Written by Jud on November 6, 2006 to Exclusive.
EDITOR’S NOTE - As you know, even though our online newspaper is called "The Daily Roxette," we try to cover everything related to Per and Marie. For a long time now, we've wanted to allow our readers to get to know Mikael Bolyos better, as he's played a major role with Marie Fredriksson's music both on and off the public stage. In this exclusive interview with TDR News Editor Judith Seuma, Mikael – better known as Micke – reveals much about his career with music and his working and personal relationship with his wife Marie.
VIENNA – Let's start with an introduction about Mikael as a musician. Mikael's recalls that his interest in music started when he heard The Platters' song "Only You" on the radio somewhere around 1963, and he knew he wanted to be a musician when his father asked him to take over his company one day. "He made plastic signs," explains Mikael. But he had considered other lines of work. "My dream was to become a gymnastics teacher," he says.
He started to learn the piano at the age of seven with "a private piano teacher, hated it and quit one year later, so I guess I still haven't learned to play it properly." He can also "play some chords on the guitar." Mikael wrote his first song at the age of 11. "The song was called 'Tell Me Why You Cry' and the lyrics were made up from different Beatles lyrics and titles," he says. The Beatles are one of his musical influences, together with Stevie Wonder and various '70s funk bands.
You compose, tour, play with other artists on albums, produce… Of these various facets of your career, what do you enjoy the most?
Today I'm not touring as much as I used to, but even then, when I used to, I was always happy in the studio. So, composing and recording must be my answer to that.
If you let your imagination run free for a moment (and assume that everyone is suddenly available), with whom would you like to work, that you've never had the opportunity to work with before?
I think it would be my new favorite artist and composer, Rufus Wainright.
How do you compose? For example, some artists rely on their inspiration and write music whenever it comes to them, others are more focused and prefer to schedule time for composing new material.
I wish I could be more scheduled in my work, but I'm quite a lazy guy and wait for the inspiration to come.
What is your prefered piano/keyboard? Do you have many of them in your studio? Do you prefer piano or keyboard?
A nice, well-tuned grand piano is always right. And synthesizers… [Micke goes into deep thought] Hmmm? My old favorites are the Mini Moog, Prophet 5 and the Jupiter 8. Yes I have some old synthesizers, but today you can buy so many good retro synths as plug-ins to your computer. I suppose piano.
What is the studio like in your home? Can you describe it to us?
In the control room we have a large mixing desk, racks of different effects and synths. And in the studio room where we record all the acoustic sounds we have a drum kit, some percussion and some real good microphones.
What do you do when you are not "Mikael the musician"? What other interests do you have?
Except from spending time with my family and friends I like cooking and to watch football.
What do you like to do "just for fun"?
I would be a liar if I didn't answer GOLF. Read more…
Written by tevensso on October 24, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - With Roxette’s 20th Anniversary celebration really picking up steam, Per Gessle is on the road a lot these days, going from Stockholm to New York to Hamburg… with more travel plans in the works. Back home for the moment, he’s agreed to spend some time with The Daily Roxette. As always, we’re full of questions, and we know that this time together is limited, so we dive right in:
Gyllene Tider is put on ice “forever,” Son of a Plumber is hard to beat in terms of quality, Roxette seems to take a lot of energy from Marie and reports are telling us that you are writing a book about your life. Will we see Per Gessle lying in a hammock on a sunny beach for the rest of his life? Can you tell us about your “secret” plans for 2007 that you hinted at on TV4?
Yes, there is an authorized book coming out in, I guess, September next year. Sven Lindström is doing all the hard work, I’m just playing the leading role.
I would love to do another SOAP album some day and yes, there might be some more Rox music in the future. Beyond that, sorry, but I can’t reveal anything [more right now]. But the hammock sounds nice… sunny beach even nicer…
After having had a few stage appearances with Roxette over the last few weeks, you might be able to forecast how the near future of Roxette – especially regarding Marie’s situation – may look like. Will there be more Roxette in 2007 or will we have to wait until Rox25 for more hits? What options do you see at the moment?
