Interview with Metal-Rules.com
Interview and photos by Luxi Lahtinen

When THE HAUNTED hit the metal world for the first time back in 1998 with their explosive self-titled debut, all the true metal maniacs were on their knees straight away in amazement.  The new  conquerors of hard-biting, smashing Thrash Metal had usurped the leadership on the almost dying-out fields of punishing Thrash Metal - showing many suspicious motherfuckers everywhere how some trends may be coming and going, but the TRUE Thrash shit cannot be wiped away by any of the past,- or current- or upīnīcoming trends. NEVER!!!

Also, we Finns were blessed by THE HAUNTEDīs delicious injection of a hot dose of venom  on the 12th of May for the very 1st time - leaving many of us pretty damn breathless after their over 60min infamous non-stop sonic-torture and cauterizing their name into our minds for good and indelibly.

The guysī life have been extremely hectic over the past last 6-7 months due to their tour commitments - and when they decided to stop by here in HELL-sinki for a warm-up show for a series of summer festival appearances they still have ahead of them, I thought it would be nice to hear how they have been doing on the road after traveling thousands and thousands kilometres across the globe.

Hereīs the whole chat in its entirety, uncensored length I had with Jensen "Riff-ála-tractor-pulling" and Marko "Sisulla-PERRKELE!" Aro just before they raised a storm onstage...


Interview With Jensen and Marko

 

"RAGING THRU THE LAND OF INDIANS"

You did this US-tour with CANNIBAL CORPSE, DIMMU BORGIR and LAMB OF GOD just recently.  Would you tell us what were your best and most thrilling memories out of that particular tour?

MARKO: Jensen was throwing up in Dusbin, HA! HA!!

JENSEN: Well, a lot of hard partying!!  All the shows were almost sold out; a very good tour indeed!  The tour package was very good as CANNIBAL COPRSE are known as an easy touring band.  They donīt do that īheadlinerī -bullshit.  As for DIMMU BORGIR, well, theyīre from Scandinavia, too, so we kind of had a band of friendship, yīknow, with them already.  The LAMB OF GOD guys were cool as well, so it was definitely a better tour for us compared for example to the TESTAMENT tour even if the TESTAMENT guys were nice to us, too.  Itīs just they donīt pull as much people to shows as they used to do when they were really popular for many years ago.

MARKO: When we toured with TESTAMENT, the whole package we had at that time - I mean; the crew, the crowd and so on, wasnīt that cool as we have on this tour which is absolutely fantastic.

 

Did you consider it as an ideal tour for you to tour with all those 3 bands on the bill as musically they are all coming from different genres?

JENSEN: Itīs pretty good as you got to tour with probably the biggest Death Metal band in the U.S.A. at the moment - and with one of the biggest Black Metal bands as well.  Then, LAMB OF GOD who are probably one of the greatest upīnīcoming MESHUGGAH-styled bands around nowadays, so we really cannot complain.  This was a really good package to us - in fact, by far the best!!

MARKO: An extra plus is definitely stealing some fans from these other bands on the bill, too, HE! HE!! Because we have had some guys in our shows who have been wearing on these īcorpsepaintsī, standing in the middle of the crowd - some of them in a front row, keeping their arms tightly crossed - and like all of a sudden they were looking at you; and after a few songs they were headbanging the same way like everybody else, so I think we kind of brought them out from the darkside for a moment, HA! HA!!

 

So there was like no headlining band on this tour at all... ?

MARKO: In fact, CANNIBAL CORPSE and DIMMU BORGIR were both co-headlining, so...

 

Were they changing their positions the way like īcannibalsī could play as a headlining act at one night, īdimmusī another night and vice versa?

MARKO: No, but one night they did.

JENSEN: Yeah, and that was only because DIMMUīs bus was late.  But otherwise, CANNIBAL CORPSE did headline, but it was still īa co-headlinerī-thing after all...

MARKO: Yea...

 

Can you still remember if any radical or absolutely crazy things were happening on that tour that, yīknow, came out kind of without a warning out of the blue sky and because of that, you had to cancel a show or two?

JENSEN: DIMMUīs bus broke down twice, so they almost missed one show - and they DID miss the San Francisco show.  It was kinda bad for them īcoz both the TESTAMENT -and the SADUS -guys were there and there was this big party with them after the show, so...

 

Also, now when you have basically seen and toured in the States, Japan and throughout the whole Europe - and are obviously much more experienced by different ways how all these gig promoters and organizers have been working out for you as far as arranging gigs and stuff are all concerned, what you could say what are the biggest differences between them both here in Europe and in the States?

JENSEN: First off, I need to point out that the worst country is - without a doubt, the U.K. because itīs so undeveloped country; sooooo bad!!

