Peter Dolving - Vocals
Anders Björler - Guitar
Jonas Björler - Bass
Patrik Jensen - Guitar
Per Möller Jensen - Drums
“Some people might think they’re above vulnerability but that’s a joke! There is no one that is that!”
Each encounter with Peter Dolving, The Haunted’s frontman, is always an adventure as this year’s meeting of the minds was no different. Delving into the mind of Dolving is a journey all unto itself. Peter has always been an open book but in this conversation uncovering another layer of his humanity, pointing out the obvious that we are all vulnerable creatures, especially in regards to having his personal thoughts on grander display on Blabbermouth. Mr. Dolving could not have summed up this particular interview or even life itself any better as taken from the band’s unparalleled latest release, The Dead Eye from the song “The Flood”: “Now if you believe I'll bleed for you... and if I could bleed - so could you. Close your eyes and pretend it'll go away but you know that you've got nothing to lose”. Having said all of that, brace yourself as we all can take a page out of his book and deal with our own respective demons as he is constantly battling his.
Karma: Hejsan Peter! Hur är läget?
Peter: Hej! Läget är bra och du?
Karma: Läget är bra också! Tack för en annan intervju!
Peter: Var så god!
Karma: Well much has transpired since our last encounter during Ozzfest 2005...
Peter: [Eyes widen] Yeah, a lot!!
Karma: Congrats on the release and success of the new album!!
Peter: [Smiles] Thank you!
Karma: It’s simply phenomenal!
Peter: [Nods head] Thank you!
Karma: Your current stint seems to be a match made in heaven and should be as natural as breathing considering you have two matched Swedish bands with you.
Peter: Yeah, it feels like it’s a really good tour because three bands that are very metal like very simplified…but four band that are very metal in their own right and they all have a really strong identity. Well it really is cool because they offer something for an audience who comes out to see it. It’s cool because everyone’s really skilled musicians and stuff. You know it’s really something for people to enjoy.
Karma: How did you go about choosing songs for this tour with such an extensive catalogue?
Peter: Wow, uh, we pretty much picked out the songs that made a good set; it felt like a good dynamic set. That’s pretty much what happened.
Karma: Peter before I go any further, what the hell happened to your face?
Peter: [Pauses] You know I don’t know! I think I must have scratched myself doing something…could have been anything. Well I did fall into the audience a couple of days ago which was fun.
Karma: Well judging from that I guess the tour is going over well then!
Peter: [Laughs] Yup, tour’s going great! [We all laugh]
Karma: Which show had best response?
Peter: I think I had the best time in Yale where we basically had no audience it was like fifty people there but it was such a good feeling, such a good vibe. We really had a good time and yeah, it was a great show. The guys from Municipal Waste came out [in fact] we’re going to do a tour with them in Europe right after this one. They came out and it was good to see them. We had a bunch of friends come from all over Connecticut and stuff. But it was a nice show; a nice evening, you know really laid back and we had a good time.
Karma: You need shows like that every now and again. On to the recording of The Dead Eye, most of your lyrics revolve around some deep understanding of self. How vulnerable do you feel when declaring your streams of consciousness?
Peter: I am vulnerable like any human being, you know. Some people might think they’re above vulnerability but that’s a joke! [Laughs heartily] There is no one that is that! [Chuckles] If you’re a psychopath, you’re really far away from any kind of emotional knowing or feeling anyway. I don’t think I'm more vulnerable than anyone else. I’m lucky in that way that I [pauses] have a fairly easy understanding of some of the stuff that goes on inside me and how I react, you know. I guess that’s a good thing, when I was kid it was horrible. You know you have people say, “Oh, you’re so sensitive Peter!” To me, that was a horrendous thing! Sensitive? I’m a guy; I’m not supposed to be sensitive. But as I’ve gotten older and slowly becoming some kind of man, I guess I’m realizing that, that’s a really, really good thing! That’s really a gift.
Karma: And to be able to feel.
Peter: Oh hell yes! And it makes life easier in so many ways because it helps you see how other people react and it helps you understand how you react and what you react to. So yeah, I’m pretty stoked about that! [Laughs]
Karma: Is there a subject matter that you would like to tackle but felt you couldn’t fit it into the context of a song?
Peter: Not off the top of my head, but I know there’s stuff out there.
Karma: What was the most difficult song for you to write off the album, if you can choose?
