THE HAUNTED – interview by mike bushman
Modern Fix (MF): Hey, how are you?
Per Jensen: I m all right.
MF: Cool, I saw your show here in L.A. How did the North American tour go?
PJ: It was really good, a lot of people at the shows. L.A. was one of the highlights of the tour because of the venue itself, a very nice place. It was a really good show in L.A.
(Per of course is talking about The Palace, because we all know the other P venue is the sorriest excuse for a live venue in Hollywood) – editor
MF: Was this your first outing with The Haunted?
PJ: No, we were in North America before, but this tour was quite a lot bigger because of the greater diversity in the billing with like four different styles of music in one package so, of course, thats going to attract a lot more people. I always enjoy going to the states. Its always good.
MF: What were the touring conditions for you guys? Do they just throw you all in one bus?
PJ: We shared a bus with the first supporting act, Lamb of God. It was a little crammed up but we managed though. It was pretty tiny this time around. The only kind of relief you could have was to go into your bunk, into your bed and stay there until you came to a venue. It could be a little annoying in the long run because the bus was not particularly huge.
(NOTE: 5 members in The Haunted + 4 Lamb of God = 9 men and a driver)
MF: So those were the living conditions? The bus was your home?
PJ: Yeah thats how it is. Once in awhile well have a day room if we havent showered in a few days. Thats the big difference between Europe and the States. In Europe they usually have showers at the venue and in the states they almost never have. The hygiene is not top priority, you could easily say that.
MF: I imagine it gets pretty funky. I doubt they have laundry service.
PJ: Thats something we have to take care of too. We usually do laundry once on a tour. Like I said, the hygiene is not the best on a bus like that, and if one guy gets sick, the whole bus is sick a couple days after. Thats the thing you can count on, you go on tour, youre gonna get sick. A couple days into the second week you start getting the flu, but those are just the conditions. Thats how it always is. Especially in the States where you tend to crank up youre A.C.s so ridiculously high. Its not like a breeze its more like a small storm in your bunk every night. That totally takes me out. In Sweden we dont have A.C. so were not use to that.
MF: Were there any problems with the bus or security at the venues?
PJ: Security at the venues? No, I didnt see any problems this time around. There may be some violent securities once in awhile. Ive seen a lot of shit happen. People who dont get the idea why theyre there. They dont know people are there to have a good time. Theyre just there to beat somebody up or something, but this time around it was pretty good.
MF: How about fans? Do you get much time to talk to fans after the shows?
PJ: I always try to go out after the show and meet up with people. If youre in a band, people like appreciate what you do. I mean, its the least you can do is to go out there meet people, show them youre just a regular guy, you know? That were on the same level as the audience. Were not about trying to be fucking rock stars.
MF: In Sweden you won the best hard rock Grammy, right? What does that mean to you?
PJ: I think it means a lot more to people around the band than to the actual members of the band. Personally, I havent even seen the Grammy. I dont know what it looks like. We were on tour when the Grammy awards were held. We were on tour in Hamburg or something when we got the information. It was pretty cool. We had a good night. We had a little party there. People got a little too drunk on stage, but thats what happens. We didnt expect to win that one at all. We were nominated with Hammer Fall and Hammer Fall sells a lot more albums than we do. I dont know how it works in that states, but usually around here, Sweden, Denmark, if youre nominated for a Grammy you can count on the band with the biggest label, the band that sells the most records, is always going to win the Grammy, but this time was like the exception to the rule.
MF: It works the same here. Its a popularity contest.
PJ: Its like the whole fucking record industry meet up once a year and lick each others asses, but this time around I think everyone got a big, big surprise that we actually won that one.
MF: Its really cool that they awarded it to you guys.
PJ: Definitely. Weve seen a big difference here in Sweden press-wise. All the magazines and all the newspapers that didnt give a shit about The Haunted a couple months ago all suddenly start calling us all the time. Thats good for the publicity of the band, but it also shows how fake the whole fucking music industry is.
MF: But it is a good achievement. Who are some drummers you look up to?
PJ: If were talking metal, I totally grew up with Slayer and Exodus. Obviously thrash metal wise my two major influences are Tom Hunting and Dave Lombardo. Thats the two drummers who probably shaped my playing and still are. I still enjoy listening to each drummer. But I listen to a lot of jazz here at home: Coltrane and a lot of sixties jazz music where you can find some really fine drummers. So to name names: Tom Hunting, Dave Lombardo, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams. Those four drummers are probably my biggest influences and, of course, Gene Hoglan. I discovered him a little later in the late eighties with Dark Angel. Gene Hoglan is incredible.
MF: Hes impressive.
PJ: And a very nice guy too. I really have high respect for Gene. Awesome.
MF: What do you hope to accomplish with The Haunted in the future? Whats the impetus behind the drive to create more and tour more and play more?