Same answer as before. I’m working on new things, new songs, new everything like I always do. I like to keep my head busy.
You once mentioned that with the Mazarin tour you discovered the joy of such concerts. Do you feel like going on a huge tour again in the future? Let it be solo or with Rox or…
Yes, I’m sure there will be more tours in the future. I like playing and singing my songs. I like getting the reaction I usually get from the audience. It’s hard to beat. It’s like a great go-cart lap. Read more…
Written by Per_G_ on September 2, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - Here is a message from Per regarding the RoxBox controversy.
Dear Daily Roxers, hope all is well in the real world!
I’ve noticed, reading on my own and thru various mails, that some of you are unhappy, furious, hurt, suicidal and even displaying a very unpleasant attitude regarding the upcoming Roxette releases.
Roxette has been around for 20 years, this particular year we have decided to release 1 compilation album with our biggest hits + 1 box set which should give a more complete picture of the band and our ambitions. All for a wide audience of old + new fans and people who perhaps didn’t even know they were fans…
We have recorded 2 new tracks which we feel are up to the same standard as our best material. As well as these new ones the box will include 14 tracks that most folks living on this planet aren’t that familiar with. And they’re pretty good too. Yea, that’s about it. No, I forgot the extended version of MTV Unplugged recordings which will also be included in this mighty box.
It has never been our intention to have a box-release leaning heavily towards demos, remixes, song sketches or live material. Like I mentioned before the idea with this particular item is to present the big picture of what Roxette is all about. We don’t want that flow of quality productions to be interrupted by 7-minute remixes or lukewarm demos. Quality over exclusivity has always been our choice.
By the way, talking about demos: Most artists (that I know of anyway) don’t release demos at all. Just so you know, the demo is made by the writer or the artist to try out the song, to find out for oneself what it’s all about. It’s not necessarily meant to be heard by the public. It’s work in progress. Some of you seem to think that these, often primitive, recordings or rough sketches are made for your ears. They are not. They are made for ours. You can’t take for granted that the demoversion of every Roxette-song you like has to be released. That won’t happen.
So…I really can’t understand the dissatisfaction among some of you. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it and certainly don’t buy it! Marie and I have to be the prime judges of our own music, our own lyrics and our own productions. That won’t change. It’s a beautiful day out there. Enjoy it.
Sept. 2, 2006
Written by colinvdbel on August 12, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - In response to several rumors on the releases of the “Rox Box” and “Greatest Hits,” Per Gessle tells The Daily Roxette that there will be the following releases:
- One standard CD with 20 tracks + a 12-page booklet.
- One deluxe package with a 20-track CD + 18 videos on a DVD + a 20-page booklet (“Awesome!”, Per comments).
- One standard CD for the Spanish-speaking markets with 20 tracks including one Spanish song (one English removed) + a 12-page booklet.
- The ROX BOX with 78 songs including 14 unreleased ones + all the videoclips Roxette has done + the entire MTV Unpugged show.
The official titles will be: “The Rox Box/Roxette ’86-’06” and “A Collection of Roxette Hits - Their 20 Greatest Songs!”
This week some Spanish radio stations (in Barcelona) reported that Roxette “will be in town soon.” When TDR asked Per for a comment on this, he replied that he didn’t know anything about that, except that “they might have been talking about Marie, since she has a house there and has been there lately.”
Written by Lars-Erik_Olson on June 19, 2006 to Exclusive.
NEW YORK - It was at the very beginning of the “Nordic Rox” show on Sirius satellite radio last Sunday night that Per Gessle premiered the brand new “The Rox Medley.” It could be considered the public launch of the Rox 20 anniversary. We here at The Daily Roxette are pretty excited about the whole Rox 20 thing and feel like celebrating… and what better way to do that than to team up with Sirius and give some more stuff away!?!
Sirius has been co-sponsoring the Swedish Music Seminar here in the Big Apple for the last few years, where The Daily Roxette first heard rumors of a Swedish music channel, and then later… that Per himself would be involved.