Peter: [Ponders] It many ways it wasn’t that difficult but it’s always kind of… I write continuously and I always go back to my journal and when we write music if I write it or if anyone else writes it. I go back and kinda see if I can fix something up with the music and the stuff that I wrote…kinda help me get into music somehow. If that doesn’t work, I just listen to the music until it triggers something in me, you know. A couple of songs on this record was kind of rough, ‘cause the stuff that I had found would pick up on lyrics that I had done before came from a, was really kind of… [stops himself] from a very, very, very kind of angry, hurt place. I don’t know the titles on the record but I realized that as I was writing it, I was dealing with just the things that came up. But in many ways it’s one of those records…and here comes one of those words, it gave “closure”.
Karma: [Nods head] Well that’s good.
Peter: It really did, in a very, very good way! It’s a song there about my mother that died a year and a half ago. And I really, really resented her, like for so many years. She’s an addict, her addiction killed her, and…I resented her so much. And that song is about where that resentment…kind of came from and what I expected out of life, you know. It’s not so much necessarily about me, but I think very much about anyone can kind of identify with it if you have any kind of relation that is dysfunctional. [Laughs then sighs in relief] I’m really happy to say that now, a year and a half later that…I don’t know… It’s kind of weird [searching for words] Not a lot of goodness in our relationship anyway even though she is dead. I’m gonna go up in about three months, I’m gonna go home up to the north of Sweden, spread her ashes out in the forest. It feels really, really good; I’m not hating her anymore; I’m not resenting her anymore. It’s sooo relieving!
Karma: I’m sure it is, since you did not get a chance to make amends while she was alive.
Peter: No, I just kind of hurt her, like hurt her back because I was so angry. So yeah, things work themselves out it its own scary little ways.
Karma: Well that’s one hell of a story, with the release of The Dead Eye, the band has produced a much more mature [using air quotes] Haunted sound. What do you attribute to this strong progression as musicians?
Peter: Touring really heavily and actually I think that the chemistry between the five of us in the band, that are now in the band, is really really good. I mean it was always really good between us but with Per [M. Jensen] also in the band and with me coming back. We’re pretty easy going, really open people and you know, there’s no “pull some kind of mask” to each other. We are who we are and we have a lot of love and respect for each other, you know. And that just comes from wanting to do this! Having that very common ground to stand on and it’s made us have to take a good look at ourselves as a band. That really has changed how we go about making the music. It’s not just like…we’re not trying to outdo each other; we’re trying to do something together so everyone kind of contributes instead of trying to better than anyone else because the band is not about ego. It’s about five people doing something that we feel really strongly about, all five of us, you know. So it’s a group thing.
Karma: [Smiles] Congrats on your Swedish Grammy nomination, sorry you guys didn’t win. [Laughs softly]
Peter: [Shrugs and laughs] Yeah.
Karma: How important really is it that you’re accepted and admired by your peers in the industry, if at all?
Peter: No! Well, I’ll give a double answer. The vain side of us, of course, we’re human beings just like that rooster kind of mentality but that’s a pretty fickle thing. When it comes down to it, we live with these songs and we play them over and over and over again. So for us when it comes down to it, it’s more important that we make music that we enjoy; that we can enjoy playing ‘cause then it doesn’t matter if it’s five hundred people or fifty people or five thousand people. What is important is that it’s enjoyable and it gives us [enjoyment] to do it, you know. You can have a lot of opinions about the music business, it’s got its good sides, it’s got its down sides. It’s really nice to be able to do this for as long as we have because you kind of get to learn the bad sides so you can steer away from them. “Yup, I see ‘em!” I don’t want to go there; I'm not gonna to go there. It’s one of those things where why put yourself through things you don’t like. Subject yourself to you know, certain people or certain kind of places if you don’t have to, and we don’t have to. There’s a choice and that feels really cool!
Karma: Now that’s awesome! Regardless of the albums you have under your belt, do you feel you have to prove yourself with each release due to the climate in metal right now? (i.e. the Trivium’s, the Bullet For My Valentine’s, etc...)
Peter: No, I don’t think we have to prove ourselves; we do have to satisfy ourselves. As I said, we’re this band and we tour and it’s also a business, but it’s our livelihood. But the way we look at it, we’re having a good time and the music is enjoyable for us. We believe very much that…you know, we believe in people. We have a pretty high amount of trust in people as far as being human. And if we can enjoy it [pauses] we’re not that different from other folks. If we can enjoy it, someone else is probably going to enjoy it. It’s really weird if you’re going to go the other way around and try to look at what other bands are doing. It’s like, no! What are we like, what do we enjoy!
