Interview with The Haunted

The Haunted are about to release their latest album, entitled Unseen. It’s quite an experimental affair, much like The Dead Eye. On behalf of the band vocalist Peter Dolving answered my questions about the new album, the focus on rather pop orientated song structures and his rather outspoken views on the world around him. His answers speak for themselves…

It’s always a pleasure doing an interview with you guys. Your latest album Unseen is quite a departure of what you’ve done on rEVOLVEr and Versus. What triggered this new and more experimental approach?

Experimental? Well, back to your  question… What triggered us trying to make music? We have a deep love of music, one that’s grown over the years. Solidified. I think we started talking about making this record even before we were done making Versus. I think it’s safe to say we are done with certain parts of what some parts of metal entails. I suppose it’s just a natural progression of things. There’s no point in name dropping, but there are a lot of bands that just kind of give up their creativity, in order to stay afloat, in fear of being judged by the audience. Nor do they have the discipline to go slowly, so the process doesn’t completely topple their identity.  The Haunted is a band that was born from a shared love of performing live, a shared love of bands like Slayer, King Crimson, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. The last 10 years we have done around 100 shows per year, give or take, all over the world. Playing to an ever-growing audience. With every record we’ve made, we’ve incorporated new material into our live set and it’s always felt completely natural. So again, we make an album, and again we’ll play songs from it with songs from other albums. We already know that the old and the new meld together perfectly. It might sound cocky, but from our point of view that’s only a result of us really doing everything we can, turning ourselves inside out, in the process of making every album. Our focus on making good strong songs. We are not interested in who wears the right T- shirt, or what the trend tells us all to look like. We are interested in making music, to move our hearts and souls. Simple like that. If someone thinks we are tough, or dark or cool, or not… really, screw that. We’re in this for the music.

There seems to be something of a cycle going on with the last four records. rEVOLVEr is a somewhat traditional The Haunted record (with a couple of twists), while its successor The Dead Eye is your most experimental album to date. The same phenomenon is happening with Versus and Unseen. What’s your take on this?

I think to a certain extent Versus was a reaction, very human, to the jackass-squareheads who judged The Dead Eye on subjective merits, rather using the record as a tool to defend their convictions and limited views on reality.We didn’t really know that’s what we were doing, but sometimes things don’t become clear until later.

Unseen is a rather enigmatic title. What’s the meaning behind it and how is this reflected in the lyrics?

Damn. That’s it… It is a secret. Actually the entire album is written in secret Masonic code, only those who understand the special Illuminati-symbolism can grasp the ancient mysteries we share on this record.

Most songs on Unseen are rather vocal orientated and actually laid back, like No Ghost, Catch 22 and the title track for instance. All Ends Well is almost poppy. What inspired you guys to take this more song orientated angle?

We are selling out. In fact as soon as any band at all does anything that resembles potential listenability, they are selling out. It is important to understand that we outsource these days. We rent good musicians that just deliver the goods in a neat package. Anything to get closer to Madonnas yoga-toned ass!

In my view the faster songs like Never Better and Motionless lack the punch of 99, All Against All and Crusher for instance. What is your opinion on this?

You are honestly comparing songs of completely different character to each other. That’s just inconsistent if you ask me. Personally I think a song deserves to be judged on it’s own merits, but if you don’t agree, you don’t. It seems, maybe, just maybe, you don’t.

Tue Madsen handled the production again. What makes working with him so pleasurable?

He cares. He loves music, just like us. And he loves his job, obviously that makes for a perfect scenario. What do you think?

The Haunted is known for its ferocious live performances, but you guys aren’t getting any younger. How do you manage to keep that level of energy up?

Cocaine? Who knows, we’ll change as we grow older, find new ways to communicate the intensity, I have no doubt.

Most of the members within The Haunted have a quite a history with other/previous bands like At The Gates, Mary Beats Jane and Konkhra. Record sales are declining and the rigours of touring is not a lifestyle you can maintain forever. How would your post The Haunted life look like? Is this something you think about it?

You are a regular beam of sunlight aren’t you? (I actually am.ed) Well, I hope you have a nice day too. And as far as a post-Haunted life… who knows? We’re not there so we’ll figure that out when the day comes.

You’re known for being quite outspoken about certain objects and you don’t shy away from stirring up some controversy. Is this a way to generate some publicity for The Haunted? How do the other band members react to this?

It is not a way to generate publicity for the band. Seriously, I talk about nothing radically controversial at all. The fact that people are provoked by my thoughts and statements, that is the real controversy. That anyone should even lift their eyebrows or get upset when someone talks about basic humanism and egalitarianism in 2011 is just fucking preposterous. We agree on most of the subjects I touch upon, and what we don’t agree on we agree to disagree on. It’s called freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and it’s the basis of all democracy.

As a final question what kind of weird tour rituals do you guys have?

The sacrificing and culinary ingestion of a small child of a rich jew, arab or christian family. We started doing this in the 90’s and it’s just something relaxes everyone and relieves tension before a show. Also we eat the charred heart of an unicorn and sometimes the casual rape of a mermaid will pass.

Thank you for your time and effort. If you got any final thoughts or remarks, please put them here.

Thank you! We love talking to concerned shareholders and hopefully we can shed some light on the wonderful misgivings and world of disinformation in all things bright and shiny.

Written by Raymond Westland

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