Contest winners will receive an assortment of CDs from Sweden that TDR picked up at these seminars including music from The Ark, WhiteSilver, Hellacopters, Crash Diet, Laleh, Kristoffer Rangstam, Hellfueled, Hello Saferide, Daniel Lemma, Anna Ternheim, Andreas Johnson, BFF, Robyn, In Flames, Frida Hyvönen and The Hives.
Along with all this music, the lucky winners will find a couple of promotional items directly from Sirius included in their prize package. Two of the winners will get to listen to all this great music while using the item pictured here. Guessing what it is is part of the contest.
Written by colinvdbel on May 7, 2006 to Exclusive.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Per spent last Monday in the Netherlands promoting his new album. Earlier in the day, he was interviewed by the newspapers Algemeen Dagblad, Telegraaf and Metro, and the website Vrouw.nl. Now, at lunchtime on a rainy afternoon, it’s an interview with The Daily Roxette that appears on Per’s schedule. TDR reporter Colin van der Bel and photographer Jaap de Vos walk into a suite on the 8th floor of Schiphol airport’s 5-star Sheraton Hotel where they’re met by EMI’s Li Lindebäck and Danielle Metselaar. After a few minutes, they enter Per’s room and sit down for a chat. Because of some changes in the schedule and heavy traffic ahead of him, Per has only a short time to spend with us…
AMSTERDAM – When Per sees the big old-fashioned tape recorder this reporter brought along, he says it reminds him of a funny story: Gabriel had just realized Per had a turntable and wondered what it was. So Per played Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” because “it has the guitar riff which has affected the most people on this earth, and now I had the chance to see a nine year old hear ’Smoke on the Water’ for the first time.” Per said this made Gabriel a big Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Roxette fan.
First of all, welcome back in the Netherlands! It’s been a while since you’ve been here on promo tour, I think it was some years ago for Roxette?
Yeah probably, we didn’t make it here for the Room Service Tour.
What’s today look like for you?
We did some other interviews earlier and after this we’re doing this radio thing and then we’re flying to Berlin.
Do you still enjoy these promo days, or have they become routine for you?
Well, no, it’s not become a routine, but in a way, every interview is like the other one. I remember the days that we were doing this every day for months and months – it’s not like that anymore, it’s fine. But it’s also an album – a project – that needs to be described, you have to sort of talk about it a bit and tell what’s behind it. If I could do a big talk show on TV, that would be easier.
Any developments yet regarding performances for S.O.A.P.?
No, you know what, we’re gonna do some new Roxette stuff in the summer and so I think there won’t be any Son of a Plumber shows, because I have to work on the new Roxette.
Earlier this year you started a new project called Bad Hair Day, which puts unreleased songs and demo’s online. Bad Hair Day has seen Mazarin and S.O.A.P., but lately there haven’t been that many songs… how is the project going, and will there be any Roxette and Gyllene Tider demos or albums on there?
Might happen, though there is this Rox Box thing coming out in the autumn. That will include demos as well so we haven’t decided yet what is gonna be on that album. I don’t wanna interfere with that. So the latest thing was “Keep the Radio,” since it was released for S.O.A.P., as well as other stuff in the past. But I don’t want to release too much of the Roxette stuff because I want to save the best for the Rox Box. But on the other hand there are the demos for Finn 5 fel!. All the demos for Finn 5 fel! exist, and there are still hundreds and hundreds of songs left.
Any more updates on the Rox Box? Will it include the CD Kill Your Darlings which was cancelled a few years back?
No, the RoxBox will be 3 CD’s, the core of Roxette’s music. It will have the most common songs as well as some hard to get songs like for instance “Happy Together.” And then we have the demo thing. And then we have a DVD thing, which is videos I think. We’re trying to get permission to release MTV Unplugged. It’s really hard, but I have people working on this, I’m not that involved.
Will the Rox Box include a book or booklet about Roxette?
Yes, made by the best Swedish music journalist of all time, Jan Gradvall. He was our first choice.
Any ideas on how the Rox Box is going to look? The design? Could you reveal something about that?
No, but it looks good. Stunning!
