Per Fredrik Asly, also known as PelleK, is a Norwegian born power metal singer with an absolutely fantastic voice. He is lead singer of the band Damnation Angels and recently released his debut solo album “Bag of Tricks”. After hearing him sing, I was intrigued and was surprised at how little coverage his albums have received as the man can definitely sing and write a good song. He graciously granted me the following interview:
First of all, can you go over a bit about yourself? A lot of people outside of Norway haven’t heard of you despite all of the projects you are involved in.
Well I’m a Norwegian rock/metal vocalist. I have my solo project, and I’m the lead singer of the UK based band Damnation Angels. Because of some videos of mine on YouTube like “PelleKs 4 octave vocal range” I often get hired to sing on projects and I’ve even sung all the lead vocals on four other bands’ albums. All in all I try to stay busy!
How do you find the time to be vocalist for two different bands and your own solo project? Do you do music full-time to support yourself or do you work?
Up until last week I’ve had a day job and done the music and gigs on weekends / nights. Now I’m giving it a shot full-time and it’s very exciting. I just had auditions for people to join my solo project so we can gig and focus on more PelleK albums. If I’m lucky enough I will get tons of auditioners with the right attitude and skill set for this to be taken to a new level. We’re planning on touring in the US and in the EU from mid 2013. I sing for a lot of bands but I can only say I have one band (Damnation Angels) and my solo project. The other band’s I sing for are studio only deals and I’m not tied to anything there.
Your voice is one of the best that I have heard in metal. How did you develop your style and technique?
Woah! Well, thanks first of all! I’ve listened to metal since I was a kid so I guess I’ve been influenced by a ton of singers without really knowing it. I could say some names earlier, but now that I’ve kinda developed my own sound it would be weird. I am definitely a big fan of Jørn Lande and Tommy Karevik though!
A lot of your music has not been widely available as far as I can tell, at least in N. America. Are there any plans on getting a better distribution deal?
Damnation Angels‘ new album is only released in Japan at the moment, but it will be released in the rest of the world by Massacre Records in February. My solo-album is supposed to be available worldwide right now and can also be ordered signed from my website.
How did you end up singing with Damnation Angels? Are they considered your main project or no?
They mailed me and asked me about auditioning, I listened to a couple of tracks and thought the music I heard was the best stuff I’d heard in years. The next week I flew to the UK and auditioned one day, got extremely drunk the next day, and ended up getting the gig. It’s definitely my number one priority.
Your solo album “Bag of Tricks” was recently released-I personally loved it, but thought a lot of it strayed from metal territory. How has the reception to it been so far?
Cheers! It’s been great actually. Magazines and reviewers are mostly really nice and the fans love it, so I couldn’t be more happy about it. I even got a review in my favorite magazine in Norway where they said “Rhapsody of fire, you have something to learn from this” and lots of other great stuff. That was a really nice to read that, since Rhapsody of Fire has been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid
What are your takes on illegal downloading? Ok or not ok and why?
I’m very thankful for people buying my music even though they can get it illegally, but I would rather have someone download it and listen to it than saying “cant afford it so I’ll never listen to it”. Making money on music is harder than anyone can imagine, especially in this genre. Touring costs money, making an album costs money, and until your career transcends to that big time level you are gonna spend more money making music than you earn on it. I believe music is more than money though so I’m not all that obsessed with piracy. I’m trying to make a life for myself with singing, and it’s not a bed of roses, it’s hard graft. The people who buy my albums are incredible for doing it, but I appreciate everyone who likes my music no matter what.
Who are your influences both musically and vocally? I am assuming a lot of power metal and bands like Iron Maiden, but who else?
Like I touched on earlier my vocal influences is just a blend of everything I’ve listened to since I was a kid. I never try to be like anyone else so I can’t really answer it. When I write songs I always just sit down at the piano and play, and I end up having a song after a while. Other than power metal bands I have been greatly influenced by the old (not modern) orchestral works of big production houses like Disney and WB, and I’ve read some reviews as well that claim my music style is a kind of Disney-power-metal-blend. I guess that is why I have a few more ballads than most power metal bands.