Interview | DOOL – Raven van Dorst

An Elusive Entity

When Dutch band DOOL released its debut `Here Now There Then’ in 2017, the five-piece made an impressive and refreshing musical statement with outstanding songs such as ,,Oweynagat’’, ,,She Goat’’ and ,,In Her Darkest Hour’’. There’s doom, there’s energy, rawness and beauty and there’s 80s new wave rock references, interesting lyrics and above all, there is the intriguing singing voice of Raven van Dorst [also guitarist]. Without a doubt this special and organic sounding album ended up in my top ten album-year list 2017.

Photo Credit Roy Wolters


After intense touring over the last two years, early March this year it is, the mini CD [and the limited vinyl] `Love Like Blood’ landed in style. Besides the always-impressive artwork and visuals, again DOOL hit the nail on its head by rearranging this Killing Joke classic track into a slow but driven, hypnotizing version of which you can’t get enough, well at least I can’t. Also the additional live versions of ,,She Goat’’ and ,,In Her Darkest Hour’’ are a real treat.

Then DOOL also announced a club show in Willem Twee, Den Bosch (NL-14th June) and I didn’t have to think twice to check this one out. It ended up being an awesome and intense experience. When DOOL is on stage there is a certain vibe going on, intensified by atmospheric stage lights, while the band display a natural charisma, especially Raven van Dorst who rocks out like crazy. There is no bullshit; there is not a lot of talking either, instead these musicians work and head bang their ass off. This is by far such a cool and must see club show, the band plays tight as fuck and display the songs [even two new tracks sneaked into the set list] with passion and expression.


A few hours before the show I got the exclusive opportunity to chat with Raven about what’s going on and the moment we were about to start our conversation, we got the word that tonight’s show is sold out. I wonder if Raven did see that one coming?
,,Yeah I heard that one too and isn’t it great? Awesome…right? Well, we already did a lot of shows to promote our album, but on the other hand it has been a while since we did a club show. So…yeah, of course I was hoping a lot of people would show up, also because this is the only club show for us this year, but selling out…well…yeah…that’s really cool, right?’’

,,It’s only for the best you just step out of it all at one point and come back with new energy, new songs, new everything”-Raven van Dorst

The question immediately arises why doing only one club show this year?
,,We are working on new songs and I feel if you keep on doing shows during that process, there is a risk you get stuck in the vibe of the old songs and you never get to a new and fresh creative insight. At least that’s what bothers me a lot as a musician. It is also good to take a break from doing shows indefinitely. Don’t get me wrong, playing live is what I love doing the most! Just to be with my band today, finally playing together on stage after five months again makes me feel extremely happy right now, but if you just keep on doing shows it also drains you as a band. Also at one point you really want to play new songs as well. I think it’s important as an artist to take your time to work on a new set list, a new album. It’s only for the best you just step out of it all at one point and come back with new energy, new songs, new everything.’’


A more than pleasant surprise was the recent release of the very cool sounding 3-track MCD `Love Like Blood’, which is also available as limited 10” vinyl. Out of all songs why covering this Killing Joke track?
,,We are all kids from the 80s. When this song was released [1985] it became a huge hit, although not in every country but at least here in The Netherlands, we were all just kids back then but that song was played on the radio for years. And this particular song, together with a few others actually, really got into our system. It’s one of those songs that take you really back to your childhood, bringing back those crazy and awesome memories. ,,Love Like Blood’’ does that for me. When we did our first European tour together as DOOL, I think it was about two years ago, we were hanging out in the tour bus, sharing a playlist and the moment ,,Love Like Blood’’ came along we all jumped up getting all excited about how rad this song is. Well, actually we were looking for a song to cover to extend our set list and we decided to give this one a shot in the rehearsal room, as soon as we got back from our tour. When you do a cover I think you have to make it your own version and you’re not supposed to play it one-to-one, because that is something you better leave to the original artist.’’

