The Per Gessle Xmas interview 2021
It’s been a while since we interviewed the busy man called Per. Therefore, with his tonsillitis, we grabbed him and asked him about his favorite poems.
First of all thank you for taking your precious time for this interview. How are you doing, how is your voice?
– Good afternoon. Thanks for asking.
My voice is OK now but it’s been a bit on the Beelzebub-side for some time. It’s slowly getting back to normal. Being the Furet crooner, that’s where I belong!
Yes, who has forgotten “Då går jag ner i min källare”? Per, it’s been another “peculiar” year. In hindsight, have you accomplished your goals for 2021?
– Oh yea. I didn’t have any other plans than to finish my English recordings which I did in the late spring. Everything else has been out-of-the-blue decisions like doing the acoustic shows in Tylösand + the autumn tour + the Metallica-cover.
Also I worked on the anniversary editions of “Joyride” and “Moderna Tider”. Lots of fun but it took forever!
All in all, it’s been an interesting year. Haven’t been able to travel as much as I wanted but I’m not the only one.
Certainly not. Traveling is sorely missed by us as well. Did you have other stuff planned for 2021 that we will get to see/hear later?
– The English recordings will pop up via Warner Music. It has taken longer than expected to find a good partner in this project. I forgot about how slow the music biz actually is working.
When was the idea born to do concerts in your own hotel this summer? And why?
– Because Hotel Tylösand needed something special for the summer and I volunteered to do a couple of shows. The regulations due to Covid-19 were very strict so we had to find a way to make things work both for the crowds, the authorities and from our own musical point of view.
In the end it became amazing to step out of my dear old comfort zone playing not only hits but songs that mean a lot to me and the few braincells I have left.
MP from Gyllene Tider did the foh (front of house)-sound, my boss Åsa did the stage design. Only the inner circle was involved. I can’t see myself stopping doing shows like these in the future. Smaller crowds, intimate, personal, no drummer. A delight.
The summer concerts in the sun were indeed a delight! So did you plan a full Sweden tour in the back of your mind already back then?
– No no. It just happened. Because we enjoyed it so much. The band and crew as well.
And what about Europe or even the world later on? We know, costs etc. but apart from this… you did have 2021 locked for a European tour, electric style though.
– Well, the world is still in a bit of a mess so I don’t have any plans at all at the moment. I’m releasing new music internationally in 2022. Let’s take it from there.
While we feel it would be ”interesting” to perform your internationally less known Swedish songs for an international audience abroad, what is your take on this idea?
– I think that’s a great idea and I welcome everyone to come to Sweden to experience it!
No one will demand “Sommartider” in London or Berlin, this is a good thing no?
– If you play London or Berlin you need to do a different show. Unless you’re gonna play in an old telephone booth.
Of course. Should it work it would be amazing. No not the telephone booth thing! Acoustic, small venues, do you feel this is the way to go in the future or are you longing for the big arenas? We certainly are.
– I don’t know. Right now, with the Covid-19 thing still growing, I feel pretty comfortable playing small places with a tweaked mindset than I usually have.
It’s sooooo different doing these acoustic shows compared to bigger theatres or arenas or stadiums. But I’m sure there’s a time and a place for everything.
Yes, “Bruce Springsteen on Broadway” was a very similar concept to your Unplugged concerts. He speaks about his personal life and the story of his songs. Was this an inspiration for you?
– I loved that show. He is such a master on stage! His show was based on his biography presented chronologically. I don’t do that, I just mention some stupid anecdotes that happened along the way. And try to irritate Chris and Magnus as much as possible.
It doesn’t seem to work on Magnus at least. Would you, like Bruce, be able to run a full concert all alone, playing and talking?
– I guess. But I prefer playing with people. My music sounds better that way. And he’s a much much better singer and player than I am.
We have noticed that the banter on the stage has become a central point of the performance, and this is a new thing. This isn’t the Per we know, more being the “We’ll play some new songs, some old songs, we’ll see what happens!!” The banter part is very appreciated by everyone. How did you develop this part of the show?
– Well, like I said earlier there wasn’t any proper idea behind the show. I just went into the studio in the summer with MP and started to record songs live on my own to see what felt good and what felt like crap.
I recorded almost 50 songs. Like always some songs “kill each other” because they turn out the same, others surprise you and you just have to embrace them.
I have a wonderful band, I cherish them a lot. I can lean upon them with my ideas and musical whims and I know they will always deliver and support me. It’s such a treat.
Almost everyone on stage is sitting during the show, at least most of the time. Don’t you miss the rocker poses sometimes?
– I do. And my back hurts from sitting down for so long. The original idea for the summer was to play 60 minutes including encores. But that turned out to be impossible.
You mentioned you were working on an English language album (for the tour). When is it out?
– It’s an amazing record, I’m really proud of it. First single will be out in the spring.
It’s probably too early to reveal details but nobody reads this anyway, so maybe you can at least give us a hint of what to expect?
– Hahaha, the production is basically made by Magnus Börjeson and Clarence Öfwerman and it sounds just like you suspect: to have been recorded in 1988.
Magnus is amazing with sounds from that era and Clarence still got those magic fingers. It’s very uptempo. Jonas Isacsson is there a lot, Chris is there, Helena and Dea and some other surprises will pop up.
Exactly, you’ve mentioned it being the missing link between “Look Sharp!” and “Joyride”. But was anyone really looking for that?
– I was! That’s the most creative era in my songwriting, I really enjoyed going back to that way of thinking.
It does sound intriguing. And you also have another English project going on – Mono Mind. Does it clash with the other project or can we expect news from this branch of your creative tree anytime soon? Or has Doctor Robot succumbed from the Corona?
– Mono Mind will outlive us all. The Doc has got all the answers.
Recently, you have released several boxes like “Moderna Tider” 40, “Joyride” 30. Are you really putting all the available material in there or do you keep stuff reserved for the next release 10 years later? There’s also “Room Service” 20 and “Charm School” 10 this year… and just a few days left of 2021!
– Even though I’m a pretty organized person I still find alternative versions and mixes and sketches of songs from the past. I’m sure I will find even more from “Joyride” and “Moderna Tider” as well down the line. But you have to stop somewhere!
It’s certainly been a while… and you have more or less been “hot” during all this time, how do you reflect on that?
– Hot? Like hot? Or like hot?
Steaming hot! Hot as in… nevermind. So what other boxes are you working on?
– There are a few, “The Per Gessle Archives, volume 2” might pop up any year. It always makes me laugh when I listen to those songs! I think there are 100+ unreleased demos that scream for your attention. I’ve been definitely doing this for too long!!!!
GT’s “Puls” next year maybe? Or not. “Crash! Boom! Bang!” Could be fun! When is that? 2024? Still plenty of time for a cappuccino.
Yes 2024. Regarding “Puls”, you know we have to ask this: Gyllene. You keep mentioning it like you want to convince the other band members to give it another go. What are the real odds right now? We’re not talking a tour here, but an album at least. Nothing was said about that.
– GT is a beast of its own. You never know. As long as everyone stays alive there’s always a chance we could share a carrot juice together.
Fine, we have asked a lot of silly questions and probably missed one point or another you are now very relieved we didn’t mention because it’s still too early to talk about them today.
Anyway, tell us a secret!
– There will be a tiny Xmas present for y’all on the streaming services dec 24. Just for fun. Ho ho ho! Merry Xmas everyone!
There you go! Thank you Per Gessle and a very Merry X to you!