Sunday, 28 March 2010

Pop Foto, April 1982: “In the studio, we are having the utmost fun”

Since many years, Benny and Björn have been writing the most fantastic ABBA songs. And that’s a tough job. Obviously! But there’s more, because...

When you see ABBA’s Björn and Benny slaving away on a new song, it’s hard to imagine that the twosome sometimes has the utmost fun in the studio. Still, this happens more often than you would think...

Anyone who thinks that Björn and Benny, the composing duo of the Swedish group ABBA, come up with their hits just like that, is completely wrong. Indeed, sometimes the twosome is slaving away on only one song for days, and then it isn’t even recorded yet. Recently, Björn and Benny told us all about their working methods.
“We wrote our complete repertoire either at Benny’s home or in a little house just outside Stockholm,” Björn started his story. “We always start with the melody. That’s the most difficult part. We work very hard on that, day in and day out, from 10 o’clock in the morning till 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Whenever we have found a good melody, we write an accompanying lyric. Most of the time, that’s not the lyric that can eventually be heard on the record. In the studio, it often turns out that the mood of the music doesn’t seem to go with the mood of the lyrics. Well, and then it’s convenient to change the lyrics altogether.”
Björn leans back in his chair, while his colleague Benny takes over: “You have to understand that we are not easily satisfied with our own songs! Before a record is completely finished, a lot of work has preceded it. By the way, you mustn’t think that it’s all just work and no play. We are having the utmost fun as well, especially in the studio. We joke around a lot, together with our technician Michael Tretow.”
“Yes, especially whenever Benny is playing those silly tricks with his accordion,” Björn interrupts.
“Or whenever you have jokingly written a silly lyric that doesn’t make any sense,” Benny replies smilingly. “You know,” he continues more seriously, “a lot of people seem to think that our aim is to write only hits. But that’s not the case. We write a song and we work on that until we feel that it’s good ourselves. When the public thinks that that song is good as well, even so good that it becomes a hit, then that is so much to the good. We get an enormous kick out of the fact that our work is appreciated by millions of people. And that’s also one of the reasons why we are planning to continue like this for years to come. You bet!”

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