12 Jan 2010

Christoffer Lundquist's 40th birthday and new plans for the P, C & C team

Photo by Cornelia Haslinger - Roxetteblog.com - Germany, 12.2009 - NOTP

Christoffer Lundquist will be 40 y.o. this week (btw, just one day before LJdM's editor 's 30th birthday).

Born January 16th, 1970, the producer from Lund was interviewed in December by Judith Seuma and Kirsten Ohlwein, from roxetteblog.com. We want to take some of his words of this great interview about his life and career. Since January 2nd, Brainpool is working together again with Shakina Nayfack in the new arrangements and songs for Junk Opera, that will be premiered in New York soon. Works will finish January 23rd. You can watch the first recordings here: "Writing more JUNK - Part 1" of JUNK: A Rock Opera. Brainpool and Shakina work together to expand the show with 4 news songs and 9 sung scenes.

It's our first post of the year, so we wanted to know more about P, C & C's plans. Today it is Per Gessle's birthday. Per was interviewed in Radio Halland in December (TDR tranlated the interview) and in Expressen today (translated by tomos85, from rb). Clarence Öfwerman also spoke to roxetteblog.com before Christmas about 2010. These interviews are a good source to follow P, C & C team.

Lundquist will work with Brainpool until January 23rd and will begin the new Roxette's recordings with Gessle an Öfwerman the last week of January. Busy birthday, dear Chris, but for LJdM readers it is not a surprise. The mix of snow, cats and musicians is becoming a common situation during AGM Studios' winters.

So far Helena Josefsson is not involved in P, C & C's 2010 projects and fans are still waiting for her second solo album.

2010.01 AGM Recording new songs for JunK Opera - by Shakina Nayfack 1
Picture by Shakina Nayfack - AGM St. - January 2010

To begin with, when I was a kid it was a lot of Beatles and a lot of ABBA. I loved ABBA, I still do, I listen to them a lot, I think it’s great music. I was also into all this prog rock stuff, so that was also part of my music information, I listen to that still. But now I listen to pretty much everything. I am not that much into dance music, I don’t get that, I need chords and melody. I sort of discover new music all the time, Per Gessle is such a music maniac, so he is constantly playing new music to us when we are working together, I discovered a lot of new stuff thanks to that. It’s difficult to cover anything. If you really love an artist you can’t take the cover versions. I don’t want to hear Beatles covers. It’s horrible.

I collected albums when I was a teen. I bought a lot of records. But now – it’s not so much fun anymore. I do as everyone else – I have the computer and iPod and sort of stuff. But I bring out the vinyl sometimes. Then I play the music I loved when I was a kid. I prefer CD than digital songs. It’s more fun, but it’s disappearing. I mean, our kids they don’t care anymore. They want the good songs and skip the bad songs. Things change..

I used to go to concerts. Not so much anymore, mainly because I work so much, there’s never time. And when I don’t work I want to be with my family. And then I live kind of off. The place where I live, where the studio is, is in the middle of nowhere. No other people ever. And I have gotten so used to it, I like that so much and when I am home I sort of never leave the little farm. I find it difficult in big cities now. I don’t like it. I feel sad. Everything is ugly and it smells bad. When you don’t know the city you only get to see the bad parts, because you don’t know where to go. So you only see the horrible, tall buildings.. I have a house even more in the countryside, on Gotland. We have a 400 year old storage building there, with just cold water and no shower and we’re there for six weeks every summer. Not checking emails, if possible. I have become more and more like that over the years.

I am not into buying stuff and all the consumer blablabla. I think it’s a sad development. People should have more time and spend more time with their family and less time with making money to buy unimportant things that are made by kids in China. That’s my agenda. We behave very badly. I’m ashamed every day, actually, honestly. It’s really sad. A couple of years ago me and wife counted the objects our kids owned when they were 6 or 3. And I can’t remember the figure, but it made us feel “uuuh, we are bad people, what are we doing to ourselves and the planet”. So we are trying hard to change. But it’s difficult.. All the people who disagree with that must try to do something against it, or nothing will ever change. With cell phones, and getting a new model every year. I have my personal little cell phone fight. Mine is five years old and I am fighting hard not to buy a new one. It’s our whole civilization, I think, that is going into that direction. And I believe that money is the root of it all, that money has become too important, too influental, too much a deciding factor. It doesn’t mean I am a communist, but maybe we should try to listen to our emotions a bit more. And less towards economial-wise.

