Per exclusive: “It’s a fun and really catchy album, loads of guitars and even more Farfisa organ”
It’s been way too silent. We needed to talk. We took care of it. We reached out to a friend.
Hi Per, we haven’t spoken in a while. Maybe you remember us? We have a lot to talk about, are you ready?
– Si si, ready steady go, meine Damen und Herren!
Are we catching you in the studio or on the beach? What are you doing these days? How are you doing these days?
– I’m good thankuverymuch! I was on a beach a couple of weeks ago with my family and burned my nose a bit but now I’m back in the coalmine recording and sipping coffee with MP. Also I’m preparing loads of Gyllene Tider stuff that you’ll notice shortly. Everything from creating the summer set list to vids, merch and record sleeves etc. And I just finished a new PG Roxette EP that will see the light of day in April. How about that? Took you by surprise, right?
Oh yes, that’s even more than we anticipated… OK, let’s go back a few months. PG Roxette, as you just mentioned, released its first proper album, the response was overwhelming as far as we could see.
– Yes, I’m so thrilled by the response I got on this album. Actually I didn’t expect that at all. THANK YOU! I’ve been a little bit put off by how the music biz works these days. It’s really hard for people like me with a touch a gray sideburns to get into the Top 40 format. But that’s the way it works. All I want to do is to make music I love and to be as creative as possible. And to get that kind of feedback from you guys while doing that means a lot.
So the obvious question is: when is the next album coming?
– Next album? Hahaha I dunno. I’ll take it step by step. I might want to go on the road a bit first. I’ll let you know!
Danke. Usually when a new album comes out, it is followed by a tour, among other things to get the production expenses covered. Now we know this album had been sitting around on your shelf for a while and then COVID came and then after many moons it finally got released… without a tour attached. We know there was one planned and canceled, how do you feel about this?
– It was a shame, we all lost momentum a bit and also found other projects that changed the focus. But… you’ll never know what’s gonna happen down the line. I’m still eager to take PG Roxette on the road.
Good to hear. Would it take another album release first?
– I haven’t decided yet. I have to stay in Gyllene Tider-country until September.
We really feel for you now… Well, when an album like P-UD! is done and you go on with other projects in the meantime, do you sometimes feel like you could still do some minor or major tweaks to the songs, just to make them that tiny tad better still? Isn’t it tempting, or are you all done?
– Always. But I’ve learned over the years to let it go. When you’re done you’re done. But then again a song is never really finished. Every time you play it or sing it something new pops up.
That’s what we guessed. When we heard the songs, they sounded so much “Roxette” that you could basically hear Marie sing the vocals although it was of course Helena and Dea performing superbly. There were some complaints that the production could use more real drums and even more guitars.
– Well, the idea behind the album was to create something in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s Roxette style. Magnus and Clarence did most of the programming and neither one of them are very guitar driven so most arrangements were based around cool vintage keyboards and drum machines. We actually recorded more guitars on the album but removed them in the end ‘cos we felt it sounded better without them. “Headphones On” excluded.
How hard is it for you to write songs for PG Roxette without having Marie to perform the vocals in your mind?
– I didn’t really think that much about Marie or her voice while writing. I know that won’t help me. It’s better to focus on what’s available and Dea/Helena became an amazing tool to “use” on these songs. But, you know, Marie will always be around one way or another when it comes to my music. Looking back on Pop-Up Dynamo! now I can definitely hear her singing on most of the tracks.
You know, Roxers are really into harder stuff. Maybe there is a chance we will get to hear more of Jonas the next time?
– More guitars on the next album? Maybe.
These days, you released the Tourism 30! collection. About one year late, ahem. How come? Glitch in the matrix? Forgot to set your alarm clock? Too busy with all your projects? What happened?
– Yea, I hear you. It’s been silly season around here for a while, we’ve all been too busy with other stuff. The streaming world has changed everything. I would have loved Tourism to have become a vinyl/CD-box but then again, neither Warner nor myself had the time or energy to pull it off in time. We’re trying to shape up a bit when it comes to “Crash goes 30” next year. Promise.
(And Puls…) Good to hear. Now, when you went through all your archives and drawers from those years and you listened to all the recordings you found, what did you feel then?
