The Haunted Vocalist Peter Dolving

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Interview with Peter Dolving

by Lord of The Wasteland


Pics courtesy of, Century Media, Earache Records and Union Musik and of course some taken by staff.


Call them thrash, call them melodic death?whatever.  The Haunted is pure metal and their brilliant new CD, rEVOLVEr, was just released October 19th to glowing reviews.  As emphasized by the unique spelling of the title, rEVOLVEr is a progression for the band in more ways than one.  Not only did they leave long-time label, Earache Records, last October but they also lost vocalist Marco Aro.  Aro?s replacement was none other than the band?s original vocalist, Peter Dolving, whose superior range gave the band?s 1998 self-titled debut album as unique a sound as it has with rEVOLVEr.  New label, Century Media, is pushing rEVOLVEr very hard and this should be the album that gets The Haunted into the big time on North American shores.

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EvilG spoke with the band the day after it was announced that Dolving had rejoined the fold ( so I was eager to speak with the singer a year later now that the album was complete and he had time to settle into familiar shoes once again.  During our forty-five minute interview, I found Dolving to be full of laughs but also very well-spoken and forthright in his opinions.  Besides the new CD, new label and big < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U.S. tour with Shadows Fall and Damageplan, Dolving openly discusses his horrific youth, his side projects, media labels and the differences between The Haunted?s two screamers.


First of all, Peter, let me say welcome back!< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Thanks very much! 


I think it?s almost a year to the day, actually, that it was announced you would be taking over the vocalist position again.  How does it feel to be back in the band again with a new record and a new label? 


I think we made a really remarkable record and we are really proud of it.  It feels really good to have an album this solid as far as songs go.  We have never been as tight as a live band and it feels really, really good.  I?ve been back with the band for a year now and it?s been going really good.  It?s one of those situations that you dream about!



Century Media really seems to be pushing the new record, rEVOLVEr, for you guys.  Is there a big difference between them and what things were like over at Earache?


(Laughs) Tell me about it!  Oh man?it?s night and day.  Century Media is actually a real record company.  There is no nasty stuff.  They?re pros and it?s so good to work with people who have that ambition and that drive.  They know it?s about communication and shooting straight.  It?s actually fun again!




So getting to the new record, there are two versions available: the 11-track jewel case, with the black, shadowy guy on the white cover and the 13-track digipack with the hand on the red cover.  Releasing two versions of a CD is hardly uncommon, but why did you choose to release them with two different covers?


The idea came about from Century Media and our friend, Frodo, who did the artwork.  We?ve known him for more than ten years and we thought he had become a dentist!  We crash at his house when we are down in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Copenhagen and the last time we were down was just a couple days before the Sweden Rock Festival.  He had all this artwork and books lying around his house?loads of it?and we were like, ?Holy shit!  What is all of this??  We thought he was going to be a dentist, but he dropped out of dentist school and was studying art design.  Diaz, the guy who had the previous album artwork, was having a kid with his wife, so it wasn?t possible for him to do it.  We asked Frodo if he would try and get into it and make a record cover for us, but he didn?t make one?he came up with TWO and kind of fucked with our heads a little.  A week after that, Century Media came to us and said they wanted to do a limited-edition digipack, which was cool, because then we could use both covers.  They both really compliment the music.



Who came up with the title of the record and its unique spelling?


[Patrick] Jensen, our rhythm guitarist and Witchery part-timer (laughs).  It?s short and sweet and has got this kind of double-meaning to it.



The band held a contest on your website where fans were asked to send in their own ideas for what the new CD should be called and you actually picked one?SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES OF SUICIDE PROMOTION.  Why did the band replace that with rEVOLVEr?     


(Laughs) We?re going to use it, but I think we?re doing a t-shirt with that one!  We had another one that was really good, WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE.  That would have been a good title for a record by us.



Looking at some of the songs on rEVOLVEr, ?My Shadow? is sure to stir up some feelings from the fans.  What made you guys decide to slow it down and do such a long, involved track?


We?ve been talking about exploring some of that stuff ever since the first album.  The last song on the first album, ?Forensick,? kind of tried something a little different and we had some instrumental stuff on both MADE ME DO IT [?Dark Intentions?] and ONE KILL WONDER [?Demon Eyes?], but we wanted to get a little more gloomy but without doing a ballad or something like that.  Anders [Bjorler, lead guitar] came in with most of the riffs for it and it was originally an instrumental with no words, but I had some poetry lying around that was waiting to be used, so it all worked out really well.




