Transcript of video interview with Roxette released
STOCKHOLM – EMI Sweden has transcribed the videotaped interview with Roxette, portions of which appear on the Roxette.se site, and made it available to the press.
Here’s the full text:
Back In Business
Per Gessle: Well, we released the last album in the spring of ´99…
A Nice Day’ was the title, so we’ve actually been busy doing promotion
with that one, and we decided not to tour with it, just went straight
back into the studio, so we started working on this album in January
2000. So… That’s basically what we’ve been doing for the last two
And prior to that of course we started to work on ‘Have A Nice Day’. It
takes about a year to write an album.
Marie Fredriksson: It feels great. We always have a lot of fun together, and we know each other very well. And this album, the new album, ‘Room Service’, both of us really like very much and there’s a couple of songs that are very much Roxette, they’re very… I think it’s a mix between
old days and how we sound today, so… I’m really looking forward to
promoting the album.
The New Sound
PG: Well I think that the new album is a little bit of a reflection of
what we tried to achieve with ‘Have A Nice Day’, y’know, ‘Have A Nice
Day’ was the first album for us for many years and… we didn’t really
know what it was supposed to be like, we went in to work in the studio
doing so many different things, and it’s a very complex album in a way,
because it’s going in so many different directions.
The new album is the
opposite, we tried to take it back to classic Roxette. For instance, on
‘Have A Nice Day’, all my vocals are distorted, on this one it’s very
plain, y’know, stuff like that. We tried to make it simple, obvious,
easy-going and fun, y’know? I think this is probably the most commercial
album we’ve done since ‘Joyride’. We just sat down and wanted to make
something that was… classic Roxette, what we’re really good at, doing
pop. A pop record.
PG: I think we wanted to make an album that was up-tempo and had lots of
energy, and we were a little bit… For many people the classic Roxette
song is a big ballad. The ballads on ‘Room Service’ are much… smaller.
We have a song like ‘Milk And Toast And Honey’, which could be like a
big, pompous thing, but we try to produce it a little smaller, so to
speak. We just felt like doing that. A little bit tired of ourselves,
MF: When we work together it starts with a demo from Per…
PG: Or a demo from you…
MF: (laughs) not very often… This time we started in January last
and we started with, I think, five or six songs, all written by Per…
PG: …which turned out to be crap! (laughs)
MF: No! That’s not true, there were some really good ones. And then we
took a break, and I worked a lot on my own stuff, in Swedish, in between
the sessions with Roxette.
Then we started off again at the end of
March, I think it was, no, March or April. We recorded some new stuff,
and then we had a summer break. So it’s so easy to work together,
because we work for like five or six weeks in the studio and then we
don’t meet each other at all. I sit down and write and Per sits down and
writes and we do other things. It makes it so simple, it makes it so
fresh all the time, when we come together and work together.
PG: Yeah, the way you make records today is very different from how you
did records in the mid-80’s when we started out. You work with computers
and ProTools systems or whatever, so the whole… way of thinking is
The negative side of it is
it’s very easy to over-produce and to overdo things these days. I mean
in the old days – not that long ago – you actually sat together, five
people in the studio, and you played the song, and that was the take!
(laughs) You don’t do that any more, we don’t do that any more.
the drums or the bass sounds or whatever on the computer… So of course
it’s different, and that changes the way you write and that changes the
Still Dressed For Success?
MF: It’s always important with big hits! (laughs) No, we love, y’know,
good pop and rock songs, we love strong melodies, we… It’s always been
our trademark, all our singles have always been really melodic, very
easy to remember. Everything from ‘It Must Have Been Love’ to ‘Joyride’
to ‘Sleeping In My Car’ to… What is it? 40 singles or something like
that… So that’s, both of us, we really love strong melodies and
pop and rock songs.
I think that nowadays, of course we want the new
album to be very successful, of course, we’ve worked really hard for it,
and we love to perform for our fans, it would be great if we could do
another tour in the future. It’s just that we are older. (laughs) In our
hearts of course we want it to be really big.
PG: Yeah, well, ‘Room Service’, the title ‘Room Service’, we thought it
was… (laughs) what music is basically about, it fills up a room with
energy and communication, so it’s some sort of ‘room service’ isn’t it?
You’re always trying to find some kind of concept or idea when you’re
making a new record. It might as well be called ‘Roxette 7’ or ‘8’ or whatever it is…
Home Sweet Home
MF: This time we recorded the album in Stockholm. I think mostly we
worked in the Polar Studios…
MF: And there was another studio called Atlantis. I think it’s quite a
big difference if you compare it to the ‘Have A Nice Day’ album, which
was mostly recorded in Spain. So of course it makes it a little bit
easier when you can work at home. Our homes are here, our families. But it was nice in Spain because the weather is so much better there than here at this time of the year, at wintertime.