Karma: Logically, when creating a song, do you have to stay within certain confines of “The Haunted standard” and when is it best to explore outside bands to exercise your musical freedom? How encouraged is it?
Peter: I think we gotten more experimental, not in a wider kind of subject, but for us. We’re pretty rigid, pretty orthodox dudes when it comes down to music. We like melody, and good hooks and that’s something that appeals to all of us. But I think we have more and more started enjoying a little quirkier ways of doing [things], at least for us. I mean, we’re not Dillinger Escape Plan and we’ll never be that. But we do like it when we find stuff that’s, “kinda weird”. Stuff that’s weird and cool, that’s got a different twist on it. And we do have a great deal of common love for Slayer but bands like King Crimson or Yes, or that kind of stuff. And for us, we realize there’s a lot of 70’s music in the stuff that we do and for some reason, it’s always been there! It has to deal with melody and it has to deal with… you know and you know even if we make it more structured kind of song, it really goes back to melody. It really goes back to something that can build up a certain emotional kind of construction to withhold that and hopefully, lead to something as well within the creation of the song. You know, within the limits of each song. In many ways, I guess we’ve had a pretty European way of looking at the drama of a song, you know.
Karma: So then how would that differ from the typical American dramatic structure of a song?
Peter: It seems right now that anyway that there are a lot of unfinished songs but that has to come from the person that writes the music, you know.
Karma: And that more American in your opinion?
Peter: Yeah, it’s more American thing right now. It has to deal with a really, really deep sense of not knowing where the hell you’re going or what you want to achieve or who you are as human beings, you know. Music will always reflect the person that’s writing it. But there’s a lot of harmonic song structuring that’s not so enjoyable for me. It’s a personal opinion for me.
Karma: Fair enough. As far as your side projects are concerned, do you find as much time as you would like to hone your side projects?
Peter: No, right now no; we want to do it and we got talking to PIAS which is the record company that puts out Mogwai for my other band, the Peter Dolving/Bring the War Home. So they’re really interested and I’m going to see them when I get back to Europe now.
Karma: That’s great!
Peter: Yeah, it would be really cool to get the music out there cause it’s really good music and we’re proud of it. Jensen is kind of in the same situation with Witchery, you know. Everyone in that band, Bring The War Home, tours; we don’t worry about it too much, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and when we get the opportunity, we’ll make another record of some other stuff, you know. I’m trying to get the time to make a record with Shane from Napalm Death. I did one vocal track, [smiles] I have eight more to do! I just have to find the time. And I’m doing vocals for a German band, [laughs sheepishly] but I don’t remember their name. [Laughter ensues] But the music is great!
Karma: I imagine it would have to be if you are involved in the project.
Peter: [Nods] It’s like Isis almost.
Karma: [Eyes widen with enthusiasm] Oh, sweet!
Peter: I’m doing Peter Gabriel-ish kinda vocals on it; it’s really cool!
Karma: So then since it is in the vein of Isis, it is still metal but like experimental?
Peter: Alternative Rock/Metal. It’s really, really heavy melodic but not melodic in the Stratovarius more Isis/Neurosis but it’s very beautiful.
Karma: That is very cool. Well it’s nice to see that the songs/music that you create which do not fit within the confines of the Haunted, you are able to implement and explore those avenues with other bands.
Peter: Absolutely! In a way, I think it’s really good because in a way it really hones your skills and it gives you new impressions. It gives you a lot of…it’s like a big class in humility you know. You have to accept to listen to what other people bring into it because music is so much about communication. Some bands, they have a dictator like, [points finger in an authoritative manner] “Errr, errrr, errr…” telling everyone what to do and it has to be set to this. That creates a certain kind of musical static hold within music that’s made like that. I really enjoy when music has a kind of natural…flow; everyone in this band does. You know listening to music that is made for live settings and you know the bands we like. It’s anything from classic traditional jazz from the 40’s,50’s, 60’s to straight up experimental noisecore, noise music to very mainstream pop.
Karma: Of course it goes without saying that it helps you in the long run to be into such a broad spectrum of music.
Peter: Absolutely! For us, music is music! We, as a group, really enjoy expressing ourselves in a metal format; you know this is “The Haunted metal”! We kind of translate all of these other impressions into our take on metal. That’s kind of what we’ve always done even with the other bands before we were in this band, that’s what we were kind of doing.