MARKO: "Retarded..."

(-laughing!-)

JENSEN: I mean, the audience there is really great! Great people, of course!  They do have some cool clubs there as well.  On the other hand, thereīs so many bands in England and I know a lot of bands from all over the Europe have moved to England because thatīs where all the music press is and stuff, yīknow!? (Hmmm... ?!  I definitely disagree with him! -Luxi-). They just donīt have to be nice to bands because they know if this or that band doesnīt like us, we have 10 more bands to choose from.  So thereīs no proper showers, you get no food - thereīs no backstage toilets or the toilets they have, they are always dirty.  Yīknow, things like that.

 

How has it been elsewhere in Europe like in Germany, Holland, Belgium, etc. ?

MARKO: Thatīs fine... good food.

JENSEN: Scandinavia is also good īcoz you can always trust people you are working with.

MARKO: And in the States, the backstage situation is pretty bad at some places there as many of the venues there donīt have any backstage.  And if they do, itīs most often meant for a headlining band only.  So, you have like a rolling backstage venue - pretty much condemned from us.  Itīs still cool to play in the States īcoz itīs become so familiar place for us.

 

Iīm a bit curious to know what kind of places did you play over there anyway; what size of clubs did you play at?

JENSEN: Mostly the clubs were made for around 1000-1500 people, so they were pretty big.

 

Do you prefer to play at small clubs than bigger ones, then?

JENSEN: I think it all depends on how close you can get with the audience.  It can be 500 people, but if they are right there, itīs OK.  But if youīre going to play about the same amount people and the stage is huge and your crowd is far away from the stage, yīknow, a cap between the stage and the barrier, then it may feel like we would play a show for TV or something alike which ainīt that nice.

 

I can easily imagine a situation like that.  Itīs like you cannot get a contact with your audience that easily...

MARKO: Exactly!  Itīs always easier for us to play if our audience is right there - as close the stage as possible.

 

 


Jensen

 


Jonas

 


Jensen

 


Jonas

 


Marko

 


Marko

"THEY MADE ME DO IT... : SLAYER vs. AT THE GATES"

Letīs have a couple of words about your new album next, "... Made Me Do It".  When you started to write songs for it, did you have kind of īan advanced planned recipeī existing somewhere how you wanted it to turn out?

JENSEN: Nope. Weīve always done our music kind of spontaneously.  Itīs mainly me and the twins (=the Björler -brothers from the defunct AT THE GATES) who write the music.  And we come from different styles and have all experienced song writers because of our previous bands.  So we write the songs - or the riffs which we bring to our practice place and show them to the other guys.  Everyone is allowed to say whether this or that stuff is good or not īthatī good.  What Iīm trying to say is that we never sit down and say: "We are gonna make a more melodic album this time...".  I think thatīs just stupid.  As for the more melody on our new album, that just happened that way because of our bass player Jonas who wrote a whole lot more material for this album as he did for our 1st album, too, as a matter of speaking.  Thatīs why "... Made Me Do It" turned out more melodic.

 

Now if Iīm claiming "T.H.M.M.D.I." is closer to the soundscapes of AT THE GATES than SLAYER due to its more melodic song arrangements, would you agree with that statement without any hesitations?

MARKO: Yeah - thatīs just because of Jonas.  Thank him for that, HE!

JENSEN: I agree, too, as Jonas was one of the main song writers for AT THE GATES, so itīs just natural, yīknow!?

 

When your debut came out 3 years ago, many references to SLAYERīs "Reign in Blood" were drawn out and SLAYERīs name was stamped all over THE HAUNTEDīs material by the press people over and over and over again - mainly because you were the ones who managed to capture the similar intensity and aggression of that particular album we just talked about here.  Have you ever felt kind of frustrated or even pissed off by now due to all these constant comparisons to SLAYER?

MARKO:  The thing is that you could actually compare us to a lot of īworseī bands...

Thatīs true - like comparing you to, -eh? MEGADETH?!

(-laughing!-)

JENSEN: No, no... -MEGADETH is a good band.  Well, maybe not that great nowadays any more.  But I think you always have kind of a tendency to be compared to SLAYER if you play fast Thrash, if you donīt tune down your guitars and you play tight, then SLAYER is always there - absolutely!

MARKO: Yīknow, the thing also is that if youīre supposed to introduce any band - like from a fan to a friend; and if youīre just talking ībout some certain bands, everybody is always using preferences just to introduce these bands to each other as he/she may not have any idea how some certain bands sound like.  So, when someone says we sound like SLAYER, he/or she may get interested and picks our albums up, yīknow!?  So you kind of never can avoid using these references.