You really use a different side of your vocal range on that song, too.  Do you find it easier singing in the clean style?


I?m very fortunate that I can do a lot with my voice.  I guess it has to do with my experience going from boys? choir to singing country.  I?m all for the music (laughs)!  I like fucking around with loads of different styles, so either I?m very lucky or I actually have some talent in there somewhere (laughs).  It?s really cool to do a song like ?My Shadow? that has that wide range and it is an emotionally-heavy track.



How did Lou Koller from Sick of It All end up singing with you on ?Who Will Decide??


Me and Jonas [Bjorler, bass] were going to do the song together.  He came up with the song and it is punk-inspired…not full punk, but a punk-inspired rock song.  Ulf, a friend of mine who sings with a band called The Virgins, heard the song and told us we had to call Lou Koller from Sick of It All and have him sing on it.  We thought he would never want to sing on it because we are a metal band and Sick of It All has done some incredible stuff over the years.  He talked to a girl at the distribution company we both have and Lou was all fired up about it.  He told us he loved the band and was really honored to do it, so he came up to Gothenburg when they were on tour.  We had a cup of coffee and talked shit about bands we?d both seen over the years.  The vocals were done in about an hour and a half and then we went down to watch their show at a club here in Gothenburg.



As for the bonus tracks, why are they not sequenced at the end of the CD?  That?s where bonus tracks always are!


I honestly don?t know (laughs).  I?m sure Anders or Jensen might know but I haven?t got a fucking clue.  Sorry (laughs)!




rEVOLVEr was recorded at Studio Fredman with Fredrik Nordstrom, but he is listed as co-producer along with the band.  How much input did he have in the sound of the CD?


Not very much this time around.  We?re telling everyone we worked with him (laughs) but really not very much.  He?s a great friend and we?ve worked together for more than ten years on different recordings that we have all done.  One of Fredrik?s greatest assets is that he?s an incredible sound engineer.  Before we even went into record the album, we told him what we wanted and the idea that we had.  We really wanted a clean sound that was right in your face but it?s still important to get as good a sound as possible.  Initially, all the stuff is really, really clean without distortion or anything.  We added all that stuff afterwards when we mixed the record.  When we are recording, we concentrate on making a well-played album.  We sent the stuff afterwards to Tue Madsen, who has been the live engineer for the band on several tours, and he has been doing some cool mixes and stuff at his studio in Denmark called Antfarm.  He had three tracks ready for us in one day!  That?s REALLY fast and when we got them, everyone was kind of suspicious because three songs in one day just could not possibly work, but we shit ourselves.  They were really great.  There were some minor details but he had the basic sound down right away.  I think the fact that he has worked with us live has really done a lot for him.



Are there any plans to do a music video for any of the tracks on rEVOLVEr?


We already did one for ?All Against All? that?s kind of like Anthrax circa 1984 (laughs).  It?s just a bunch of us and our fans rocking out.  It?s very simple.  We talked about doing something more to it but we all decided it was too fucking pretentious for our music (laughs).  It would be great if we came up with this cool, arty idea but we aren?t even remotely talented enough and we would need one of those cool music video people from wherever to come up with something.



Will you be doing another video from the record as well?


Yeah, absolutely.  There are a few songs we feel strongly about but I?m not sure which song it?s going to be, though. 



The Haunted played the Omicron Open Air Festival in Athens, Greece back in July.


Oh yeah!  That was fun.



Can you explain what exactly happened there?  There was a whole lot of controversy and bad press that came out of that show from some other bands that played. 


I think people had a lot of issues that they had to deal with whether or not they were going to play.  For us, it was never a question.  Same thing with Motorhead.  If you come all that way to play a show, play the show and don?t fuck around.  Unfortunately, I think the promoter got cold feet because a lot of the bands pulled out.  He was a rookie promoter and he kind of scrammed out of there.  It?s a shame but we had a good time and played a hell of a show and the audience was fucking wild!  The sound sucked, though, it was terrible. 



It was on a beach or something wasn?t it?


Yeah, it was really cool to play right on the beach.  It couldn?t possibly be better.  We were going to play at the Pantheon Theater right in the middle of Athens, but they moved the venue from there because their football team won the European championships and that?s like winning the Super Bowl or the World Series, so of course there is going to be mayhem (laughs)!  Football and soccer has a high priority for everyone in European society so you just step away.  You don?t even want to fuck around with that (laughs)!  I can understand that so I?m not going to get in their way.  I guess we have a different view on why we play music.


