Part 6 (of 12): Talking to Michael B. Tretow

Published March 30, 2010

With all the research I had conducted, however, innumerable questions remained. I hoped that many of those would be answered when I began doing interviews. However, I also knew that eventually I would need to gain access to the PolyGram tape archives, where the original ABBA tapes were stored at the time. This was something of a Catch-22 situation: the record company obviously wouldn't let just anybody in there - but to be even remotely regarded as "somebody" I had to write this book!

I realised it was time to gain the trust of some key people, to show them that I was doing serious work and had no intention of stealing any tapes or anything like that. By this time, I was also becoming quite knowledgeable about ABBA's recording history, so I felt that it might be the right time to approach people for interviews. I decided to start with Michael B. Tretow, ABBA's sound engineer. I knew that he was approachable and easy-going, and most importantly, given the nature of his work, there was a good chance he might be interested in contributing to a book that dealt with the history of ABBA's recording sessions.

ABBA's sound engineer, Michael B. Tretow, played a crucial part in turning ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions into something more than just a list of recording dates.On April 20 and 23, 1993, I conducted two 90-minute phone interviews with Michael. He was an absolute delight to talk to; we really hit it off right away. He clearly enjoyed talking to someone who knew quite a lot about the ABBA recordings, and thanks to his lively personality and off-beat perspective on things, his replies to my questions were often eminently quotable. Getting the personal viewpoints and the emotions of those involved was crucial for making the book come alive.

There were a couple of pivotal moments during the interviews with Michael, moments that turned out to be immensely important for the further development of the book project. If I recall correctly, we were discussing 'Bang-A-Boomerang' and the different attempts at recording a backing track for this song. I was able to prove him wrong on a theory he had, because I could say that a certain recording session had taken place at another studio and at another time than he thought. He was quiet for just a bit. Then he said: "My, you really have done your homework..." At that moment, I knew that I had scored a crucial point.