Last night we were granted an interview with the lovely Petra Marklund, better known to everyone as September. If you’re reading this website then chances are you’re a fan of this lady, so we guess that no introductions are needed. However, we would like to stress how amazingly nice she was to meet, how enthusiastic she was about her music, and how much we’d like her to continue making music forever! It’s quite a long interview because there was lots that we wanted to ask, and know that there’s lots that her fans want to know too. So without any further rambling, here it is;
scandipop: Obviously you’ve been having hits in your native Sweden for over half a decade now. But in the last 12 months, you’ve started having hits everywhere; the UK, US, Germany, and you’ve had a release in Australia too. So have you just spent the last year travelling and living in hotels and of a suitcase?
September: Yes, exactly. Although I’ve been travelling for a while. Maybe the first two years were in Sweden, but in the third year when I changed record labels, everything started to happen in other countries. At first, with a few songs, I started having hits in other Nordic countries like Finland. So I’ve been travelling very much for a few years around Europe. And now the world!
scandipop: But last year was definitely your busiest year wasn’t it?
September: The last 2 years have definitely been crazy. But this last year has been the year when I’ve really gathered all the countries that are most far away; I’ve been to England, and Japan, and Australia. I’ve been to Canada, and North America and South America. So this year I’ve really connected everything!
scandipop: And did you have a base during this whole time, did you keep going back to Sweden to write and work? Or have you just been on the go at all times?
September: I’ve been promoting very much, but I’ve been home too. We were writing quite a lot, but now we’re in the studio, and we’re gonna do the new album. And a lot of new songs for the UK album too!
September: Yeah! I’m so looking forward to it, because I’ve never released an album in the UK before. So for me it’s very nice to finally show the people, because I’ve known about the fans for a long time, because I know about it through the internet. And I know a lot of people wish for my songs, and they try to buy it but they can’t. So I’m gonna release my favourite songs, together with my new songs that we’re writing right now, and my producers are working on them.
scandipop: Ok, so your new album in the UK will be a compilation of your older stuff and some new stuff as well?
September: Yes, the songs that I think my fans would like to have, and my hit songs also.
scandipop: I’m hoping that ‘Looking For Love’ is going to be on there!
September: (laughs) Yeah it’s gonna be on there, just for you! It’s gonna be on there.
scandipop: Ok. Moving on to the US now, you managed to get a hit on the Billboard Hot 100. And as far as I’m aware, you’re the only European dance act to have done that in the last three years. I think the last one was Cascada. And that’s QUITE the achievement! So how did you manage that? Did you go out there for promo first or did it just get picked up by a few radio DJs and take on a life of its own?
September: The song was so strong by itself. And I’ve been there and it feels like the fans are starved of dance music. But now dance music is coming back again, and the world is getting smaller and smaller because of the internet – that now sometimes you don’t even have to do much promotion, although obviously it is still very important. But I think that a hit song will always find a way!
scandipop: And how much time have you spent out there since?
September: I’ve been there quite a lot. ‘Cry For You’ went so well and I’m doing a lot of shows over there. And in a couple of weeks I will go to America for a few weeks and do shows every day, like a mini tour. And after that I will come back to the UK again and do the Dance Nation tour in early April. But for me, Kylie Minogue didn’t even make the Hot 100 with her most recent songs. And for me, Kylie Minogue has been a big inspiration, so it’s amazing.
scandipop: Moving back to the UK now; there’s been a year long gap in between your UK singles. Was that because of your busy schedule or was it because you and Hard2Beat were deciding which track to go with as a second single, because you’ve got such a big back catalogue to choose from.
September: Yeah it was a year. I think it was partly because ‘Cry For You’ stayed around for so long, it didn’t leave the charts or the radio. And when the time came to release a new single, I wanted all the focus to be on ‘Can’t Get Over’. And I think now is the best time to come out with a new song.
Victoria Ekeberg (her manager): And it’s also because she was so fully booked for the last year too, with so many places to go to.