2010.01 AGM Recording new songs for JunK Opera - by Shakina Nayfack 3
Picture by Shakina Nayfack - AGM St. - January 2010

Becoming producer was a gradual thing which evolved out of itself, and, of course, a lot of luck. For me writing, playing and recording is sort of the same thing to me, the record is the music in my world, so I was really interested in all this stuff, when I listened to music when I was really small I paid a lot of attention to sound, arrangements, all this, so I was always the guy who recorded in Brainpool, and I just slowly started to get requests from small local bands to help them record a demo, and then it just evolved. I have worked with lot of bands. Producing, arranging and recording. I’ve done more than a hundred albums by now, that’s what I do all the time.

I bought the house in 1997, thinking I was going to have a summer house in the country side and a demo studio, but then it GREW. I didn’t have a plan to have a professional studio and be a producer, it just happened. AGM Studio is quite unique, it’s a bit old style in the way that it’s set. Modern music making is people sitting in a small room in front of the computer and doing music on the computer screen. It used to be a lot of people together in a big room, with lots of instruments, inspiration, great acoustics, and that’s what I like and been trying to create, an old style studio with a modern approach. I’ve also got a lot of different instruments, that’s also what makes it special and is rare. Nowadays everything comes out of the computer, and everybody uses the same samples, same drum sounds, leading to a more streamlined, boring, less personality music. I’ve got lots of bookings and I work very hard, since I started. A bit too hard I think. I am trying to have somebody else use the studio without me being there, so I can have a bit of time off. A lot of French artists have been in my studio, a couple of American, Canadian, Norway. But mainly Swedish. I have never thought about working with an artist. When I start working with someone I sort of get into it and realize what it’s about. I haven’t really dreamt about it. I think it would be scary to work with your own idols or something like that. I would probably be afraid.

2009.12 CL - by Roxeblog.com 2
Photo by Kirsten Ohlwein - Roxetteblog.com - 12.2009

I finished my first solo album before I went on this tour, I don’t know how I am going to release it, but I will try. I released an EP that I am sort of semi happy with it, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I enjoy making music so much, but when the music is finished the rest is not so much fun. I am not into working with record companies and all that, so I will force myself to get it released, I really want people to listen to it. I’ve also got a singer singing backing vocals this time, just because I get bored of hearing my voice the whole time.

2010.01 Brainpool - AGM Recording new songs for JunK Opera - by Shakina Nayfack 2
Picture by Shakina Nayfack - AGM St. - January 2010

Brainpool started with “some kind of punk” and ended up with rock operas! Haha! That’s a huge change, I agree. It was mainly, the three of us who are still in the band. The three of us are like brothers. We continue, it’s still fun, even though it’s more a hobby band now. We try sometimes to meet and play, let’s make a new album, but we need time and money and we are busy with many other things, to support ourselves. But we will again, one day, I’m sure. The Junk rock opera is very much alive. Shakina Nayfack, the American director who did the show in LA with it, two years ago, is coming to my place in January, we’ll write some new songs for it and develop it. They’ve done like 30-40 shows and now he knows what he feels is missing in the plot, so he’s going to tell us “we need to change this here,” or “this character is not clear enough”, so we are going to record some new music in January. I am really looking forward to it. After that we’ll start working on new Roxette music.

2010.01 Brainpool - AGM Recording new songs for JunK Opera - by Shakina Nayfack 1
Picture by Shakina Nayfack - AGM St. - January 2010

Brainpool in January and then I hope to release my own stuff in the Spring. As soon as possible. I am not sure if I am trying to find a record company. Record companies are no much use anymore. They just want money and don’t release the records. I should try and do it myself, maybe. Yes, you can upload in iTunes yourself. And you can put it on Spotify and everything. But I am an old-style person. I like the records, I want to look at the record and the lyrics and watch pictures and so on. I really want to do that. I always read the booklet, too. And I sort of remember it like “Oh, that guy wrote this one but not that one”. That’s fun. I think you should always write that on records. As much detail as possible. The designers of the covers – they don’t want that. They want it to be clean and beautiful and I always fight them.