Deciding to do it differently is one thing, but then…how?
,,What really makes this song are the bass and drum beat, which sounds really awesome. We decided to take out that important part and do it different, also by cutting the tempo in half. Yeah it’s… slow [laughing]. But the result is that our version became really DOOL and we are super proud of it. At first we started playing ,,Love Like Blood’’ live during our second tour. People were enthusiastic instantly and it was funny to notice that they were like, “Where the hell do I know this song from?” It’s really cool to make a new song out of an old song and create some sort of recognition but not entirely exact. Then we decided to record it and release it as a an in between release.’’

Photo credit Nona Limmen

,,Writing songs is a lonely and uncertain process’’-Raven van Dorst


Mentioning in the beginning of this conversation that new songs are in the making, well that tickles my curiosity of course. But when I ask if there is more to tell about a timeframe and where the new material might be heading musical wise, Raven’s lips are locked and sealed like an oyster.
,,Well…I am not planning to reveal anything yet. It will be finished when it is finished. But I can tell you that it’s starting to take form, although I don’t know yet if people will be surprised or if it will be in the same vibe as our first album. After a song is written it can manifest itself in different ways in the studio, during the production or even during the mixing process. So I have absolutely no clue how it all will sound eventually. But, a lot of new songs are written and I am starting to get really happy and excited about it. Writing songs is a lonely and uncertain process.’’

Some artists are desperately waiting for Mr. Sandman while writing and recording a new album, because there are certain things that can keep the creative minds awake at night during that intense process. While sipping a cup of coffee Raven reacts thoughtful when I ask about having sleepless nights or not.
,,Actually…yes sometimes it does. Yeah…. And to me an album is really finished when we present the new songs live on stage. The moment right after the first show playing the new songs is when I can actually breathe normally again and have this feeling: “Okay…sigh…let’s go!”

,,I feel DOOL doesn’t belong to a particular scene but at the same time to a lot of scenes’’Raven van Dorst

Every band has its work ethic, hopes and dreams and I want to know what is really important for DOOL as a band.
,,I think creating an atmosphere. We only released one album yet but I really noticed that DOOL is a true live band and people who have seen us live somewhere, also check out our album. I can say we are doing great live. We played a lot of metal festivals but also pop festivals, actually a lot of diverse  festivals and it always works for us. I feel DOOL doesn’t belong to a particular scene but at the same time to a lot of scenes. So that’s the real beauty of it and also our audience is very diverse. It actually is a combination of old school rockers, young metal heads and teenage girls and that’s very cool. I guess it’s because we are a versatile band. You can’t put a label on DOOL and as individuals you can’t put a real label on us either. DOOL has become an entity on its own I guess [laughing]. Ah, it sounds bigger than it is, we hitch a ride a bit on everything and at the same time we have our own wave going on. I don’t know…but it’s really great and I am very thankful for the growing success of DOOL over the last two years. It is absolutely an awesome ride to experience. At last…!!!’’

,,DOOL is all about an organic sound and vibe and that happens in the rehearsal room’’-Raven van Dorst


Raven is actually not a freshman when it comes to write, record music and perform live but at one point made the decision to turn the wheel and head into another direction. It was the starting point for DOOL but what exactly was the plan here?
,,I had a bunch of songs written, I just got out of my solo career as Elle Bandita and I was completely done with that story of my life, but I felt good about my back up band. I really felt that we have been growing great together. I told the guys, I have a bunch of new songs but asked shall we do things different? How about moving on as a real band? We had no plan yet and didn’t know how things would turn out but we started in the same line up as when we played together as Elle Bandita, although DOOL has had a few line-up changes since then.