PJ: Once you start it at an early age, playing music, its just there. I dont think its gonna disappear. You just have that… urge, and the interest in music itself. Its hard to really lay out in words. It just sticks with you. Music will always be there for me whether its going to be metal or whatever. I choose to play metal since its the most fun to play. I have a lot of aggressions in me and metal is definitely the ultimate way to get some of that shit out of the system. Nothing comes close to playing a metal show. Its all the craziness and the whole vibe around it. Its just something you cant escape from once youve been caught in it.
MF: So its like therapy for you in a way then?
PJ: It is like some sort of therapy. Especially playing the drums since its a very physical instrument. I definitely get relief from playing the shows and recording. I mean, theres a huge difference between playing shows and recording albums. Recording albums is like a statement. Something thats going to last. Something youre going to have to live with for many years to come.
MF: I wanted to ask you about the art work in the album. Particularly the receipt on the back cover from the Guns and Supply store. Who came up with that?
PJ: Funny that you mention that because Im very proud of that one too. The guy who did the artwork for the album [Andreas Diaz Pettersson] we more or less gave him free ends because hes a very talented guy. We gave him the title and why we had the title, The Haunted Made Me Do It, and he sort of came up with the whole artwork. Hes a very talented guy and Im very happy with it. Its very cynical, but it does somehow tell the truth too, doesnt it?
MF: Its spooky looking at the purchases of guns, mace, handcuffs and what not all on that one receipt.
PJ: And its totally like, thank-you, have a nice day, go out and slaughter.
MF: Theres not access to guns and military equipment in Sweden like in the U.S.
PJ: Thats probably why were so amazed by the American system because here in Scandinavia nobody owns guns, man. Its like; you dont own a gun here unless youre in a club. If youre in a shooting club you might have some kind of a rifle. Nobody owns a gun around here. Its not a part of the mentality. You dont own guns. You dont need guns to protect yourself either. If the criminal is not going to come to you with a gun then what do you need a gun for?
MF: I wish it was the same here in the U.S. I really do.
PJ: Yeah, I wish too because you hear all this fucking shit happening like every other week some kid pulls a gun from his mothers purse and pulls the trigger and kills somebody. Just once is too much. Just one life wasted like that is too much. For us, being Scandinavians, its weird. Thats the only way I can put it. Its a weird mentality with all those weapons, you know?
MF: And after shit happens people, the press, look for something to blame besides the easy access to weaponry.
PJ: Over here we kind of laugh at all the trials. Especially the Judas Priest trial. It was hilarious. I couldnt believe it. I heard that even recently Slayer has had some problems too.
MF: Yeah, they have a wrongful death suit against them.
PJ: Im happy Im not in any of their shoes. I hope nobody takes our album title like that. A title like that could easily cause a lot of problems if anything like that were to happen. Its supposed to be a cynical and funny statement. And thats hopefully how people will take it.
MF: So whats next on the agenda for The Haunted?
PJ: We have a lot of festivals especially around here in Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, Belgium. We have quite a lot of shows to take care of during the summer and were gonna try to write songs in between so hopefully well be back in the studio in November or something like that, and then hopefully well have something new out by March of next year.
MF: Im surprised you find the time.
PJ: Im surprised we havent started doing something yet. But once you get home from a tour you just need a rest. You need a rest from the other guys in the band too, you know? You got to get your space every once in awhile, keep your distance so you dont get too much bad blood. Basically what its been for us is touring, coming home, having a rest for a couple weeks and then were off to somewhere else. We havent really had the time. We havent had a practice room either. We havent had a practice place for half a year now. Thats pretty ridiculous isnt it?
MF: Well, yes, a little.
PJ: Winning a Grammy, touring the whole world and we dont even have a practice space. Thats how Sweden is. Its pretty tough to get a practice room. We got kicked out of our old one. Its going to be redone into office buildings or whatever. There are so many bands coming out of Gothamberg you really have to struggle to find a practice space.
MF: Do you find the people there to be supportive? Are they happy for the bands success?
PJ: Yeah, we had a totally excellent sold out show when we played here last time. We had a very good Swedish tour. We played fourteen shows in fourteen days here in Sweden.
MF: Are there two brothers in the band?
PJ: Yeah, twins.
MF: Oh my. Hows that? Is there added friction on tour because theyre brothers?
PJ: Oh yeah. Its a typical twin relationship, you know, its love, hate. Theyll have an argument and be about to kill each other one minute and then be the best of friends next. I mean, for me, I enjoy watching them fight you know? Theyll fight about anything. Theyll always find something to fight about.
MF: Well, sibling rivalries aside, I hope things continue to go well for you and are there any last words youd like to add?
PJ: Thanks to all the people who came to our shows on the last U.S. tour and hopefully well be back very soon to deliver more thrash for the people.