“Paris is beautiful in the spring,” Frida smiles. “Unfortunately, for the past few weeks we haven’t been able to see anything else from the city than the four walls of this studio.” We went for a visit to the Studios de la Grande Armée, where the ABBA-singer is recording her second solo album, together with hot producer Steve Lillywhite.
Are you starting to get a clear view on your new album already?
“Yes. In any case, it’s going to be a very versatile album with lots of different moods. That’s no surprise either, when you look at the list of composers who contributed to the album: Big Country’s Stuart Adamson, Chris Rea, Steve Lillywhite’s fiancée Kirsty McColl, my son Hans, ABBA’s Björn and Benny. For the first time, I’ve written a song myself as well.”
Why did you record the album in Paris?
“Working or recording in Sweden has become impossible for me, due to tax reasons. Paris and London were the two other options. Because I live in London Centre, I thought it would be a good idea to cross the sea for the recordings.”
Is your break from ABBA now permanent, to be able to pursue your solo career?
“There’s not much I can say about that. The future of the group is more unsure than ever. Björn and Benny have been working on their musical for months and that will probably stay that way until 1985. They could barely find the time to write one song for my album. Anyhow, this is the very first time that they don’t produce one of their own compositions themselves.”
How much time has passed since you saw the other members of the group?
“Months! Some time ago, I ran into Benny in London. Coincidentally, Björn was at the ABBA-offices in Stockholm when I was there and I met Agnetha while she was doing her promotional tour for her album.”
Does ABBA still exist?
“I hope so!” (smiles) “I know that there are no official plans to split up. But I have to admit that I often try to find a reason why ABBA should still continue and I don’t find any. Still, it’s not out of the question that we will record another album together. Sentimentally, we’re still very much attached to each other.”
Why did you change your producer after the success of your first album?
“Phil Collins, who produced my first album, is very busy these days with Genesis and his own solo projects. I would have loved to work with him again and I must confess I was disappointed when Phil wasn’t available. Actually, I didn’t have an alternative immediately. We thought about Sting for a while, but of course he wasn’t available either. I knew Steve Lillywhite from his records with Joan Armatrading. Later on, I listened to U2, Simple Minds and Big Country and his sound won me over immediately.”
Is there an obvious difference between Phil Collins and Steve Lillywhite?
“Of course. They both have their own personalities. It’s absolutely useless to compare the two. Maybe a satisfying answer could be that Steve is not as good a drummer as Phil is.” (smiles)
Are you scared of the reactions of the loyal ABBA-fans?
“No. My first solo album sold about two million copies. I think that speaks volumes. Maybe I will reach a wider audience with Steve’s specific sound. Actually, I don’t really care whether this album does as well as the previous one. I did my best, Steve did his best and all the musicians have put their heart and soul into the album. That’s the most important thing for me. Time will tell if I’ve made the right decision.”