PG: You get more things done in Stockholm because the weather is
terrible here, so you spend more time in the studio. But it’s fun
working at Polar, it’s cool, it’s a great studio, it’s got this ABBA,
Led Zeppelin, Genesis legacy. It’s still a very good studio, a great
environment. Got some terrible restaurants down the road though…
PG: But they have taxis in Stockholm, so it’s no problem.
PG: Well, making ‘Room Service’, as always we tried to bring in a couple
of new people into the environment, so we changed engineers on this one
for instance. And also we started working with a guy called ‘Shooting
Star’, who is a programmer, a Swedish guy, who is 200 years younger than
PG: …so he’s sort of got his ear to the street in a different manner,
which is very interesting to do, because if I make a demo, for instance,
and I give it to him and he starts to freshen up the programming, then
it turns out to be a different song. So it’s… well, as always, you buy
lot of records all the time, you listen a lot to what’s going on… But
as I said before – with this album we wanted to make a classic Roxette
album, so we tried to y’know, get a little of this, a little of that but
still make it very obviously Roxette. So some of the songs still have
the 12-string Rickenbacker stuff, some power chords, y’know… Classic
PG: Well, I think… You don’t really do anything, at all. I mean you
don’t really change your life or anything just to get inspiration for a
new album. Life goes on, you do different things all the time, even when
you’re just finishing off an album, you start immediately thinking,
going off in different ways. It’s a constant process all the time, I
mean, you just get on with your life. Interrupted occasionally by going
to the studio! (laughs) … and trying to make sense there. So it’s
nothing really. I think it’s important though to try to… I think over
the years, I think it should be a natural thing. It’s our work. It’s the
way we communicate. You just go to the studio, you spend a lot of time
in the studio and you make records. It’s the way it’s been since I was
19, y’know? It’s a natural thing, and that’s great because it’s a
natural way of doing things.
After All These Years…
PG: Well, when you start out as a young musician, everything is very
romantic, y’know, the whole industry, going into a studio, whatever. Of
course things change after a while and there’s… nothing that…
left (laughs) in the music industry for us and so of course it turns out
to be a professional thing in the end. But still it’s important to
maintain the love affair you have with music, I mean you have to be
interested in music. You have to be interested in what you do. In that
sense I don’t want to be a professional, I still want to be a fan. And
that approach is crucial, actually, to having success in the end. I mean
you can always go to the ‘How to Write a Hit Song’ book and have a hit,
but at the end of the day, it won’t last. To have a career that goes on
for a couple of decades, I mean, you have to be true to yourself. So…
Got Any Good CD:s?
PG: The last records I actually stole from my record company! (laughs)
It was the Coldplay album, I think that’s a very good album… There’s a Swedish band called Eskobar, I’m a big fan of Eskobar, they’ve just done a new version of one of their songs, ‘Tumbling Down’. I mean that style
of music’s not very new, it’s a very traditional sort of pop music, for those of us that’ve been around for many years. But it still has a lot
of energy and it makes sense, and it’s great songwriting. And at the end of the day I think that’s what it’s all about…
PG: The good thing with a good title for the album is that you can actually use it on tour, on stage, in the packaging. What we did was, we went away to a strange hotel in California called the Madonna Inn, and
we did a lot of the footage for the sleeve as well as the first video.
So we used the hotel environment to make a point, and it turned out really well. And it also felt very fresh, because we’d never done that before.
PG: We haven’t done a video where we’ve performed for many years, so we wanted to do a performance video, and the whole idea for the video is that we’re performing in a room – well, in several rooms actually – and
there’s lots of people in other rooms, watching what we’re doing on television, and lots of things happening in all these different rooms.
So it’s basically a performance video, but it’s just taking place in this peculiar place.
PG: Well, Madonna Inn, it’s… The first time you see it you think it
be a joke, because it’s so American kitsch, from the 50´s, it’s
unbelievable, but the people who own it and the people who work there
take it very seriously. (laughs) And… It’s for real. It’s hard to
describe but… All the rooms are… weird. There are pink rooms and red
rooms and green rooms, and they have waterfalls in the men’s room. All
these big chandeliers… Christmas trees (laughs) It’s unbelievable, and
we tried to use that on the album sleeve and the video as well.
surprised that no one has used that place before because it’s so
special. Everyone knows about it, but nobody’s worked there before. It’s
Technical errors may occur.