2 x 1 Roxette - Interview from Nordic Channel - Hasse Gustafsson

 Rep: This is true! For the first time in the Swedish music history, Roxette have got No. 1 in the USA twice. ABBA have done it earlier, they have been No.1 in the USA, but only once, while Roxette have succeeded to have two number ones. Here we are with Roxette, Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson.

Rep:  Congratulations for that!
Marie: Thank you very much. 
Rep: Now you are on the top of the single list for the second time in the USA. No Swede has done that before. 
Per: No, no Swede. It really feels unbelievable, of course. Once in a life time it can be possible, but twice, it feels incredible. 
Rep: Are you so good? 
Marie: Yeah! (laughs) 
Rep: It is fantastic. A guy from Halmstad and a girl from Skåne. You didn't know it would happen like that.
Marie: Yes, we knew. Otherwise it wouldn't have happened like this. You mean from the beginning, when we started. No, at the beginning we were thinking: why shouldn't we try something in English and try to come out from Sweden? And...I don't know, everything just happened. It was quick.
Per: The plan was, first of all, to come to GermanyThe NetherlandsFrance and the neighbour countries, we didn't think too much about America and England - the two biggest markets that exist. So we thought they are not for us. 
Rep: Why are England and America so difficult? 
Per: Well, it is very difficult to come into the charts there, when you are a foreigner. It is really difficult to live in a little country like Sweden or Denmark or Belgium or whatever and have a record company in America who should listen to your albums. You need a contact person, a manager, a lawyer and all these. 
Rep: Per Gessle, you are still known as a referee for the song 'Flickorna på TV2'. 
Per: I don't know. 
Rep: Is it not true? 
Marie: I think that more for 'The Look'.
Per: Yes, I don't know. 
Rep: Is this an end of 'Flickorna på TV2', that is still known like Per Gessle?
Marie: It was also 'Sommartider'...
Per: I don't know, there are many with such strange words. 
Rep: You were born 30 years ago...
Per: Yes, 30 years ago. 
Rep: 1959. A well known summer that year. 
Per: Yes, the same year with the world championship in boxing. 
Rep: That time you were born. When did you start with music? 
Per: (laughs)
Rep: Quite quickly!!
Per: I started quite late, in fact. First I listened to a lot of music, I used to collect records. I was 6 - 7 years old. I had two elder brothers who were listening to those strange songs. Like that I started to collect records, it was my biggest interest, I was crazy for pop music. 
Rep: What idol did you have? 
Per: When I was little, it was Hep Stars who had a huge success in the '60s. Then, when I got 12 years old, it was mostly David Bowie, T. Rex, Beatles, all of them influenced me. Then I started to play guitar when I was 17 years old. 
Rep: Quite late!
Per: Really late. And I started Gyllene Tider and worked with them. We had Tom Petty as model, the biggest in the '70s. But I think the most important thing was that I dared to play their songs, it was The Clash also. 
Rep: What about you, Marie? You come from a place that is a bit south from Halmstad... You come from Helsingborg!
Marie: Yes, outside Helsingborg, 
Östra Ljungby. 
Rep: How did it start for you?
Marie: Well, I already decided when I was 6 year old that I would become either a singer or an actress. I thought it would be nice, it was what I wanted to do. But when I was a teenager I decided to become a Music teacher, I also studied music 2 years and I realized that I didn't want to work in a school, it was boring. 
Rep: Long corridors, work after school, the teacher should be fresh! 
Marie: No!
Per: Bad salary... 
Marie: Exactly, no. I wanted to stay away instead. 
Per: Egoistic...
Rep: Yes, a bit egoistic. 
Marie: No, I don't know. Then I started to sing the songs of the models I had when I was 10 - 12 years old, I started to listen to music a lot; then it was Beatles, of course, then Joni Mitchell, one of my biggest idols.  

