Heart of Steel: Interviews

Anders Björler, Peter Dolving, & Jensen

Interviewed By EvilG

Firstly, many thanks to Tomas of Talent Trust, Göteborg, Sweden, for hooking us up with this interview. 

As a fan of The Haunted since their self-titled debut album, I was at first disappointed when vocalist Peter Dolving left the band. I really warmed up to replacement vocalist, Marco Aro, especially on the second album he did with the band ONE KILL WONDER (released February 17th, 2003). On Oct. 6th, 2003, it was announced that Marco was leaving the band and that his replacement would be original vocalist, Peter Dolving. Like many fans, I was both excited and a little sad to see Marco leave. The day after this big news story broke, I was granted an interview with the band to ask about this along with what's next for The Haunted.

The main reason for doing this interview now is because of the BIG news about Peter Dolving returning to the band. The press release about this seemed to come out of the blue…how long has this been in the works?

Anders: Well, Marco decided to leave the band as of early August. He had been thinking about it for at least 6 months he told me. Marco never really dug the touring situation. What kept him alive on the road was the hour we played each day, and all the fans we met on the road. Since his decision to leave the band, the remaining members have had a hard time coming up with suggestions of a possible replacement. After a month of discussions we approached Peter Dolving "out of the blue" and asked him if he would be interested in THE HAUNTED (again). We were surprised by his enthusiasm and interest and decided he was the man for us.


New Press Picture: October 2003


Was Marco's decision to leave the band a shock to you guys, or did you see it coming because he was not into being away from his family so much?

Anders: Well, we were a bit shocked of course, since we were in a transition period in between contracts and things were looking great for the band's future development. But, as I told you before, I think Marco's decision was mainly due to personal feelings about the touring part, and if you by that mean if we could sense if he was out of the band, No - not really.. Everybody is tired from touring at times, but we never expected him to decide to leave the band.



Do you expect Marco to return in more of a recording orientated band that doesn't tour so much as play a few gigs in your home area?

Anders: He told me that he might play "for fun", just to have a thing going. But he also stated that he was never going to do it professionally ever again. Time will tell I suppose.



Have you and the band remained in contact with Peter Dolving while he wasn't in the band?

Anders: Well, at times we have. We have been out touring quite a bit, so in general you'll lose some time with your friends from back home, but after all - when we are home again it feels like time has been standing still. Nothing has really changed. I always have respected Peter's initial choice to leave the band, as well as I have respected Adrian's and now Marco's choice to quit. It would be childish to think that a band can last forever. You hope it does of course, but you can never predict that people change and grow as individuals and therefore need changes in their lives. That's why I have kept an open mind about members dropping out. There has never been any bad blood with any old members.



Peter, I guess the big question for you is – why are you back? I mean, we're all happy that you are back, even though we'll miss Marco, but it did come as a surprise! Your statement hinted that part of the reason for your return might be financially motivated, is that honestly the case?

Peter: It´s simple. I´m a musician, hence it´s my job. I also love the Haunted and we get along really well. The Haunted work hard, like any successful band. It´s a really good job, doing what you love with people you really like and love working with. But it´s hard as hell, it fucks with everything you could consider being a normal life. Marco wanted out. They asked me. I´ve been busy realizing loads of my dreams, artistic and academic ambitions these last couple of years living off breadcrumbs and going back to sleeping on stage floors and squats to do it. I´m really glad I did cause I needed it for my mental well-being. But when Jensen called me I nearly shit myself, `cause I never ever thought the opportunity would arise again. Basically he told me about their situation with Marco, and that the band has a large audience and can make a living out of it. AND that Earache is out. Would you say no to that? What I don´t think a lot of kids don´t understand is why I left the band in the first place. One of the reasons being Earache. Another reason was financially, I was completely fucking broke and I had to work something out to put food on the table, which I did starting my own label and UNION (www.unionmusik.com) which is a syndicalist label/management/booking company for reeaally different music. Also back then I had just met my girlfriend and now mother of our two kids and that whole thing was so new and fragile that I didn´t want to fuck that up. So I left, knowing I might never get back, but that I had to do what I had to do. Honestly though, I´m really happy to be back.


Did you continue to listen to The Haunted and their new material after you left the band? If so, what did you think?

Peter: I haven´t been listening to a lot of music at all for the last five years other than the stuff I´ve been working with, I´ve been too busy learning about being a father, writing, recording, producing, and touring with my other projects.



For those who didn't keep up with what you did when you left The Haunted, can you quickly give us an idea of what you've been up to for the past few years and if any of the projects/bands you were with will continue…or will The Haunted take priority?

Peter: I´ve released three albums with the Peter Dolving Band on my own label Creative and toured with the band in Scandinavia and the Benelux. (I've) Written for and participated in the release of two albums with anarko/socialist reggae/dancehall/ragga-band GUSTO!, produced stuff with 4 track demons and Sparzanza, and done a shit load of lectures on music industry structure, music-law and management. From now on the Haunted is the no. 1 priority. Although in the coming year I will release the new Peter Dolving Band album, I think we´ll call it "Rejoice!" as a really ironic statement to the world we all live in. Also MarybeatsJane are releasing a new album. But since most of the work with these the two projects are finished it´ll all work out good. You got to plan well, that´s all.



What do you think made the first album by The Haunted sound different from the subsequent albums? Were there any different influences because even musically (not just the vocals), the first album is a bit different.

Anders: Well, for my part I tended to write more basic thrash stuff back then, while on the 2 following records I have drifted a tad towards the old AT THE GATES stuff in some songs (Hollow Ground, Shadow World etc...).  I think Jonas' and my input on THE HAUNTED MADE ME DO IT & ONE KILL WONDER are a bit more melodic at times if you compare it to what we did on the first album.

