ABBA blog

Thoughts and observations on the Swedish foursome

Interviews for ABBA On Record - a tangled web

published May 25, 2021

First things first: I'm still working on my forthcoming book ABBA On Record - Packaged Promoted Reviewed virtually every day. It has taken much, much longer than expected, and for that I'm truly sorry. But it's all for a good reason: more work on the book will give the reader better value for money, as the extra time goes into doing more research and conducting more interviews. Another obstacle is, of course, the new ABBA songs, which I've promised to cover in ABBA On Record. The songs have been delayed several years, which no-one anticipated when they were first announced in April 2018. And until they have been released - according to ABBA themselves, one or more will definitely be issued before the end of 2021 - I won't be able to write about them in the book.

Meanwhile, of course, I concentrate on the main parts of ABBA On Record. I'm not one of those writers who do all the research and interviews first, then go on to write. For me, it's a parallel process. However, you will be pleased to learn that I'm currently in the process of wrapping up most of the interviews. There may be one or two later in the year, but I'm trying to reach an end in that process. This is an indication that I'm starting to see the end of the project.

Securing interviews is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. While you can track down some people easily, and they agree to be interviewed equally easily, with other potential interviewees it may be a long, arduous journey. Social media has made it easier to find people, but then actually connecting with them is another kettle of fish. Unless you're friends on Facebook, for instance, they won't necessarily notice that you've sent them a message. And if you send a friend request, they may not even be aware of it: not everyone's on Facebook regularly, nor, consequently, observant of all the alerts they might be getting.

Sometimes you have an actual email address, but that's no guarantee that you will receive a reply. Because the person isn't interested and they reason that "if I don't reply, this guy will know that I haven't got anything to contribute"? Or is it because your message has been classified as spam or somehow been lost in cyberspace? You can never know.

You might phone them up and be met by voicemail; with so many unwanted "Hello Sir, do you have Windows?" calls these days, people tend to screen their calls. You might leave a message, but that's no guarantee they will call you back or answer your call the next time you try the number. In one case, where I had the feeling that "this might be a person with valuable insights, if I could just get hold of them", I even resorted to sending a good old-fashioned snail mail letter. It led to an initial contact, but, for whatever reason, fizzled out just as quickly again. No-one's obliged to be interviewed by me, of course, but it's just so much easier when you get a firm "no". Then you can move on.

The above may sound as I'm complaining - and maybe I am, a bit - but the setbacks are more than balanced by the many friendly people I've talked to in the course of this book project. Some of them have been patient beyond anything I had the right to expect, and even put me in touch with other people they feel I should talk to, and so on. And it's all going into the book, making it so much better.

Recently, I've been concentrating a lot on the Super Trouper sleeve story, and I've already secured a number of "I was there" stories that will add colour and depth to my re-telling of that photo shoot. Can't wait to share it with you all. At the moment it looks like I will be able to publish the book in the first half of 2022 - if ABBA do indeed release some new music in 2021, like they've promised.

You can learn more about ABBA On Record here and, if you should feel so inclined, support the project with a pre-order. Your support matters!

ABBA On Record. Projected publication date: 2022. English language. 448 pp. Hardback. CMP Text. ISBN: 978-91-519-0980-6 (or 9789151909806).