An interview with Agnetha, published in Belgian magazine Joepie, 1982. Agnetha talks about her coming solo-album, the movie Raskenstam, the gossip-press and ABBA's future-plans.
ABBA’s Agnetha was in Bremen, together with her musical partner Tomas Ledin, for the filming of ‘Musikladen’. In the lobby of the fancy Parkhotel we talked to her. Agnetha has a whole new look again. The curls are gone and her blonde hair has been considerably shortened. Red trousers, red sweater. Actually, the superstar is rather anonymous. Openly, she talks about the lawsuit against a Swedish newspaper, her solo-album with Michael Chapman, the musical that her colleagues Björn and Benny are writing and about a possible world-tour with ABBA.
How are the preparations for your solo-album coming along?
“I’ve just come back from London, where I met Michael Chapman, who is going to produce my solo-album, for the first time. We are busy looking for the right material right now. It’s all very exciting. Mike has so many good ideas and he has written a song especially for me as well. We’re still looking for material, but it looks interesting, very interesting.”
Do you think you can agree with the choice of the material?
Agnetha nods. “We do everything in mutual consultation, but for him it’s easier, since he has so many contacts all over the world and he’s a composer himself. My good friend Tomas Ledin, the guy I’m singing ‘Never Again’ with, has promised to write a song for me as well. Frida has recorded one of his songs too. Tomas is very good. I, for one, would love to have a song by a Swedish composer on the record. But again, I’m not the only one who decides. Mike has a say in this too.”
Will Björn and Benny write something for the album?
“No, they are way too busy. I don’t think they will have time for that. Everyone wants them at the moment. They are writing new songs for the ABBA-album, that will be out next year and they are very busy with the musical, that they will be writing in cooperation with Tim Rice. They went to London a couple of times and they also met him in Paris. It is not known yet what the musical will be about, but it’s a very pretentious and long term project. It may take them two years to finish it.”
Will ABBA record that musical?
“I don’t know yet, maybe. It all depends on the music. Chances are that Frida and I will not be involved at all. If it’s suitable for ABBA, then we’ll do it. If not, it will be a solo-project by the boys and they will record it with others. But I don’t know the exact facts. We don’t have much contact. We only see each other when we work and that’s it. I do know that writing songs is getting harder and harder on the boys. It seems they need more and more time to write songs. It’s because they are very demanding on themselves. When you’re on top, people expect more and more from you. Every song has to be better than the previous one. But I think that the two new singles ‘The Day Before You Came’ and ‘Under Attack’ sound really fresh.”
Do you compose yourself?
“Yes, I am a composer, but I don’t write much. I will try to write something for my solo-album. If I succeed. By the way, I still have a song lying around. We played it during the ABBA-tour and it always was a big success. I might record that one.”
Do you write lyrics as well?
“Only ideas. I never write English lyrics, my English isn’t good enough for that. I’d make a fool of myself. I’d rather leave the writing of the lyrics to others. I’m really looking forward to my solo-album. In the middle of January we will enter the Polar-studios and at the end of February it should be finished.”
You have a part in a Swedish movie...
“That’s right, it’s a movie directed by Gunnar Helstrom, who also directed a few episodes of ‘Dallas’. The movie is based on a true story and is about the biggest Casanova ever, the Swede Raskenstam. I play the part of Lisa, the daughter of a fisherman, a very boring girl. Raskenstam was engaged to more than one hundred girls at the same time, but Lisa was the only one he really cared about. All those women took him to court, but in the end, they wouldn’t incriminate him and dropped their charges. They were still charmed by him and said: “We’ve paid the price for his love and we have a lasting memory of him: a child.” The movie will premiere in Sweden around April and will also come to a London cinema where they only play Swedish movies. It might come to Dutch and Belgian cinemas.”
How did acting become you?
“Very well. Actually, it was the first time that I acted, except for what we did in ‘The Movie’ which didn’t mean much, so this was the first time that I really tried it and I really enjoyed it, it was very exciting. It’s wonderful to do something completely different, an enormous challenge. I don’t know if I’m a good actress, if my attempt was a success, but the audience will have to decide on that.”
What’s the deal about the lawsuit against a Swedish newspaper?
“I really don’t like to talk about that. They wrote I was pregnant, but I only was pregnant in the movie. And that it was the reason for my boyfriend to leave me. They are lies, pure lies. People who don’t know me and buy that newspaper will think I’ve gone insane. I see myself every week in the newspapers and they only write nonsense and lies about you. One week you’re pregnant, the next week your boyfriend dumped you. I have to draw the line somewhere, that’s why I reacted instinctively. I have won, but whether I win or lose, is really not that important. It’s a good thing that the dubious activities of this newspaper are exposed because of the lawsuit.”
Frida made a comment that she would like to tour again with ABBA.
“A tour? You never know what the future will bring, but at the moment? I doubt it. It’s so time-consuming. It’s a hard and tiring life. Travelling, hotels, airports, different places. I hate it. But as soon as you’re on stage and have contact with the audience, you forget it all. That moment is fantastic. But everything surrounding it, is not my thing. I’d rather stay home with the children.”
Together with Tomas she lets her photograph being taken, professionally and willingly. Her head on Tomas’ shoulder.
“This is not a new romance,” she says decidedly. “Just making myself clear, because that’s the way the rumours start.”