JENSEN: I hope when people compare us to SLAYER, they could compare us to that SLAYER how they sounded like 10-12 years ago.  Because this SLAYER that was back then, doesnīt sound like anything like they sound nowadays.  Itīs certainly not the same SLAYER today.

 

Did all this press people change their opinions about you when they got to hear "... Made Me do It"; and not comparing you to SLAYER that much any more, but more to AT THE GATES instead?

MARKO: The AT THE GATES -thing has calmed down a little bit now, too...

JENSEN: I donīt personally think it wasnīt that much A.T.G. on the first album either.

MARKO: Itīs been only the īashesī of AT THE GATES there when people have been talking ībout us basically...

JENSEN: It has always been the ashes of A.T.G.; the history of that band and stuff, but thatīs the way to sell more albums, yīknow!?  For me, itīs always the ashes of A.T.G. as I wasnīt in that band, yīknow.  I mean, we have three remaining members in the band who played in AT THE GATES, but still it shouldnīt matter that much.  You know how things tend to grow when some certain bands split and stop existing.  Like JIMI HENDRIX whoīs such a well-known name NOW - and JAMES DEAN - or MARILYN MONROE; they are all legends NOW! Whatever bands stop existing, people always tend to go like: "Oh, the good old days were better with bands like J.HENDRIX, THE DOORS, etc. ...".  Who knows what would have happened if AT THE GATES had chosen to continue because their singer Tomppa (a.k.a. Thomas Lindberg) wanted to take it into more īPunk/Crustī-direction.

MARKO: And that doesnīt go well with that melodic īGothenburg soundī or anything...

 

 

"EARACHE vs. "headache(!)"

How has the selling been for your new album so far worldwide anyway... ?

JENSEN: We are not sure... (!)

Doesnīt EARACHE keep you up-dated too often regarding the sales or... ?

JENSEN: Well, they do, but... (!!) - Iīm not sure...

(-laughing!-)

 

Could you at least spit out some sales figures for the new album, -eh!?

JENSEN: We donīt really... (!?)

MARKO: We donīt wanna speculate about it too much because... (!!!)

 

How did your debut do, then... ?

JENSEN: Thatīs the same thing with it, too.  Itīs really EARACHEīs thing to give those selling numbers out; the same numbers what we get from them, too. 

 

But you can see all that money out of the selling for your albums on your bank accounts alright, HE! HE! 

MARKO: OH-HOH... OH-YEAH... - we are just laughing all the way to our bank accounts...

( -laughing!-)

JENSEN: I wrote about 60% for our 1st album.  They took the money to pay off the AT THE GATES tour debts.  And I wrote 60% of it...

MARKO: Thatīs EARACHEīs politics to work things out that way...

 

Hmmm.... ?  Are you happy with EARACHE at all how they have been promoting THE HAUNTED thus far - or are there possibly some things in EARACHE which they could do slightly better for you?  I mean, are the staff of EARACHE understanding and open-minded people for your ideas if thereīs something youīd like to improve or just make better between the band and the label?

MARKO: On this last album, they actually made an effort.  It somewhat paid off, but thereīs still a few things that could be a lot better, but no labelīs perfect.  We just try to keep the peace with them and be happy for a while and somehow just maintain that good work.  I donīt think thereīs no point arguing at this point when they are actually doing something for us.  But thereīs still some criticism that could be thrown to that direction.

 

But I assume youīre still communicating with them every once in a while, talking about things in general; how business should go between you and them and stuff... ?

MARKO: We have Jensen and Anders, our business men in the band...

JENSEN: But I donīt wanna talk about these things, I really donīt if you donīt mind... !?

 

 

"A TREAT FOR CENSORSHIP"

OK, I understand, so letīs just move on to the next question.  I must say that the title of your new album, "(THE HAUNTED)... Made Me Do It", has quite a lot of irony in itself. Was it originally meant against organizations like the gloriously pathetic P.M.R.C. as we all happen to know that the people in that organization tried their very best making some scapegoats out of Heavy Metal music for soooooo many times in the past?  On the other hand, what do you overall think of censorship in music, especially in this particular genre?

JENSEN: I agree we had some irony on our albumīs title when we thought about it.  And yeah, we partly directed it to P.M.R.C. as we donīt think censorship does any good for any bandīs... -well, call it "an artistic orientation", whatever!  I really donīt think if itīs that necessary at all.  I mean, if a band doesnīt have any goals, whatsoever, itīll disappear by itself.  And if thereīs some kind of intelligence; an intelligent message with a band, then people will surely recognize it, I hope.  I donīt think metal public, or audience is stupid, yīknow!?  Iīd say artists like BRITNEY SPEARS and alike are probably more stupid just because, yīknow, they get fed by what they are supposed to like.  I donīt think censorship is that necessary in metal at all.

