22 Dec 2000

P, C & C order room service (IV): Roxette forthcoming album in 2001

The accompanying publicity photo was released yesterday showing Per Gessle, Marie Fedriksson, Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist and Ronny Lahti at Polar Music Studios in Stockholm where they are busy finishing the recording and post-production of the new Roxette studio album, that could be released next Spring (by EMI ... and by Edeal America in the United States).

According to The Daily Roxette:

Per and Marie, seemingly full of enthusiasm, took time out from their schedule to record a holiday video greeting. With the recording studio in the background, they wish everyone a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” The short message concludes with Per saying “See you out there in 2001!”

Per Gessle speaks about the recordings. The P,C&C Team (Per Gessle, Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist) is involved again in this forthcoming album.

We released the last album in the spring of ’99. “Have a nice day” was the title. We were doing promotion on that one and we decided not to tour with it and got back into the studio and started to work on this album in January 2000. Prior to this we worked on the HAND album (1998). It takes about a year to do an album.

The new album is a bit a reflection of what we tried to achieve with HAND. This one was the first album in four years and we didn’t know what it was supposed to be like. We just worked in the studio and did different several things. It’s a very complex album in a way because it follows so many different directions. The new album is the opposite because we have tried to go back into the classical Roxette. On the HAND album for instance all my vocals are distorted and on this one it’s played much better. We wanted to make it simple, obvious, easy-going and funny. I think this is the most commercial album we have ever done since “Joyride”. We just sat down and wanted to do something that was very much classic Roxette ’cause that’s what we are really good at, doing a POP record.

We wanted to make an album that could be uptempo and had lots of energy. For many people a classic Roxette record is a big ballad but the ballads on the new album are smaller. We do get tired of ourselves sometimes.

The way you do a record these days is very different from how you used to do it in the 80s when we started out. You work now in computers and “proto” systems and stuff like that. So the whole way of thinking is totally different. The negative side of it is that is very easy to overproduce or overdo things these days.

Not that long ago in the old days you sat 5 people in the studio you played the song and that was the take. You don’t do that anymore. We don’t do that either. You make drums sound or bass sounds through the computers. So of course that is different and that changes the way of writing and the whole attitude.

We got more things done in Stockholm because of the weather here is terrible. We spent more time in the studio. Working at Polar was cool, it’s a great studio, where ABBA, Led Zapplin, Genesis,Legacy had also worked in. It still is a very good studio. But it got some terrible restaurants down the road. It still have taxis and stuff like that…

When we began the new album as usual we tried to bring new people into the environment. We have changed enginners for the sound of this album. And also we have started to work with this guy called Shooting Star, a Swedish programmer, who is 200 years younger than us (laughs). He’s got his hear into the streets in the a different way, which is an interesting things to do. If I make a demo, for instance, and i give it to him he starts to do it freshens it up in the programmer and in the end it turns out to be a completely different song.

Well I mean we buy lots of records as always to listen to what’s going on but as I said before we want to make a classic Roxette album. Try to get a litle bit of this a litle bit of that but still very obvious Roxette. Some songs still have the 12-string Rickenbacker guitars, some power chords, classic stuff.
Per Gessle

20 Dec 2000

Helena Josefsson is a bandstarter too (XIV): The Good Mornings' album

According to Sven Eriksen, from the Tarkus Magazine, Helena Josefsson has been working this year in a new project of the composer from Malmö Dan Bornemark (photo). The band, THE GOOD MORNINGS, includes Helena Josefsson (lead vocals), Dan Bornemark (keyboards, vocals, music), Jens Ståhlstierna (guitar, backing vocals) and Paul Hoffax (guitar), amongst others.

Finally, they have released their first album also called The Good Mornings with more than an hour of good music, influenced by Gentle Giant, Beatles, Massive Attack, Suzanne Vega, Kevin Gilbert or Björk. Eriksen thinks their style moves between kunstpop, røtter & symforock, jazz and ambient. Their better songs would be When She Gets Away, Frozen Wings, I Am The Devil, Email Princess and Let Truth Reveal The Beast.

You can listen to some mp3 snippets here: Hippie Parade and Seven Seas

29 Nov 2000

Helena Josefsson, backing singer at Tambourine Studios and Gula Studion (I): Hideki Kaji - This is Still O.K.

