Per Gessle - Interview at Gomorron Sverige 2008-11-27

 Rep: These days Per Gessle, Sweden’s best hit writer, has released a new album, Party Crasher. From this album, the song Silly Really has already become a hit and came into charts few weeks ago. Per Gessle, welcome!

Per: Thank you very much.

Rep: How does it feel that you come up in the charts?

Per: It is always funny, of course, very nice. We keep our fingers crossed for every project, but we never know what happens next.

Rep: You mean that?

Per: Yes, it is like that. Moreover, it is also a project in English, so usually it is different.

Rep: Are you nervous before?

Per: Yes, I am, I think it is a bit scary when you release an album. It is the same when you have a tour, anything can happen.

Rep: For example, what? What are you scared for?

Per: Well, you try to change something all the time, you try new songs, new ideas and this album is very different compared to what I have done before. You never know.

Rep: Do you think about the charts? Are you a list nerd?

Per: Not so much now, not the same like when I was little. It was my purpose that time, in a way.

Rep: How was it?

Per: I wanted to be always in Top 10, in the English and American charts.

Rep: Not the Swedish evening chart?

Per: Well, the Swedish evening chart... I think it is a bit ridiculous.

Rep: Ok, it was more difficult or something like that... (laughs)

Per: You know, when we started with Roxette and came into charts, then we got courage and were thinking also about a half list. It was exciting.

Rep: But are you still No. 3 now?

Per: Well, nowadays it is a lot of music, you cannot like everything. And there are many songs where you don’t find yourself.

Rep: You cannot sit and play a record now... on your little record player.

Per: Exactly. There is another time nowadays, of course.

Rep: Ok, so this is called Party Crasher. It is a dance album, disco music. Have you done this kind of music before?

Per:  Well, it was difficult, it depends what it was, but this one ... there is a huge difference because I started to write the songs in another way. I tried to write by changing an old song first and then to write the music after it.

Rep: How would you have done otherwise?

Per: The other way round. I started with piano and guitar, then the special sound.

Rep: Why did you do like this now?  

Per: I have heard stories about it that it should work. (laughs)

Rep: You had to try it.

Per: In fact I read somewhere that Björn and Benny from ABBA wrote Dancing Queen after an old song from George McCrae, Rock Your Baby. It is the same type of rhythm, but different songs, of course, but I thought that it was really cool to work on a rhythm that you like, even if it is a disco song or a rhythm from the ‘80s, whatever. And if you start to change it, then you see what happens, for me it was a big difference.

Rep: Was there any song that you have taken and changed?

Per: Well, when you listen to an old song, there is a type of rhythm and if you stay and play after that rhythm, then the result is another type of rhythm.

Rep: Was it important for you to do something completely new, because there is a big difference from that Per Gessle that we used to hear.

Per: Last year I was on tour with En händig man and I felt I need to do a new album as soon as possible, and that would sound really cool. In fact I started to work at it last summer. And before last Christmas the album was ready, mainly.

Rep: Is it quick?

Per: Yes, it is quick. It was just to hurry up a bit while the brain was too hot.

Rep: It was also long time ago when you did an own album in English, it was too much in Swedish, too much about little town, too much love and a lot of Swedish summer and some other things like that. Why do you want to leave that?

Per: No, I don’t want to leave it, it is just that I have done a lot of those, I have done Mazarin, I have worked with Gyllene Tider 2004, then I did En händig man, so it is time to do something else. Sweden is a quite little country, so I tried to release albums outside Sweden as well.

Rep: So this album is situated in an international light.

Per: Yes, that would be nice for me.

Rep: Yes, you always can do that. But you have almost the same nice age like me, 49. But I feel a bit old for this disco music that the teen-agers listen to today. Do you never feel too old to write pop or disco?

Per: No, I don’t think that. There is nobody in the western countries that grew up without rock or pop music. It is our music in a way. Of course I don’t feel old.

Rep:  But you can resist as long as possible?

Per: Yes, as long as it is funny and as long as I know how to do it, of course I will continue with that.

Rep: Is it the same funny to go on stage nowadays as it was 30 years ago with Gyllene Tider?