What is the market for the Rox Box? Is it only for fans or will it also be in the record stores among the normal Roxette CD’s?
Yes, it’s not like it’s mostly hard to get stuff and b-sides, things like that. It should be like an introduction to Roxette. I think it’s almost 60 songs on there. It should be like an enjoyable ride on these CD’s, as well as some hard to get stuff – if they’re good. There are two songs we really loved, “See Me” and “Weight of the World,” which we didn’t include because we didn’t want to lose the tempo of the album by having these acoustic tracks, even though we loved them. So both of them are included here. So it shouldn’t have songs which are inferior to the others, it should have songs which are hard to get but really good.
The Night of the Proms gigs that had to be cancelled at the last minute a few years ago… at the time they said they hoped to reschedule. Is there any chance Roxette will play NOTP again now with Marie releasing a new album and working on Roxette again, or is that pretty much a closed book?
I don’t know. I think it’s a closed chapter. I don’t think Marie ever will tour again. I don’t think she will leave her family. But on the other hand I can’t speak for her, it’s really up to her, but I don’t think so, no.
Last Sunday, a brand new radio program – Nordic Rox – began on Sirius satellite radio in the States, and you co-hosted most of the show. Will you be doing this more often?
I do, yeah. I’m part of the first three shows, but I might do it later on, too. So I’m talking a bit about my heroes, I think it’s gonna be fun.
At this moment Li Lindebäck enters the room, telling us they really have to leave for the radio studio now. We thank Per for the interview, and accept his offer to answer the rest of our questions via e-mail… Read more…
Written by roxeteer on April 8, 2006 to Exclusive.
HELSINKI - The Daily Roxette meets Per Gessle in the luxurious Hotel Kämp in the center of Helsinki on a sunny April afternoon. Per is full of energy – as always – even though he has already spent a day and a half talking with Finnish reporters and is yet to have his lunch. An iPod with a voice recorder attachment is saving our discussion.
“Oh, iPod, it’s a fantastic little machine,” says Per. He has a few of them himself. “I tend to have a few. And… I have lost a few, too,” he says laughing. I go on to ask the ever-so-common question about what’s playing on his iPod right now.
“The best record I’ve had this year is from this English guy called Merz. I don’t know anything about him. I tried to find something about him on the Internet, but couldn’t really find any. I know he made an album eight years ago and then something went wrong and it took him eight years to come up with a follow-up. It’s a beautiful record and I just love it,” Per says. His other purchases lately have been the latest albums from Arctic Monkeys and Rosie Thomas.
The “Son of a Plumber” album was already promoted in large scale last year, in Sweden. Per doesn’t feel it’s that difficult to get into the right mood for promoting the album again, now in other European countries. “It’s been fascinating. I’ve been travelling to several countries by now and the reception has been fantastic. I never ever get reception from the media in this way. I was just joking that this will probably be my least-selling record and the one I get most media attention for. But that’s fine, because this album was done very much for myself,” he says. “It is a tribute to my record collection, my childhood and my roots. We never talked like ’we have to have three singles’ or anything. I actually let EMI pick the singles because I couldn’t. I was too close to the songs.” Read more…
Written by Lars-Erik_Olson on April 1, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - In an exclusive and hastily scheduled telephone interview with The Daily Roxette, an embarrassed Per Gessle confesses he made an error in calculating how many years it has been since he first started working with Roxette. “The 20th Anniversary was actually last year… in 2005,” he admits. “So we’re cancelling the plans we had made for this year.
“I know there will be many fans disappointed by this, so we wanted you guys at TDR to be the first to know. But we’ll try to make it up to them,” said Per. “And hey, you do get the German EP!”
“Math has never been my strong point. I almost flunked the subject when I was in school. On the other hand, I did really well with geography (he laughs), and not only do I know we have fans around the world, but I can point to where those countries are on the map! We haven’t forgotten all those smiling faces beaming up at us on stage,” he declared.