MARKO: Censorship is more like just for degrading people.  Because, yīknow: "You donīt wanna see this... - this is not good for you!!".  What THE FUCK someone knows what I like and I donīt like?!  Itīs just stupid, I think.

JENSEN: Itīs like they donīt understand what they are seeing.  They obviously think these people must be, yīknow, promoting murder or whatever!!  But thereīs a lot of people out there that write just average... - like Stephen King or whoever.  I mean, itīs just his own fantasy; itīs all just fantasy...

 

But if you think of Heavy Metal - or especially some of its sub-genres like Black Metal for example a bit more rationally when some bands sometimes, tend to go sort of "off the edge" by trying to shock people on purpose with the most gruesome and vomitive album covers or promo shots or whatever, do you then think it would be better if some kind of censorship entered the picture - just in case?  As you may know, NUCLEAR BLAST refused to use the very original cover concept for DIMMU BORGIRīs new album where they had this female torso on it...

JENSEN: I canīt actually see a point in that kind of covers īcoz you may go from one extreme to another extreme just because you kinda wanna shock people more and more.  They had a female torso on this new one, yeah; next time they may have just one massive, big asshole on the cover!  Yīknow what my point is?

MARKO: ... and you just gave away our next album cover...

:) ...and everybody burst into laughter... :)

JENSEN: But on the other hand, we donīt get into any pornographic stuff just to sell more albums.  We are aiming at other artistic areas as far as our album covers are concerned.

 

 

"HAPPY GRAMMY WINNERS..."

OH, by the way, congratulations for winning the title as "the best Swedish Hard Rock band" in the Grammy Award which was held in Stockholm for some time ago already.

JENSEN & MARKO:  Thanks...

What did it mean to you personally to get nominated as "the best Hard Rock band"  - and then winning it and beating up such big Swedish names there as ENTOMBED, HAMMERFALL and THE HIVES?

JENSEN: We weren't counting on it that we could ever have a chance to win that kind of awards.  Quite honestly!  We honestly thought it was all HAMMERFALLīs deal!  But of course it felt good to achieve that kind of status as being the best Hard Rock band from Sweden.  Other than that, it was just good for anything else like showing that shiny and nice prize to my grandmother, yīknow!?  But actually it opened a lot of doors to a bigger press.  Like we had the biggest Swedish newspaper following our tour.  It gave us a 2 whole page-spread.  It was crazy!!  And we were on a national TV, too.  Yīknow, how many bands of this kind have a chance to get some seconds on TV in Sweden?  Simply NONE (well, since ENTOMBED and HAMMERFALL, of course!!)!!

 

What kind of channels do you have in Sweden that show even more extreme music there?

MARKO: Just none...

JENSEN: Itīs a public service channel that shows it, of course!  But still, I mean... it reaches people. Like my doctor said to me for some time ago: "Arenīt you in the band... ??"  I, for some obvious reason, became kind of surprised and confused at the same time and just wondered how the hell he knows and only managed to spit out one word like: "Yeah...?!"  My doctor is a 50-year-old dude... - and he was watching that channel at that time.

(-laughing!-)

And I guess supposedly you felt pretty flattered and got blushed as even he had a hint who you are and that you are playing in a band... ?

JENSEN: Yeah. "And thatīs why youīre having a hurting neck..."

(-laughing!-)

 

 

"THE SWEDISH THRASH GRENADES"

Nowadays itīs kind of easy to talk about some sort of a 2nd-coming or wave of aggressive Thrash Metal coming from Sweden as thereīs really a great bunch of new Thrash acts there that have been gaining a lot of attention amongst the media, record labels, etc. from all over the world; bands like CARNAL FORGE, DARKANE, THE FORSAKEN, MAZE OF TORMENT, SERPENT OBSCENE...

MARKO: ...SOILWORK, DEFLESHED, THE GARDENIAN, TERROR 2000...

Yeah, LOTS of Thrash- orientated bands indeed. Can you see any reasons for that phenomenon why the Swedish ground for this type of metal has been so fertile and responsive for bringing Thrash Metal back to the metal people again?

MARKO: Thatīs a difficult question! I donīt know why. I even donīt have an answer for that, HE!

JENSEN: I donīt either.  But, yīknow, Sweden has been big on metal since early ī80s...

 

But itīs no denying that itīs been actually Sweden that has started many cool trends particularly in metal music and many have tried to follow what YOU have been doing in metal...

JENSEN: Well, the Finnish metal scene is pretty damn good at what they have been doing, too...

Cīmon Jensen, you DO know that we have always come after you guys... hiding behind your shadows...