2010.01 AGM Recording new songs for JunK Opera - by Shakina Nayfack 2
Picture by Shakina Nayfack - AGM St. - January 2010

We love the AGM studio. In the beginning we used to stay there for like 11 days, now it’s usually three days, we go down on Monday morning and leave on Thursday. So we work three long days, till three in the morning. It’s very intense. It’s impossible to work like that in Stockholm, since you then go home in the evening, or people come in the studio, from the record company, or for interviews. Nobody goes to Christoffer Lundquist’s, it’s too far away from everything. So we usually go down 10-12 times, about 3-4 days each, and then mix the stuff somewhere else, Stockholm most of the times. I used to have my own studio, but I don’t anymore. Now I only have my keyboards and computer to write the movie music I do, then I take it somewhere else to record it, with the orchestra. I write with “fake” orchestras in the computer.

Releasing my own music someday would actually be nice. You know, all these tracks I did for movies and TV. Maybe I could make an album with it, but I have to check if it’s enough, because it’s normally short pieces, and then some of them go together with the pictures, video. But I thought about it, maybe an EP for download. So here’s the exclusive, my movie music will be released in … the near future. And I’ll post on Facebook, and force everyone to follow the link and buy it. Joking aside, I think Facebook is a great tool to communicate. I now got my computer, and every night, I sit and chat with different people. People waking up in Chile or Argentina, they all say hi and ask when we will tour over there. I think the first one on Facebook was Jonas, then I came along. Christoffer joined I think 6 months after me, and Per just joined now. I guess since they heard us talk about it, they found it interesting. But Per always talks about Twitter, I have no clue how that works. I anyway think it’s great to have contact with people. I confirm everyone, in the beginning I was kind of scared, but I realized everyone is kind of normal. Or do you know anybody I should be careful with? I heard about what happened on the chat side on Dailyroxette.

I heard some of Beatles remastered albums, but I still have mixed feelings. I don’t think it’s better when you start to hear things which weren’t there. Christoffer Lundquist played them in the dressing room, and we both reacted on the same things like “that piano shouldn’t be that loud”, we both found the same spots which didn’t sound right to us. I will stick to the remasters from this Japanese guy, he remastered the songs directly from the vinyl, which is as close to the originals as it can get. And those are fantastic. I haven’t listened to the mono box yet. People say that those are better. But I listen to a lot of mp3s currently, the quality isn’t that good as on vinyl, but as long as the music is good, it’s fine. I like to have all songs in one place, which I can take with me. Suddenly you were out of batteries very soon. And if you want to move to a song you have to press the fast forward, and wait. But we actually recorded a lot on tape for “Son of a plumber”, basically drums, which tends to sound better when you record on tape and then you transfer to the computer, it gets a little bit of warmth from the tape, a bit of tape distortion. But we record vocals and other instruments directly to the computer, that’s easier. You can also save a lot of recordings and then pick up what you think is best, and mix it.

The tech guy? Definetely not me. Christoffer Lundquist is mostly taking care of it, he just sits and finds out how things work. I only do it home, I sit with the instructions and see what happens. You always find a solution, but I hate it, especially when you want to work and you sit there, not able to work due to a technical issue. I don’t have a big collection of keyboards, since I don’t have the studio anymore, the keyboards are in the garage. I have two of these red ones, they are Swedish. These are the ones I take on tour, too.

What do I do besides music? I like football. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is great but he doesn’t want to play in the Swedish team anymore. But maybe that’s better, because he’s such a big star and everybody’s looking what he is doing all the time. Not good for the team. He is too big for a team.