Karma: [Smiles] Well now on to something completely unrelated, for the record I have to say we live for your blogs as well as commend you for them! It’s like you always learn more about yourself as well as you so thanks for sharing yourself on such a personal level.
Peter: [Laughs heartily] Thank you!
Karma: We find them to be very introspective…and we’re women.
Peter: Well cool! I try to write for everyone, you know!
Karma: Which band would you like to see blow-up next in Scandinavia/Sverige?
Peter: There’s a group called By Night, I’ve talked about them before; they’re really nice kids and really, really skilled musicians! Yeah, they’re good! They’re on this tiny label called…oh, I don’t know, I don’t remember [shakes head in disbelief that he cannot instantly recall information]. [After doing some digging, found out that the band is on LifeForce Records] But they’re called By Night; they’re a good band, a good metal band! They definitely deserve attention, more attention that they’re getting, you know.
Karma: Well hopefully this will get the ball to rolling, all it takes is one person sometimes…
Peter: Yeah, I hope so!
Karma: Now here some Speed Round Questions, as your worst enemy, describe yourself.
Peter: Uhmmm, I’m lazy, I’m self-obsessed…obsessive, and slow.
Karma: Talk, moving…
Peter: …learning. I’m kinda dumb. [Laughs aloud]
Karma: [Taken aback] Hmmm…well now, I guess would all depend on the definition and who’s doing the defining!
Peter: Yeah, absolutely! I want to understand things and understanding things both on an emotional level and a logical level, you know. ‘Cause things don’t really go together until those two things merge, you know. So I’m slow.
Karma: No, it just means you want to be sure about things.
Karma: What’s your favorite cult film?
Peter: M by Fritz Lang. It’s an old film from 1926 by now standards is it a B movie but it’s a really, really well made like scary movie. It’s the basic psychology of it all, the build up, how it works out in the end…everything! Everything with it and it’s incredible.
Karma: Hmmm…I’ve heard about the film before; but will need to check that one out. How about your favorite snuff film?
Peter: Snuff film?
Peter: There was like a Japanese film college project about a couple of years ago called “Samurai Killer” something series and they are the ultimate disgusting film. They are horrendous! They are about this crazy…it’s a student project and when it first came out, people really thought it was the real thing; it was the deal! What they did because they were so skilled, what they made completely lifelike…down to the muscle tissue and everything dummies that really looked human. They did these horrendous torture scenes. It’s like, [face contorts in sheer horror] “Oh my…oh…”! But I think it’s like “Killer Samurai” or “Samurai Killer” and it’s a series of student projects; the best! Together with that, it would have to be Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust. But Cannibal Ferox it’s a bit more disturbing…but I haven’t watched this movie for such a long time because I find it really upsetting. When I was younger, I’d subject myself to it all the time, you know to see it. It’s like, [eyes widen] “I have to see it!” [Mild laughter ensues] I guess it’s just kind of disturbing but when I was into it, I was really into man! [Uproarious laughter]
Karma: Okay! Craziest encounter on a tour bus.
Peter: Having a front lounge Wrestlemania/moshpit together with Dimebag Darrell, the twins in our band…and a bunch of very, very frisky ladies from New Jersey who were all about the spanking. [We all laugh] And I don’t know why they were doing that but it was like, [intonation rises several octaves]“Spank me, spank me!” And I don’t know why so I was like, “Okay, are you sure?” [Imitating woman again] “Spank me, spank me!” And I am the only sober person on the bus, you can understand…and I got completely insanely hyped on drinking coffee because it’s a party! I very rarely, because I stay sober, rarely go to parties. I completely drank all this coffee [he begins to key-up] and I just kept drinking, drinking…INSANE on coffee! Like, “UHH AHHH!” and I felt like everyone was going, “Spank me!” And I’m wrestling! It was insane!! And Jensen was running around in his underwear playing air guitar. [Room fills with cackles] Playing like AC/DC, old Scorpions tunes from like the early 70’s rockin’ out in his underwear walking on top of all of these people! It was incredible; it was beautiful! Yup! It was great! [Laughs]
Karma: Now that’s awesome! Do you have a fetish?
Peter: [Exhales] Yes!
Peter: Um-hmm, I have several! [We all laugh] Yeah, yeah! [Laughter starts back up] When it comes down to it… [Face begins to flush] Now I’m getting embarrassed!