What DOOL is today happened in the rehearsal room, just like when you write songs, you never know what the end result will be after the recording process. I write my songs at home, then take my demos to the rehearsal room and tell the guys this is the structure, these are the riffs, let’s play it together and let’s see how it develops when everybody gives input and its own personality to it. After a few rehearsal sessions suddenly it was like “bam” what we do right now feels good and this music makes sense. Yeah, the magic happens in the rehearsal room, it is the old school way. Sure I can do a lot at home with my computer and my guitar but DOOL is all about an organic sound and vibe and that happens in the rehearsal room. This is how it works for us, it’s awesome. That also happens on stage. It’s very important to us to stay in touch with the organic, growing and living part of music and not all these computers and bullshit. During our show we really want to connect with the audience and be together in this “living thing”.’’


Although DOOL does just one club show in The Netherlands this year, they will hit the stage on this year’s edition of Dokk’em Open Air [NL] and Hellfest [France], especially that last mentioned festival is rad as hell. Festivals are exciting and a lifestyle experience on its own, so what gives this experienced musician the ultimate festival feeling?
,,Uuuuh a great line-up [laughing]. I don’t know. I love festivals the most if I can play there myself. Uuuh, well that might sound a little uhm… Yeah how does that sound? Does it sound ”kut”? Ah well, I don’t really care… But it’s just so nice when you play yourself because then you are able to escape the mass once a while, because to be honest I am not really great with being in a mass of people. I always get some sort of panic of all these folks. You know the greatest thing is when you can play yourself, get in the mood, check out some bands before the show, then play the show and totally get thrashed on stage and then check out more bands. You can see your favourite bands all over the area but it is also really great to meet other musicians and people you know from the scene, it is like a reunion. That is something that has been really growing for DOOL as well over the past years. Of course we all have our own history with bands we personally know. It also happens a lot we play with kind of the same bands on different festivals, so you bump into each other all the time, which is really awesome. I absolutely enjoy that. And yeah, everybody is raving about Hellfest and my expectations are extremely high!’’

Photo credit Nona Limmen

Being on stage, playing for an audience together with the boys is what Raven is obvious born to do, but what triggers the adrenaline kick on stage for real?
,,Well, the adrenaline kick is always there for me. Whether we play here in this club only for 5 people or we play at Hellfest and it is full house, or the other way around it doesn’t matter, the adrenaline kick is always there. Just the idea of playing live and all five of us giving all we have in us to the audience during a show.’’

,,I believe in radical decisions’’-Raven van Dorst

Being on the road is an adventure on its own, living by your own rules and getting a lot of attention. But then there is the dip, the awful black hole after a tour is done.
,,Yes…I have that too. Definitely when you have been on the road for three weeks or more, which is really intense. I always allow myself one day to get used to be back home and to adjust. I try to get back in a normal vibe as soon as possible and do other things.’’

Photo Credit Roy Wolters

I guess every band has a bucket list and I wonder if there is a band Raven likes to tour with, or even cool tour package, when DOOL is ready to hit the road again to promote the next future album?
,,Now you are asking me something…you know what? Fleetwood Mac. Yes they played Pink Pop [NL] this year but I heard it wasn’t that great [laughter]. A cool tour package? To America? Well yeah still Fleetwood Mac [laughing], that will be something for all those oldies [laughing]. Ah, why not…I believe in radical decisions, so they can do that for once as well, right? [Laughing]. But in case we have big plans, I wouldn’t tell you right now, with all due respect [smiling]. But…we are working on a few things.’’

To wrap things up, I would like to know if Raven has planned other activities as well, since them also has a career going as a TV host and also participated in several TV shows.
,,Actually no. I am now in a phase that I want to fully concentrate on writing songs, but yeah I will do TV stuff in the future as well again. It is easy for me to combine both careers. It keeps it both vivid and sparkling for me. When you have been touring for six months in a row with the band you’re glad when you can make a TV show for a change. But when you have been working in Hilversum [TV studio] for 3 weeks, goddamned you wish you were playing with the boys again.’’

Photo Credit Gerben Duijster

Credit Header Photo: Nona Limmen




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