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Micke Dahlqvist (Dogpound)

Interview with Micke Dahlqvist from Dogpound
by Grigoris Chronis at 01 October 2007, 11:05 PM

I love doing interviews with down-to-earth smiling musicians. DOGPOUND's guitarist Micke should be the perfect company for some beer on a local Rock bar, right? Due to the recent release of the Swedish (extended) Hard Rock quartet's great III album, we had the chance to talk bout Rock, Sweden, humor and PeterTagtgren(!). Tres bien Micke!

Hello from Metal Temple magazine. DOGPOUND has just released its latest album, III, and I can’t avoid but asking how the hell do you come up with such a unique profile in songwriting. I feel DOGPOUND sounds like no other band in the Hard/Heavy field. Are the songs a result of ’team work’?

It all started back in ?, when we formed the band. Me & Figge had been playing in different bands for several years during the 90’s, combining a Prog Metal band and a Goth/Death Metal thing that both released a bunch of albums. I was one half of the songwriting force in the Prog Metal band, and I kinda grew tired of that genre and wanted to play more song-oriented material. For the time we started a cover band doing exclusively 70’s Hard Rock songs with Hea (vocals) and a drummer we knew, just to get the fun back into playing music. After a year & a half the drummer had to quit for personal reasons. It was at this time we found Tuka. Or if he found us! Anyway, I had this idea to get a band together, playing melodic yet modern Hard Rock. I wrote a couple of songs, asked if the guys would be interested in doing some original songs and off we went! So if you find our songs to be unique, it’s 98% me.

Hea has written the lyrics for one song on each album but otherwise it’s all in my head. There’s been 8 years now since the first DOGPOUND songs were written in my living room, so there’s been a natural evolution to the writing process. I feel like the songs are getting better and better, and from what the reviews so far have said, that might just be the case. Another big part on the sound is how each and everyone of us handles our instruments. If it wasn’t the four of us playing, it wouldn’t even be close to what you hear. Tuka and Figge has a tremendous input when it comes to forming the DOGPOUND sound, and Heas vocals…they are just amazing. He’s an extremely talented guy. So even if I write close to all the material, without the other guys it would never be DOGPOUND!

And the lyrics are a great bonus for DOGPOUND. You surely have a strong sense of humour. Where do you draw inspiration from? Are you the same people in your daily lives?

You like them? Cool! Thanks! The inspiration for the lyrics are in many cases stuff taken out of real life. Humor is a big part of life you know! And one of the things I decided early on when I started to writing the lyrics for DOGPOUND was to never write about religion or politics. Music is entertainment, not a platform to stand on for your own and/or your band to spread propaganda in any way, in my opinion. There’s the humorous aspect to our lyrics but there’s also serious subjects here and there. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. But it’s important for me to keep it on a somewhat respectable level, since we don’t wanna look like a bunch of clowns, you know! And we do have a lot of fun when we get together, lots of laughs. I can’t put up a facade when I write the lyrics, to become someone I’m not, it has to be honest and from the heart. If it’s humour or on a more serious level it doesn’t matter.

Even if Lion Music is a premier label, I’d like to ask under what conditions did you come in agreement with them? They’re mostly known for their ’virtuoso artists’ roster. Is there a deal for even more albums for them?

We got in contact with Lasse at Lion Music about 5 or 6 years ago. And he liked what he heard, even though we weren’t even near what’s usually released on that label. After a couple of demos we signed the deal! As simple as that. He liked us and we liked what he offered! We’ve been talking about a 4th album, guess we’ll have to wait and see. At the moment all focus is on III but at the pace things are running now, my guess is that we’ll have something new out next year.

I did not have the chance to hear the band’s debut album, The Hellbum back in 2003. I first met DOGPOUND when the A Night In The Gutter follow-up was released in 2005. In what way has DOGPOUND developed its style since then?

More of a traditional Metal sound is the big difference. A Night In The Gutter was very garage band sounding, and we wanted to get away from that. The way we play the songs isn’t that much different, it’s in the production. We deliberately chose that path when A.N.I.T.G. was released. That sound was cool back then, but we needed to move on. The songs were also written in a more ’Metal’ kinda way this time around, without moving away too much from the DOGPOUND sound. I guess that we’ve also matured as a band and have got a few steps closer to find our own sound. The first two albums are OK, but III blows them both away. And I’m glad it is that way, not the other way around!

You wrote nearly 25 songs for III, and then just picked 14 for the album. Clearing out the stuff needed for the album: was it a hard task?

Nah, not really. Since the beginning we’ve trusted our gut reaction. If it doesn’t feel good right away, it probably won’t feel good tomorrow either! And some of these 25 songs really sucked… There was a couple of cool tracks that got ditched, one where Tuka pulled out his double bass drum kit and we did a fast VAN HALEN kinda song. Even though it felt cool, it didn’t fit the album. Maybe next time…except for that one song, all other songs are in the trashcan. I very rarely use old ideas, I want new material to be up to date and to be where the band’s at at the moment. I don’t get that feeling of freshness if I bring some old stuff to the studio. Right now I have 5 songs done…hopefully there will be at least 20 more before it’s time to make another record!

