Per Aldeheim - from hard rocking pop hits to ballad jazz

Published: 2008-06-30 by Kristofer Kebbon

The hits that Per Aldeheim has written are almost unbelievable—tuned-down, distorted guitars and so many hooks that not even the most metal-allergic can resist. But even though he has made a name for himself within rocking pop with distorted guitars—thinks Lambretta’s ”Bimbo” – he has more strings on his lyre.

- Yes, I suppose it’s true that I am best known for those things, but I am much broader than that. When I did Lambretta it was rocking but that was many years ago. Now I still do rock but also jazz, singer-songwriter and pop. And of course I long to do something far away from Marshall stacks. I have written some stuff for piano, double bass, and cello – but none of it has been released yet.

How did you start writing songs?
- I was in It’s Alive, where Max Martin was the singer – although then he had another name. We wrote and produced our own songs. When the group broke up, I started to work for the Swedish radio stations NRJ and Mix Megapol, and that was when I really learned how pop music works. I earned what was demanded from a pop song when the competition was so tough, when three out of a hundred songs that are sent in to a station end up one their playlist. And I sat there and clipped away guitar solos, which hurt sometimes, but I learned how to write songs then.

While working for commercial radio, Aldeheim still wrote music, but it was when he quit the job that his songwriting took off.

- I called Max after I quit radio and asked if he had a corner somewhere where I could sit and write music, and he gave me a little room at Cheiron. I had done some stuff before then but that was when I started doing it full-time.

The connection to Cheiron has helped Aldeheim but he points out that it’s not like you get everything served to you just because you are connected to the right network. The system where record companies send out feelers for songwriters to write songs for new artists, and the songwriters pitch their ideas back, is not the foundation for Aldeheim’s success.

- Almost all the songs I have released have not gone through the pitch pool. You get “leads” by email sometimes: ”Project 2008. Young male. Mix of 50 Cent and Metallica”. But then I want to write something totally opposite that. ”Bimbo,” which I wrote for Lambretta, is an example. They wanted pop-ska and they got tuned-down guitars instead.

How has the situation for songwriters changed during the past years?
- Today you can’t just sit on your behind and wait to get a song placed. You have to be your own A&R. Find out what’s happening, find the artists you want to work with yourself.

What kind of songwriting style is in now?
We are going back to fat productions again. For the past 5-10 years we have done everything as simple as possible – if you play electric guitar, you have been playing on one string instead of a whole chord, for example. But now the tide has turned. It’s like there’s music in stereo again, if you get what I mean. The whole 80s thing, that I come from, has been taboo for so many years.

Have you longed for that?
- It’s cool. For me it’s been a fight, just when I learned how to hate the 80s I have to pick up that stuff again. So I have unpacked my old 80s gear that has been lying around collecting dust – Roland’s JX-8P and D-50. And maybe you don’t need live drums on everything, one should maybe try a Linn drum machine on the song instead.

Sebastian Suarez-Golborne


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