You also played some festivals recently?Berlin just last Wednesday [September 29th] with Raunchy, Hatesphere and Mnemic.  How have the fans reacted to the rEVOLVEr songs live so far?


They go crazy!  We?re playing three songs from rEVOLVEr??Abysmal,? ?99? and ?No Compromise.?  As we were writing and recording the album, we would say to ourselves, ?This one is going to be so fucking cool to play live!?  The songs really have come out very fun to play and they still carry one hell of a punch which means you can just go insane with them and really get down to it.




The Haunted is headed Stateside at the end of October for a big tour with Shadows Fall and Damageplan.  Do you have a setlist put together yet for the U.S. tour?


No, not yet.  We?ll see because we have a few songs to pick from you know (laughs), but we?ll have a couple songs from every album.  We don?t even know how long we get to play yet, if it?s going to be twenty minutes or forty minutes.  That?s all up to the other bands and we respect whatever decision they make because we are just happy to be on the tour with them.



Is The Haunted opening the shows or is going to be a rotating headline spot between the three of you?

I think we?re opening the show as far as we know.  We?re just there to do our job (laughs).



Have you played with either band before?


Nope, so it?s really good experience.



Are you planning on coming back to Canada?


They?re talking about it.  We?re hitting Toronto and Montreal with them.  Where are you at?



I?m in Vancouver over on the west coast.


We?re playing Seattle, so it would make sense since Vancouver is just around the corner, but I really don?t know for sure.  Our management people are talking about us opening for another band up there after that tour.  I know we?re doing a European tour beginning the last week of January and heading into March then we?ll be heading back to the U.S. in April and I?m sure we?ll hit the rest of Canada then, too. We?re actually talking about doing a headlining tour so if all goes well?we?re looking forward to hitting the U.S. because it?s been really good for the band.  People over there seem fairly rabid about The Haunted.  There has been incredible support and that?s actually one of the reasons I got back in the band.  People came all the way from Seattle and Wisconsin and places like that just to come and have a cup of coffee with me (laughs)!  I tell you, that really makes you feel incredibly appreciated.  When the question came, it really wasn?t that hard of a choice to make.



Last year?s announcement that Marco [Aro, vocals on MADE ME DO IT and ONE KILL WONDER] had left the band really took me by surprise but what surprised me even more was when the band announced that you were returning.  I will admit that I am a big fan of Aro?s vocals so I was sorry to see him go but there really could not have been a more suitable replacement than yourself.  How exactly did the whole process come about with you re-joining the band?


We never really lost contact.  We?re all really good friends.  Anders is the godfather of my oldest daughter and we all have a lot of love and respect for each other.  When I did leave the band, everyone had a really good understanding of why.  It was for pretty heavy personal reasons and I think it was a really good thing that I did leave.  We know each other a hell of a lot better than we did back then and we feel so much more secure with each other.  It?s affected everything really, right down to the live show, on a seriously grand scale, so we?re feeling pretty stoked to head out to the U.S. right now.  I?ve been back in the band for a year now and we?ve done some shows in the U.K. and a few European festivals.  Even the stuff that Marco did is working out well.  There are some incredible songs on those two albums that he did.  We?ve got four really good albums and a great collection of songs to choose from.



Are you comfortable doing the Marco songs live?


Absolutely.  They are really good songs with good lyrics so it couldn?t be better.



What is your opinion of the two albums that Marco sang on?


I think ONE KILL WONDER is a bit rash.  It almost verges on death metal but it works.  I love MADE ME DO IT!  That?s just one of those records that, when they made it, I was like ?Awwww, man, I wish was on it!? (laughs)  I was almost like a jealous lover or something (laughs)!  Songs like ?Bury Your Dead? are just fucking incredible.



Were you the only choice to replace Marco after he left? 


They were talking about a bunch of other guys but I was on the top of their list.  They kind of snuck up on me and had our manager bring up the subject and I was telling him, ?No, no!  They aren?t going to ask me.  I?ve got all this other stuff and they are really proud and they?ll never ask me.?  The next day, they called me up (laughs)! 




Have you heard any people grumbling about how they liked Marco?s vocals better than yours and wished he was still in the band?