Since the last months, Helena Josefsson (Plastic Soul) has been working as background singer at two of the most important studios in Malmö, Tambourine Studios and Gula Studion.

Tambourine Studios are based around the Green Studio. This is where the business started back 1991, and it has been gradually refinished over the years. The studio is run on a Neve 8068 desk and a ProTools HD3accel/apogee system. The owners are the members of the band Eggstone: Maurits Carlsson, Patrik Bartosch and Per Sunding. Whhen Eggstone founded Tambourine Studios, they needed extra cash and toured with the band "The Preachers" (together with Tore johansson, Anders Nordgren and Johnny Dennis), playing at at weddings, birthday parties, pizzerias and other fun places. Now Tambourine Studios might be best known through The Cardigans records.

The story of Gula Studion goes back to 1995, when the famous Tambourine studio needed another recording facility. The Tambourine crew settled for a space in what was originally built as a cigarette factory and purchased the Neve mixing console and the 2" MCI tape recorder. They named the place "gula studion", meaning the yellow studio, as the other Tambourine studio was more greenish. Four years later, in 1999, the studio was bought by The Mopeds (Jens Lindgård, Petter Lindgård and David Carlsson) and their frieds Marco Manieri and Sebastian "Batti" Borg; for them, G.U.L.A. means "Guys using loud artefacts". The Mopeds is a three-piece band that had recorded all their material in Gula Studion alongside being session horn players on several Tambourine productions. Marco Manieri and Batti had also worked at Tambourine before. The five new owners refurbished and reorganised some and kept some, bought a hard disc recording system, and started lifting the old studio to new heights. The name Gula was kept, as so much fine music was already connected to it. The choice of instruments and audio equipment was upgraded and renovated, and new spaces were created for a greater variety of sound and atmosphere.

Although they are different studios, there is a two-way dynamic: many recordings could begin at Gula and end at Tambourine, for example.

This is still OK is a maxi single re-cut off Hideki Kaji's album "You Will Love Me" (August, 2000). Helena Josefsson (Plastic Soul) features as backing vocals. The tracking and mix of most of the songs of the album were made at Gula Studion, but it was finally produced at Tambourine Studios.

Anybody into the Cardigans, Tahiti 80, or the raft of pop-savvy Shibuya-kei bands that swamped the scene in the 90s need to get familiar with Hideki Kaji. Former bassist for the early 90s neo-acoustic outfit Bridge, Kaji released his first solo work, Muscat E.P., in 1996. The full-length Mini Skirt followed in 1997, reaching number 4 on the Oricon charts and propelling Kaji to full-fledged indie stardom. The release also earned Kaji some overseas recognition for its duet with Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell, the charming "Tokyo to London."

Maintaining a consistent release and tour schedule, Kaji also moonlights as a writer for other artists, including Chocolat, Faye Wong, and Noriko Kato. As a producer, he has produced numerous songs for television commercials.

The year 2000 marked a string of highly praised café dates, bringing him back to his roots and allowing happy fans nationwide the chance for an intimate concert experience. Occasionally produced by Swedish hit guru Tore Johansson at Tambourine Studios (Malmö), every Kaji release is exquisitely mixed, with crisp guitars, melodic bass, chiming keyboards, and breezy hooks woven together in a light, airy mix. Needless to say, the Johansson connection and song titles like “Made in Sweden”, from his 1998 full-length Tea don’t discourage frequent comparisons to Swedish pop, but this is only one of the many influences that inform his sharp pop sensibilities.

Hideki has became a Japan-Swedish with his partners from Tambourine (Tore Johansson. Per Sunding, ...) and other friends: Jens Jansson from Brainpool, Toft and Ludwig from Ray Wonder, and, this time, Helena Josefsson from Plastic Soul.

15 Oct 2000

P, C & C order room service (III): Don't bore (the) US

After eight years of absence from the US music market, Roxette finally found in May a suitable record company to release their material in the USA. Instead of choosing a giant like Sony or Warner, Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle have reached an agreement with the smaller label Edel America Records.

On 20th September 2000, Roxette released in the USA the album Don’t bore us – Get to the Chorus, an updated version that includes Wish I could fly and Stars.

