Page’s musical comeback in 2010 has been a pleasant surprise in many ways. Firstly, the fact that it’s happened is a wonder at all. Eddie Bengtsson famously announced the disbandment of Page in 2000, after 17 years of making music, releasing albums, and touring to a large cult following of fans. So all had thought that the legacy of Page was what it was, and that was that. And secondly, the make-up of the comeback has been an eye and ear opener also – as former member (and co-founder) Marina Schiptjenko has rejoined. Marina initially left the band in the mid nineties, and has of course gone on to great international success and acclaim as a member of BWO. So with both Eddie and Marina at the helm, it really does feel like a proper Page comeback.
And so far, it’s been a very welcome comeback too. Lead single ‘Ett SOS’ is a dreamy, euphoric, electro pop track that instantly attracted new fans to the band, fans that had previously never heard of them. And the new album ‘Nu’ – well that’s just ear candy from start to finish. We really can’t recomment the album enough, and you can read our review of it here, to see why. You can listen to some tunage at their myspace here.
So, we wanted to have a chat with Page about everything. Specifically with Marina whom we’ve long admired and adored. To find out her reasons for coming back to Page, her hopes and apprehensions about the band staging a comeback, and how it’s compared so far to her time in BWO. And she obliged! So here’s our chat with her last weekend;
scandipop: Hello Marina, how are you?!
Marina: I’m very good thank you. I’ve just been thinking about the album this morning and how very proud and happy I am with it. So I feel very upbeat, ha ha!
scandipop: Yes, it’s a great album. And of course it charted yesterday in the top 40 didn’t it, so congratulations on that.
Marina: (gasps) Did it?!!!
Marina: Oh I didn’t know that. I never follow the charts you see, because it stresses me out……..Did we?! Wow, that’s brilliant.
scandipop: Yep, a new entry at number 34.
Marina. Wow. I’m really happy because, you know too how difficult it is to sell albums. My God I’m so happy. What I think it is though, is that maybe the audience we had from the start, the fans we have from way back, I think that they actually do buy records. They still download of course, but I think that they are the people who still want to own the product, and the images, and the leaflet and all that. I think younger people today, perhaps they don’t have this sentimental feeling or nostalgic feeling of actually owning a record. Although, I mean, I really hope that we will find new listeners with this album. Oooh, good news! I’m happy.
scandipop: Good! And so how does it feel to be making music and promoting it on the road, as part of Page again?
Marina: It’s really a strong feeling actually. Because I loved BWO, and I’m very proud of that project, but Page is like – well, actually we pronounce it ”Pahj”, typically eighties name, ha ha! But yes, for me Page is my roots. In many ways actually. It’s my musical roots, and also I met Eddie and started playing music with him when I was 15 years old. So it’s so close to my heart, it means a lot to me to be able to do this.
scandipop: So Page officially disbanded in the year 2000. When did you first get the impression that Eddie was interested in starting up the band again?
Marina: When I met him last Christmas I think. Because he showed me some VHS cassettes, ha ha, of some live gigs and shows that we did during the eighties. And I was like, my spontaneous reaction was, ”oh my God, we were….we were good, weren’t we?!” Because when you’ve done things so many years ago, it’s so easy to think that it’s dated and it’s old. But we just started talking about it again. Because we’ve always had a connection you know, with meeting up and listening to pop records and talking about them, new wave and old synth pop. So we got together, had a couple of drinks, and watched these old videos. And we just felt that we still had a connection, and it would be a lot of fun to do something together again. Because I also think that the time has sort of……I mean, when we did it originally during the eighties, we were still very obscure and electronic pop music was really looked down upon. People thought it was banal, and rock n’ roll was the sort of standard. But now, our sound is normal! So me and Eddie felt that we could do this today and people would understand it, and like it. We were very careful though, we didn’t want to be too nostalgic, but we wanted to recreate the sound that is our own. I don’t think anything else sounds like this in Sweden. So the lyrics reflect where we are today, but the music is the typical Page sound, you know.
scandipop: I suppose the best ideas always happen over a few drinks with friends, don’t they?!
Marina: Yes. And that’s why I love playing with both BWO and Page because it originates from friendship and this feeling of ”let’s do something really great together”. And I think that that’s so privileged. With BWO, it was a project in a way, and I had been working with Alexander before. We work together because we know that we can do something good together, and we’re friends, and that we have fun together too. And Eddie for me, is like an old dear friend too.
scandipop: Ok. And since Page had split in 2000, did you ever think that you might make music as Page again, or was it totally out of your mind?
Marina: It was totally out of my mind. I was so through and finished with it, and I think Eddie was too during those years. So we were so convinced that we were never ever gonna play together again. But then over those few drinks last Christmas, it sort of clicked, ha ha.
scandipop: And so did you get to have any kind of a break at all after BWO, or was it straight back to making music again with Page?
Marina: No break, no, ha ha! With BWO, we decided to have a break. Alexander, Martin, and I were sitting backstage after a concert at Globen here in Stockholm, it was a paid company gig. And Alexander was talking about his new project, and Martin was talking about who he was going to try to work with for his solo record. And I was like, ”I want to have a project too!” I don’t want to stop playing, I have so much fun with it. So I literally picked up the phone in that backstage room and called Eddie, saying ”ok, shall we do Page again?”. And he was like, it took three seconds, ”of course!”.