Initially on the webpage, of course, there have been several discussions about one way or the other but it?s really bogus.  We?re two completely different singers with a very similar approach to the band.  We both really, really love The Haunted and have done the best we could, vocally and lyrically, with all the love and respect for what the band is about.  People can?t expect us to sound alike because we aren?t anywhere near each other.  He?s a really big, built guy and I?m a pretty lean, bony sucker and that really affects the sound.  I?ve got a lighter voice than he does and he?s got that dark, mean sound.



One of the reasons Marco said he left the band was because he wanted to spend more time with his family.





Have you feared that maybe you might feel the same once you a get a month into the tour and maybe get second thoughts, as well? 


My family has been a big part of me taking this route.  We really talked it through with my wife and our friends and immediate family.  They were all a part of the choice because they know that this means a hell of a lot to me.  We?re pretty good with it.  Not only that, half of my family is in the U.S. and half is in Europe so I?m never really too far from away.



During the time that you were out of The Haunted, you started your own label/management company, Union Musik (  Since you have gotten back with The Haunted, how much involvement are you able to have on a day-to-day basis?


I?m still doing it! 



You also had some side projects on the go that I would like to ask you about.  Does The Peter Dolving Band still exist or has that been on hold?


I?m actually laying down the last of the vocals on a new album from a band called Bring The War Home.  They used to be The Peter Dolving Band.  It?s one of those bands that?s not built to tour extensively.  Everyone?s got their own thing going like me, so it?s more of a hobby band of good friends.  As far as we?re concerned, there isn?t any viable commercial thing to it (laughs) and that?s one of the reasons we kept it small.  It?s country/blues/rock/arty stuff influenced by everybody from early 70s singer/songwriters to new wave like Sonic Youth, but it?s not something that the average Joe Schmo is going to get into.  We?re doing the albums and putting them out one at a time and just having a really good time with it.  It?s a way to have an artistic vent and a place where you can?t bring stuff in to the main thing you?re doing. 




How about Mary Beats Jane?  Is that band still active?


It?s a studio project.  We?ve got about fourteen songs down and we?ll keep working.  We?re all very comfortable and having a good time, so I think we?ll keep doing that for awhile.  We got to a point where we just wanted to stick a knife in each other.  We toured like crazy?260 shows a year for several years?for a record company that did no promotion for us (laughs).  You had a bunch of really frustrated people in a shitty bus and it was really not a good situation, but we did some amazing shows.  I don?t think we?ll ever be performing live again, though (laughs).  We?re in a good place.  Everyone has got families now and I?m the only one who pursued a musical career but the rest of the guys are doing well for themselves financially and are happy.  We?ll put the record out somehow, though.



And Zen Monkey?


Zen Monkey was kind of a tired dying corpse that didn?t want to give up and lay down (laughs).  When it did finally take its last breath, it was a good thing for all I think.   



I was looking over your bio on The Haunted?s website and I noticed that your favorite albums are by Lou Reed and The Cure.  Do you not listen to a lot a metal?


(Laughs) No, absolutely not.  Some of the metal bands put out some really cool stuff but personally, I feel that music is so much more varied.  I?m not the kind of person to listen to one type of music and keep it at that.  Even though I think that there are some classic metal albums, I think that it?s a different kind of emotional experience listening to a metal album than listening to something of a different variety.  I have complete respect for someone who feels there to be a different way but music is so subjective.  It?s different for everyone.  I?m more into the softer stuff that I suppose is considered today to be kind of mainstream but when I was a kid, it wasn?t like that. 



Well, The Cure will never be considered ?mainstream? by me anyway (laughs)!  Maybe an album like DISINTEGRATION but most of their stuff is a bit out there.


I guess some of their stuff is but some of it is really, really dark and that?s what I love about it.  The same goes for a guy like Lou Reed.  He did some really crappy commercial stuff, but an album like BERLIN is the most morose, morbid fucking album ever done!  Bob Ezrin produced this monstrosity for him and it was about drug abuse and suicide and that was a revolution for me when I heard that record.  I never thought you could make such beautiful music about such terrifying subjects.  That was the first time as well that I felt there was a possibility to make music around themes and subjects that I felt I could kind of relate to.  It was a way for me to deal with, emotionally, what I had been through growing up and turn into a young man.



You seem like a pretty happy guy in speaking with you, but is it your youth that you draw your dark lyrical inspiration from?


