The Lowdown: Interview with Peter Dolving

The Lowdown: Interview with Peter Dolving

"I think the whole argument is bullshit. People share music. It's just something we do."

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Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire July 22nd, 2013

Some weeks ago we had the opportunity to interview one of the most talented singers in metal. Peter Dolving is most known for his work with bands like The Haunted or Mary Beats Jane with whom he has won some important awards in the Swedish music scene. Having left the band that made him internationally famous and living just of his art, Peter Dolving is releasing more tracks than ever under different monikers but always under the roof of House of Dolving, his own music label. Below we talk about his projects, piracy, Spotify, and the current situation of the music industry.


AltSounds: Hello, and thank you for your time, Peter. First things first, although you are working hard to unveil some new projects and have also released your first proper solo album, you are best known as the former singer of The Haunted. Your last album with them, Unseen, from 2011, is in my opinion one of your best works with the band. You use different vocal registrations, experimentation, your lyrics are more complex, and the sound is overall more... "Dolving", or at least sounds more like your latest works. Were you satisfied with the final product? Did you really express yourself in the final The Haunted record or you were too constricted by the rest of the band?

Peter Dolving: I was fairly happy with Unseen, I think it's a good bunch of songs and the production and playing is great - it is a well-executed record. But there was no joy in the making of it. We never were a band so much as 5 completely different individuals all striving in different directions. Our intentions are pure, but we never managed to step into the same headspace. So to me personally it's kinda sad and painful to listen to, it's like listening to the sound of failure in communication. But it's different when you've lived something. My perceptions doesn't really matter in this case, for anyone but me.

AltSounds: Your new projects still contain metal elements but are more rock oriented. Genres are bullshit, but I can hear psychedelic, pop and even jazz elements in Thieves and Liars. Does that mean that Peter Dolving is getting more into rock and we will never get to hear him again singing in a thrash or death metal band?

Peter Dolving: I am certain somewhere along the line a project will pop up that will inspire me to do more hard vocal styles, but at the moment, in truth, it just bores me. I think James Maynard Keenan got a question of the same nature and his answer was something in the sentiment that "everything has it's time in life and when we are finished with a process in life we're finished with it." I think a lot of people who listen to music fail to understand that I have always reached for truthfulness in what I do. Before all, the reality of emotive sincerity, what else is there if you are striving to create art? Imitation? Not very rewarding in the deeper sense of things. But quite frankly, most of the screaming in me is gone. Life is far beyond screaming in its entire unfathomable horror and limitless cruelty. I find screaming is an impotent act of wasted energy. It leads nowhere, it merely releases energy, it changes nothing. It's more an expression of helplessness and frustration. It's what babies do, and what we do to a certain point to deal with pain, anger, sorrow and frustration. I have since long passed that point.

AltSounds: So far, House of Dolving has two ongoing projects right now: Chemo and Salomon Ape (now simply “SOL”). How do you describe, in short, the sound of both projects, and who are the musicians involved?

Peter Dolving: It's rock music, emotional, existentialist commentary. Musically in the same family as Big Black, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, The Beatles, Nirvana, Flaming Lips. Hell, basically anything that feels fun, weird, groovy, angular, beautiful and meaningful as far as songs go, we will do it.

AltSounds: Both Chemo and Salomon Ape are getting tracks released every week on Bandcamp. Will there be a debut album for each project? If so, when can we expect them?

Peter Dolving: Don't have expectation. Get engaged and be there when it happens instead. It's so much more interesting with reality as it comes to play than building vague constructs out of air that may or may not be realized.

AltSounds: I believe you quit Science some time ago. What was the project all about? Is it no-more, or was it just you the one who left? Will we get to hear the recorded material?

Peter Dolving: Science is dead. Blind ambition and manipulation killed it. Like all great art.

AltSounds: There's another two projects people does not know too much about, and we haven't got many updates lately. I'm talking about and Rosvo. Are you still working on both projects? What are they all about and when can we get a piece of their music? Any estimated release dates?

Peter Dolving: is slow but that's how it has to be. We released Being born on Bandcamp and the other streaming-services on the net and there's more coming. Rosvo are recording the last of the guitars a little bit every week and I'll start laying down vocals when I start getting raw mixes sometime this spring.

AltSounds: You were also able to collaborate with Nina De Heney and Mårten Magnefors in a jazz project, I believe. What can you tell us about it?

Peter Dolving: Voodooimprovisation/channelling. I have no other way to describe it. It visceral, dislocated and otherworldly. Freeform, outré and deeply physical.

AltSounds: How do you find the time to work in so many different projects and still do paintings, artwork and drawings?

Peter Dolving: I don't know.

AltSounds: What does a musical project need to have a place in House of Dolving?

Peter Dolving: Peter Dolving.

