With sales in excess of 70 million, Roxette have become one of the most successful pop acts in history. Their hit singles span the last 30 years and include early highlights like The Look, Joyride, It Must Have Been Love, Dressed For Success, Spending My Time and Fading Like A Flower through to more modern day gems including A Thing About You, Opportunity Nox, It’s Possible and the bands latest mid-tempo power ballad, It Just Happens. They have graced the airwaves, the stages and the silver screen with some of pop musics most timeless ballads and most infectious, hook-heavy pop hits thanks to singer-songwriter and vocalist Per Gessle’s impeccable songsmith skills and front woman Marie Fredriksson’s iconic vocal stamp.
The Swedish pop icons recently announced that their latest world tour was to be their last as they cancelled all remaining 2016 tour dates. Hanging up their microphones due to a decline in Fredriksson’s health; the days of joyriding around the world to perform their hits to their millions of fans are now over. While the news comes as a blow to fans of the hit-making duo, the pair have unveiled their 10th studio album, Good Karma; a collection that brims with pulsating electro-pop beats and grinding synths from start to end and one that is fronted by the bands current single; the touching power-ballad, It Just Happens.
Upon the release of the new record, we caught up with our good friend and Roxette mastermind Per Gessle to talk about the bands latest studio album as well as the news of the bands departure from the touring life and what the future holds for the Swedish pop icons. Here is what Per had to tell us….
Brendon Veevers: How are you doing Per and where do our questions find you?
Per Gessle: I’m doing great, thankuverymuch. It’s a very hot day here in Stockholm, almost 30 degrees C!! And it’s the Stockholm Marathon today. They’re running like crazy under my balcony!!!
BV: Good Karma recently found its way into the world. As lead single It Just Happens suggested, the original and much loved Roxette formula is still very much resident on the album but with a fresh vein to it that makes it sound very modern and relevant. How would you sum up the new songs on Good Karma and what was the inspiration for you when writing these new tracks?
PG: We knew from day one that this record won’t be performed live on stage which meant that I could write songs for the studio instead of making the songs more or less guitar-driven. I haven’t done that in a long time so it was very inspiring.
Basically we just wanted the album to sound as fresh as possible without losing the classic Roxette ingredients that’s in our DNA.
It took a long time to make, almost two years. But then, of course, we toured at the same time.
BV: You recently announced that Roxette will no longer tour due to Marie’s health. What can you tell us about this and what do you see for Roxette in the future in terms of taking your music out on the road including solo Per Gessle and band shows for example?
PG: Yes, Marie has decided to stop the touring which, of course, is sad. It didn’t come as a surprise though. She’s been having a problem with her right leg for a very long time but now she felt that she couldn’t focus on her singing anymore. And she doesn’t want to make inferior performances.
What this will lead to for me personally is impossible to say right now. Knowing myself I will continue to make music and records as well as live shows. I love what I do.
BV: Looking back on the history of Roxette’s live shows, what would you say has been the most special or most memorable 3 shows that the band have played, and why?
PG: It’s impossible to pick only three. But Beijing, China in 1995 was amazing. It was like coming to different planet.
The early shows in South America in 1992 changed our lives forever. South America, generally speaking, is very dear to us. Playing Wembley in London the first time was beyond everything. And New York. And Sydney.
We’ve been very lucky. Wherever we’ve played there has been enthusiasm beyond belief from our fans, so much positive energy and love that will stay in our hearts and minds forever.
BV: What do you think has been fundamental to the success of Roxette for the past 30 years. What do you attribute to the success of a small band from rural Sweden who found international, mainstay success?
PG: I haven’t got a clue. Maybe the simple fact that we’re a very “homegrown” band. We’ve based everything around ourselves, our own productions, Marie’s fab voice and charisma, my songwriting, using only Swedish musicians.
Also we come from a live tradition which most Top 40 bands don’t do. We’ve been able to create something that’s unique and still lives on. But that’s wasn’t part of any plan. It just happened!
BV: With the news of no more shows, fans are worried that Good Karma might mark the end of Roxette. Tell us a bit about the future of Roxette and what you see on the horizon for the band or what you would like to see happen for the band. After Good Karma, what can we expect from the band in terms of future music, projects and everything else in between?
PG: Nothing planned. Now the album is out we might do some more videos. No new recordings in sight but that’s quite normal considering Good Karma was released only yesterday!!!! Time will tell.
BV: Roxette has such a large catalogue and many hits within it. What are the 3 songs that you would most like the band to be remembered for and for each song, why?
The obvious ones will do nicely, thank you. My three personal favourites are, for instance, Breathe, What’s She Like? and Opportunity Nox. Only because they came out the way they were supposed to.
BV: Thanks again Per!
PG: My pleasure. Have a fab summer
Roxette’s brand new album Good Karma is available now.