Christoffer Lundquist for ROxette.ro!

1. How did you get involved in the music industry? By chance. In 1991 a friend of mine (David Birde) who played in a band called Brainpool that none had ever heard about asked me if I could be the stand-in for their bass player. He was going to do military service for a year. So I joined them and when the time came for the original bassist to come back I'd gotten so involved in the music the rest of the band felt I should stay permanently. I did and two years later we released our first album. 2. What kind of music has an influence on your creations? Any kind of music really. I do have a especially strong love for pop and rock music made roughly between 1965 and 1975. In that period there was so much amazing music made I can't believe it. The Beatles, The Who, Crosby,Stills and Nash, Joni Mitchell, Small Faces, Led Zeppelin, Dr.John, The Band, Genesis, Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator, Simon and Garfunkel etc etc etc. This list could fill the whole page if I would continue...and all the soul music recorded in this period, the Motown stuff, Stax, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin...not to speak of country music from the same period: Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton. Fantastic music! But I listen to so much different music from any period including contemporary music and classical music. To tell you the truth I'm a totally single-minded music nerd. I'm really not interested in anything else. After a 12-14 hour working day in the studio I often wind down by - listening to music! 3. How did you meet Per and Marie? Brainpool signed a contract with Per’s new publishing company in 1994. He started it to invest some money in music that he liked; I think he wanted to be a part of the music industry in a positive and creative way by starting this publishing company that would deal with good music, real music. Not music as a business. Brainpool was the first band he signed to his company and he was sort of a fan of Brainpool. So he asked us to be the support act for Roxette's 1994 Crash!Boom!Bang! tour and then we started to get to know each other. I got to know and be very good friends with Clarence on that tour. 4. What is your favorite song of Per’s on which you have worked? The most difficult question ever! There are soooo many....! "Late, later on" and "Hey, Mr. DJ" off SOAP are big favorites of mine as well as "Vilket Håll Du Än Går" from Mazarin and "Silly Really" from the new album. Right now it's everything from the latest album. The newest one is always the most fun.... And lots more.... 5. How come you play so many instruments? Well, I buy them and then I try to play them! There are only 12 notes to choose from in the western scale and they are the same on every instrument so it's not that difficult really. And then I'm not exactly very good at playing any instrument, "real" instrumentalists would laugh at my ability. I just play what I hear in my head and hope for the best. A lot of the time I have no idea what note I'm actually playing or even what key I'm in, I play very much by intuition. I can't read music at all so my understanding of music theory is very home-grown. I’m probably only a "proper" musician as a bass player (that's where I feel most at home) and maybe as a guitar player. I've always played guitar but I hadn't done it so much on records before "Mazarin". For some reason I just played a lot of stuff on that record and sort of found my style a bit and it seemed to fit well with Per's new songs. And then Per wanted me to play guitar on the Mazarin tour. I was a little scared because I'd never played guitar live before but I really got into it. Nowadays I play a lot of the guitars on the records I produce. 6. Are you a versatile producer? Can you produce a rock album and then a dance album? Not really. I tend to do a variety of the same thing: Pop/rock music played and sung "for real" with as little involvement from the computerized world of music as possible. I like organic music. Meaning I go for feeling and vibe before technical perfection. Meaning I really like a little out-of-tunes and mistakes and random things on records. I tend to get very bored with a lot of modern music that is computer-polished to the point of total perfection. I want to hear emotion and personality and inspiration from the speakers, not technical perfection. It just sounds boring to me. The new Gessle album is the first time I did any programming at all; I have only ever produced music that was played by human beings. But this time Per wanted to go in a new direction so I dived into it all and this record is the most different I've ever done in that respect. I learned a lot during the process and it was a lot of fun. I guess you could say that I can only produce music I really like and feel strongly about. And I don't feel strongly about most dance music so no one asks me to produce any dance music! 7. Do you have to be in a certain mood to produce good music; do you need something to inspire you? Well, I am very privileged in this respect: I get my inspiration from the people I work with, their talent, their music and their enthusiasm. And I also love working in my own studio which I've spent a lot of energy and resources to improve and develop. It's grown into a very special place, pretty much my dream place really. With good songs and good artists and players the inspiration ALWAYS arrives by itself, it's already in the music so to speak. 8. Do you still play with Brainpool? Yes but we have difficulties finding time to work as a band because everybody does their own thing to support themselves. But I'm sure sooner or later we'll make more music together because we love it and we enjoy doing this together so much. David and Jens in Brainpool are actually my favorite music-making partners, they are like brothers to me. I've learnt so much by working with them, I wouldn't be half the musician I am without them. 9. Will you tour again with Per? Yes I will, this spring in fact. 10. Tell us a funny thing about you. Well....I have great difficulty putting my T-shirts on the right way. More often than not I go an entire day with the shirt inside out without noticing. My kids point it out to me though. I actually find it very difficult to concentrate on anything but music; I can be very absent-minded and confused at times. 