ABBA‘s Björn Ulvaeus has revealed that he and co-songwriter Benny Andersson were “prepared” for bandmates Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog to say no to the band’s upcoming reunion.
Yesterday (September 2), the pop icons returned with new songs ‘I Still Have The Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ and details of ‘ABBA Voyage’, their first new songs in over 40 years.
The band also detailed a “revolutionary” new concert experience, also called ABBA Voyage – which will see a “digital” version of ABBA (not holograms) perform alongside a 10-piece live band at the purpose-built 3,000-capacity ABBA Arena at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a run of shows from May 27, 2022.
Speaking about the reunion in a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, Ulvaeus said he wasn’t sure whether his bandmates would want to be involved in the album and subsequent live shows.
“We were prepared for them saying no. Yes. It would’ve been understandable, but no, they didn’t, because they’re both… They like the creative side of things,” he told Lowe.
“Pop star glamour, we’re all totally unimpressed by that, but to be creative in the studio, that’s something else, just to be us, just to try things and see what it sounds like. That is something that none of them ever has been negative towards, I think. It’s just that, somehow, it never happened.”
Björn added: “It’s strange it took this long, but now it did, all of a sudden. Some key turned and … yeah. No, I can’t think of any moment that we seriously or one of us seriously wanted to do something and the others said no. All these 40 years, we’ve been quite unanimous in not wanting to do something.”
Watch the full interview below:
Elsewhere in the interview, Ulvaeus spoke of the enduring bond the four band members have, and how it led them to creating new music.
“We knew that we had these bonds, obviously,” he said. “We’d see each other every now and then, but it was especially clear when we were in the studio for the first time for this album, together, because that was so strange and wonderful at the same time. Everything came rushing back, like it was yesterday.
“This was a very familiar, normal situation we were in, the four of us. “Yeah. Okay. We’re recording,” like it was yesterday. I looked around and I looked into Agnetha’s eyes and Frida’s eyes and there was the same kind of feeling, the warmth and the friendship and the bonds, between us that, as you suddenly realise no one on earth has experienced this kind of relationship that we have because, thinking about it, it’s true, nobody else has.
“Sadly, people die and they don’t stay on friendly terms for their whole lives, but we have. And I’m so incredibly happy for that.”
Back in 2017, it was announced that the band would reunite in digital form in 2019, performing as “Abbatars” for the first time since they split in 1983. When the reunion tour was then delayed, the Swedish pop icons announced in 2018 that they would be sharing two new tracks: ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’. That then expanded to five new tracks as a reward to fans waiting for the reunion tour due to COVID-related delays.