JENSEN: HE, I donīt know about that.  I donīt know, maybe if thereīs a lot of people in one country; I mean, Sweden is a big country, so more or less everybody that knows how to play - and knows someone who can play some instrument, too - and so on and so on and so on, then all of a sudden, everybody knows each other some way and if they share the same interests as far as music goes, thereīs always lots of new bands coming up from these crowded areas. So if you had like ENTOMBED starting playing in Stockholm - before they even got their 1st album out - and bands in the U.S.A. and Germany heard them, they may have started copying them.  Other bands in Sweden naturally had already heard the ENTOMBED sound (as a pre-ENTOMBED called NIHILIST) maybe for years before they got their 1st album out.  So, yīknow, you get a headstart.  And if thereīs a healthy scene, yīknow, thereīs always gonna be kind of like all these Gothenburg sounding bands there, bands having many things in common musically.  I guess thatīs one of the reasons for that why the Gothenburg scene and sound is so well-known as a concept everywhere in the world now. And then, yīknow, when some bands in Gothenburg became familiar with this particular sound before - like a year before than anybody else heard it and became big, many other bands in other countries just started to realize how well they were doing by getting recognized by that unique sound.  You understand what I mean by all this, donīt you!?

Yeah, absolutely!!

JENSEN: We had like years head of time compared to the any other scenes in other countries...

I know what youīre saying.  Making it a bit more in a nutshell; you meant that even if bands in Sweden knew that you had had this special thing going on there in Sweden for quite some time already, the rest of the world got awakened by that for some years later and thought itīs something totally new and groundbreaking, right?

JENSEN: YEZ!! Exactly!!  Thatīs what I meant.  Itīs funny because when some bands start copying - or sounding like some popular (Swedish) metal bands, I mean, when they have noticed this band is really doing well in the whole world, thereīs maybe a great bunch of new bands in Sweden that have chosen to go into other direction and even that "new direction" these bands have taken, may end up being like a new trend - whatever again after some while, yīknow!?

 

 

 "... AND LET DEMOCRACY REIGN IN THRASH, TOO..."

Then something ībout your song writing habits.  I was just thinking how do you guys share your song writing inside the band?  Is everyone of you allowed to contribute it and bring their own ideas in and how easy difficult is it actually to mix all your personal ideas together in that very final process of your song writing when youīre about giving the finishing touches to your songs?

MARKO: Oh yeah, definitely!!

JENSEN: I can write a whole song by myself and the rest of the guys may say: "This is good, thatīs
fine...".  And next time I may come up with a whole song again and the other guys may go like: "No, the chorus isnīt good at all...", f.ex.  And if I say: "Well, OK - show me something better..." - and if they do it - and it really is better, then itīs better and we go for choosing that instead of what I came up with originally, yīknow!?  But if you think your stuff is better, you have this tendency to argue from time to time.  Itīs just natural.  Our band is pretty democratic as far as our whole song writing thing is concerned.  Jonas writes a lot of music - and I do quite a lot myself, too.  Jonas writes a little bit, more or less, almost every day some music for the band.  I need to get concentrated on my own song writing thing - and if Iīm in a truly inspirational mood, I may write music like, letīs say, 8 hours a day.  But itīs really difficult to get concentrated sometimes if you arenīt in the mood or your mind is traveling restlessly around, yīknow!? 

 

Obviously youīve been keeping your note pencils sharp since "... Made Me Do It".  Could you already tell us what kind of direction has this new stuff of yours taken compared to all that what you have done previously?

MARKO:  Itīs hard to say yet as we only have a bunch of riffs ready and not much else really.

JENSEN: Itīs really kinda too early to describe it yet, I guess...

 

Well, call me pushy - whatever!, but what kind of riffs youīre talking ībout here?  More aggressive, violent riffs - or more slower, heavier riffs - explain more!

JENSEN:  Thereīs all kind of stuff.  I donīt think itīs a good idea to say thereīs gonna be more brutal stuff on our next album or anything.  First of all, our new stuff is in such an early stage - and then, we may drop some stuff and come up with some new stuff that may be completely different compared to all that stuff we came up with at first.  And if you tell too many people that you have this or that kind of stuff, then youīve kind of painted yourself into a corner as people are expecting that our next album HAS TO BE a certain type musically; more brutal or faster or whatever really!  So thereīs really no sense to describe whether our next album will contain more brutal or slower or faster stuff when we are back at a studio recording it, yīknow?!  Itīs better to keep the fun and just kind of experiment and come up with something that, well letīs say, doesnīt push you towards any particular corner and leaves you a bit more space to be creative in the terms of coming up with music which comes straight from your heart without any restrictions or obligations to anybody, you know what Iīm saying? 

 

Well, I guess I do.  Letīs move on - as far as Iīve understood you Marko are living down in Stockholm with your wife and kid - and the rest of the guys are all living in Gothenburg.  Has this fact had any effect for your song writing because of the distance between these two beautiful cities?

