Thursday, 30 July 2009

Joepie, June 1978: ABBA on the job and in their spare time – “Actually, we’re leading an ordinary life”

A 1978 article from Belgian magazine Joepie about ABBA’s preparations for the new album and their activities in their spare time. The text is almost an exact copy of the article from Dutch magazine Hitkrant, published in May 1978 (see 14 June 2009 entry).
Up till now, 1978 has been a comparatively quiet year for ABBA. Or, so it seems to the outsider, because Björn and Benny are already very busy working on the new album. “And it takes a lot more hard work than you think,” Benny says. “Since February, we’ve been busy discussing musical ideas and developing them further.”

The four members of ABBA realize very well that it’s not going to be easy to come up with yet another smash hit album. The previous two long-players, and their accompanying singles, have achieved millions of sales all around the world. Both ‘Arrival’ and ‘The Album’ were monster successes on a musical and financial level. That’s why they don’t leave anything to chance.
“We’ve taken a rather strict work schedule upon ourselves,” Benny says, “we’re even working in some sort of office hours. Every day, from ten o’clock in the morning till five o’clock in the afternoon, our whole world revolves around the piano and the guitar. Only at the weekend, we’re taking things a little easier, but from Monday till Friday we can’t be reached during these hours. Then we’re always to be found in the working space at my home. It’s easier that way, because Björn and Agnetha have to get up early anyway with their two small children at home. This way, I can sleep late, and it’s a bit quieter here as well.”
How is a new ABBA-album being born? “The first couple of weeks, nothing much happens actually,” Björn says. “Benny and I present our ideas to each other, but it doesn’t get any further than talking and a couple of musical chords. It’s always difficult to really get going again. After all, creativity can’t be ignited on command. But luckily, I can tell you that we are making progress again lately. It has eased our conscience to some extent, because we definitely have to be ready before the summer begins. Because all four of us want to spend a relaxed holiday then, on our island in the Stockholm archipelago.”
The two ABBA-couples do have other opportunities to keep themselves occupied. “Björn and Agnetha like to be at home as much as possible,” Benny says, “to occupy themselves with the children. They very rarely go to clubs or shows. Frida and I are having a much busier social life. For instance, we often go to see Björn Skiffs, the singer that represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. He’s a good friend of ours. We also play a game of tennis regularly, since it’s a good way to keep ourselves in shape. I never used to be a very sporty kind of guy, but that has changed since I have my own boat. I’m taking two different classes to learn how to command my boat as good as possible. And Frida is not resting on her laurels either, she’s taking singing and dancing lessons with Inga Sundström and Graham Tainton, two of the best teachers you could possibly find. So both of us are keeping very busy.”
But the four ABBA-members don’t complain. Jointly, they say: “People think that we are leading an extraordinary and outrageous private life. But that’s nonsense. We’re enjoying ourselves, very well even. But that doesn’t mean that we are pursuing enormous luxury or that we are partying in an incredible way. We get our biggest satisfaction from our music, and from the response of the people who like it.”

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