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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Ola Englund The Haunted – Interview
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Swedish melodic death metal band The Haunted had a huge lineup change a couple of years ago but it only had a positive effect on the band as they returned with a new album "Exit Wounds", a couple of former members returning and the introduction of a brand new member in guitarist Ola Englund who we had the pleasure of talking to. We discuss the new songs, being in the band and what we can expect on their upcoming tour to Australia.



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Andrew: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today, it's a pleasure talking to you!

Ola: No problem at all, my pleasure!

Andrew: I guess the first thing we'll talk about is your upcoming tour in Australia, we're definitely looking forward to this. I guess we should ask what can we expect on this tour?

Ola: Well it isn't the first time that The Haunted have played in Australia but it is for me though so I'm very much looking forward to it. It is my first time in Australia but I mean if you are coming up to one of our shows, you are definitely going to see a new and rejuvenated The Haunted I would say. They can expect us to play fast and not holding back at all. I mean it's such a good gang now with this new lineup or a kind of "old" new lineup that is The Haunted so you'll definitely see us smile a lot and we're having a great time while we're out playing right now so hopefully people will see that.

Andrew: I need to ask then when you first joined the band a couple of years ago, how did you feel about it? I mean did you feel a little bit like an outsider considering that the other guys who are in there had been in The Haunted before or did it feel comfortable?

Ola: Yes and I mean I am the only new guy in the band and of course replacing Anders Bjorler, those are big shoes to fill. But right from the start when I talked to (Patrik, guitars) Jensen when he asked me straight out if I wanted to join the band, just the audition and the vibe all around was so relaxed but I've never really been nervous or felt wierd in a way to join this band. It's been an absolute pleasure and Jensen from the start was telling me from the start that 'Yeah we don't want you to just fill in like the live shows, we want you to bring in your riffs and create this new dynamic The Haunted with us'. So they've been letting me do my own thing and we write all the songs together and it's definitely giving The Haunted a new dynamic than it didn't have before so it feels good to be in the band!

Andrew: Were you familiar with a lot of their work before you joined the band?

Ola: Yes and to be honest I am actually a fan of the band! I started listening to them back when they released "The Haunted Made Me Do It" and in Sweden The Haunted is kind of a big deal. They've won several Grammy's and stuff like that so I'm still a big fan and I'm in the band which is kind of wierd.

Andrew: Yeah so does that give you a persepctive of like, well you're in the band but you're also a fan as well so you're kinda caught in the middle so to speak?

Ola: Yeah but in a good way. When we wrote songs for the latest album "Exit Wounds" I wrote the song as a fan and you can definitely hear that. There's a lot of The Haunted in my writing but still [with] the Ola riffs I would say, with a lot of The Haunted influence. It's wierd, sometimes when I'm up on stage I have to pinch myself just to remind myself that this is real because it is a big deal for me to be in this band.

Andrew: Yeah definitely! As far as the new album is concerned, how much of an input did you have on the songs?

Ola: We wrote everything together basically so Jensen and Jonas (Bjorler, bass) and I started to write our own songs and then everyone went into each others songs and started nitpicking and changing them up to make the songs even more dynamic. So I've probably been a part of all the songs on the album in a way, like I said we've all been nitpicking in every song I would say so I've had a big part in the album that's for sure.

Andrew: When you started putting your own ideas into it and obviously being a fan of the band as well, was there certain stuff about the band that you really liked that you tried to sort of get into the band again that was maybe missing on the last few albums?

Ola: While I consider The Haunted to be The Haunted band when I discovered them and made me do it and all that and Marco (Aro, former vocalist), I'm also a big fan of the (Peter) Dolving stuff, the more melodic stuff that they put out. I tried to keep a good mixture of both really and keep that in mind because there are both fans of the thrashier The Haunted and there are fans of the more melodic The Haunted. I try to keep that in mind and that way having both the thrashy side and the more melodic side, it gives a certain dynamic to an album. It's been pretty easy writing songs for The Haunted because it is a very dynamic band, there's room for a lot stuff to be done. It's not just straight up metal, there is a lot of nuances and flavors in it that it makes it easier for us to write fresh songs.

Andrew: Now you mentioned before that you are making your debut in Australia so I'm sure the Australian fans are looking forward to seeing you in The Haunted. But as far as the touring has been so far, how has the reception been from the fans?

Ola: Very well actually! I think like I said that people see that we have a lot of energy, a lot of new energy and I mean the other guys in the band as well. At the end when everyone was quitting the band it wasn't in a good state really so I mean we are having such a good time with each other and you can definitely see that on stage and it reflects on the audience as well. It's just a good time really for all the shows and we've had really good responses at the shows. We recently went to Athens and Istanbul and the response has been amazing, over my expectations at least.

Andrew: As far as setlists, what have they been looking like so far and can we expect the same kind of stuff in Australia?