MARKO: No, not at all.  The biggest problem for us right now is that we donīt have a rehearsal place.

JENSEN: We were kicked out from our previous rehearsal place, so we donīt rehearse together that much as you can imagine, HE! HE!!  We were kicked out from our rehearsal place last New Yearīs Eve which we shared with IN FLAMES.  At that time they were out doing their U.S. tour and when they came back home right before X-mas and went to their families - and when they went back to their own apartments for checking out their mails, they noticed that: "OH-HO, weīve got a letter in November saying that we have to be out before the last December and thatīs already tomorrow...".  So, I had to call to everybody, yīknow, on New Yearīs Eve.  We had start moving and clean that place up...

 

SHIT!!  That had to be quite an awful situation for you guys...

JENSEN: Yeah, it was - and they donīt have a new place yet and we need find one ourselves, too.  And itīs gonna be very hard here in Gothenburg to find a proper rehearsal place where we could practice at īcoz we have so many bands in this city.

 

Well, could you then describe me what kind of an event is a standard THE HAUNTED rehearsal session usually? What kind of elements does it contain most often?

MARKO: Just plug in and let it go.  The thing is that usually they have a song already done and they send a CD-R for me to put the lyrics on.  And then I come down to the rehearsal and we go thru these songs together how they sound like with my lyrics and vocals on them.  More or less we just sit down and play and play and play; just playing the songs all over again and again - and eventually they turn out to be good or bad.  Quite simple indeed.

JENSEN: We donīt jam our songs at all...

 

So I assume you try to make them as ready as possible at your own homes and bring them to your rehearsals as ready package as possible, correct?!

JENSEN: Yeah, thatīs very true.  On the other hand, I think we should let you know that the thing is that we all come from such different musical directions.  So if I have something down with me and the other guys have something down with them - and we play that certain thing together and it sounds cool, then we donīt sit down and try to come up with something. Because if I start filling around the guitars, the other guys may not understand what Iīm doing and they may say: "Thatīs not good at all...".  So, I need to get home and get prepared.  And itīs the same thing for them as well.  If you bring something to our rehearsal which sounds like a "half-made", I tell them right away that they should try harder and get prepared better beforehand, too.  Itīs kind of like, yīknow, going to school and do your homeworks before you present it.  And if it isnīt any good straight away, you just have to start all over again.  Itīs just as simple as that.  So, thereīs not much jamming in our rehearsal situation at all.  I guess thatīs why we donīt sound much like KYUSS, HE! HE!!

 

Next one goes for Marko only.  Since you became a vocalist for THE HAUNTED, which way did you have to change your vocal style when you left FACE DOWN in order to start off in THE HAUNTED as a vocalist again?

MARKO:  For me FACE DOWN was more like a darker pitch, lower pitch vocal-wise.  And I had to put a higher pitch to the vocals.  But it didnīt turn out that was the pitch I was looking for. I feel a lot of more comfortable for singing this way compared to what I did when I was in FACE DOWN.

 

On which areas could you say youīre slightly better in your opinion than the ex-singer of the band, Peter Dolving as far as different ranges of your vocals are concerned?

MARKO: Thatīs a hard question as I could never compare myself to him because heīs a good singer as well.  But I guess I do the yelling part a bit better than him.

 

Jensen!  Where do you think Marko beats Peter in your opinion?

JENSEN:  Well, I think that question is kinda strange īcoz we didnīt fire Peter in order to get Marko in. Peter just left the band and like Marko just said, heīs a REALLY good singer; very energetic onstage and all that.  We were without a singer for 6 months; we were without a replacement for that long, so when we got Marko hired to the band, weīre naturally more than satisfied.  And Marko is better musically in the band īcoz Peter didnīt want to do the metal thing any more.  Peter is a singer/song writer nowadays; just an acoustic guitar and his voice.  He has been on a national radio for a couple of times already and seems to be quite popular as a singer, too.  Heīs doing pretty good actually, but on a whole different area music-wise.

 

Could you be a bit more specific... what kind of stuff is he doing these days?

JENSEN: Heīs singing - and writing songs, like letīs say, Bob Dylan.  That type of thing...

 

HMMM... (!!), thatīs kind of īweirdī move from him; to leave a totally crushing Thrash Metal band in order to do that kind of stuff...

JENSEN:  You tell me, HA! HA!!

MARKO:  (-just laughing his ass off...-)

 

As for tonightīs gig, youīll be playing with Finnish deathrockers GANDALF who will open up this event and make the audience ready for your blistering sonic-torment later today.  What you think of them musically?

MARKO:  I havenīt heard them ever...