WATCH | Peter Dolving - 'Meinhof'

AltSounds: Thieves and Liars was released digitally in 2012, and since then it has gotten great reviews. A CD version came out earlier this year, but what are the next steps for your solo project? Will you be touring in Sweden, or maybe even in Europe?

Peter Dolving: I can't find musicians with the discipline, respect, ambition and open-mindedness necessary. At least not in Sweden at moment. Most are wrapped up in this bullshit idea that I am remotely interested in being this cozy comrade. I am not. I'm 43 years old. I have toured for 20 years. I ceased being a functional member of society at least 10 years ago. Everything I have experienced has changed my perception of very thing. I simply think differently and see things differently and I can't un-make it so. I can't not be who I am. It's at a momentary hiatus until I find another solution to this enigma.

AltSounds: Would you tour as Peter Dolving, or instead, use the House of Dolving moniker and also play Chemo songs or other projects involved?

Peter Dolving: I have no idea.

AltSounds: When did you decide to start House of Dolving? Years later we can say that the project is your main priority musically speaking. How do you value the path from the beginning until now? Are you starting to see the light or things are still hard?

Peter Dolving: House Of Dolving has been an idea I have had since 1993. Life IS hard. Whether you are financially stable or not only determines the level to which you manage to insulate yourself from the many emotional gusts and wavebreaks of it all. But should we? Of course I see the light, that doesn't mean anything. In the end, nothing means anything.

AltSounds: Will there be a follow up for Thieves and Liars?

Peter Dolving: Probably.

AltSounds: You use sites like Bandcamp or Facebook to promote your art. That gives the fans a way to enjoy the songs as soon as they get released and buy them if they want to. You're skipping record labels and a lot of "paperwork" here, but it must be a hard job to both create and sell the product. What are the advantages and disadvantages of selling your music online?

Peter Dolving: It's immense in terms of workload and we fail miserably constantly, which is totally alright. Because emotionally it's a much freer work process and that actually makes up for it. Right now I am thinking about just taking a year off completely away from everything. Just go be a homeless bum somewhere. Who knows?

AltSounds: What do you think about the new and popular streaming services like Spotify? Do you think it is fair for the artists?

Peter Dolving: Well, this is not even an opinion; It is NOT fair to the artists. ESPECIALLY if they sign the rights to their work away to an outside entity. It's really as simple as that. Spotify etc. are ripoff constructions. There is ONE place that do it right, and it's True story.

AltSounds: There's still a great discussion about how damaging that music piracy has been to the music industry and to the artists that try to sell their work. Do you think illegal downloads can help people to discover bands and records they would later buy merchandise, go to gigs or even buy original albums?

Peter Dolving: I think the whole argument is bullshit. People share music. It's just something we do. The problem is that the market is completely oversaturated with product. The record companies are responsible for this. They inflated the concept of what being a working musician meant in order to intensify the competition, and maximize profits. They've systematically been releasing more music than there was ever a demand for since the mid 80's as a way to better control marketing and as a result it's all capsized. When they saw it was getting too heavy of a financial burden the money started getting cut from recording budgets and the artist’s accounts, since they knew they had a fresh line of enthusiastic blue-eyed sons and daughters waiting at the door to take the place of anyone who didn't think being treated like shit was very enjoyable or tolerable. Today, making music is anyone’s game. Any fool can make an OK record and everybody wants to be a"rockstar". And if you have the right attitude and everyone is willing to sell their skills to help out whoever holds the check book...

Well, shit... You go figure, right?

As far as consumers, the consumers in general are complete sheep, the majority of them don't really know quality from noise, if it's got a beat and works to fill the void between right ear and left ear, and everyone else is listening to it as well, they're happy as long as it fills out a bunch of other superficial requirements. Social qualities, group-identity, talkability, the music has become less and less important and on an overall general note I'd say I think it's pretty horrific. But there is still amazing music made out there, and there are still people who find it. Personally I believe ideas, music and words will survive this very very very dark passage in cultural-history. It will be know as "the Age of the morons" or "The TRUE dark ages".

AltSounds: Digital downloads or physical formats? Why?

Peter Dolving: Both. They serve different needs and purposes.

AltSounds: How do you visualize the music business ten years from now?

Peter Dolving: I don't.

AltSounds: What artists does Peter Dolving listen to when he finds the time? Can you recommend some albums that you really liked in the last few years? What are you listening to nowadays? Which artists do you count as your main influences?

Peter Dolving: I don't really have main influences, I love music. MUSIC. You know, Steve Reich, King Crimson, Bring Me The Horizon, QOTSA, Radiohead, Kvelertak, Tom Waits, My Bloody Valentine, Puscifer, Big Black, John Coltrane, Converge, Mudhoney, The Beatles, Frank Zappa. You know... Mewsick.

AltSounds: Tack så mycket för din tid, Peter.

Peter Dolving: Thank you for being interested. / Peter Dolving

(Interview is published as a translation from original Spansih version at a Spanish music blog)

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