Interview with Marie Fredriksson from ZTV '96

 Rep: You came to Halmstad in the ‘70s. How was it? Can you describe the musical scene that was there that time?

Marie: It was intense. I came there in 1977 from a little village called Östra Ljungby, I moved to Halmstad in ’77, yes, it was that year. And Gyllene Tider existed there, they had just started... and a lot of other bands who started to grow up that time, in ’78. It felt like all could play, all could make a band, it was many who learned to play very quickly, but it didn’t matter, all could play together! And we made a festival where all could play. There was a really active music life at the end of the ’70 in Halmstad.

Rep: Didn’t Six Piece play also that time in Halmstad?

Marie: Yes, they did. We couldn’t come in, in fact we didn’t try is as it was very violent and it was full! I think there were people who didn’t get any ticket, but we were outside, I remember. And it was a great feeling anyway, greater than we could imagine.

When so much music appeared, of course that there were many groups in Halmstad and they were incredibly many for such a little town. Then Gyllene Tider had a great success with ‘Flickorna på TV2’; after that there were more and more bands, all wanted to get a contract with a record company. Among them there were us, as well, I was in a band called Strul and we had to fight a lot to get a contract with a record company, including here in Stockholm. All of us were thinking like this: ‘now I will be a pop star and have a great success’. For me it was very difficult. But Gyllene Tider really succeeded.

Rep: Your first memory when you met Per Gessle...

Marie: Yes, it was when we shared a studio...or...yes, it was that! In fact they were in another bigger room, they had money, they had their room and clothes, while we had never had that. It was a chaos for us; we had to change the rooms.

Rep: It was a real mess!

Marie: Yes, it was, indeed. We had to loan things. When we came there, Per was very special, he had order in everything. We all liked him because he is really social, really easy to talk to; he has a lot of humour.

Rep: Was it Gyllene Tider that all girls fell in love with?

Marie: I don’t know, it could be like that. When we were there, it seemed that all girls loved them.

Rep: Did you become Gyllene Tider fans?

Marie: No, not really, but we became very good friends. We had a lot of fun together, long time before we started to co-operate. We had the same ideas.

Rep: That time you had few solo albums, as well as some with your band Mammas Barn. You had your own success career, you had also one album you were working with. And you decided to change something...

Marie: Yes, because all the things I had done before, I had done them by myself. And when we started to work together, all thought that it was something I was doing in parallel. But I thought the opposite, I started to sing in English, I started to work with Per, we thought it was much easier to work together, to be two. As I wanted to have success also outside Sweden, I was thinking: why not to do it together with somebody who had the same talent? Because I didn’t dare to do it by myself, as I thought that it was a too big step. But we helped each other and we said: we will see what happens. When I look back, we released the first Roxette album in 1986, “Pearls of Passion” and I released my solo album “Efter Stormen” in 1987. I tried to keep my own career, too. But when Roxette had a huge success with “Look Sharp”, I was thinking that it would take so much time, so I had to wait with my Swedish songs and my own albums. But now, after all these, it feels great, I had a lot of things to discover, everything was incredibly nice, all that we have seen or we have done, the feeling that we have met the whole world is the most wonderful that I have ever had. 

 Rep: You had just got 30 years old when you got the first No 1 in the USA with ‘The look’. Have you ever felt that it could bring you a bad luck?

Marie: Noo, on the contrary, thank God! I was tired, I passed 30. But all that we have experienced in the USA, the whole promotion and all media advertisement, as people had to know who we were. We have started a huge carrousel of travels and interviews and TV and radio. And I could have never done it by myself. It was a difficult period of time, but we travelled all around the world like crazy, it is fantastic when you think back in time.

Rep: Your previous solo album that you had done, Marie, when you listen to it, it was not very black, but it was not very happy either. “Den Ständiga Resan”.

Marie: No, it was not very happy, it was really sad and I think it was difficult to find my own identity in the future that we had in front of us and in that tempo that we had been living for a long time. It felt like a crisis of the age of 30. I don’t know if that one exists, but there were moments when I was near to get crazy. But it was great that we could pass through it, we were proud and happy for that, it was something exciting. But you know, when you get older, you look back and you learn from everything that you have done: what was difficult, what was bad or good. But in my case it was 90% positive thoughts.

When I look back at songs like ‘Tro’, the songs that I have written directly inspiring from films, it feels like I have experienced the song by myself, I refer here to the text. And then it was also the fact that there are too many bad things in the world, I was thinking about the time we live in, about so many bad things that you hear about in mass media, like violence against children, war, political scandal and all these. It is very easy for the newspapers to take all the negative things from the world and write about them so that people can read all this shit. And for all this I was thinking that it was good to try to show something good, I tried to put together all my thoughts that I had had before I wrote my songs.

The music that I write is something that I feel. Perhaps I will try to help other artists with my experiences. Or films and theatres... I will say to them that they must do something creative.