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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



Andrew talks to Dark Tranquility about the new album and tour...



With the recently remastered release of "Skydancer" which made it's debut back in 1993 and the long awaited return to Australia, fans of Dark Tranquility have every reason to be excited in 2014. After some rough periods with the band's bass player leaving and some personal issues that came up during the writing of their latest album "Construct", the band are back stronger than ever. Despite some technical issues that popped up during the interview, we managed to persevere and have a chat with founding member and vocalist/guitarist Mikael Stanne to discuss the tour and their latest releases.

Andrew: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I just wanted to say that I'm looking forward to seeing you guys next month in Australia. It's been a few years since the last time you came here.


Mikael: Yeah right it's been 9 years!


Andrew: What do you remember from that tour?


Mikael: I remember meeting a lot of awesome people. I remember having a blast playing the shows. And then the rest is pretty much a blur because I remember we played 5 shows in 5 days and just a bunch of flights and transit vehicles. I remember it was pretty bad but this time we will have some time off inbetween the shows and fully appreciate the country hopefully.


Andrew: Yeah hopefully! Well your latest album "Construct" came out last year, how has the response been so far?


Mikael: It's been really good! I guess in the beginning it was polarizing people a little, they didn't really know what to think of it. It was kind of different but I can see now where we have been touring almost 100 hundred shows, all around they really dig it. And I guess the best review we could ever ask for is that people want to hear the new songs live and we do a lot of them and people seem to be wanting to hear them more. That's an awesome thing to have, it feels great!


Andrew: Yeah it's a little different from your other stuff, I even hear comparisons to "Projector". Was there anything you did differently in the recording and writing process?


Mikael: Actually yeah. We definitely felt that we wanted to get away from our sound a little bit. Kind of take a side step and we just felt very similar to what we were going through when we did "Projector". We were just fed up with ourselves like we don't know where to go, we can't keep doing the same album over and over again and we want to be different. We were kinda getting tired of our own sound so to speak and trying to find something that felt creative and it was really tough. So it took some big changes for that to happen and so as opposed to what we done before, it was just the 2 or 3 of us in the studio instead of a rehearsal room and just recorded stuff with a drum machine and a couple of guitars, a little bit of keyboard and see if we could figure out what to make of all the material that we had written over the years. And that actually became a really, really good way of working and all of a sudden we were back on track again. We started writing tons of songs and we were super creative for a while, it was really cool. But it was definitely something that we needed to do to find ourselves again. So I guess in that way it's very similar to Projector.

Andrew: I also read the album was written during one of the darkest periods of the band. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?


Mikael: I think we were just tired of ourselves and each other a little bit because we didn't know where to go musically. We had such different ideas on where to take the band and that caused problems. We were tired, we had been out on the road for 2 years and we couldn't really find the enthusiasm that you really need and I think we took our fustration out in different ways and for a while we were really tired of it. Once we got back to writing, everything kind of got resolved magically and for me it was definitely on a personal level a really bad time. I kind of had to start everything anew which was wierd but it was something that I had to write about as well. This incredibly difficult proportion, very fustrating but at the same time it was something that needed to be done, to just get it out of my system and start feeling good again. And once the album was done and we started playing these songs live, everything started making sense again. It was a pretty tough 2 years but now it actually feels awesome. When we do the songs on stage now, it's a totally different vibe.


Andrew: And during this time the bass player left the band but it was an amicable split right?


Mikael: Kind of I guess. Daniel (Antonsson) was a guy who wants to be the main guy in the band and we're definitely the kind of band of 5 very strong willed characters and I think he needed to be in his own band. Kind of hard to step into a band with plenty of history so that didn't really work.


Andrew: Who's doing the bass on tour at the moment?


Mikael: Noone actually, just pre-recorded bass. Before we left we recorded all the songs and we use that like a back-track.


Andrew: Oh ok. And is there any plans to get a new bass player at all?


Mikael: Yeah I hope so.


Andrew: You recently re-released "Skydancer", it's been 20 years since that album came out which is unbelievable! Looking back on that album, do you view that album now a bit differently or is there anything you would change about it?


Mikael: Yeah I mean it's fun to go back to it. When we did this remaster and we went back to it, we were like holy shit, what were we doing? It's kind of hard to imagine what was going through our minds when we recorded this album. What were we thinking when we wrote these riffs and these lyrics. But some of it works really well still I think. It's just us being 19 year olds, trying to figure out how to play music together and be a band and we were super pretentious and super excited to go into a studio for the first time to record something and it was like, whatever you do, it's going to be awesome! That's how it works right? We were taught a proper life lesson with that album, like wow OK that's not how it works, this is how it works. So we learned a lot about it and it was a great experience and of course that album opened up a lot of doors for us.


Andrew: What do you think has been the biggest change in the band over the years or do you still see yourselves as that same band?


Mikael: A lot of things have changed but the little things are still the same. We are still about making intense music about strong melodies and strong emotions, that's always been the case. We are always willing to experiment and do different things. I think a lot of the stuff we did on "Projector" we could sometimes go back to now and do something like that again and at the time people didn't really get it at all. It was too melodic to be a death metal album and too extreme to be something else but it's kinda cool, it's stood the test of time I think. On the European tour we did one of the songs from that album and it actually went over really well so it's cool and something that I'm very, very proud.


Andrew: Well it's going to be really good to see you come over to Australia next month. What can we expect on these shows?


Mikael: We've been touring for quite a while now since November pretty much and we've put together a pretty cool setlist. We have a great show and it's been our strongest tour we've ever done. I'm really happy to bring it to Australia, it's going to be really intense, tons of old, tons of new, tons of different, tons of the same. It's going to be awesome so I'm really looking forward to it.


Andrew: I've never seen you guys before but have been a fan for a number of years so I'm really looking forward to seeing you. It's been great talking to you so thanks again and we will see you next month!


Mikael: Absolutely, look forward to it!


Mikael from Dark Tranquility spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe February 2014





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