Per: Well, to go on the stage is much funnier now, that time we didn’t know anything. Yes, I think it is really great to be on stage, as long as I work with very good people like Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist and Helena Josefsson who has been in the background of many albums.

Rep: She can be heard a lot on your albums.

Per: Of course. She is really active. So as long as we function like this, we continue.

Rep: So the age has nothing to do...

Per: Not for me!

Rep: But you have made quite many music styles, we can say. First it was Gyllene Tider, then it came Roxette, then you returned to your style of singing in Swedish. Was it difficult to choose it again?

Per: No, I think it was quite easy, it is an advantage, it is like a tree with many branches, I am happy I can jump from one project to another, I mean all Gyllene and Roxette have been incredibly good projects. For me they are completely different things. I played in two different groups so I felt this difference. As well as when I did my solo albums. 

Rep: But when you left Roxette, for example, did you have any plans what you would do or did you think about anything special?

Per: No... the things that have happened... in fact, we took a break after 2001 – 2002, when Marie got really sick, so there was not too much to choose. Of course we would have recorded a new Roxette album earlier if she had been fresh. But no one knows what is to happen in the future, it seems that she is back on the stage now and it is really cool.

Rep: What are you planning for the future?

Per: For the moment we don’t plan anything, but all want to know what we are planning. We don’t plan anything.

Rep: So you don’t have any plans, you don’t sit and talk what you will do in the future?

Per: No.

Rep: Is it only you who dreams about it?

Per: Yes, I know that Marie is not sure about it, but I feel something... well, you don’t feel like 23 anymore, you cannot stay 8 months and tour with an album, without family and without doing something else, too. You put everything on another plan.

Rep: But when we look back to your teen age, you seemed to be very clever!

Per: Perhaps, but when you release an album and you have worked one year for it, then you try to make things better.

Rep: But when you started to write songs, when you were a teen-ager, did you know that it was your domain? Did you know that this you were going to be successful with?

Per: No, I don’t think so, but I felt it when I met Mats, the one I have started Gyllene Tider with, that it was happening something really special.

Rep: But what happened?

Per: It was good, we wrote good music, it was something special, something that no one had done before that time. I have always written texts. It was always difficult to write texts when I was young and Mats was the musical brain that time. And we sat together and worked.

Rep: What made you write so many texts?

Per: It was the subtle rhymes, and also my energy, I think. We had to send the songs to record companies and the newspapers could see the texts and...

Rep: Was there anything negative you have found in all you have done to reach your purpose and in travelling round the world?

Per: No, not really, when we did something, we always had a new plan of what to do next and it was not easy. The future that we had with Roxette was not the same.

Rep: Was there anything you tried to change or to take with you?

Per: I hope not, but it is not sure. The time I was with Roxette, I had to focus 25 hours on Roxette.

Rep: And that time Marie Fredriksson had little kids.

Per: Yes, it was unbelievable. I thought about them when she went on a world tour.

Rep: Was it you who encouraged her?

Per: No, she wanted to come, too, but if you don’t have children yourself, as I didn’t have that time, then you don’t understand what it means.

Rep: So you didn’t listen to her at all!

Per: No, I could hear it now and forget it the next second. I was just thinking about singles and Germany and South America.

Rep: So you were little negative...

Per: Of course I was! (laughs) But then I became positive, anyway.

Rep: Next year you will be 50. How does it feel?

Per: It feels strange, I must say, it’s a strange thought. I get 50...

Rep: Do you feel old?

Per: Well, it feels strange...

Rep: But when you are at the age of 50, do you think about the past or the future?

Per: Sometimes you think about what you do, it is was long ago when I was born (laughs)

Rep: So you want to say that you don’t have a lot of years in the future... (laughs)

Per: I mostly think of...I don’t know, it feels that time goes really fast, you can notice that also when you have children. It feels that you don’t succeed to do everything when time passes so quickly.

Rep: Are you more self confident now when you get 50?

Per: Yes, of course, I am healthy and I have a job that I like and it is great that I have had a nice life until now.

Rep: Thanks a lot, Per Gessle, that you came here.

Per: Thanks, it’s always a pleasure.