JENSEN:  Me either...

 

They are on the same label like you are...

MARKO:  Yeah, theyīre on WICKED WORLD which is EARACHEīs sub-label.

JENSEN:  The thing is that we donīt get too many free CDs from many bands.  Or at least I donīt.

 

 

"ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A HARD-TOURING BAND..."

MARKO:  This is the end of our European tour.

JENSEN: Yeah, thatīs right - this is the end.  We did the European tour in March with NILE, CARNAL FORGE and THE FORSAKEN.  It was a really cool tour for us. Very nice indeed!!

MARKO:  Itīs was really great!  We had such a blast on that tour!!  All the bands were great, the audience was great - you cannot ask for more!!  And this tour is kind of a warm-up to the festivals.

JENSEN:  First we did Japan; then U.K. - and then we went back to Japan again.  After that we did Europe, Scandinavia and and the U.S.A..  And this is the show right after the U.S. tour.  Then weīll do festivals every weekend until August.

 

I bet all your shows were really crowded, werenīt they?  How were the NILE -guys like, by the way?

JENSEN:  Yeah, Iīm so happy that people came to see us. There was a co-headlining thing between us and NILE - and both us and NILE had a lot of great time together.  They were really cool guys.

MARKO:  We did the Scandinavian leg, too; the main part in Sweden and then we did one show in Copenhagen and one in Oslo.  I really donīt know why we didnīt come to Finland on that one!?  Because, yīknow, it was called "Scandinavian Tour" anyway and Finland definitely is an integral part of Scandinavia...

JENSEN:  We were probably heading out here, but for some reason that show was cancelled; like a week before we were supposed to come here or something... Well, not even that; just a few days before, I guess... (?)

MARKO:  Just a few days, yeah...

 

I have also heard/read that youīve been playing a couple of AT THE GATES songs on your gigs, namely "World of Lies" and "Blinded by Fear", that are.  Are you still playing those songs on the gigs?

MARKO:  That era is dying out.  It depends on the mood we have onstage.  If the audience is really good and thereīs nobody yelling for AT THE GATES, maybe...

JENSEN: If nobody yells for AT THE GATES, then OK, we play AT THE GATES.  But if you go out there, you naturally play first THE HAUNTED songs.  If like 3 people start yelling AT THE GATES, yīknow, - NO WAY!! You have the wrong crowd, youīve the wrong show, man!

 

If assume you pretty much agree with me when Iīm saying THE HAUNTED is more of like a live band ratherv than a band which spends time at a studio making records - am I right?

JENSEN: Oh yeah...

MARKO: Weīre definitely a live band.

JENSEN: Thatīs what I consider myself as īa real bandī should be.  Yīknow, if you only sound good on an album - and cannot do the same thing onstage, then why bother to play live anyway.  You also have to be capable of kicking ass - not only on your records, but live as well.  We donīt use so much effects at all. The only thing we have onstage, are tuners.  Just right into the amp; no distortion pedals or anything like that.  And itīs, yīknow, right there.  I think we sound better live anyway.  Well, youīd be the judge alright...

 

Iīll definitely do my best tonight by slagging your live performance down as much I possibly can; I promise you that!!

(-laughing!!-)

Talking about working at a studio a bit more, I was just wondering when will you start recording a follow-up to "... Made Me Do It"?

MARKO: Hopefully in the fall...

JENSEN: In the fall - sometimes in November/December, maybe...

MARKO: And hopefully having it out by Feb/March 2002 or something like that.  Again, we have to find a rehearsal place to make the songs.  Thatīs the schedule that we have in our minds.  Itīs not put down on any papers or anything.  Itīs just like a wish that we have; going into a studio in the fall.

 

How long have you been on the road in a row thus far?

JENSEN: More or less since October...

 

Doesnīt it start feeling like kind of, yīknow, boring and frustrating to be on the road for that long time? Youīve been doing gigs for over 7 months...

MARKO: (making some loud snoring voices...)

(-laughing!!-)

MARKO: No, because you kind of forget all that frustration when youīre out on the road.  But of course it feels so great when you finally come back to home.  But then it takes like 1-2 weeks and then you canīt wait to get out again, so...

JENSEN: One of the major frustrations for being on the road is...

MARKO: Hurry up and wait!  HA! HA!!

JENSEN: No, is having no shower.  You donīt believe how much we enjoy a shower.  I mean, if you play like a hour under hot lightning, yīknow, you wanna go straight to a shower after a show.

MARKO: You reach that certain age when you appreciate a shower after a show.

JENSEN:  When you are 20 or something, itīs just enough for you to get drunk after a show and you just sleep on that fuckinī floor and wake up in the next city.  And thatīs fine, yīknow!?  But as you know, we are not 20-something any more, HE!

