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Tomas Lindberg At The Gates - Interview
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At The Gates

After At The gates reformed again a few years ago, the band stated that there would not be a new record. But despite all that was said, in 2014 the band released "At War With Reality" as the band's first album since the now legendary "Slaughter of the Soul" back in 1995. The band hit Australia in 2012 as part of the reunion shows but this year they make their way back with a set of new songs in tow so we chatted to Tomas about the new album and how the band are doing in 2015.



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Andrew: How's things with the band? Are you guys on tour at the moment?

Tomas: Right now we're at home. We had a big show here in Gothenburg about a week ago and next week we are going to Japan, so we have some time off here actually right now.

Andrew: OK so how has the tour been going so far?

Tomas: Well when we go to Australia, we will have done about 100 shows in 1 year which is quite a lot for us because we still have our day jobs [laughs], but it's just been wonderful touring this record. Amazing and very rewarding!

Andrew: It's great to see you guys coming back to Australia, I know you guys were last here about 3 years ago right?

Tomas: 3 years ago, 2012 yeah that's right.

Andrew: What do you remember from that tour? Because it was a big deal for a lot of fans in Australia as it was the first time you had come to Australia since you guys had reformed, so how was the feeling with you guys and how did it all go on the tour?

Tomas: We had a great time and personally for me, it was the first time ever in Australia and as well as for some of the other people in the band as well. So it was really nice just to be down in the country and the reception from the fans, they had been waiting for quite some time so we could feel the positive kind of vibe in the air when we were playing the shows. We can't wait to get back actually because now we really feel we are a reinforced entity with this new record that came out a year ago which we have under our belts now so we really feel good about coming back again.

Andrew: Yeah it's great to see you coming back! I guess we'll talk about the latest album "At War With Reality", I know you guys had said for a number of years that you would never make another album again so what changed in that time?

Tomas: I guess subconsciously the idea probably grew, separately we hadn't really talked about it before. But playing the old songs live, they came to life more and more in a new way that we couldn't do back in the day. So we really felt that we were on to something and hearing those old songs in a new way, there was something else there that we felt could be portrayed in new material as well. All we needed was a spark and when Anders (Bjorler, guitars) said he had a couple of ideas that he had floating around, he asked if I was ready to listen to them and it was a no brainer to at least have a go.

Andrew: You mentioned about playing the old stuff, did your perception of the old stuff change over time? Are you having more fun playing them than you ever did before?

Tomas: Definitely, they definitely come to life in a totally different dimension. As players we are much more confident now so we can focus more on the emotional aspect of the songs as well which never came, back in the 90's because we were struggling to play them! Now we can think back onto a more confident playing style and therefore can focus more on the emotional part of the songs which makes them grow bigger in a life situation, together with the fans as well because it's like one entity live. Our crowd and ourselves, so yeah it's a much more rewarding experience now to play the old songs live.

Andrew: And how did that impact the writing and recording process for "At War With Reality"?

Tomas: We definitely knew what we wanted on the record, an emotional, honest record that was up to par with who we are in the present now. I think those old songs we have played live for 6 years or something like that, that really helped in shaping the beast of "At War With Reality" to what it would become because there was a confidence there that we had something that was almost lacking in the metal scene. A kind of melancholic desperation and the emotional side of music.

Andrew: It sounds like things are on top of the world for you guys at the moment, better than ever before. Is that fair to say?

Tomas: That's exactly right. We were pretty excited about doing this new record, we felt confident in the songs but it's still a gamble. With the reception, you can never really second guess the fans or the critics or whatever but everything has gone according to plan so to say and now the reception of the new songs live is fantastic! They have the same reception for the news songs as the old songs live which some people look at as classics, so that's a great thing for us. Right now we're pretty much at home with who we are as people within the band and as you say, on top of the world really!

Andrew: That's something I wanted to ask you about as well which you just mentioned about how the fans are taking to the new songs really well, even at the live shows. Are you surprised by the reactions to the new material?

