1.Can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Dolven came about as a solo project of mine. I am lucky to have some great friends in the metal scene, so I asked for some help when it came to having the songs complete and finished, in a “band” format.
2.You have an album coming out this month, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
I wrote all of this music on the acoustic guitar, as I was living in Germany at the time and had only brought one guitar with me. The intention was to write the music and use electric guitars to fill out the sound on the recording. But I really liked the nuances and feel of the acoustic guitar, I found that the richness and the power of the acoustic guitar was missing when I recorded the riffs with electric guitars. So I kind of stumbled upon this “Acoustic Doom” tagline for the music, which I liked the sound of. I think it’s a cool idea. So I went with it. There are 3 songs with vocals and a full band, and 4 songs that are more simple, melancholy guitar pieces. Those are more in the new-folk vein…but the 3 “vocal” songs are more traditional doom. But with all acoustic guitars.
3.All of the band members are a part of other bands, what are you able to bring into this musical project that you are not able to do with your other bands?
This is a very loose, fun collaboration for all of us. No pressure, and the freedom to add anything they think would fit within the space of the music. Jason, Tim and Henry are all professionals, they have a very firm grasp of what doom music is ,what it means, and they “talk” with their instruments in a way that I admire very much. I am lucky to know them.
4.You refer to your musical style as 'acoustic doom metal', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
Doom metal done acoustically. The power and emotion of doom metal, but performed in a more gentle way.
5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Musically, the idea with this album was to express all the thoughts and manic emotions that emerge within one breath. Hence, the “Inhale” of the first song and the “exhale” of the last track. During that breath, my mind is going a million miles an hour…I am thinking about how difficult it is being an adult, how did I end up the way I am, what it means to be a man, all the obstacles in our way as we try to be the best people we can be, and all the questions that arise as we forge through this maze of life. It’s a fucking beautiful and sad world we live in, I am conflicted by the serenity and joy I feel in some moments, with the chaos that seems to be pushing me into the corners, into depression. My life has been hard in many ways, but the challenge with that is to realize that those things are actually blessings, that we can learn from hardships of life and create better experiences for everyone around us. All we have to do is change our perspective. Suffering truly leads to grace.
I really love the tale of Theseus vs the Minotaur, and that’s where the cover artwork comes from. For me, the minotaur symbolizes our mind and the constant battle throughout the maze (life) that we struggle with this conflict. This resonated with Terry (Goatprayer Records) who helped me refine my vision and dial in a more medieval approach to presenting the music. For this I am eternally grateful, it took a direction I did not expect. Yet another life lesson on how to “go with the flow”.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Dolven'?
It derives from the word “delve”, or to “dig deep”, which is what I am trying to do on an emotional and personal level with myself. Many years ago I saw that word while reading Lord of the Rings as the fellowship entered the mines of Moria.. The exact quote is this: “..and they were oppressed by the loneliness and vastness of the dolven halls and endlessly branching stairs and passages.”
7.Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
Strictly studio. Between families and bands, it is going to be difficult to find the time. We are all in our late 30’s….an interesting time in life to be a metalhead musician haha.
8.Can you tell us a little bit more about the deal you have signed with 'Goatprayer Records'?
Terry (head of Goatprayer) and I are co-releasing 500 CD’s, and Terry himself is putting out 100 cassettes. Packaging and inlays for both are beautiful, as designed by Terry and I. He is very good at what he does, and I am happy to have met him. And I am stoked how they turned out. I imagine we will work together in the future.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of neo folk and metal?
Feedback has been fantastic…I feel like these types of emotions that emit from the music resonate well with both neo-folk and doom metal fans. It’s a very strange feeling putting out music that is so personal, it exposes my vulnerabilities, but I am happy with the reactions I have heard. It’s not music for everyone, but those that get it, they get it.
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that the band members are a part of?
Jason is constantly busy with Agalloch, and his other projects …Self Spiller, Especially Likely Sloth, and numerous mixing and mastering projects. He lives and breathes music. As does Tim Call…easily Portland’s most prolific and amazing drummer. He is in too many bands to list, but Nightfell, Sempertinal Dusk and Weregoat are my favorites. He alsowas touring drummer for Mourneful Congregation…one of my favorite doom bands. He is a legend! I am lucky to know him. Henry has one of the most unique voices in metal…I am thankful for his contributions to this project. He has his own acoustic solo project called Weather Veins and is in a proggy black metal band called Ironwood. He shreds on guitar and bass, he is an amazing talent.
11.Where do you see this band heading into musically during the future?
I feel like we will become more of a “unit” in the future, rather than a solo project. I hope to contribute more with the other guys and it excites me to think about where that could lead. I think we are hitting on some cool ideas and originality, and would like to expand that further. Happy/melancholy metal music…is that possible? I want to explore that.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I can only speak for myself, but the idea for the band came from a desire to blend Ulver “Kveldssanger” and Warning “Watching From a Distance”. Those albums sound very similar to me for some reason. It was natural for me to write music that sounded like both of those bands. My love for heavy metal intro songs was also a huge influence, stuff like the intro to Unleashed “Where No Life Dwells” or Morbid Angel “Desolate Ways”. Currently, I have been loving the new My Dying Bride, Mgla, Crimson Swan, and Lacrimas Profundere’s marvellous album “Memorandum”.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
I have many hobbies and passions…art, home building, raising my 10 year old daughter, movies, and riding bikes. Enjoying Oregon wilderness and hiking, out in nature as much as possible. We live in a special place. Eating good food and quality beers are also hugely important to me!
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks a lot for the questions, it has been fun…. and a huge thanks to Terry from Goatprayer, without him this album may have been destined to obscurity.