Peter Tagtgren producing for the DOGPOUND style of music. Knowing Peter to be involved in the more ’extreme’ Metal side I should ask: how did you come in contact in him? Opposites attract (laughs)?

He he! Tuka and Peter have been friends for many years, and to ask him was a natural step to take with the sound direction we wanted. Peter is an amazing talent, both as a musician and a sound engineer/producer, no question about it. And he did a really great job.And it’s the best sounding DOGPOUND album so far, don’t you agree? So if he’s free and wiling to do it again, he’s the bands first choice the next time also. You hear that, Peter?

Have you lined up any tour dates for the time being?

Not at the moment. But if the album sales keep going in the direction as they’ve started, I think you don’t have to wait an awful long time to see us on the road. And it would be great to get out there! We’ve made a lot of friends both here and there and to get on the road and meet them would be just awesome…we’ll have to wait and see. If the right offer turns up we’ll be there…and kick some ass!

What are your expectations for the market’s response to III? There are tons of bands releasing countless albums through endless labels in our days! Do you aim to some specific audience, even if your music style is extended enough?

On the earlier releases, the latter sold better than the first and then the sales of our second disc made the first sell a couple of albums more and so on, this time the new album have sold more than the two first has done together in the first two weeks of the release, so…so far the reviews has been excellent, all 8 or 9/10 or 4 or 5/5. It’s only you who’s given the album a rating under 4 so far…you bastard! (e.n.: Crucify me!!!) And I’ll have to say that we don’t aim at any specific audience, we just do what we do best…shoot blindfolded and wait to see what we’ve hit! We’ve had positive response from both old geezers and kids in their fifteens, so I guess that anyone’s a potential DOGPOUND fan…

How’s Sweden been treating you so far?

Sweden’s tough…we got quite good airplay on a couple of songs from A Night In The Gutter and hopefully we’ll get some airplay this time around also. But Media is a different story…We’ve had top reviews in the leading Rock and Metal magazines over here, but we’re not interesting enough for an interview….feels kinda strange to do a one and a half hour long interview with Japan’s biggest hard rock magazine, Burrn!, and a shitload of other magazines and Metal sites, but here at home they just couldn’t care less…I just don’t get it. Seems like there’s more interest just about anywhere else in the world. But it has always been like this here….Swedish Hard Rock and Metal bands have always had a hard time getting some recognition here. Sad, but true…

I admire Sweden’s music quality: be it some Melodic/AOR band or some nasty Black Metal outfit, nearly all Swedish bands are rather skilled in playing good music (both in terms of songwriting and instrumentation). Really, does this have to do with e.g. some education from school or something?

I don’t know really…it can’t be all a coincidence, though. For many years there’s been really good music schools here, but a couple of years ago the government decided that it seemed like a good idea to to close them down to save money…there’s the Swedish government for ya! And this is in a country where music is on the Top 5 list of exports…weird. But I think Swedish musicianship has a lot to do with determination. You want to be good at what you do so bad, that you do anything you can to get there…Stubborn bastards, us Swedes! You could go to school for many years and one day you get your degree and you haven’t learned a thing cause you just weren’t interested. To be a good musician and songwriter, you have to put some sweat into it! The way that some ’artists’ nowadays get their fame (and in some cases, fortune) is just plain ridiculous. TV has a big part of this illusion that if you get your face on a TV show and make a big enough ass of yourself, you’ll become popular. And, unfortunately, it works from time to time. But you’ll never earn the respect of a skilled hard working musician…and you’re history faster than you can smell the fart you just released!

Ha ha ha!!! DOGPOUND has been around for enough years to have some general aspect on what’s going on in (general) Rock music in the 21st century? Do you think Rock music can again be revolutionary and a food for thought? Is humour – as widely used by DOGPOUND – a strong weapon to make people think?

I don’t think it would be a good thing if everyone and his mother started to write songs with lyrics with a humorous twist to them. Yes, we do from time to time, but the only thing that makes me write such lyrics is that not everyone else does it. There has to be diversity. I hope that Rock can be revolutionary and dangerous again, but I feel that cutting yourself on stage and telling the kids to use drugs is totally the wrong way to go. There’s so many other ways to get to the audience than through an insane behaviour. And because of the fact that every person’s an individual, you can never cook up a general recipe for it, if you handle your cards right and stay true to what you do, someday you will be recognized. Then if it’s 15 or 15 million people that think you’re great, only time will tell. I don’t think humour makes people think, but it’s one helluva good way to get through the day! Who the f**k wants to go through life being a grumpy old fart? If you can make people laugh and sing at the same time, half the war is won!

Agree! Thanks a lot for your time Micke! Anything you’d like to add?

We’ll start recording a video for the song Glass Jar in a couple of days, so look out for that one! And check us out at for audio samples if you haven’t heard us and to get an update on what’s up in the DOGPOUND! Thanks a million for your time, Greg, it’s been a pleasure! Cheers, Micke.


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