Ola: We're not keeping anything out, we're doing it all. So we're playing songs from every album like a best of The Haunted in a kind of way because we want all the fans to enjoy the show, we're not going to leave anyone out or anything and just play Marco songs because he's not in the band anymore. We do it all and of course we're playing a lot of the newer songs as well so you can definitely expect a best of thing.

Andrew: Awesome! And how are the new songs playng out live?

Ola: Very good I would say and they fit the rest of the songs really well. One of the songs that we're playing is "Trendkiller" which is basically like a very groovy, stomping kind of song and it really fits well with the rest of the songs and it's very dynamic in that way. So yeah I think the reception has been great and it definitely shows that people have listened to the album and bought the album because they sing along in the songs. It's been a good turnout I think.

Andrew: Yeah obviously when people start singing your songs, that's one of the most positive receptions you can get I guess.

Ola: Yes exactly!

Andrew: Out of all the albums that you have got and play from, is there any particular song or even an album that the fans really get riled up the most about?

Ola: I think the songs from the first albums are really the songs that people are kinda getting nuts over because they are the more thrashy ones. The mosh songs like "Hate Song" which is basically like a discharge over everything, it's really when the crowd goes nuts. The faster songs are definitely the songs that have the best reception I think, the thrashy version of The Haunted, at least for the live shows.

Andrew: What about yourself, do you have any particular favorites that you love playing?

Ola: I love playing "Hate Song" because there is such a good response to it but I also like playing a new song on the album called "Time Will Not Heal". There's a lot of Pantera groove to it, I like that kind of style just to change up from the quicker and faster songs, to have a more groove oriented song. So it's good having that dynamic which is something I definitely like and not just the same old thrash all over, it's a really dynamic show in that way.

Andrew: Yeah putting a setlist together and trying to make it quite varied is probably a difficult thing now that you have quite a few albums to pick from.

Ola: Yes but I mean it's still pretty easy because we basically get to play all the songs that need to be played from a fans persepctive. So for a headlining show like this one in Australia, it's going to be good! We're going to be able to play all the songs that people want to hear.

Andrew: Awesome! So let's go back a little into your history, who are your biggest influences on the guitar or who made you pick up the guitar in the first place?

Ola: Definitely Dimabag of Pantera. I'm a huge Dimebag fan and I've always been and he's definitely, and still is to a point..he's untouchable. In my point of view there's a lot of shredders out there that can play guitar for real but he had it all. He had the heart, he had the shredding, he had a bad ass attitude. He seemed to be the most awesome guy ever according to all the stories and just a genuine guy. He still inspires me even after the fact that he's been dead for more than 10 years now.

Andrew: Yeah that's right, it was the 10th anniversary last year in December.

Ola: Exactly I mean I remember that day as if it was yesterday so it's kind of wierd. But yeah he's still a major influence on my playing and on my song writing as well because he had that groove and those groovy riffs and all that.

Andrew: Did you ever have the opportunity to meet him at all?

Ola: Not meet him in person, I had a chance to see him, to see him live with Pantera but unfortunately I only got to meet the other guys but not Dimebag in person which is kind of a drag but that would be on my bucketlist for sure but that's not going to happen.

Andrew: Yeah obviously. But it's amazing how influential his guitar playing was.

Ola; And still is!

Andrew: Absolutely yeah, he had everything and the talent but one of the things that stood out the most to me was his attitude. His attitude on music was really about everything.

Ola: Yeah the attitude makes it so much better, he's so much more lovable than any other guy haha! Because he was that way.

Andrew: Haha yeah that's right.

Ola: I definitely try to keep that in mind when having that kind of view to life and just to people in general and not being an asshole and just making everyone happy. It's a very healthy view.

Andrew: Exactly. If there was any particular album in history that you could be the witness to the recording of, would there be any album that you would love to be a part of?

Ola: I would definitely love to be part of the "Vulgar Display Of Power" with Pantera because it was so tight. I mean I would love to see just the recording process. I saw them live once and they are tight but I mean but there is no other band that could make it as tight as that album, it's just ridiculous. The amount of work they must have put into it, that would of been awesome to experience that recording process.

Andrew: Yeah that would be awesome. As I said before it's going to be a great tour and you guys are playing with another band called Insomnium. Do you know much about them at all?

Ola: Yes a fair bit, I know what they sound like. I haven't seen them live before but I think they fit the bill perfectly, they are definitely Scandinavian metal sounding. It's a good package this tour.

Andrew: Absolutely! It's great to see you coming back again and hopefully it will be a great tour for you guys. It's been great talking to you today, thanks again! It's been an absolute pleasure.

Ola: My pleasure!

THE HAUNTED with Insomnium tour dates:

Thursday 14th May BRISBANE The Hi-Fi
with Special Guests In Death...

Friday 15th May MELBOURNE The Hi-Fi
with Special Guests Orpheus Omega

Saturday 16th May SYDNEY Manning Bar
with Special Guests Daemon Pyre

Tickets on sale at Metropolis Touring.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on March 25th 2015