Rep: And then...
Marie: Then I moved to Halmstad...1976... and I sang with a band called Strul, then another group called Mammas Barn and those times we had to share the studio with Gyllene Tider. Like that I could meet Per 1978 and we...
Per: She had long hair! 
Rep: It is said that you are a couple, not only friends. 
Marie: But we are not a couple! We are very good friends instead. 
Per: Of course, there are many people who think that we are a couple.
Rep: But you are very good friends. 
Per and Marie: Yes! 
Marie: Yes, we became friends already when he was in Gyllene Tider and I met also the producer Lasse Lindbom with Gyllene Tider's help. That time I started a solo career.
Rep: Lasse Lindbom who played in the group Landslaget?
Marie: Exactly. So Lasse and I wrote a lot of songs together and I got to help Per as well with the first album. I started to work with him as well and we discussed, first as a joke, if we could try to make something in English. So 'Pearls of Passion' appeared in the autumn of '86.
Per: The first Roxette album. 
Rep: Where did you take the name 'Roxette' from? 
Per: It comes from a song of an old band, Dr. Feel Good. Their first hit in England was a song called 'Roxette'. So we took it. Just to remind of Dr. Feel Good in all interviews. 
Rep: You have done it now, too.
Per: Yes. I always do that. One of the Swedish record companies said that I have had 1200 interviews in 8 months. So it is not bad to remind of them every time. (laughs) I get tired only when I think about it! (laughs) 
Rep: So mine can be one of these 1200 interviews! (laughs) So, 1989 will come to the end soon, 1990 is so near. Which is your plan? How far away can you go? How long will you continue?
Per: I don't know. We see Roxette like a long lasting project. Perhaps we an come to Germany and have a Top 20 with our songs, that can be spread over the planet! But for the moment there is no chance! 
Rep: You are not timid at all! Over the planet! (laughs)  
Per: Yes, right. So, the next step will be Roxette again. We will go on tours and play live and make one more album. 
Rep: When do you start? And where? 
Marie: It would be very cool to come to Russia and play there.
Rep: ABBA did it quite good in their times.
Marie: Yes. 
Per: We must go there as well! Of course! 
Rep: You are always compared to ABBA. 
Marie: Yes, all the time. But it is cool to hear that, they are really good, very good music.
Rep: Are you friends?
Per: Yes, they congratulate us. They are great, ABBA have done another kind of music, a lot of songs. 
Rep: A lower level? 
Per: Noo, a higher one, of course. They have sold so many albums all over the world. You can see that when you watch the catalog with so many good songs that made them famous. 
Rep: What did you think of their songs? Which one do you like most? 
Marie: There are so many, I like all of them! S.O.S., Dancing Queen, all are the same nice. 
Per: Dance music. 
Rep: You know that it is a bit strange now than at the end of the '70s, now at the end of the '80s, ABBA sounds a bit ugly. Does anyone play ABBA nowadays? 
Per: Well, today there is another music genre, there are many alternatives where you can choose from. Of course it is very ugly in our houses, perhaps, when we play a lot of ABBA. At my school, too, in Halmstad!  
Rep: Are you part of the new music genre? 
Per: We are on the way, anyway. 
Marie: We are trying to do something new...
Per: Perhaps we will take some nice clothes decorations (laughs) 

 

Rep: Do you agree with each other when you write songs? 

