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Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity)

Interview with Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 30 May 2008, 7:07 AM

DARK TRANQUILLITY have been around for almost 20 years and still are in the top of the cream. With the kind help of Chris Chellis I booked and interview with Mikael Stanne with whom I had a more than pleasant discussion.

You have recently posted a tour blog but it is only in Swedish; Why?

It is actually for a Swedish magazine so we did something special for them. Actually there are too many things in English in our webpage and myspace so it is kind of cool. It is one of the biggest music magazines in Sweden and for your info we are doing a tour for them after this one. The blog is about how a Swedish guy sees things in this “weird” country.

Ok, it sounds fair. How did you decide to re-release “Fiction” as a special edition?

Well, the record company thought that we should do it. Normally, we say no to this kind of things because it sometimes feels like a cheap way of making money. On the other we had so many stuff that we are using on the Japanese editions and actually are pretty good; plus we had some live footage from all the summer festivals so we thought that we can pull this off and make a cool package worth buying. Definitely we don't feel embarrassed about it!

Great, how did the European tour go?

It went really great and actually is the best thing we did this year.

Can you remember some of the best places?

(thinking) Well, I have to say Milan, Italy was great and some shows that we did in Sweden.

You have been on the road for quite some time and you have more live dates ahead of you; how difficult is being on the road for long time periods?

You have done before and we know how to kill time and actually get along with each other. Things can get difficult between concerts in places where you have nothing to do or the weather sucks. Of course things get ugly if you get sick or fuck up your voice but it is cool touring the world. If you can keep contact with your family and friends back home things are easier.

What about the next album; have you done any thinking on this?

We have some ideas, bits and pieces and things like but we have not discussed seriously about it.

 Do you feel that the success of “Fiction” will add pressure on you to compete yourself?

No, because we are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves and of course we want to be better. But it's not the kind of pressure that we are getting from the fans or even the record label.

 You have been in the Metal scene almost 20 years, do you feel satisfied?

(with a big smile) Yeah! We could not ask for anything more. We've been doing the same thing that we loved from the very beginning without giving into trends. I feel like we have maintained our integrity all of these years and still works. It gets better and better with more concerts and better sales.

 Do you think that the fact that you are making money from making music have changed you as an artist?

I don't think so; it surely makes things easier but you know, money have never been a drive for us. So, money is a great bonus and helps keep making music and that's all. Nowadays, the money doesn't come from the record sales so you can create the music and the make money from the tours.

 How do you feel that DARK TRANQUILLITY is considered one of the creators of the so called Gothenburg sound?

Yeah, it's cool since we were there in the beginning of this scene. But to us it kind of came naturally it was the sound that we believed in.

 What about all of these bands that tried to just copy that sound and eventually create identical albums?

It was kind of weird; especially during the mid 90s things were almost ridiculous with all these bands trying to copy that sound. It was frustrating because you were felt totally unoriginal. Eventually only the bands that were honest remained in the scene while the rest of them either they split or changed their sound.

 I agree on this. Most of the DARK TRANQUILLITY lyrics deal with dark emotions but you seem to have a really nice time singing them on-stage. Don't you think that this is kind of weird?

(laughs) That's what I love about it! Because I tend to write things about myself that are bad or frustrating, so when we put music on them I feel great screaming and singing. It's kind of therapeutical to write about bad feeling or situations that I dealt in the past and eventually lean something new. You can say that it is an emotional outlet singing about all these personal things.

 From your point of view, can say that all these years have changed you as an artist?

I think that the core of our music has not changed that much. We still want to make original aggressive and melodic music. Of course we have incorporated different things in every album but it was not something drastic. The sure thing is that we have matured now; I am not that young anymore (laughs)

 What about clean vocals? I think that you have left aside in the last album.

I felt that so many bands are doing it and it just didn't feel right or special anymore. We did it before and it was cool but not anymore.

 What about female vocals? You used them after a really long time.

Yeah man it was long time ago. I just felt right doing it since it incorporated a different style and atmosphere. I came so naturally when we were in studio listening to the demos; we though that it would be best to use female vocals here.

 Is it true that you are doing the sound production on your own?

Pretty mush yes. Before getting in the studio we have done all the arrangements and actually we have everything ready. So, we enter the studio to just record our music and having someone else to do the mix.

 Do you believe that an artist knows best the sound that his album should have?

Not always! We feel like we do know but to be honest I don't know if we are right. Perhaps a producer could get something better from us but I am kind of afraid letting someone decide on our music.

 You have a very solid lineup. Is there a “golden recipe” to do this?

No (laughs). I think that the most important thing is that we have respect for each other after all these years. We are together because we still love writing music and traveling together. It's pretty simple if you think about it. We know very well each other and we don't have to argue or bring things that annoy someone.

 Ok, I have to thank for your time it was really a pleasure. You can say anything to close this.

Great, I want to say that we are fucking happy with this tour that is going to be the longest we have done so I bet it will also be our best one!


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