September: And all the different countries have different singles going on at the same time, and it’s a lot of work behind each one. But I think we chose the best time to release ‘Can’t Get Over’ in the UK.
scandipop: Indeed, well hopefully it pays off. In the UK, both singles have been remixed. Was that the label’s intervention or was that something that you felt needed to be done?
September: I think the new ‘Can’t Get Over’ is even better than the old one. And I think it’s about growing with the songs. ‘Cry For You’ has been around for a long time, and I love every single version of it. But we have been choosing between a lot of remixes. It’s not like ‘’we’re gonna go with this one’’, there has been a lot of work behind it. And for me, it’s wonderful to have a new mix of a song.
scandipop: I suppose it makes it more exciting and fresh when you’re performing it…
September: Yeah because I’ve been singing it so many times, that to have a remix on it and to be able to have a lot of people who want to do a remix on it, and they’re working on it, and then we can just choose the one that we think is the best remix – it’s a wonderful position to be in. And I love the new version, I think it’s even better. But with ‘Cry For You’, the very oldest one is my favourite.
scandipop: The version on ‘In Orbit’?
September: Yeah, what do you think about it?
scandipop: Well that was the first one I ever heard, so it’s always been my favourite.
scandipop: Yep. But I do prefer the UK remix to the version that was on ‘Dancing Shoes’.
September: Yeah me too. I liked the first one and the last one.
scandipop: My favourite ‘Can’t Get Over’ is the Dave Ramone remix though. Because it keeps the original backing riff.
September: Aaah. Yeah that’s true actually. But I thought the new one was like, really genius though!
scandipop: So what’s your release schedule in the UK now? Is it gonna be more singles and then the album, and will it come out after the Dance Nation tour?
September: The album’s gonna be out in summer. Late summer.
scandipop: And will there be a single before that? After ‘Can’t Get Over’?
September: Yes, there will be a new single after ‘Can’t Get Over’. We have thought about it a lot. I went to my producer, and it was the first thing we recorded after not recording together for a long time. We went in on the first day and we recorded a song that was really…..we both feel that this is the best thing we’ve ever done together! And we played it for the record label and they also thought that it was a smash!
scandipop: So was that Jonas Von Der Burg that you recorded with?
Victoria Ekeberg: He loves Jonas Von Dur Berg!!!
scandipop: That’s great, because you and him work so well together, I’m really looking forward to that. So has it been frustrating for you promoting songs that you first released almost half a decade ago? And is the artist inside you just bursting to deliver and perform some new material?
September: Yeah I’m dying to bring out my new stuff now. I’m always dying to do new stuff because I love it. And as much as I love being on stage, I love actually making the new albums. I love the period in the studio. And we are in such a good mood now, it gave us a real kick in the ass (laughs) when we started doing it again because it had been such a good time because of the US, and UK and everything. So we have so much energy. But with ‘Cry For You’ and ‘Can’t Get Over’, why I still love to them, even now, is because I feel they are new songs because of the new remixes. If I did the exact same songs, Id’ be feeling ‘’ok, I’ve been doing this for three years now’’.
scandipop: Ok. And what are the new songs going to sound like? Will they be a similar style to the last albums? Or will they be a new kind of sound?
September: I think every new album, if you compare every album that I’ve done, they sound more and more developed. I think for each time, like, I loved ‘Dancing Shoes’, but now I feel like this (new material) is much better for now and I think it sounds……I think it sounds new and fresh. I think it will sound more attitude, because I’m in a mood now when I’m ‘’RARRR’’, I wanna be big!!! And I have so much energy which maybe you can’t see now cos I’m tired (laughs). But I think if you listen to the next single you will hear exactly what I’m talking about.
scandipop: It sounds great, you’ve got me all excited now! Will you be performing it on the Dance Nation tour?
Victoria Ekeberg: We’re not really sure yet, if it’ll be ready by then.
September: We’ll wait and see. We hope we can do it though. You’ll love it though it’s really special.
