The Heart, the same as they originaly used in The Look.
      But I agree that some whistling again, or reusing some chords, solos or well known phrases from previous songs could be funny.

  • Stevo Petkovic

    Imagine if we saw the return of the original players like JONAS?? 🙂

  • Dan J Kroll

    In between getting the scoop and all of Per’s musings, the best part is the fun banter. It’s great to have this site that celebrates the music and talents of Roxette. Job STILL well done.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Thanks Dan. It’s Per who helps keep it all fun and is SO bloody generous with his time. TDR are incredibly grateful to have a good relationship with him. And yes, TDR has been here since 1997 with a strong focus on the music, genuine news and feature articles and interviews. Glad you appreciate it!

  • Krischan76

    Too much of that polished Gessle marketing speak for my buds. Like, we all know why no new songs are being performed live – because Marie just cannot memorise the lyrics due to her condition. That is why she’s recording secludedly in STHLM, too.

    Otherwise – a new album, yay! I’m just as hopeless in picking singles, so all my trust goes to the animal at the drums!

    • Wicf

      Well, it’s not that easy. During the last tour, Gyllene Tider regularly performed only three songs from the new album (“Vera” was played only once, as far as I remember). Back in 2011-2012, Roxette peformed 4 new songs: SGNOBTR, OWID, Way Out and It’s Possible. So there’s not much difference, if you ask me, and no one in GT has problems remembering new songs, so the main reason lies somewhere else. I believe it’s quite evident that Gessle prefers to play old hits in order to please the crowd and therefore only a few new songs are being played these days.
      IMHO, Maries’s condition has hardly anything to do with that. They could easily play songs such as Touched By The Hand Of God or Lover Lover Lover, since there is not that much for Marie to remember in these songs. We’ve seen that in the case of OWID or It’s Possible. Of course, Marie did mistakes in these songs, but not every single time

  • silviabräutigam

    I like the two Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle I you really great love I think jeten day to you, I miss you so much lg Silvia

  • sleepingsingle

    You know, a new album by itself is music to my ears but a new album with the classic Roxette sound up until and including CBB would be the best music to my ears…… Not a big fan of the albums that followed after CBB….. Sorry, just my opinion.

  • s1974x

    I’m glad to hear that the new album is on the way. It’s almost unreal that Charm School is about 5 years old at this point, I mean 5 years! Of course they’re gonna say it’s the best album since [place old album here] because would any musician say otherwise? “This isn’t as good as our last albums” lol. I just hope it is cut from the same cloth as CBB, Charm School, and Travelling because HAND and Room Service just didn’t do it for me.

    I am also glad to hear that the real version of “Some Other Summer” will be a lot different from that remix version posted here. Back in the mid-90s the remixes to Roxette songs were fun discoveries that I often preferred over the real version, but the remixes that I’ve heard over the past decade have all sounded so generic and repetitive.

  • Alexandre Costa

    I put a smile on my face everytime I hear this 3 words together: “New Roxette Album”. But I got a little frustrated when Per said that the longest track of the album has “almost four minutes”. I miss longer tracks, where the music develops naturally, on its own pace, with no hurry (Wish I Could Fly, Crash! Boom! Bang!, Vulnerable, Queen Of Rain and Love Is All are good examples).

  • Stevo 1971

    Long time since I’ve been here, used to post as plectrum. So a new album is on the horizon? i’m looking forward to the release, I noticed that it’s gone a little quiet on this subject I hope the release date is on track.

  • `