11. And about Per. Towards the end of a long working day he tends to substitute the words he means to say with a totally different word that's got nothing to do with anything. He has a very very quick mind and I think at times his mind is ahead of his mouth and then he can be a bit difficult to understand actually...like calling a "car" a "dog" or a" song" a " car" or whatever. He’s said some hilarious things like that. 12. Fans are asking: how many bottles of wine are consumed during the making of an album)? (for the mood) It's not that bad really =). We usually work for three days in a row and the first day might get a little heavy in the evening. But then we get so tired the next day we tend to calm down a bit! 13. Is the studio yours, or did you build it together with Per? Per has nothing to with the studio. I built it together with my wife who's an architect and we own it. Per is a favorite client and very good friend, not a partner in the studio at all. 14. Why the name “Aerosol Grey Machine”? It's the title of an old record from '69 by a band called "Van Der Graaf Generator", a very different and strange band that I always loved. "The Aerosol Grey Machine" is their first record (not that great actually!) and when my demo studio was in the garage of my wife's parent's garage I named the studio after this record. And the name sort of stuck. 15. Where did you get all those instruments for the studio? I buy almost everything on eBay, mostly from the US. I've spent A LOT of both time and money on all these instruments. And I never seem to get enough! I'm totally in love with sound and different combinations of sound. Computer samples that anyone has access to are boring I think, I want the real thing: a room with real acoustics. That's magic for me! I just got a small church (pipe) organ installed in the studio so that's the new favorite. When I have gotten a new instrument that's always the favorite for a while and tends to get over-used during the first months. So right now there's church organ on everything I do! 16. How is life on tour? Touring with Per is very comfortable since it's all so high profile. And he's very relaxed to work with. Not all touring is like that for sure, it can be very rough. I've always enjoyed playing live a lot, at least after having gotten over the crippling shyness that stopped me from ever playing anything to anyone, not to mention singing, before the age of 22 or so...Life on tour is also strange. You are so cut off from reality and time and space seems to take on a different - or no - meaning. I really like it but it takes a while to adapt back to normal life when you get home. I'm always weird for a week or so after a tour. I don't do it so much these days, only with Per actually. Since I have kids I wouldn't want to be away so much. 17. Who does what on the studio; tell us what is your role in producing Per’s albums? I really don't know, it's a very organic process and it's difficult to tell afterwards who did what. There are some basic things of course: Per writes all the music, I do all the engineering, recording and technical stuff. Whenever there's something difficult to play on keyboards it's always Clarence who plays it since he's technically really good. Other keyboard parts tend to be split evenly between the two of us; whoever has an idea plays it. We often jam together on two different keyboards to see what we might come up with. I play bass and most of the guitars on the albums, as well as most of the other "different" instruments. Per plays a lot of acoustic guitar, he has a very personal way of playing that is really good. When it comes to ideas for arrangements etc it is, as I said, very organic. We sort of work together like one person a lot of the time. Per always has the final say of course. If he doesn't like something it will not go on the album. It happens that Clarence and I do a lot of work in a certain direction and then Per decides he thinks it's wrong. So then we happily scrap what we've done and start over. At the same time it often happens that that we do something with a song that is totally different from what Per had in mind but he really loves it, he thinks it much better than what he had in mind. he's very open minded about his music but he never does anything that he doesn't really really like and he's very sensitive, it must feel absolutely right to him, otherwise he won't settle for it. He really knows what he likes and what he doesn't. We basically have a lot of fun and it's really intense. After three days together we are totally burned out. Per often "steers" the direction of an album by playing music from his iPod. His knowledge and love of pop music is really unbelievable, I never met anyone who's so totally obsessed with pop music.. When we started the SOAP album he only played really old music, like easy listening from the fifties and totally forgotten bands and artists from the 60's and seventies. He always knows what position any song had on the hit list, who wrote it, produced it, who's in the band and what they did later in their careers etc. I've learned so much from him playing things from his iPod. And I've discovered so much great music thanks to him. When we begun work on "Party Crasher" suddenly he only played either old disco tracks or contemporary stuff by Timbaland and Max Martin and people like that. So he kind of puts us all in a certain state of mind, the atmosphere in which he imagines the album should go. Sometimes we stay in that "mode" and sometimes we abandon it completely when something different pops up. It's very inspirational. 