Per: No, you can't say that, but sometimes we agree. Sometimes Marie succeeds to say that it is quite cool. 
Marie: Sometimes I think that we should change it. 
Per: If I start to sing, it becomes like 'The Look' for example. (laughs)
Rep: Don't you like it, Marie?
Marie: Yes, I love that song. 
Rep: Was it not  'Listen to You Heart' that you like most?
Marie: It is Per who likes this most! I liked it at the beginning, I thought it was good. 
Per: Of course she thought that it is good.
Marie: Yes, because I had an own song that sounded much better. 
Rep: Which one?
Marie: It was Sparvöga. 
Rep: Sparvöga? 
Per: Say it in English!
Rep: How is Sparvöga in English? 
Marie: It is... I don't remember, I got a very nice text and it was in English. But that became 'Listen to Your Heart', which was really great. And I took the old melody and wrote the text of 'Sparvöga'. 
Rep: How did you get the idea of that song, which is very nice?
Marie: Thank you. 
Rep: It is another type of song. 
Marie: Yes, it is. I got..well, they wanted to have something for a TV-series, so I watched the first episode, I got inspired and I wrote the text. But as I said, I was used to music and it went quickly. Now I am in Roxette and I have to work for Roxette. But... it was something quick and they liked it, all the guys who worked for that film. 
Rep: So we can say that it has been a TV image that has inspired you. 
Marie: Yes. And I think that it is cool to write all kinds of music. I have done Swedish albums, now we must follow Roxette. 
Rep: You don't want to make any solo album anymore?
Marie: Yes, I would like that. 
Rep: But now now!
Marie: No, when I have time, I can write. You know, when you read a lot of music theory, you must do those things all the time because you forget quickly. But Clarence, our producer, he records everything on cassettes just to remember.  
Rep: When you write a song, Marie, do you sit at the piano? 
Marie: Yes, I sit there. It is the easiest I think. 
Rep: You, Per?
Per: I am very bad at playing an instrument, so I try...
Rep: So I didn't find the right person here! 
Per: Well, I try to use the old instruments. Perhaps an acoustic guitar, or something, it is easy. But I cannot write notes or read notes. So I work with people that can do all these. (laughs) It is true! I think that for me the most important is the ear. 
Rep: Is it true that without Marie it would have been quite plain, simply?
Per: In a way, yes. I could never have sung so good! (laughs) 
Marie: I don't know if it would have been simply. The good thing in Roxette is that we complete each other quite well. 
Rep: Would you try to produce for other artists, too?
Marie: It would be interesting to try to work with other artists as well. 
Per: I tried, but it didn't work so well. (laughs)
Rep: Really? 
Per: Yes, I have done 4 - 5 times, different albums with different artists. 
Rep: They didn't succeed with that?
Per: Well, yes, all had something funny, but it is not the same. I tried to introduce some Gyllene elements. But from this point of view, I am not a producer! 
Marie: You are a pop piffle. (laughs)
Per: (laughs) A consult. 
Rep: A consult piffle. (laughs) 
Per: But I don't know how to call it when you say that this is good, this is wrong. 
Rep: Is it an advantage for you to be very funny all the time? 
Per: I don't know. (laughs)
Marie: It is great to have so much humor like Per. Wonderful to work with him! You wonder where he has got all those thoughts.  
Per: But you cannot work in this industry in another way! (laughs) Well, we have a lot of fun and we get back a lot from people. We have the privilege that we live from a hobby. Not many people can do that.  
Rep: What about your private life, girlfriend, boyfriend... Does it work?
Marie: It is quite difficult when you are away for a long time. This year we have been away a lot, I don't know how long, it feels that we live in a luggage. It is clear that it's difficult to have a family, but you learn that in life. It is something special this work, it is a work from morning to evening, you live with Roxette, you eat here. 
Rep: Did you think to have children? 
Marie: Of course we think about that. I want to have kids, but...
Per: I don't want to have kids, I want to have hits! (laughs) 
Rep: Hits! How important is that?
Per and Marie: Number one! 
Marie: It is difficult, first of all as a woman. I am not 35 years old yet. I am 31, but the time flies quickly. 
Rep: Then you have to choose a bit. 
Marie: Yes. 
Rep: Do you want to have children now, when Roxette are No. 1?
Marie: No, it doesn't work. Not when we travel a lot, we are a lot on tours. Well, there are people who manage that, but it is not so cool to leave the children all the time with other people who take care of them, with a babysitter. It is difficult, anyway. 
Rep: So this is a disadvantage.
Marie: Yes, you can say like that.
Rep: Are there other disadvantages, too? 
Marie: No. I don't think so. What we do now is very interesting, there are many people to meet, many countries to see. You can get a lot of wonderful memories for the rest of your life. 
Rep: Now I could find out some things about Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson. Now we know that you are not  couple, you are vey good friends instead. We have said that now, they don't have to speculate anything else. We know that you enjoy life a lot. It is a good description. 
Per: I think that this is the secret when you work together. I remember when we recorded our first album, it was a bit boring because I didn't know what I wanted to do. So all that happiness was the secret to be able to record the album. And another secret was that we were happy to record it here in Sweden
Rep: I want to wish you all the best, thank you for the music, thank you for the advertisement that you make for Sweden. I get a bit nostalgic when I talk about all these, because also ABBA have done the same thing in their time. 
Per and Marie: Thank you!