”Oh well… maybe 25 sounds better than 20 anyway. It does have a nice ring to it, so we’ll just have to wait,” said a disappointed Li Lindebäck at EMI. But manager Marie Dimberg, trying to put a positive spin on the story, said “Look what 25 did for Gyllene Tider. Don’t be too upset, this could be good news. It’ll give us more time to prepare something really big.”
“For someone with the reputation of being both a good musician and businessman, Per really does have some difficulty with figures and accounting,” said Jan Beime, his business manager at Desert AB. “I suppose that’s why he hired us.”
It’s unclear at the point exactly what is to become of the Greatest Hits album and the RoxBox collector’s set. Per seemed to indicate that a portion of this material might still be released this year, but he was not immediately available when we tried to reach him again. A press release is expected Monday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was, indeed, part of our little April Fool’s Day joke … thanks to Per for being a good sport about it. – LEO
Written by roxeteer on April 1, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - Per never ceases to surprise his fans. To promote the Son of a Plumber album release in German-speaking countries, he has recorded five tracks - in German! The first one is a German translation of “Jo-Anna Says,” then there’s a translation of “Måla mitt minne” which was released by Freddie Wadling last year. The other three songs are previously unreleased.
“Germany has always been a very strong area for Roxette. We have many loyal fans there and in the neighboring countries. This EP is like a gift to them,” says Per. “Most of the new songs were originally written and recorded as demos available for other artists to record. Some are several years old actually. Late last year, when we were having negotiations with the German EMI about SOAP, someone there proposed recording songs in German.”
Per says that he hesitated at first, if only for the fact that he’s never studied any German. “After Roxette had made ’Baladas en Español’, we were asked to do a similar thing in German. It didn’t feel quite right back then and we didn’t really have the time. I’m easier to get along with these days (he laughs) and they found me this great translator, Dieter Lechner.” The songs were recorded in Christoffer Lundquist’s studio between the tight promo tour schedule in March. The demos were originally recorded in 2002 and 2003, except “Manchmal denke ich nur an dich” which is a ballad from 1996, then known as “Only When I Dream”. The Swedish title of “In diesem Augenblick” is “Måla mitt minne.”
The EP will be released as a bonus disc in a special 3-CD limited edition version of “Son of a Plumber”. The EP will apparently be also available as a separate release, at least on iTunes.
The songs to be released are: (English translations within brackets)
- “Jo-Anna sagt” (“Jo-Anna Says”)
- “In diesem Augenblick” (“At This Very Moment”)
- “Vorbei” (“It’s Over”)
- “Manchmal denke ich nur an dich” (“Sometimes I Only Think Of You”)
- “Zwischen 3 & 8 [esse ich kein Frühstück]” (“Between 3 & 8 [I Don’t Eat Breakfast]”)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This too was a part of our little April Fool’s Day joke. We’re glad everyone (almost everyone?) enjoyed them. – LEO
Written by tevensso on March 27, 2006 to Exclusive.
STOCKHOLM - Roxette… multiplied by 20 years, that’s a milestone most bands never reach. How do you feel about it really Per, the best and the worst of these first 20?
“It feels excellent even though we’ve slowed down some these last few years. The best thing is of course the huge response from our audience, everywhere on planet Earth; different religions, skin color, political values… they all like ’The Look’ and ’It Must Have Been Lunch’. Amazing. The worst things are that time passes so fast… and that I never learn how to play solos.”
What do you miss accomplishing with Roxette? Roxette has accomplished so much, but maybe you have an unfulfilled dream?
“No, nothing really, it would be fun to play more concerts and record more albums. We’ll see what happens.”
So, the RoxBox, can you tell us a little about what will be in it? Remixes, live, demos?
“It will contain the best of what we’ve accomplished so far, plus hard-to-get stuff, (like the Abbey Road Sessions ’95). A DVD with, among other things, hopefully MTV Unplugged from ’93. And possibly a bonus-CD with 20 demos…”
Benny and Björn (from ABBA) hate releasing demos, you are quite the contrary, why is that?
“I didn’t know they felt that way. I think demos are interesting so you can figure out how a song came to. I guess I’m a bigger nerd than they are.”