An interview with Dark tranquility

The King of the Gothenburg Scene!
——The Pioneer of the Melodic Death Metal!
——The Last Guardian of the Gothenburg Sound!
——The Super Metal Band of Sweden!
——Good Reputation as the Extreme Dream Theater!

GC: GuitarChina
M: Mikael Stanne

GC: This is the third time that you come to Beijing, right?
M: Yes.

GC: How do you feel this year? Anything different?

M: Yeah. We are super excited because we had a great time last time. First time, I don’t really remember because it was part of such an intense trip. This time, it is the first show of this leg of the tours. And then we will do Japan, South Korea and Australia as well. So we still kind of fresh when we arrived today, you know, it feels pretty good. We just came off a tour in South America, North America, Canada. So we got a week of relaxing and kind of recovering and staff like that. So this is the first kind of the proper show. This year feels like an eternity, actually (laughs). It’s really cool. This is gonna be fun.

GC: Beijing is the first station of Chinese tour. Did you prepare anything special for Beijing?

M: Well, we’ve been working on a proper set, you know, like for seven weeks’ tour. We tried all different songs, all different things to put together something special and different, something we haven’t done here before. It’s kind of perfected now, and it feels pretty damn good. So it’s gonna be the longest set we’ve done in China for sure, tons of new songs…

GC: A lot of new songs of the new album Construct?
M: Yeah.

GC:  Quite a lot of fans think Construct is very different from previous albums. You mentioned that album as something “start from the scratch” kinda like “fresh new start”. What do you mean by that?

M: Well, I guess you always have to do that. You can get a fresh mind set when you start writing a new album that you kind of like try to forget everything else, you know, focus on moving forward because if you just kind of move forward like the same way like the same way of the past, then it’s just repetition. That’s no fun. Also, the way we approach the album is very different. We wrote in the studio, we wrote in a different way that we haven’t done before. So things feel fresh. You know, doing the same thing over and over again for twenty years becomes not so much fun any more. So we have to kind of change it up and make sure that whatever you put out is something you feel strongly about them and feel excited. You know it kind of triggers the creativity, you know, because of course it will be kind of easy for us to just put together an album in a week, write a couple of songs, and that will be it. But we can never do that. So you have to take your time with it and make sure that it is perfect.

GC: Any thoughts about the next album? Are you gonna continue push the boundary of the genre of come back to the original style?

M: I don’t know. We feel very comfortable about what we did on Construct, and perhaps we will push out even further. I like that. So we will see. We haven’t really thought about that. I guess like when this tour set comes to an end, perhaps we will go back to the studio and see what happens.

GC: How do you like Chinese fans compared to European and American fans?

M: Wow, big difference. What I love about is that…I always tell people who asked me what’s China like that it’s almost like travelling back in time. Because the scene
is so underground here still. You know, in Europe, America, it’s not mainstream but it’s more accepted. In here, you know, you still have to know about it if you are to go to a show. There are the fancy scene and underground movement. That was what we grew up with, you know. In the early 90s, that was the scene in Sweden. Nobody knows about death metal or extreme metal at all, you have to really struggle to find it. So we were encountered with people all over the world who mail, not email, ticket trading staff like that, you know, just to find music and to find something to listen to. And I feel it’s kind of like similar here. People that I talk to here make me feel like you have to try hard to find music because it’s not that easy. It kind of takes me back to the 90s as I said. I really like this underground kind of FEEL. That makes it more SPECIAL, you know. I spoke to some people last time here, they also felt like this was kind of like…not a secret society…but it’s like a small niche of people that we love them and we support them till the end of the time. It’s not mainstream at all and still kept in secret. I really like that.

GC: Music can really have an impact on fans. What are some stories you’ve heard from your fans about how Dark Tranquility’s music has affected them?

M: Wow, yeah. You know our music perhaps help people get through tough times. We tried emotional music that is something that resonated with people. That’s fantastic. It’s nothing that I strive for, and it’s not why I write. But at the same time if it does, once in a while, we know, there is communication where people can really get something out of it. That’s fantastic, you know. And… we’ve seen people with Dark Tranquility tattoos everyday on the tour. It’s insane. They travelled the world to see us. Actually I met some guys from China in Philadelphia couple of weeks ago. We met some people last time who visited their family there and to see the show.

GC: Yeah. I saw a lot of people who just travelled a long distance from other provinces of China.

M: It’s still hard for me to grasp that some people travel so far in distance to see shows, just hang out and say hi and staff like that. It’s amazing to us, but I know I’m exactly the same way and that’s what I do at home. I go to Denmark, Germany and Finland to see shows of my favorite bands. I am not kind of guy…I don’t even dare to go up and talk to my favorite artist because I don’t know what to say (laughs). It’s weird. I totally get that, but at the same time, it’s still weird. So to this day even 25 years on that we don’t have that kind of fans who is so passionate that will travel with us and go anywhere with us.

GC: Dark Tranquility is 21 YEARS OLD. You guys started the band when you guys were like 14 or 15. You have any suggestions to people who start their bands when they are very young?

M: I think just practice. Make sure you find your sound before you record it. There are so many bands rushing to the studio and want something to release, like “Oh, we have to got a demo or just to record something whatever”. But that’s not really the point. The point is creating something and writing music. Perhaps that becomes secondary because you are looking for something. You have a look in the feel, in the image whatever. You know, it’s all about the music and the songs. Take your time with that. Spent two years extra to perfect your sound and your playing ability and all that. Then start recording.