– Sometimes a bit impressed ‘cos I wrote a lot of good songs during that era. Sometimes a bit bored because it feels like I’ve heard these songs too many times. But generally, I’m very proud of what we achieved. Those early Rox years 1987-1995 were truly amazing both personally and musically.
Agreed. 30 years later, with the knowledge you have now, what would you have done differently about Tourism had you had the chance?
– Hahaha, you know everyone including Marie hated me for dragging her and the band into studios and hotel rooms all over the world to make that album. They all wanted time off on those few free days when we didn’t perform. But I didn’t want us to lose momentum. That’s why I wrote “How Do You Do!” to keep the summer of ‘92 alive for the band.
I was really surprised that Tourism actually became what it is, the odds weren’t really on my side. If you check the songs a lot of them were just lying around or had been used before; “Here Comes the Weekend”, “So Far Away”, “Silver Blue”, “Come Back (Before You Leave)”, “Never is a Long Time”, “Queen of Rain”. And there were the live tracks as well. Only a few songs were written for “Tourism”; “Fingertips”, “How Do You Do!”, “The Rain”, “Keep Me Waiting”, “The Heart Shaped Sea”.
Yes, lots of already used material, by you or someone else, but also the new and great tracks. Recently you gave us a few more new demos and we appreciate this a lot as we understand that these pieces were actually never meant to be heard by a wider audience. Since we consider you to be a perfectionist in your job, how is it for you to share these unfinished tracks with the rest of the world?
– Well, to tell the truth I have doubts about it. Just like you say the demos were never made for the public to hear. But I know, being a music fan myself, that it’s quite interesting to listen to demos and to find out a little bit more about the birth and work-in-progress of the song.
I’ve done it myself with Pete Townshend, Tom Petty, The Beatles and Dylan. Writers I admire and can learn from. If my demos can encourage anyone to feel good or write a song of their own it’s all worth it, isn’t it?. And… most people don’t really listen to the demos anyway. They‘re out of the closet for the nerds. Like you.
Pffft! Do you have plans to release more of these collections? What would be next if so?
– Oooops so many questions. I have plans to release the Good Karma demos as well as the Pop-Up Dynamo!-demos. And why not the Hux flux album? Those demos are very cool. There might be another Archives box down the road as well. I still have lots of unpublished stuff under the mattress.
We understand that having a physical box for every single of these collection releases will not make sense financially anymore.
– Regarding Roxette we hopefully can get a nice CBB 30th Anniversary box out next year. And there are other things we have in the can, like the MTV Unplugged-recordings and various live stuff. We just have to locate the master tapes!
Indeed, good to hear that the future is bright and golden. Speaking of; Gyllene Tider is back and we are very much looking forward to this summer. But first there will be a Hux flux album and a couple of singles. Can you reveal a bit more of the schedule you planned?
– The first single will be out end of this month. Then probably another single before the album is thrown delightfully through your window early summer. Fasten your seatbelts, all you young ones.
Whose idea was the GT revival? We feel like we want to send a big box of chocolate to that person…
– It just happened. I wrote a couple of up-tempo ditties and felt like making a Per’s Garage single. But then, after I talked to MP and Micke about it, we all decided it should become GT instead. Micke was happy and in the mood for GT again.
Also tell us something about how you sound on this epic record?
– It’s a fun and really catchy album, loads of guitars and even more Farfisa organ. Basically I just wrote and recorded eleven demos with MP in the style of GT and badabam – we had an album. Most of it was done during the break I had to have with my acoustic tour. And it became an amazing record. Anders called me up a week ago after he heard the final version and said –“How did this happen?”.
At a later point this year, we will certainly have the chance to speak more about GT but there is one question we’d like to ask now: What is it like to write the music and lyrics for what is supposed to be the very last album of such a dear thing as Gyllene… and then again. And yet again?
– I don’t think like that. GT will never be over for me.
Nor for us. Last question: Are you aware this might be the last chance to make millions with Gyllene Cider this summer? We’re counting on you!
– Thanks for the tip! Appreciate it. Cheers.
It’s on the house. See ya!
March 4th, 2023
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This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:
TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Gyllene Tider, TDR:Per Gessle, TDR:PG Roxette, TDR:Roxette.