18. What was different about the “Party Crasher” album? It's a computer-made album. The rhythms are completely programmed for the first time. There's a lot more synthesizers than usual and less guitars. And Per doesn't play a single note on the album! We built the tracks from zero in the computer instead of playing together trying to find an identity to each track. Per wanted it to feel more polished and more strictly organized than the last albums so that's why we worked like this. It's also meant to be more based on rhythm. On the last couple of albums the drums have been kind of quiet and not so punchy; we have looked for more emphasis on melody and harmony for the emotion. This time we wanted a harder, stricter beat, more focus on the beat. By computer record I mean it was not recorded to analog tape like we normally do. And only the rhythms were programmed, the rest of the instruments are played by Clarence and me. Some synths are programmed but not most of them. Since there is so much keyboards on the album we have blended the synths with different acoustic keyboard instruments to try and get a more unique sound and more organic depth. When you use a lot of synths the sound can end up a bit dead so that's why we worked like that. In modern recording (since the introduction of computers as the recording media) you often have the exact same take of any instrument or maybe backing vocals for every identical part of a song. Meaning that when the second chorus comes you hear the exact same bass, guitar and keyboard takes as you did on the first chorus. This sounds more disciplined, strict and "modern" than playing through a whole song and letting every part be a little different and alive. So with this album we worked like this for the first time, we copied and pasted things to get a little more "mechanical", disciplined feel and sound than we have been striving for before. Similarly everything is done to a click track, meaning that the tempo never strays. This is the first time we did this too. I think it's very important for artists to break new ground and to try to vary the way they work to try to avoid repeating yourself. As an afterthought I maybe think that we should have changed directions sooner, "En Händig Man" is not my favorite album. Probably because we were trying to do something in Swedish that we'd already done in English (SOAP) and you find yourself doing the same thing over again. And then it's bound to be not as good as it was the first time, when those particular ideas were fresh and exciting. So I'm very happy about the new album, it's very fresh and exciting to me. I've certainly never done anything like it before even though Per and Clarence have more experience working in a similar manner from the Roxette days. But this was still very different of course. Since I'm a great great fan of Roxette music it was fun for me to get into to this way of thinking. 19. Do you read Roxette related websites? How about forums? I hadn't until I stumbled upon one site, I think it was "The Daily Roxette" during the "En Händig Man"-tour. And I found out that there are a lot of people who think I'm the worst thing that happened to Per ever! They really think I suck BIG TIME! And I also understood that a lot of people think Helena Josefsson sucks equally bad. Which of course is totally OK but nevertheles a little hurtful when you read about it? I guess before the internet we said those things to each other when we were talking about music at home and the person we were speaking about would never know what we thought. Only now we say the same things over the internet publicly and we express ourselves maybe a bit like we would talking to a friend, not like we would if we were writing an article to be published in a magazine. It does look different when it's written and published for anyone to see. Of course I have had loads of similar opinions about the bands I love and I've said a million very harsh things about certain band members that I believe are ruining a favorite band of mine so I completely understand and respect it. But to be honest I don't want to read about myself like that, maybe I'm just too sensitive? So now I try to avoid it actually. I should mention that I (like many artists and musicians) try to avoid reading reviews of the music I do since I tend to get hurt by the bad ones. Music is magic for me and I basically I only do it for the satisfaction of doing it, it's the little thrilling magic moments when you do something that sounds great to you and hear it for the first time in the speakers that keep me going. I want more of them! Of course I dream of everyone loving what I do, I want every person in the world to feel as strongly as I do about the music I make. But of course that's not the way it works at all and it's not my main reason for making music. So I keep away from the forums after that experience. 20. When will you take a vacation? It seems you work nonstop there! Yes I have worked like crazy for many many years now. And it’s been great but I do feel that I wouldn't mind a little more time off with the kids and so on. It's difficult though. To do what I do and do it with the level of ambition I have you need to make some money to keep the studio running. With the music business in free fall and everyone file sharing and not wanting to pay for music it gets increasingly difficult to do what I do. Budgets for an album are 1/5 now compared to when I started, because of declining sales due to file sharing to a large extent. And of course it's the small artists, bands and labels that are most sensitive to this, a fact that is NEVER heard in the ongoing debate about this subject. You often get the impression that file sharing only hurts the already stinking rich when in fact it hurts the poorest the most. The big guys suffer badly but survive; the small ones just cease to exist because they had no economical margin. So I'm eagerly hoping for a reasonable solution that can make music, art and films available to the world as cheaply as possible and at the same time collect some money for all the creative people who made the music, films and art. So they can make some more and spread to the people who obviously enjoy their work. But so far it doesn't look all that great to be honest. You can find more about his studio on the Aerosol Grey Machine webpage. And we thank Mr. Lundquist very much for this wonderful interview. See you on the tour!

Comments

thank you guys for this

thank you guys for this interview...i think , as i have the opportunity to tell him in person during the EHM tourm, CL is a genious, altough i din´t like much his live performance. I think he has a brillant and talented mind, and he is very cute and kind.

Best regards.

did u meet him? any photos to

did u meet him? any photos to share with us?