However, you can clearly notice some melodic stuff on the S/T album as well (In Vein etc). Another thing is production. The S/T production is very different in my ears. Very clean, basic and raw.... I don't think at all the music will change that much just because Dolving rejoined the band. I would say, it will definitely sound like THE HAUNTED, but of course there might be a slight change (as all the other records has been different from each other). I see that as a good thing. Writing the same record over and over again is not an option for me. I want to evolve and try new stuff musically. The Haunted will sound The Haunted - No question about it!

Peter: Different drummer, different vocalist, less touring - really adds up to: Different band. When it comes down to it here´s the skinny - The Haunted are NOT AC/DC. The music changes, the energy and output does not. The Haunted´s an extreme band.



How much of the next album is written?

Anders: Right now we are rehearsing, and I guess we have about 4-5 songs.



Will the next album be anything like the first album at all or is it too early to say?

Anders: I don't think it will be like the first album more than it's gonna be like the other two. I mean we have evolved into what you hear on THE HAUNTED MADE ME DO IT and ONE KILL WONDER. Peter will of course have a part in the new album, but there is no plan to go retro in any way.




Can you tell us about the process you go about for writing a song - who comes up with most of the material, how they arranged & put together, etc…

Anders: That all differs from song to song, and from day to day - Situation to situation etc. It all depends. It might start with a lyric, rythm, riff, just anything. We all do alot in the songwriting process. Everybody is involved in the arrangement of a song. I do alot of stuff at home on my computer. Simple sketches. I often start with a chorus idea, and try to build verses, and bridges etc evolving around that. Sometimes I can get a vocal idea, and try to fit it with music, It all depends really.



I consider The Haunted to be a thrash metal band – would you agree?

Jensen: We have never called ourselves anything... Journalists are way better at that than we are haha No, better not to label oneselves, so that we maintain a greater freedom when writing music... I mean, we've been called everything from HC, to thrash, to Death, to playing the Gothenburg sound-style ... We play metal, and that's that. Labeling music is uninteresting.



I've heard some people complain that you have too much punk/hardcore influence!?? I don't hear it (maybe because I don't listen to punk/hardcore?). So do you admit to having any of those influences in your music and if so what percentage of this influence has crept into the band's overall sound?

Jensen: I guess its safe to say that we are influenced by almost everything. I cant believe how narrow minded people would be to not like something because of what the current "label" for this and that riff might be.. That sounds moronic to me! If its a good riff, then its a good riff....'nuff said...

Peter: Ha! Why would that be a problem? And why should we care? We make music, we´re not trying to fit into some narrow arsed conformative mold. Me, I LOOOOOOOOVE hardcore. So what?



Jenson, what is up with Witchery and what's on the horizon for the band?

Jensen: We are supposed to write and record a new album, but we haven't seen much support from our various labels (different territories) at all lately, plus I have been away working a lot with The Haunted, which called for some serious time off. The thing that makes it difficult is that we live in different cities. When I get home after touring immensely with The Haunted I want to stay home for awhile...so, that's the reason to why there isn't a done Witchery album out there... But we are working on one, and we will get one out there too. It'll just take a little longer than we though.



Will you be playing a reunion show with Peter prior to releasing the new album in 2004?

Anders: We will see about that. Nothing is decided yet.



Is there a chance you will resign to earache, if not have you been talking to any labels?

Anders: We are currently going through offers. Nothing is decided whatsoever.



Jenson, I never really paid much attention to who played what leads in The Haunted (sorry...hehe) but I just got my copy of The Haunted DVD a couple weeks ago and noticed you don't play any leads - why not? :)

Jensen: Cos solo's are "old"? haha Naw, really. I never put any time into learning to play solos. Its nothing I've seen as a goal with my playing. I've always put my effort into writing music, and learning to write music as best as I can. I leave the shrill notes to those who have had the patience to sit down and practice them :-)


Were you happy with how the DVD turned out? The show in Sweden was worth the price of the DVD alone, but the other show wasn't quite the best quality...

Anders: Things could always be better. I'm not 100% satisfied personally.



One thing I can't remember reading and that is….where did you get the name "The Haunted". It's such a cool name and your logo fucking rules with that silhouette figure – it has to be the simplest, yet most effective, logo ever! 

Jensen: I came up with the name. When we formed Seance, we took a song title that my first band had, and made that into the new band name...so, to follow up this proud tradition of recycling, I looked through the song titles that Seance had, and discovered a song called "Haunted" on the first album. I just put "The" in front of it, cos I've always thought that a real band name starts with a "The" in the beginning...and, well,...it worked out great! 

The logo is made by a childhood friend of mine, Andreas Pettersson. He is very talented and has his own designer & arts company. I told him that we wanted a logo that would be legible to all people between 6 and 60 years old, be easy to spot -even if the CD is way up on a wall in some record store, and be something "new" that this style hasn't seen before...and, I think he did a wonderful job. He is also the guy behind all our cover art, and actually behind the title "The Huanted Made Me Do It" too!



Since the band often has such brutal lyrics and serial killers play a role in this…has anyone in the band actually brutally murdered anyone in real life? If not, is there anyone that you'd like to do in and if so how? haha….

Anders: I don't think we have brutal lyrics. It's simply social comments. Almost all human atrocities are a product of society.

Peter: I could easily give you a fat list, and strict descriptions of how to go about it and whom to contact along the way to do it. But if I did I don´t think I´d be allowed outside the borders of Sweden, hell I´m not even sure they´ll let me out now...  



Your closing words/thoughts…..

Anders: Be sure to catch the new HAUNTED album when it surfaces next year. Over and out!

Peter: Let´s rip!