 

 

"A DAY-OFF...!  AGAIN?  AW F**K...!!"

How important do you consider these day-offs for you on tours?  What do you exactly do when you get blessed by a day-off or two?

MARKO:  Spending money (if we have any?)..., get drunk..., be bored...  HA! HA!!

JENSEN: Usually these day-offs are spent for the long drives we have between concert places.  You stop at a gas station somewhere occasionally, īcoz your driver has to sleep, too.  So you sit at a gas station and... 

(... Jensen pounding his fingertips against the table, having "farting-is-the-only-fun-I-have" furrows in his face...)

JENSEN: ... somewhere in the east-Germany...

(adding some empty whistling all over the boredom they
may have at that gas station in their thoughts...)

 ( ...everyone of us bursted into laughing here at the same time... )

JENSEN: Thereīs NOTHING that kills your enthusiasm like a day-off at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.

MARKO: Because youīre in a groove and then you get interrupted - and then you have to find a way back to that groove again.  On the U.S. tour, f.ex., we had way too many day-offs, I think.

JENSEN: Thatīs because distances between cities there are long, so we had to drive a lot.

MARKO: Like the longest drive we had, it was 30 hours, wasnīt it Jensen?

JENSEN: Yeah, something like that.  Our driver had to sleep 8 hours and did two 15-hour drives.  I hated all that...

 

I can imagine that itīs not that "funny" to be on the road if you have to spend too many hours sitting in a bus and just wait to get there...

JENSEN: Yea, thatīs really pretty damn frustrating. Luckily itīs better in Europe īcoz cities are closer to each other.

MARKO: And when youīre driving thru Arizona or something, the A.C. in the bus is just working all the time and itīs still warm, warm, warm...

 

Cannot say I envy you too much, HE! HE!
So, Jensen, how are things standing for your other band WITCHERY nowadays, by the way?  When are you supposed to record with them again?

JENSEN:  In fact, we already were recording a new album in February at the Berneo Studio.  We had the same line-up as we had last time - apart from the fact we had a new drummer this time around.  Our old drummer got a kid and became a TV-producer, so I can understand him if he doesnīt wanna tour with us any longer.  The album will probably be out in August/September, I think.

Thru NECROPOLIS RECS or... ?

JENSEN: NECROPOLIS will do the North America.  We have another company in Europe that will do a whole lot better job here.

 

Also, Iīm aware of another fact that you used to play in SEANCE and did a couple of albums with them in the beginning of 90īs  (that were "Forever Laid to Rest" in -ī92 and "Saltrubbed Eyes" in -ī93).  Now, those albums on BLACK MARK have been out of print for quite some time already, I guess - and thatīs why theyīre very hard items to get these days.  Have you ever thought of putting them out again as a double-CD package or something?

JENSEN: Yīknow, BLACK MARK is probably THE WORST company to get involved with because they made a bit more money than they put into a band; that was good. Let me explain some more:  You made an album and it had to be cheap and if they got a few thousands D-marks back - more than they put into it, then thatīs fine.  No tours, no promotion - simply NO NOTHING!! They didnīt set up any interviews or anything.  So it was very frustrating to be on that label and, yīknow, we got tired with them eventually, but you certainly cannot blame us for that.  however, itīll be up to BLACK MARK if they are ever going to re-release those SEANCE albums again.  But what I have heard, theyīre on very shaky legs right now, so they may go bankrupt. Besides that I donīt know who owns the rights there for our two SEANCE albums.

 

I noticed that you had a song called "Haunted" in SEANCEīs debut.  Is that where youīve taken the name from for your current band?

JENSEN: Yeah, exactly.  Because before SEANCE I had a band called ORCHRIST and we had a song called "Seance".  So when we started looking for a new name up here, we came up with the name, "Seance". 

 

Namely just before I came here all these plans for an interview in my mind - like 2-3 hours before coming here, I have to confess that I did some research for you background and spotted that song title right from your 1st demoī91 titled "Levitated Spirits" - and there it was... the 1st song on that tape is actually called "Haunted"...

JENSEN: Well-done... you got it.

 

OK, I guess Iīve been taking your time enough for just one interview, so I cut it here now.  THANXX a lot for this interesting chat to both of you and best of luck for your gig!

JENSEN: Thank you very much!!

MARKO: Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Information on The Haunted in Metal-Rules.com

Gandalf & The Haunted - Live At Nosturi, 12.5.2001, Helsinki, Finland 

The Haunted - Interview with Per And Anders! (October, 2000)

 Reviews of: The Haunted Made Me Do It  AND  Self-titled

A 1999 Interview with Jensen (The Haunted / Witchery)

The Official THE HAUNTED website: www.the-haunted.com


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