Peter: [Face fully flushed] You can feel the heat in my cheeks! [Said in his best Swedish accent] I’m pretty…[Begins to stammer] See, I’m stuttering now! [Hysterical laughter ensues] You got me!
Karma: [Laughs] I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it!
Peter: [Composes himself] No, but I’m very, very aesthetic! I’m really, really… Sex is something that [pauses] is such a great experience and since I’ve been sober, it’s gotten greater; initially, it was horrible because I couldn’t get into it. I felt inadequate or scared, or whatever, you know. [Voice softens] I had a lot of issues. I really had, [pauses] I don’t know, the emotions and the physical part has kind of merged. Have I got a fetish? BOY have I got fetishes! I don’t want to go into them cause they’re really too private, you know. [Titters and looks down on the floor]
Peter: [Still laughing]
Karma: I’m so sorry! Ursäkta mig!
Peter: That’s okay!
Karma: What’s your favorite clothing of the opposite sex?
Peter: Wow! My favorite clothing of the opposite sex? It would be, the lack of it! [Laughter] Yeah, that’s my favorite clothing!
Karma: So when you were single, what was your best pick up line?
Peter: Oh, I’m horrible, I can’t! They’d have to pick me up! ‘Cause I’d be really blunt; you talk about anything and eventually I’d be like, “So did you wanna fuck?”
Karma: Well we hear it’s a pretty common practice being a part of Swedish culture for the most part anyway.
Peter: Maybe it is. I can’t wrap things around because I feel like I’m trying to fool someone. It’s not like this conniving manipulation game; if you get there eventually, you’re like “Oh shit! I really wanna do her!” You know, “God!” You get the whole tension going and it’s like, “Wow!” And you know you’re gonna have to say it and it’s fuck embarrassing to have to say it. And you’re hoping the other person will say it first… then it’s like, “Oh, she’s not gonna say it!” [Laughs]
Karma: Favorite song lyric of all time?
Peter: A song called “I Want You” by Elvis Costello it’s the most heartbroken, obsessive, yearning, sad and loving lyric ever written. It’s about love gone wrong and it’s so to the point, you know. Every statement in there; it’s incredible.
Karma: Do you own a good luck charm?
Peter: No, I don’t have charms like that but I do have rituals, being the obsessive madman that I am, I have certain things that I am very ritualistic about. There are certain things I do in precise order…it’s not completely insane stuff but it’s just very much about focus and accepting defeat before it happens. [Simpers] Kinda giving up before it happens and it really helps me…so…
Karma: That’s all that matters! What’s the one thing that people wouldn’t know about you that you wouldn’t mind sharing…asides from your blogs and whatnot?
Peter: [Ponders] Some people know a lot about me and then again, people don’t know jack shit about me! I’m a REALLY easy down to earth, very soft dude. Contrary to what some people might think that I really am; and I like it that way! [Snickers] I really like it that way! Yeah, I see no reason for tough guy attitudes and you know that kind of stuff; it’s pretty lame! [Laughs] You are who you are…some people do the whole sensitive act and you’ve met them! You’ve met ‘em and they’ll be all about your feelings and it’s all Bullshit! Because it’s not about anything real, it’s all about trying to get into someone’s panties or into their heads or their wallets. And that’s something that’s very much…I don’t expect anything from anyone. And anything that comes out of meeting people or doing things comes as a bonus for me and that’s something I don’t think a lot of people know about me. [Chuckles]
Karma: What is the song you want played at your funeral?
Peter: I just want it to be real quiet.
Karma: Any final comments or special message to our fans?
Peter: For anyone that’s a fan, thank you! It’s a privilege to get to do this and to get to tour and record records. You know to have what people find what we do is interesting and that it actually gives anyone else something because that’s the whole point of doing it. To give yourself and hopefully if you’re lucky, if someone else can enjoy what you do as well. That’s really a privilege, thank you to anyone that picks up on what we do. [Smiles]
Karma: Tack så mycket för intervjun, igen Peter!
Peter: Tack själv försten!
We’d like to thank Peter for giving us another trip down cerebrum alley and being so forthcoming, of course to The Haunted camp for making this interview happen, and last but not least to our very own Josh Thorne for the additional questions!
* Review / Pix of the band from tonight's show
* Archived interview with Peter from the Devastation Across The Nation Tour
* Review of The Dead Eye