Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pop Biz, 1978: Björn reveals latest plans: ABBA wants to but is too busy

Although we don’t hear much from ABBA lately, behind the scenes the Swedish group is extremely busy. That’s why Pop Biz decided to go and see how the land lies at Polar Music, ABBA’s very own record company. One of its presidents, one Björn Ulvaeus, revealed all the latest plans...

The conversation with Björn is taking place one day before the group’s departure for Japan. Actually he wanted to cancel the appointment at the last minute because he only found out about this unexpected trip himself very recently. However, when he realized that we had already arrived in Stockholm, he still wanted to give us one hour of his time. So let’s get down to business: what’s up with ABBA?
Björn: “Too much... no, joking aside, we are very busy these days. Even busy to the extent that our scheduled Christmas album has now definitely been postponed. We just couldn’t finish it in time.”
We’ve heard rumours that ABBA doesn’t want to go on tour again. What are the things that are keeping you busy?
Björn: “That’s partly true. We won’t be able to go on tour in the near future because first and foremost we have to write and record new songs for the next two albums. Added to that, there are many – and often very unexpected – promotional trips to be made. As you know, we are working on conquering the United States at the moment. This mainly concentrates on television appearances.”

“We are performing in several American TV-shows and we wouldn’t have time for that if we went on tour. Just look at what’s happening now (he shows us a pile of telexes), these are invitations for American TV-shows that we received yesterday. The recordings will be in two weeks time already, so we have to react rapidly. Tomorrow we will be off to Japan, for television performances as well. Right after that, we are travelling to Los Angeles on the American west coast. We will tape three television specials there. When that is finished we will be back in Sweden for one weekend only. On Monday, we will travel to London where we will be guests on the Mike Yarwood Christmas Show. We are going to perform two songs there. We will spend the Christmas days at home, but in the beginning of January we are off to New York where we will appear at the Unicef Gala – organised by the Bee Gees – on January 8, 9 and 10. However, the rehearsals will already start one week earlier. As you can see, for the time being we don’t have any time to go on tour.”

But what plans do you have after the gala in New York?
Björn: “Did you think we were going to take things easier then? Well, forget about it. Right after the gala, we’ll have to continue working on the new album. We don’t even have much time for that because a couple of weeks later we will go back to England for a big TV-show called The Snowtime Special. In that show we are going to perform five songs from our new album, if we have them finished in time. That show will be broadcast across Europe around Easter, so we’ll have to make a strong impression.”
So you probably don’t have the time either for new photo sessions?
Björn: “Indeed, we don’t have time for that. But we just had a couple of new photos taken (he takes a small pile of pictures out of his drawer) and you will have to make do with them for the time being.”

The group is looking good on the new pictures. Anni-Frid’s hair is slightly curled, just like we’ve seen her already in the Olivia Newton-John special. Agnetha seems to have gotten prettier again, she looks extremely happy and relaxed. Benny’s face is a little skinny, while Björn has put on some weight.
Björn: “The girls are looking better than us guys, but they have less worries too, haha. Benny and I are involved in the business aspects as well, while a lot is expected from us on an artistic level too. This isn’t easy for us, although we are very happy with our job. When the new album is finished we hope to have a little more time off, but who knows what will be in store for us then.”

The ABBA fans can rest assured, there are no real problems. In Björn’s office we listened to some rough recordings for the new album. It sounds fantastic again, although you will see that there are a lot of changes. Like always, the old, familiar ABBA sound is keeping up with the latest trends and you can clearly hear disco influences every now and then. So we will have to wait until Easter before we can get acquainted with the ‘new’ ABBA officially.
ABBA sends all their best regards to you from Sweden and keep an eye on your television screen, because sooner or later a lot of foreign productions will be broadcast on our screens as well.

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