I guess it was from about fifteen years of growing up with complete fucking nut cases for parents who were alcoholics and drug addicts.  My next of kin was my uncle and he had a home for young adults and kids who were alcoholics, drug abusers, whores, thieves?just really violent people.  Growing up around that, you slowly lose your identity and become one of them.  Since you?re in that environment, no one is there to really consider what you?re doing because they are all so messed up, it doesn?t matter if you are, too.  No one raises an eyebrow.  By the time I was fifteen, I just ran away to try to get my own life and I didn?t really stop until I hit thirty (laughs). 




As unfortunate as all that is, you managed to turn it into something positive with your music and others recognized that.  The Haunted has won Swedish Grammys for MADE ME DO IT and ONE KILL WONDER.  Are these types of awards and recognition important to the band on a personal level?


On an emotional level, it was really flattering.  As far as what the Grammys here in Scandinavia really mean, it is more of an acknowledgement of business achievement.  When it happened, we all thought it was kind of weird.  The band has had very little to do with the Swedish music business.  It?s fun but it really doesn?t do anything for us.  The exposure is really good because people know who we are and we are the only extreme metal band that?s close to a household name in Scandinavia and that?s pretty cool, you know? 



A band like The Haunted would never win a Grammy in the U.S., either. 


No, it would never happen.  Way too many insinuations of death, mayhem and suicide involved to ever reach that level in the U.S. (laughs).



What is your opinion of all the clone bands trying to be ?the next The Haunted? that seem to sprouting up everywhere these days?  Is it flattering or do you find it disappointing that there is a lack of originality?


Honestly, I don?t think there are that many clones and everyone in the band thinks that, too (laughs).  We?ve been asked that question so many times.  I just got back home from a two-week press tour of Europe and we were asked that question all the time!  I just kept asking, ?Who?!? (laughs)  I honestly don?t know a band that sounds like The Haunted.  We don?t mean anything mean by that but we really don?t know what you guys are talking about (laughs)!



Well I agree that it is a press-driven question, but I think it is the job of the media and the press?and the record labels, as well?to make these comparisons because the fans need a connection to decide whether or not a band is going to appeal to them or not.


I guess so.  Maybe that or it could be that a bunch of these bands are saying that they are like us or something?  If they are fans of our music, that?s amazing and I?m thankful for that.  It shows that we are fortunate and have managed to shape some kind of integrity as far as our artistic creation but it?s hard for us to say a band sounds like us.



I talked to Lars Linden from Carnal Forge and I asked him the same question because that band draws endless comparisons to The Haunted.  He said that he doesn?t understand it either and really doesn?t care (laughs)!  I think the label even had something in the promo sheet for Carnal Forge?s new CD that called them ?the new Haunted? or something?


(Laughs) Sell, sell!!!!!  I can understand that people like to throw a label on something but at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you?ve got good music or not.  We just make music straight forward and we are secure in what it is that we are doing.  This is what we do.  For a band like Carnal Forge, listen to their albums?they are not confused (laughs)! 



Speaking of labels, I?ve seen The Haunted?s music called everything from thrash to hardcore to melodic death.  What do you call it?


We play METAL!  It?s cheesy as hell but we?re not going to try to put a label on it because we?ve been doing this since we were kids.  We?ve grown to become better musicians but we?re doing the same stuff.  Everyone in the band tosses their pieces into the salad and what comes out is our definition of metal.



Are there any plans to do a follow-up DVD to last year?s CAUGHT ON TAPE release?


We started recording some stuff as we go along about six months ago.  We have this loose idea of what we want on the next DVD.  We want to create something that gives you what the whole touring situation is about.  When it comes to what we do off-stage, we?re really fucking boring (laughs).  We?re a bunch of film freaks, wearing ripped t-shirts and drinking tea (laughs).  Honestly, that?s what we do!  We?re not big on partying and we aren?t into drugs or alcohol?maybe once in awhile?but we have our party when we hit the stage.  That?s the thing we really get off on and there is a big contrast between what we do on stage and what we do when we are off stage.  We?re just soft, easy-going people who go for crushing, fucking mayhem when we play (laughs).





Well that just wrecked the whole image I had of you guys (laughs)!


(Laughs) No, hell no!  I guess it shows how fucked up we really are, man (laughs).



Alright, Peter.  Thanks very much for the call today.  It was great that you took the time to speak with Metal Rules again.  Good luck with rEVOLVEr and the U.S. tour.  I hope you guys can get back here soon.


Thanks, man.  We sure hope to get up to Vancouver next year.  Take care!


Thanks to George at Century Media for setting up the interview.


Visit The Haunted?s official website.


Read all reviews of The Haunted CDs at Metal Rules here.