Interview with Ludvig Andersson
Ludvig Andersson is Benny’s youngest son. His name appears in the credits of movies Cirkeln and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the musicals CHESS på Svenska and Kristina från Duvemåla and CDs such as ABBA Live At Wembley Arena.
Ludvig was born in 1982, he is married to German artist Milana Schoeller and has two children, Viola (11) and Leonard (2). We chatted recently in Stockholm to find out more about his work and life as the son of Benny Andersson.
One of the projects that came about because of Ludvig was the ABBA Live at Wembley Arena release in 2014, which gave ABBA fans their first official recording of a number of songs never released in a live setting before.
Ludvig explains: “That was a great project to see through as a Producer. I wanted to make sure I didn’t cobble together one or two songs from this night and one or two songs from that night but make it a selected night’s performance and work with that.
“I listened to each night of the Wembley shows and devised an intricate scoring system, which I put onto a whiteboard. I was scoring things like vocals, sound quality, vibe etcetera.
“In the end the feeling from the night I chose, 10 November 1979, was the winner. The songs were nearly all performed too fast but it still works.
“I was shocked by some of the on-stage chat though, which seems all this time later to be so corny and contrived. While the music of course stands up against others from that era like the Rolling Stones or Fleetwood Mac, I’m not sure the stage banter quite reached the same level.
“The audiences must have thought, oh here are our four cousins from the country trying to talk to us!
“Bernard Löhr mixed the album and I must say I am really happy with how it turned out.
“It is true that I wanted to see if I could work with some of the Australia 1977 material as well but in terms of recording quality it was unfortunately not up to the standard that we could release.”
Other projects that Ludvig has been involved with include stage productions of some of Benny and Björn’s shows and it’s clear that he loves working in the theatre.
“It’s such great fun. For a while you become part of a new family, all working with a common aim to deliver the best show possible to a live audience. I started work in the theatre as a stage technician on Kristina från Duvemåla in Stockholm when I was 15 or 16 and I soon got swept up in both the romance and graft of it all.
“I was in the ensemble for Chess på Svenska which I also enjoyed a lot, again for the excitement of delivering the shows but also for the camaraderie and fun with the cast and crew.
“It’s hard work, don’t get me wrong but it’s also so enjoyable and holds a certain thrill for me.”
As for his own music career, Ludvig told us that it perhaps hasn’t turned out to be quite as successful as he would have hoped…
“I was set up to fail at my own career in music ever since a song I wrote, recorded and performed when I was 15 won a local High School music competition. I’m not so sure it hasn’t been all downhill since then,” he laughed.
“I enjoy working with my band Atlas and I always have music projects on the go, whether band based or solo. Just now I am working with a new collaborator and it’s going very well. I hope that maybe an EP will come from that, something that I can get out and perform live.”
You were an associate producer on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, what does that work entail?
“Working as an associate producer means that I can bring my ideas to the creative table and have them taken seriously. Some stick, some don’t but I bring a fresh perspective on things and get to embed myself deep into the creative process.
“With Mamma Mia! 2, Judy Craymer and Ol Parker were out here in Stockholm three or so years ago pitching the idea of another movie and I think we could all see how it could work and I was happy to pitch in.
“I can make suggestions on how a scene is shot and what works and what doesn’t in terms of the music and overall soundscape. Being in on the sound mixing team for the movie was a great experience as well, not least to spend six weeks in Los Angeles. I had already worked on the movie Cirkeln, here in Sweden so already knew what to expect and to be honest, that type of work is the same wherever it takes place, just the view from the studio is different.
“It’s great to get right into the details of what people will see and hear when a movie is released, for example much time can be spent on the tiniest of details…is the sound of that ship’s horn that we sourced from a sound library right for the period, or right for the type of ship and what does it represent? In Mamma Mia! 2 we almost used sounds that suggested that the ship carrying all those singers and dancers giving their all to Dancing Queen was in distress!
“Another example would be when we need bird song in a particular scene, accuracy is still paramount, so we need to know the type of bird sounds we are using and then finding out if that bird can even be found in Greece in the Summer!”
Tell us about the RMV family of companies…
“RMV Film, RMV Publishing, RMV Grammofon and the RMV Studio are all part of my little empire. Designed to create and support music and art, both from me and my colleagues but also from new and interesting artists. It’s one way of moving this family business forward.”
Your parents are of course both creative people (Ludvig’s mother is TV producer Mona Nörklit), and you seem to have definitely inherited that creative streak…
“I think so! My parents didn’t encourage or discourage me going into the entertainment business but made it clear that they would support me whatever road I chose.
“My father has been very influential in my life and like him I have a permanent sense of forward motion, eager to find out what I can create next and bring my input to.
“And you know, my father has such a wonderful sense of giving his best attention to whatever he is involved in.
“He will devote as much effort in getting things right for a song he is composing for a friend’s birthday as he will to opening night preparations for a show in the West End. This approach combined with his talent has allowed him to create such a breadth and scope of brilliant work.”
Are there any projects of your father’s that you dream about getting off the ground?
“I would love it if we could ever see a staged version of the English language Kristina från Duvemåla and also a movie version of CHESS.”
Talking of CHESS, I know that it’s a very important piece to you musically…
“Oh for sure! Murray Head on the original concept album was my hero, just brilliant and as a whole I think CHESS is a very important part of my father’s musical legacy, its musicality is astonishing.
“I had the good fortune to witness the CHESS version that was put on in Washington recently and at the workshops got to know Sir Tim Rice’s son Donald a bit better, and while we don’t want to scare off the old guys with our ideas, let’s just say the kids are talking CHESS!”
Do you feel a sense of responsibility around your father’s legacy?
“I do, it’s one I relish and who better to protect it? We are very alike in so many ways and I feel confident I can be the custodian of his work while at the same time look to the future to expand on what we have here already.”
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