Per Gessle said to Aftonbladet:

Now we only hope that the USA fans will remember us. Thirteen of the sixteen songs on the album have been on the topcharts in the USA. That's a good platform to start from. All the time we've been played a lot on the radio.

In September and October 2000, Roxette had their first U.S. Promo Tour in eight cities. Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist (C & C) were also there.

  • 22/09/2000 Suffolks Down Boston, MA the USA

Songs: Wish I could fly, It must have been love, Joyride, The Look and Listen to your heart.

Live in front of some 40,000 spectators at the sold out 'WBMX MixFest' festival with various artists.

  • 22/09/2000 Suffolks Down Boston, MA the USA

Some songs live at a private after-party for the USA radio station WBMX's clients.

  • 25/09/2000 Television Studios Boston, MA the USA

Some songs live at the TV-show 'WB In The Morning'.

Broadcasted live by the USA television station. Roxette started to perform at 7:45 AM.

  • 27/09/2000 Virgin Megastore, Times Square New York City, NY the USA

Songs: Wish I could fly, It must have been love, Joyride, The Look and Listen to your heart

Live at a mini concert.

Arranged and broadcasted live by the USA radio station Retro Rewind.

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  • 28/09/2000 Planet Hollywood Baltimore, ML the USA

Songs: Wish I could fly, It must have been love, Joyride, The Look and Listen to your heart

Live during an mini concert.

Arranged by the USA radio station WWMX.

  • 29/09/2000 328 Performance Hall Nashville, TN the USA

Songs: Wish I could fly, It must have been love, Joyride, The Look, Listen to your heart and Perfect day

Live in front of some 1.800 spectators at a special concert with various artists.

Arranged and broadcasted live by the USA radio station WQZQ.

  • 30/09/2000 unknown Charlotte, NC the USA

Some songs live at a mini concert.

Arranged and broadcasted live by the USA radio station WLNK.

  • 01/10/2000 The Music Box Omaha, NB the USA

Some songs live in front of some 500 spectators at a mini concert.

Arranged and broadcasted live by the USA radio station KQKQ.

  • 06/10/2000 Gallery Mall Roseville, CA the USA

Some songs live in front of some 1,000 spectators at a mini concert.

Arranged and broadcasted live by the USA radio station KDND Sacramento.

  • 11/10/2000 Sky Church, EMP (Experimental Music Project) Seattle, WA the USA

Songs: Wish I could fly, It must have been love, Joyride, Perfect day, Church of your heart, Listen to your heart, The Look and Spending my

Live at a listener-appreciation concert.

Arranged by the USA radio station Star 101.5 (KLPZ).

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After the mini-tour, Per said:

"Much better than we dared to anticipate."

2000- Ulf Lundell - I ett vinterland

Meanwhile, long-knwon Swedish poet and songwriter Ulf Lundell will release a new album, "I ett vinterland", on November 20th, 2000. The album is produced by Michael Ilbert, Ulf Lundell and Christoffer Lundquist and some songs were recorded in Christoffer's own studio, Aerosol Grey Machine, in Scania. In the album, Lundquist features as "co-producer, orkesterarrangemang, bas, kör, bassynth, Arp, elgitarr, spacegitarr, cittra, celeste, orgel, synth, Dulcimer and bouzouki". Wow! Brainpool's former member Jan Kask also features as guitarist.

13 Oct 2000

Helena Josefsson is a bandstarter too (XIII): Plastic Soul's 2000 effect

Plastic soul, the indie band of Lund with Helena Josefsson - singer-, Johan Duncanson - guitar-, Fredrick Whitling - leadguitar and keyboards -, Olof Martinsson - bass - and Per Blomgren - drums - has had a good year in Malmö.

On 21th January 2000, they played again at Klubb Indigo, the Friday club in Blekingska Nationen (Province of Blekinge student community in Lund). This time, they played with the band Eskobar.

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This year 2000, Malmö was named the Swedish Pop City of the Year and Plastic Soul was called to play at the Popstad Festival. They played in the "Demoscenen" of Kulturbolaget (KB), Malmö, last 5th February 2000, with Colubrids and Amir. In the festival also played at the "Stora scenen" (Amiralen and Radio P3) groups as Brainpool, The Ark, Wilmer X, The Wannadies, Timbuktu or Prominent.

