Interview with Peter Pettersson of Arcana

How did you and Ida Bengtsson come about to form Arcana?

Well, at the end of 1993, I accepted the fact that working with an ordinary "rock" line up was way too narrow for me and left me with un-necessary hard work. I decided to begin working by myself, but as the music developed I realized that I needed a female vocalist. I contacted Ida and told her about my visions. She loved the idea and Arcana was formed.

In what way do you feel working an ordinary "rock" line up restricted you? Also, what line ups did you previously work with?

I worked with a lot of people who didn't really have the same basic idea as I did and it caused me to have a hard time getting my ideas across. Being locked to only one instrument was not a very creative thing for me either. I have been working with different bands, mostly studio jobs.

Can you tell a bit about the songwriting and recording process you use? How do you come up with the ideas for the songs?

I usually sit home, by myself, just testing ideas. When I have an idea that sounds interesting I try to form it into the way I want it. The vocal parts are just there; I can hear them in my head. The hard part is turning my ideas into reality. In the studio I explain to the others how I want it to sound. Fortunately, the people I have chosen to work with are fully aware of what I expect them to do.

What sort of equipment do you use?

I use samplers and synthesizers. I can't say that I sample stuff, I usually work with the presets that I like. I make all the arrangements on my computer. I'm building my own studio in which I can record future releases. At the moment I work with an E-mu ESI-32. I have a sound library that suits my music well, as well as an E-mu Proteus FX; they are the sound sources. I'm planning on buying a E-64 once my royalties arrive. I'm also working on a private recording studio. As for my writing procedure, I use Cakewalk 4.0, which is very good ware. I guess that Cubase is just as good, perhaps even better, but as I am not in need of the more advanced midi information, Cakewalk more than suits my needs.

Can you give some information about your next release?

As we speak we are recording for three new releases. The first is a CD called Lizabeth which contains three songs. Two of them are going to be featured on the full release and one was recorded specially for this CD and the next CMI compilation. Lizabeth will hopefully be released in April, while the full length version will be out in May. The full length version, Cantar de Procella ("Songs of the Storm") will have even more medieval influence. Some of the stuff is quite close to the traditional medieval song writing. I feel that we have "matured" in the vocal area, so we have done more vocal based songs this time.

Is Arcana a studio-only project or do you do live tours as well?

We have done live performances in Germany, Norway and Sweden so far. We are interested in performing in front of a live audience but we won't be out on longer tours. We'll just take some of the gigs we find interesting. We are working on a very special performance but these are just abstract ideas at the moment...

Also, have you done or do you plan to do any videos for your music?

I have heard rumours of CMI's interest of making videos with Arcana and a few other bands. They said that they'll promote Arcana a lot from now on so I guess that a video is not totally impossible. Time shall tell.

Who would you list as musical influences, and what kind of music do you listen to?

I have been a true admirer of Dead Can Dance for some years now so I guess that they are a big influence. I have done some research on medieval and renaissance music writing and that has inspired me a great deal. I love classical music. I think that Howard Shore is an splendid composer.

What personally motivates you to perform music?

To me music is something that is as obvious as food or sex, it's just there to come out. I believe that everyone has a way of express their feelings, mine is to write music. Of course the inspiration can turn it's back on me sometimes, but I do not feel that I'm in a hurry.

Where do you see gothic/black music going in the future?

I can't say that I'm very involved in the black or the gothic scene. To be honest, my only contact is when someone into black/goth contacts me. Both genres will probably develop in their own ways. Many members of the synth scene are into the gothic stuff and the black scene seem to have a interest of the goth scene. I guess that gothic will be a big trend for awhile. Perhaps there will be crossovers in these genres.

What do you do when you're not involved with Arcana?

I used to go to History classes but now that they are finished I'm unemployed. I don't do much, I sleep a lot. I love to cook and bake, and to read books. Arcana is probably my biggest project. The other things are just small things I love to do. I like to have a Lager once in a while.

What are your future plans?

Well, first of all I'll be finishing up the recordings for the upcoming releases, releasing them and promoting them as much as possible. We'll probably perform live this summer, but I will take a little pause (if it's possible) in the writing and work on the studio. One has to breathe once in a while. I'm thinking of taking a vacation to Ireland this summer but it's all up to the economy.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || || March 20, 1996