And raising kids! Haha! I have three of them, the youngest is three years old. The others are 10 and 12, three girls. They’ve been here sometimes and seen some shows. They go to a music school, where they have lots of singing. It’s a normal school but they have extra hours dedicated to singing. Swedish people aren’t that musical. There are no clubs like the ones we played at in Spring, so it’s very difficult for small bands to go and tour. When I grew up we used to play in schools, during the school hours. We also used to play in youth centers, so you could book a whole tour through schools, and maybe a rock club on Saturdays, but you can’t do that anymore, nobody plays in schools or youth centers anymore. Germany has a big tradition for rock clubs, people can tour in Germany for ever in front of 500-1000 people. I don’t know many German bands, I produced an album with a German band, Throw that beat. They are from Nurnberg. They didn’t sell many records, didn’t hit the charts. Some indy underground stuff. I heard about Tokio Hotel, I never listened to them, only heard about them. I hate Idol artists. I can’t watch them. My kids used to like it. It was the final yesterday – in Sweden. But I haven’t followed it this year but my kids tend to lose interest in it now. I think it’s very strange when they try to make them sound like people who already exist, imitate people and also force them so sing different styles, because nobody can. Like that – Per would never have made it to “Idol”, because he can’t sing in a Michael Jackson-style. I think it’s on for seven or eight years in Sweden. And nothing happens to the people who win. The next year they are forgotten. I remember Modern Talking, I hated it. I think they were in the charts at the same time as Roxette, in the same year. Per writes kind of the same songs all the time, too.. in different arrangements, but the chords are basically the same. Sometimes there are new chords, but he has his own style. And I like that style, so that’s cool. When he presents a new song, it’s like, usually I know the next chord before he takes it. You mostly stick to your harmonies. But Per doesn’t copy other stuff, he copies himself sometimes. Sometimes I have to say to him “You already wrote that one” and he says “No” and I say “Well, yes, you did”. Sometimes he rewrites if I can convince him. That’s a good feature with him, that he doesn’t notice he copies. He just writes and writes and writes. When he presents the songs to us he usually has everything, so I don’t know. We don’t change the text. No, Christoffer and I don’t do anything with the lyrics, that’s up to him, maybe only when it sounds wrong, like the wrong English or something. But he’s better in English than we are. But the meanings of the lyrics stay his.

We are aiming to begin – slowly but undoubtedly recordings of new material now in the spring. It will be bloody amazing. We are working with Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist in Scania as usual and everyone is eager to start the work. We're in the studio until midsummer for starters. Then possibly rehearsals if we're to do concerts. 2010 there will be nothing but Roxette. I put everything else I am musically busy with on the ice for now and the nearest future. There is no direct timetable. We just record and see what happens. There is no hurry. We're thinking '80s, that immediate in-your-face production. We're looking at 'Look Sharp!' production wise. The songs are short and effective. Clarence calls it "fool proof production" meaning not so many instruments and they all are very clear to hear. I'm trying to think that way when I write [for this album]. It's hard to explain. Maybe in December 2010, the album's out. Half of the songs are written for me, half for Marie. Marie hasn't written anything for the album. I guess we will, as always, base on Marie’s voice and my songs. I'd like Marie to sing it all, but I guess that's not possible so I have to fill in here and there. The most important thing is that we sound like Roxette. We have our own sound and that is the basis for everything else. It feels as if the material is very strong so far but I’m slightly biased… We all think it is great to work with Marie again. She is still terribly good. It is enough for me.

"Night of the Proms" was absolutely huge. Marie got standing ovations every night and we will especially never forget the German gigs. We did 42 concerts and played for over 600,000 people so it was a pretty big deal. We sang our four US number ones each after another and it felt a bit cocky, actually… It would be fun of course to do more concerts but it is up to what Marie wants and copes with. I do see Roxette performing again, that's what we want. Why not in Sweden? If not, we'll have to make room for Sweden. This is not written in stone though, but if you had asked me 6 months ago I would have said no. I might take more space on stage, since I've been touring a lot solo lately I now feel more comfortable to be on stage. US will never happen again. We're too old and vintage. But there may well be a cover of a Rox song that will climb the charts. The songs still have power, not sure that Per & Marie have it anymore… It’s actually quite amazing that it works, as you know it is completely macabre industry that eats people on the right and on the left. And it’s so natural in pop and rock business that people get forgotten. So I pinch myself in the arm every now and then…

Music? I like pretty much everything. I’ve heard Eels, Regina Spektor, Josh Ritter and The Killers today while I was driving as well as The Who’s “Tommy” which I like to listen to from time to time. My birthday party is not so big… I have a small dinner with my loved ones. There will certainly be 70s disco in the early hours.
Per Gessle


LJdM said...

Thank you, roxetteblog team for the nice interviews and TDR team for keeping us updated.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Very good article. I am waiting for the new album of Roxette

Rox ET said...

The Daily Roxette says that the new album of Roxette will be out in 2011. :(

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Pi-Beta-Gamma said...

I don't want to buy an Omega Watch ... But I would like to listen to the new album of Mr. Lundquist. :D

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about Christoffer Lundquist's new songs? Thank you!