Marina: ha ha, yes. And everything happened so quickly and quite natural, and in a very organic way. Eddie started writing immediately and we started bouncing ideas back and forth. So we got these 10 songs together and I sent them to our record label, Bonnier Amigo Music Group. And they were like, ”Good, yes, don’t change anything, just keep them like this”. It’s very minimalistic in a way, even though if you listen to it very carefully, it’s not. So we were so happy that they immediately understood that and said that it was great and not to change anything. And then we went into the studio and it happened in a very smooth way. It has been fun from the start.
scandipop: One thing I noticed about the album is how strong the melodies are. They’re catchy, they’re commercial, they’re accessible, and they’re very radio friendly. Which for the type of music you’re making, is quite unusual, because often bands who make electro music, prefer to stay away from pop. So how do Page feel about the two genres co-existing together?
Marina: Well that’s just us. Our influences come from pop and new wave. And we are not really about alternative or experimental, we are firmly rooted in the pop tradition. The pop tradition is good music, catchy tunes. So for us it’s a dream if radio starts to play Page. Because we were played by radio a lot in the late nineties when we made our last record, ‘Glåd’, which means ‘happy’ in English. And what we would really like to achieve with the new record is to be played on radio. I think, at least in Sweden, a larger audience is in touch with the electro scene. I think that a larger audience could like us and appreciate us, but we just have to break that wall. But maybe commercial radio still thinks that we’re too alternative. But I don’t think we are!
scandipop: Well what kind of a reaction did you get last week when you played on Nyhetsmorgon. You performed ‘Ett SOS’, which is perhaps the most commercial track on the album.
Marina: Well actually the reaction was that people liked the other song we performed, much better, ‘Kom Så Andas Vi’!
scandipop: Our favourites from the album are the three in the middle, ‘Frya Väger’, ‘Tätt Inpå’, and ‘Ett SOS’. Do you have any favourites in particular?
Marina: I love ‘Tätt Inpå’. ‘Alla Som Väntar’ I love too. And I also love ‘Inte Här’.
scandipop: Yeah, with ‘Tätt Inpå’, the best thing about it is that amazing ”hello, hello, hello’ chorus.
Marina: Yes, ha ha, I love that! It’s so pop and it’s so Page. And it’s so funny, Eddie’s daughter who’s only about 2, she always sings along with that tune. And I think that that’s a good sign, because if a child gets very enthusiastic about a song, then I always think it must be a very good pop song, you know, ha ha.
scandipop: Page has always had a cult following of loyal, hardcore fans. And of course they’re always the easiest to upset and the hardest to please, because they love their favourite band so much. So were you nervous about what their reaction was going to be like, when they found out that Page was reforming and their legacy was being re-opened?
Marina: No, I wouldn’t say nervous. Me and Eddie talked about that, and when you start doing something, you don’t think about the audience, you think about yourself and your own criteria, about what you want to do. So we weren’t nervous. We were of course talking about and wondering what the reaction would be. But we’ve been surprised pleasantly that we’ve been recieved with so much love. And actually this morning I was browsing the web and facebook, and I’ve seen hardcore fans who’ve been saying ”Shit. This is THE album”! And I’ve had one today writing to me, one who really loves Page, and saying ”first when I heard the album, I was thinking if it was really good, but after the third listen – this is the best you’ve ever done”, ha ha! Which is a relief, because of course it’s important to us to get this feedback. Because we grew up on that scene, and we grew up with these people in a way. But what also strikes us is like what Eddie said after our release party on Friday. He said, ”Shit, I haven’t really understood that I have actually been influencing people”. Because I don’t know if you know, but there is a tribute album that’s been released, of 23 different new bands that have done cover versions of our old songs. It’s not released via a record label, but apparently there is a facebook group, and you can order it online. And yes, I think that that’s a really strong feeling. It’s nice to have people come up to you and say, ”wow, I remember the concert you did 15 years ago”, ha ha. It’s a nice feeling, and that’s why I love to be back on the scene. It’s small and you kind of know each other, and that’s a lot of fun. But as I said, we would also love to reach the bigger audience with this album.
scandipop: The album is out now, but are there any plans for you to tour soon?
Marina: Not a regular tour, no. But we will play at some festivals this summer. But we would like to a few more gigs. And perhaps a tour in the autumn.
scandipop: Ok. How does making music with Page differ from making music with BWO?
Marina: Well first of all, as you know, I don’t write the music. I’m sort of more like a discussion partner, both with Alexander and with Eddie when it comes to songs and sounds. But I’m closer to the process with Eddie, than I am with BWO, simply because of natural reasons – BWO is such a large machine, and we have three skilled producers working together with Alexander. And BWO is a lot about programming. But with Page, we’re playing live. Also in the studio. What you hear on Page’s album is 90% played live.
scandipop: Oh I didn’t realise that.
Marina: Yes, because we like that slight imperfection that is created when you play it live. So of course I’m so much more involved in the music making process with Page, because of that. And I kind of like both, because for me BWO has been so important, I have learned so much. Alexander is a great collaborator. He’s very good at seeing people’s creativity, and he’s very generous.
scandipop: Well my last question was actually about BWO, about one of your last big engagements together – your gig in London at scandipop live, last September.
scandipop: How did you feel it went, and how was it to see all your UK fans again?
Marina: You know, that was always the best part of BWO. The scandipop gig was the best kind of gig, with the small audience and the small venue, everyone was so enthusiastic. It was the best last gig to have a before a break. But I really think that BWO’s music will last and stay in people’s minds. We haven’t decided to break up the band. We feel that when it’s fun again and when people want us…….But I think it was good to take a break. Because we’d put out so many records, and been quite successful. I think it’s easy for the people and the radio stations to get tired of you. And you get tired of yourself. Which is bad for creativity.
scandipop: And of course you all had your own other projects that you were itching to give more time to. So I guess an ‘indefinite break’ is the best label to put on it, isn’t it?
scandipop: Well thank you so much for your time Marina.
Marina: No, thank you! Great speaking to you!