Tomas: In one way yeah. It seems like they were waiting for new material as much as we were in a way! They have really embraced the new stuff and waiting for it in a positive way as in really try to understand what we were trying to do with it, where we wanted to take the new stuff and really embracing our idea of an At The Gates record the same way as we have. So I couldn't ask for more, our fans are the best fans in the world really.

Andrew: That's good to hear! As far as the touring side of things and what you have done so far and what we can maybe expect on the Australian tour, are you playing many songs from the new album or are you still sticking to a lot of the older stuff?

Tomas: Lately we have been playing 7 songs from the new record, 7 songs from "Slaughter of the Soul" and about 7 songs from the older records together, so that's a lot of songs but we figured out we really didn't want to take too many songs off the set because a lot of them are classics to our fans but we still wanted to add new songs so I guess we have to play longer [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah a lot of fans would love that actually! As far as the last album that you had put out, "Slaughter of the Soul", a lot of fans do credit that as being one of the greatest metal albums of all time. So how do you compare that album to the new material or do you stay away from comparing stuff?

Tomas: All At The Gates records offer something different from each other, every time there was an At The gates record, you really didn't know what to expect or which direction we would take. So therefore we feel that comparisons are not done just to the last one, it should be done to the whole career of the band. I would say this record is a good blend of all the styles that we have been playing through out our career and it's a good mix of our At The Gates sound in one way. But rather than comparing to "Slaughter of the Soul" which was kind of like an insular moment in our career, all our other albums had a wider emotional spectrum. A lot of different emotions on the records but "Slaughter of the Soul" was to a point a very aggressive record which makes it stand out more and "At War With Reality" goes back to a more wider palette of emotions. So I would say it has more to offer than "Slaughter of the Soul" in that way.

Andrew: OK so that being said, do you think maybe there will be another album sometime in the future?

Tomas; You never know with us. I would say we are now a contemporary band, we enjoy what we are doing but we learn from the past as well. When "Slaughter of the Soul" became such a success and we toured the hell out of that one and started planning the follow up and another tour for that one, that's how expectations and pressure made the band implode the first time. We're not going to make that mistake again so we are right here right now, enjoying like as said before, the top of the world kind of feeling and feeling the vibe from all our fans. This year has been amazing and when this tour cycle finally ends, we will feel how we are then and what we want to do then. Maybe we want to take a break for a year and start writing or maybe we have written the new record already, we don't know [laughs]. Planning ahead like that could spoil this moment for us and we don't ever want to be making that mistake again.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely, take things day by day I suppose and not look too far ahead in the future and just enjoy the moment, it's a good way to look at it.

Tomas; Yeah that's exactly right otherwise it will put stress on you otherwise.

Andrew: How does it make you feel to hear bands credit you as being a huge influence on them? Is that a humbling experience to hear that kind of stuff?

Tomas: Definitely humbling but at the same time, we try to keep our feet on the ground where we open for bands that have influenced us and stuff like that. I guess every band have been influenced by other bands, of course it's rewarding to hear that these bands who are really successful have taken inspiration from us but if we were to think about that too much, we would lose our heads I guess. We need to focus on what we do now, not what we have done before that have influenced other bands, that would be taking us back.

Andrew: Well as I said, we are looking forward to seeing you in Australia again, I think it's going to be a phenomenal tour and we are looking forward to hearing the new songs as well. So thanks for your time today, it's been great talking to you today!

Tomas: Same man and thanks a lot, we will see you there!


Wednesday 28th October - PERTH: Amplifier Bar
Thursday 29th October - ADELAIDE: The Unibar
Friday 30th October - MELBOURNE: Corner Hotel
Saturday 31st October - SYDNEY: Manning Bar
Sunday 1st November - BRISBANE: Brightside

Tickets and tour details can be found at Metropolis Touring.

Read our interview with Martin Larsson HERE.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on September 28th 2015