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Dark Tranquillity - Canadian explorations (Mikael Stanne) - Online Jun. 2005

Interview with Mikael Stanne of Dark TRANQUILLITY


Ok so Iím here with Mikael from DARK TRANQUILLITY. The show tonight is your first show in Canada correct?


Itís the second one actually, we played Quebec City last night.


What do you think so far of the Canadian crowds and audiences?


The crowds are great, it was the best of the tour so far. Just wow it felt like home, it was just so European. It was so beautiful and Quebec City was beautiful havenít seen much of Montreal so far but it was great, really really great.


So youíve put out a lot of albums and youíre touring now with SOILWORK and have toured before with lots of other bands from the Gothenburg scene. A lot of the other bands from that scene have evolved their sound and youíve sort of managed to maintain that sound and how do you keep it fresh?


I guess thatís the hardest part but also the most fun part as well. Like you have the influences we had when we started out, bringing together the old and the new stuff and having a clear head when you start writing, try not to be influenced by anything else. Not writing what you think people want to hear or what you should do or what would be the most commercial. So we try just to please ourselves. We play music that we love to play, that feels fresh to us. That really counts the most for us. It just ends up being something that we feel comfortable playing for a long long time.


Is the song writing a collective effort or?


Yes definitely yes, everyone contributes ideas to the band as a whole.


Ok cause I know some bands one member will write one song in its entirety.


Yeah. No itís never been like that for us at all. We start out and everyone puts their thing into it and then with the music we change a lot of things. It does take a lot of time like over a year just for writing.


So the writing process is fairly lengthy for DARK TRANQUILLITY?


Yes absolutely, like I said we took over a year to write the last record so it does take some time.


How would you compare the Gothenburg scene today to the one of the early 90ís?


Well I guessÖI mean when we started out it was just a secret. Especially since it was Death Metal, which was really exciting. Really encourages other bands to start to grow together itís great, it still is but everything has now grown out of proportion for a lot of bands and only the good ones are left. It is amazing though, very great and there are a lot of great new bands coming up as well. Itís definitely like a new generation in Gothenburg right now so you know keep an eye out.


When you started out you were with IN FLAMES for a bit for Lunar Strain and when you went to DARK TRANQUILLITY what was your first show with them like?


Well it was never like that at all. I just helped out on the album that was it. They needed a singer and Jesper (StrŲmblad) started the band and asked me if I wanted to sing on the first album. So it was never something I did versus DARK TRANQUILLITY. I just helped out, we did like 2 shows maybe together and that was it. But I just started singing for DARK TRANQUILLITY at that time because I played guitar on the first album. In places here and there we did tiny little shows.


Whatís been your favourite show youíve ever played or festival?


First time we played Gods of Metal in Italy. That was amazing yeah Iíll never forget that. Last year in South America on a beach that was fantastic in front of 25,000 people. That was surreal. Thereíve been a lot of good shows (laughs)


Conversely there must be some ones that werenít so great.


Usually the first couple of shows on a tour is always chaotic, getting the equipment there and sounding right and stuff like that. We played Milwaukee and that was the worst show I ever played not only because of me but I really sucked because my voice gave out on the first song so I couldnít even speak but the crowd was great and they understood it happens.


Is the band enough as far as a full career or do you have other jobs as well?


Yeah we work, I mean since we write a lot over a year for example we have other things to keep us busy and need something to do at home as well. We all work a little bit like whenever we need it.


What sort of jobs do you do?


I work in a retirement home so I help out with the elderly and really really sick people. Itís really interesting and I love it but I can not do it enough though and still have enough time for the band.


You mentioned you played guitar on the first DARK TRANQUILLITY album what was the decision to switch over to singing?


It was just something I always did, yeah I did it as well. I wrote lyrics and I always sang so when we decided we couldnít really work and Anders left the band he had to go and it was just a natural transition for me to take over as singing.