Victoria Ekeberg: And I know your taste in music by now so I know you will like it!
scandipop: Brilliant! So lots of scandipop has been coming to the UK recently; Velvet has signed with Positiva, Elin Lanto has signed with AATW, and Star Pilots have signed to Hard2Beat. Which of your Scandinavian contemporaries would you love to see joining you in the league of UK success?
September: Hmmm, let me see. None!!! Only me!!! (laughs) Only joking, of course, it would be wonderful if Swedish people……it’s so funny because after ‘Cry For You’, and after me, Robyn and Basshunter we all came to the UK at exactly the same time, the same period. And after that, everybody in Sweden, like Elin Lanto made totally different music before, and now she changes her sound totally. And a lot of people have changed to making dance music in Sweden. I think it’s a little bit because of the success that I had in the UK, I think it’s true.
scandipop: You started a trend!
September: Yes, maybe I did. Because now, the people that I know, they all started doing dance music because they know that it goes down well in other countries. They’re like ‘’I wanna do that too’’! But I think we have a lot of great dance music in Sweden, and a lot of great dance producers too. And I think it’s very good for Sweden because it is doing good dance music, showing our artists in this way – in the sound of dance music. And Eric Prydz is really great too, I love him I think he’s the best!
scandipop: Lots of pop fans around the world look to Scandinavia for a fix of pop music as it’s renowned by many for making the best dance music in the world. What is your take on the fact that Scandinavia is now catering to so many people, and held in such high regard for its pop music? Are you proud? Are you surprised?
September: Well in Scandinavia we are raised with lots of music and we have a lot of music schools and music teachers too. And they were like, ‘’ok Petra, you have to play an instrument, which instrument do you want to play’’! And it’s all free and anyone can take part and it’s very trendy too. Plus we don’t have anything else to do in Sweden because it’s always so cold!!! It’s the same in the UK – that’s why you have such great pop music here too, because we are inside, we are working lots with the music all the time. And I think that’s why, so no, I’m not surprised. And we are very international in our way of listening to and making music, and looking at tv. It’s always in English, we never dub anything, so we all learn English from a very young age. At school too.
scandipop: Ok. So you’re in London now promoting your new single. How long are you gonna stay here for? And in your diary this year, are there many dates pencilled in for the UK?
September: There are a lot of dates yes. We have to see The Sun and FHM, and the Daily Star. And next week we will go on a promo tour of lots of the radio stations around the UK. So they are keeping me busy! I’m very happy because this was much more time in the UK than I had for ‘Cry For You’.
scandipop: And you have a gig at G-A-Y at the end of the month
scandipop: Which I’m gonna miss unfortunately. I saw you there last year but this time I’ll be in Sweden for Melodifestivalen.
September: Oh, which Heat is that? Heat 3?
scandipop: It’s Heat 4, so it’s got Agnes and Star Pilots in it.
September: Oh yeah you like Star Pilots don’t you?
scandipop: Yep! So you’ve got the G-A-Y gig, and you’ve got the Dance Nation tour coming up. Have you any other live dates planned for the UK?
September: Yes, I think my booking company are planning a lot of things. And my wish is to do really bigger and bigger gigs – so I just wish for all my singles to do really well. I’d love to have the band and all the backing dancers, and have some acoustic insight too so that it really feels like a big show.
scandipop: Yes there’ve been a few videos on youtube of you performing acoustic versions of your songs. Is that nice for you to do, for a change?
September: Yes it is, I think it shows a different side to me. And a different side to the song. Because my songs have very nice pop melodies, and Jonas is very good at working with them, but sometimes it is nice to perform it with something simple like just a guitar.
scandipop: Cool! If you’re ever in London on the 3rd Thursday of the month, do you reckon you’ll come down to the scandipop club night to have a dance?!
September: Yes! I will!
And that was that! A lovely lady, we’re sure you’ll agree. September’s new single ‘Can’t Get Over’ is released on March 9th through Hard2Beat Records. She’ll also be appearing on the Dance Nation tour which runs from the 5th to the 11th of April. You can buy tickets here; http://www.livenation.co.uk/dancenation