Finally, Plastic Soul have got a contract to release their debut album with the label Stockhouse. Love poems (2000), is their single, and can be heard at Radio P3.

Today we want to review one of the local bands that have played this month in Malmö Popstad 2000 (February 3-5), on "demoscenen", Kulturbolaget (KB), a well-known club in Malmö.

The Blimp is a band from Malmö, leaded by Danyal Taylan. They have been playing together for 2 years and a half. Their first big gigs were in Bröfestivalen 98 (June 5-6, 1998) and Malmö Festival 98 (August 14-21, 1998).

The band has been working in World Studios in Malmö with producer Johan Bejerholm.
  • Danyal Taylan - vocals
  • Jim Andersson - guitar
  • Jens Bjerelius - guitar
  • Peter Anderhagen - bass
  • Christer Christensson - keyboards
  • Frans Oddner - drums
Christoffer Kittel, from the magazine Revolver, interviewed Danyal and Peter on 20th February in Pelles Café in Malmö.

2 Jul 2000

P, C & C order room service (II): View from Öresundbron

Per was asked to write music for the opening of Öresundsbron, the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark. The inauguration of the bridge was on Saturday, July 1, and the instrumental track “View From The Bridge”, written by Per with help from Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist, was performed at the conclusion of the ceremony. The opening ceremony was broadcasted live on SVT1 and TV4 and via satellite on SVT Europa.

Oresund or The Sound (Danish: Øresund, Swedish: Öresund) is the strait that separates the Danish island Zealand (Sjælland) from the south Swedish province Scania (Skåne). Its width is just 4 km at the narrowest point (between Helsingor, on Zealand, Denmark, and Helsinborg, Sweden).Oresund is one of the three Danish Straits that connect the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean (via Kattegat, Skagerrak and the North Sea) and is one of the busiest waterways in the world.

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Construction began in 1995 and the last section was constructed on August 14, 1999. The Oresund Bridge has been inaugurated on July 1, 2000 by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

The bridge was opened for traffic later that day. Before the inauguration 79,871 runners competed in a half distance marathon (Broloppet, the Bridge Run) from Amager (in Denmark) to Skane (in Sweden) on June 12, 2000.

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The bridge connects Sweden with Denmark, and includes a lower level for trains. The one-way toll for a car will cost 275 SEK while the train will cost between 70 and 140 SEK.

Per was in Malmö and was interviewed in Aftobladet and the Swedish TV. These are his words:

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"It is more like a combination of Brian Wilson’s sling guitar and Ennio Morricone’s pomposity. It has been funny to try out in a new genre, but I am not interested in big productions in the future. Actually, I’m kind of glad when this is over. I am more of a rock’n’roll guy. We (Clarence, Christoffer and me) have worked on the composition on computers and I haven’t even heard it performed with real instruments yet"

Per himself has not been performing in the ceremony — the 8-minute musical piece has been performed by the Orchestra of Malmö Music Teather and Denmark Radio Pops Orchestra.

"View from the bridge" is the first non-Roxette work of the P,C&C Team (Per, Clarence and Christoffer) since The World According to Gessle. I think it is really amazing to see Per involved in new original challenges. Christoffer, for example, is now working in Brainpool's new rock opera.

I did “View from the bridge” with Per Gessle and Christoffer Lundquist. It’s good, at least the demo is good. We didn’t like the result. We wrote it and made it as we wanted it to sound. But the Danish people changed it. Christoffer and I went down to Denmark for the rehearsals with the orchestra and were like “what’s this? We didn’t write this?”. Everything had been changed, it was still nice, but the arrangements were messed up. We had a meeting and called Per and told him “we don’t think you want to have your name on this”. They had added drums, we only had orchestra and percussion.

The conductor, he was British, didn’t want to speak to us, he never joined the meetings. We released their version in the end. It was kind of strange, it was the first time we had done something like that, so we didn’t know what to expect. But, of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t want to do this again. I actually think Per should record this one in the proper way, as we created it, and release it. We should put the demo somewhere.

16 Jun 2000

P, C & C order room service (I): Brainpool is working on a rock opera

According to Expressen and The Daily Roxette, the band Brainpool has been working on a rock opera for 6 months already. They have left their record company, Epic.