When you were discussing the Gothenburg scene you mentioned it was a kind of secret amongst a few of you, would you explain why that was?


Well it was a few close friends you know Gothenburg is a tiny city so we all hung out together and we started to form bands stuff like that.


What would have sparked that or been the influences to get that going?


Well there was a few, before AT THE GATES there was GROTESQUE. I mean thatís one of the first shows that I went to when I was maybe 15 or something like that. And also like some Thrash bands at the time so we decided great weíve gotta do something about it we can not just do nothing and listen to all this music out of boredom. It was great times, really interesting.


What tours have you really enjoyed as far as the bands that youíve played with?


Oh, a lot of them weíve done really really good. Weíve done some like last year we did the US with Nile and that was a totally different crowd for us but that was still good. I think with this one (DARK TRANQUILLITY, SOILWORK, MNEMIC, HYPOCRISY) itís more our crowd. But then in Europe we just did KREATOR, but it was great, great crowds, still makes sense you know itís Metal which made it good.


Compared between here (North America) and Europe what do you notice in the crowds? Because Metal seems to be a lot larger over there in Europe than here but what are your thoughts on that?


Like only from yesterday I think this (Canada) is much more like Europe. In Canada people are really devoted and really into it so itís much more like some Europe cause itís kinda like that all over Europe too. But American crowds are also really interesting. I mean theyíre like more violent but at times thatís still cool so long as everyoneís still having a good time. For us as a band itís great when the crowd gets into it but itís different depending where you go. Everyoneís into Metal so thatís all the same but itís different I donít know how else to put it.


When you guys started out did you do everything yourselves? Like in regards to demos and that sort of thing and what advice would you give to a band thatís at that point now just starting out?


Well just take your time and donít jump toÖ. or take things to early. Make sure you have some good songs and record them slowly and donít rush into a record contract and take things as they come donít take things for granted. We always try to please ourselves. We play songs we love to play we have fun doing it and never care about ďoh we need to please people in this genre or who are into that genreĒ. I mean just stop caring about that, caring about money and all that. Always have that in the back of your head when youíre writing. And donít expect to suddenly be huge or make a lot of money do it because you love it and have fun. Donít do it to be cool or anything, do it because you love it.


The tour is winding up now what are you guys doing after this?


Well we go home for a few weeks then we go to South America. Itís just us touring there. Weíre doing Argentina, Columbia, Brazil and all that.


Will that be the first time youíre down there as well?Ē


Yes, itís going to be exciting, then back home for the summer festivals then to Japan maybe.


After tours do you take long breaks normally?


We had a break with ďCharacterĒ we spent a year recording and very little touring and of course we do a few shows and everything but nothing for long spans of time but we like to be home every few months for a few weeks just makes everything feel right still.


Alright, well I hope you have a great show tonight I know others are waiting to do interviews with you as well so good luck and Iíll be looking forward to your set.


Ok thanks a lot, I hope itís as good or better than last nightís show.


1991: Trail Of Life Decayed (Demo)

1992: A Moonclad Reflection (EP, Slaughter/Exhumed Records)

1992: Trail Of Life Decayed (EP, Guttural)

1993: Tranquillity (MC, Carnage)

1993: Skydancer (CD, Spinefarm)

1995: Of Chaos And Eternal Night (EP, Osmose Productions)

1995: The Gallery (CD, Osmose Productions)

1996: Enter Suicidal Angels (EP, Osmose Productions)

1997: Zodijackyl Light (Video, Osmose Productions)

1997: The Mindís I (CD, Osmose Productions)

1999: Projector (CD, Century Media)

2000: Haven (CD, Century Media)

2002: Damage Done (CD, Century Media)

2003: Live Damage (DVD, Century Media)

2004: Exposures Ė In Retrospect And Denial (CD, Century Media)

2004: Lost To Apathy (EP, Century Media)
2005: Character (CD, Century Media)

Dave Galbraith

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