Per Gessle is right now on his European solo tour with the new album "Party Crasher". We met him in Zurich where he played a concert in the Kaufleuten.
hitparad.se: We have met 3 years ago for an interview while you were promoting "Son Of A Plumber". After this album, you released 2 more solo albums as Per Gessle. Is "Son Of A Plumber" finished for you?
Per Gessle: The Party Crasher album started out as Son Of A Plumber album, then I realized it was going to be very different than Son Of A Plumber so I decided to use my own name…just to confuse everyone even more. It's a different thing, maybe I'll do some more Son of a plumber, I don't know. Maybe I'll just be myself.
hitparad.se: After a Swedish album you released again an English album. What's the concept behind "Party Crasher"?
Per Gessle: The whole idea was to challenge myself as a writer, and start writing songs from different angles. I started with groups of baseloops. First song I wrote was "Silly Really". I realize it's more different for me than for the listener. It's a different sound and vibe to this album, which in itself is different from what we do on stage. On stage we are doing power guitar popset, which is the opposite of Party Crasher.
hitparad.se: You are a very successful solo artist in Sweden, in Europe you didn't manage it yet. What do you think makes it more difficult in Europe?
Per Gessle: You have to spend time promoting and touring and I haven't done that in the international market. It's been so easy for me to work in Scandinavia. I sell my ten thousand tickets a night at home. I have a family. If you really want to crack the international market, its takes a long time, I'm not 21 anymore. I don't have any hopes that Party Crasher will be the biggest album of the year internationally. I just want to do this tour as a 50th birthday present to myself, to play my own songs that I've written in English throughout my career. That's why I'm playing a lot of Roxette stuff. I'm just having a blast doing this. This is one of the most rewarding tours I've done. It's the only tour where I'm losing money. You play in so many small clubs. The crew that I hired is expensive. All the shows have been fantastic. Prague was fantastic, and Hamburg was even better.
hitparad.se: If you could choose between a great comeback of Roxette or a breakthrough as a solo artist in the whole world, what would you prefer?
Per Gessle: It depends. If Marie was still healthy, I'd say Roxette. But she became very ill. She's a very changed person since she lost some of her hearing and eyesight. There will never be the same Roxette as it was. That doesn't mean that Roxette won't come back. I think that there will be more Roxette because we've talked about it, its really up to Marie. I can't really see her doing the promotion trips and this and that which goes with the job. But I think we can still do some more records and events together. I look forward to that if it happens. But on the other hand, I'm perfectly happy doing what I'm doing on this tour and I would love to bring this tour to South America or Asia or wherever.
hitparad.se: I heard that you may perform as Roxette at the "New Wave-event in Latvia on July 28. Can you tell us more about it?
Per Gessle: Yeah, I heard that too, then I heard we were going to play Night at the Proms, always these rumours. Every week, we get offers to do festivals but there's nothing confirmed yet.
If Marie wants to do it, I'm here to support her. There was a big breakthrough last year before Christmas. She was part of a tour, doing four songs in Sweden. That was the first time she played in front of a big crowd, it was a big success for her. After that's, she's been more open to come back. The pressure on her is enormous. She knows that everyone wants her to come back, but she has to do it on her own pace.
hitparad.se: If there's a new Roxette album coming out, how will it sound like?
Per Gessle: There will be elements from Party Crasher, the Room Service album and Have a Nice album. On the other hand, it would be great to do something like I do here tonight with Marie.
hitparad.se: At the beginning of the 90s, Sweden was with Roxette and Ace Of Base worldwide in the centre of the music interests. If we presume that those 2 bands would release their albums now in a time where Hip Hop and RnB has priority - how do you think the success would be?
Per Gessle: Every artist has to take responsibility for themselves. You can never take success for granted. We've never done that. Even if Roxette comes back, that doesn't mean we will be successful. You have to make great songs and concerts. One of my favorite artists ever is Nick Lowe, he's the most underrated pop songwriter there is. He produced Elvis Costellos early albums. But he never had a great breakthrough. Just because you write great songs, doesn't mean you are successful. It's very much up to promotion, timing, and you get support from a certain record company or marketing. If you're lucky like me, with Pretty Woman, you get a song in a movie. All these small things that get the ball rolling.
hitparad.se: Sweden is a country in Europe which celebrates the Eurovision Song Contest the most. Did it never tempt you to take part there in any form - as singer or composer? You are the big absentee of the Swedish pop scene there.
Per Gessle: Every year, i get the offer to be part of it. They have something called Jokers. You don't have to be in the competition, you just go straight to the finals. But I always turn it down because its not for me. I don't like to compete. There's nothing for me to gain. The only thing I can do is lose. Even if I win, I lose. If I come in 2nd, I lose, If I win, what will I win? I've never been interested in the Eurovision contest. I wrote a song when I was 20 years old which came to the finals in 1979 and in 1986 a song that became number two. That was before Roxette.
hitparad.se: How do you follow the Melodifestivalen and the Song Contest? Do you have favourites for Moscow?
Per Gessle: No, i know there was once a song called "Snälla snälla". Its not for me.
hitparad.se: Thanks for the interview and enjoy the evening tonight in Zurich!