David Birde is now working by an advertising agency. He is responsible for the opera’s libretto and explains it in Expressen:
The opera will be set in the present and will satirize and criticize the economy-centered society that has grown so strong during the last 12 months”.
The rock opera is due to be ready next year. The band is hoping that Philip Zandé would be the director. The music of the opera will be first released as a CD.

Brainpool is a guitar-pop band coming from Lund, southern Sweden. Brainpool was first “found” by Per’s record company Jimmy Fun Music. Brainpool’s members, especially bassist Christoffer Lundquist and Jens Jansson, have been working with Per and Roxette since Per’s solo album in 1997. In fact, Brainpool's work could be delayed for some time as Christoffer Lundquist could tour with Per Gessle, Marie Fredriksson and Clarence Öfwerman promoting Roxette in the United States this summer.

Not only were we constantly terrified of being criticized and disliked. We also carried around a musical self-image that wasn’t quite accurate. We thought our sound was rawer and harder than it actually was. Our music was, on the contrary, quite wimpy, something I’ m proud of today. I think it only adds to its qualities. But our sense of identity was probably all wrong. My mother is an extreme case. Once when she held a seminar at University, she received standing ovations because she was so brilliant and she burst out of the room in tears because she was convinced that they were making fun of her! At the height of Brainpool’s career I had a similar feeling of that the audience at any moment would see through us. That they suddenly would realize what idiots we were!

Once we’d lost our fame, commercial aspects weren’t relevant and we could afford to be a little more experimental. But even then the music industry wanted us to keep producing hits and with everyone constantly interfering, it just wasn’t any fun anymore. It became clear that the only option the band had, was to do it our own way and have as much fun as we could in the process. That’s when we decided to leave our record label and music publisher.

We had already decide to go ahead with it but it was a somewhat bizarre incident what coaxed us into taking it seriously: we heard rumours that Tore Johansson from Tambourine Studios also had plans of writing a rock opera. That made us panic a bit. You can’t be the second established artist to write a rock opera, especially not in Sweden. You’re either the first to do it, or you don’t do it at all! So we sat down in a bar to gather our strength and then David Birde called a journalist to announce that Brainpool was about to write a rock opera. The idea was that once we made our plans official we would have to complete the project!
Chris Lundquist (Junk Musik)
Christoffer Lundquist
- Junk Musik

When we first started out in the mid 90’s, our genre of music was very popular. Once that musical era had faded away, people were no longer interested in guys playing pop music. We’ve been making music together since the age of 19 or 20. It would be really strange to give all of that up without any real reason. If one were to randomly pick people out of the population and ask them about us, most of them would probably not know who we were or that we still exist and a handful would describe us as the band who released “Bandstarter” in ’95.

The most common procedure is to release a pop album and receive some reviews and get it played on various radio and TV stations and then it’s either a bestseller or a commercial flop. And that’s it. It’s become natural to view pop music as a short-lived consumer product and expect bands to churn out new records, preferably every year. To a certain extent this was what we wanted to avoid. Instead of just producing a new hit song, we wanted to write something lasting and more self-contained. A work of art, if you like, even though that sounds ridiculous!
Jens Jansson (Junk Musik)
Jens Jansson - Junk Musik

It all started with the audience losing interest in us and soon after that the media weren’t interested either. And before too long the record label and our band were fed up with each other. You pretty soon realize that you’re not desirable anymore.

When you have a record contract, you can just go along with whatever is expected of you. In our case we started off with trying to live up to the expectations but later on we broke with all of that. Neither of which was very wise but it’s all very hard to handle.

There’s no point in clinging to the hope that you’ll somehow regain your popularity. Most bands that find themselves in that situation usually break up and form new bands, or quit playing music altogether. The reason we continued as a band was that we still enjoyed playing together and rather obstinately hung on to each other, as well as the band name!

It all started as a joke: “one of these days we’ll write a rock opera!” The “rock opera” genre is still very repulsive to a lot of people but back then just about everyone hated the idea of us writing one. It felt good to tell people of our plan, because they just couldn’t understand why the hell we –of all people – wanted to do this! Why couldn’t we just quit the band and get ourselves proper jobs? And then to add to their frustration the damn thing took forever to complete! Everyone around us was expecting us to give up.
David Birde (Junk Musik)
David Birde - Junk Musik