Dark Tranquillity is a band that was formed back in 1989 in Gothenburg and the debut album ”Skydancer” was released 1993. Now it’s 2020 and the band is back with their 12th album which is called ”Moment”. Skype is a great thing as long as it works and I had the great favor talking to the bands singer Mikael Stanne via Skype a few weeks ago.
Hi Mikael, you got a new album out titled ”Moment”. What can your fans expect of the new album?
-That it feels genuine and honest. We did found the core in our music and when the world shut down everything was changing so we could focus totally on this new album. I think it’s an interesting album which is a continuation of ”Atoma”, it’s new but familiar.
How does it feel releasing a new album and at the same time knowing that you can’t go out on the roads for a tour?
-It’s very weird. We have got a tradition to start our world tours in the states the same day the albums is released. It’s very strange but it would be even more strange on monday (this interview was made two days before the ”Moment” release) but we have to accept the situation. We have to find a way to handle the situation and we will put full focus on promoting the new album, doing a live stream where we play the new album in its entirety.
The alternative was to postpone the album and I think that’s not fair to our fans. They have waited quite some time now so they deserve a new album.
Has the Corona virus affected you personally?
-No everybody in my closeness are healthy. Chris Amott lives in New York and he flew in to Sweden just before the world was closing down. For us it wasn’t any big deal, we went into the studio and we were spending about two months extra there. We like being in the studio so we just enjoyed it for a little bit longer than usual.
You have a long career now and you have building up a strong fan base over the years. Right now you have over 350.000 listerners every month on Spotify. Is it still fun recording albums?
-In fact it is. Spotify has making the music industy a lot different but we still love being in the studio, it makes you feel satisfied and nothing beats the feeling when you come up with a clever text line or a brilliant guitar solo. The feeling of creating is fun and exciting and the self-criticism is much harder these days when we’re getting older. We want it all to be perfect and we have better control now because we take care of everything from ideas to finished product. We believe that the response will be better that way.
If we talk about the music climate in Sweden we got the Power Metal from the north and the Death Metal from Gothenburg. What’s fascinates me is that over the years in Gothenburg it always has been cooperation before jealousy. You have been a part of the music scene in Gothenburg since day one and I wonder if there been any changes over the years?
-There have never been any kind of jealousy or ”We are the best and the rest of you sucks” among the bands from Gothenburg. I think it’s a very cool atmosphere and we are sharing our experiences. The scene in Gothenburg has grown bigger I think and it’s so fun that so many of us old guys still being around, we have to remember that we were around 15-17 years old when everything started.
There are also coming new hungry bands and they are having the same mentality and feeling I think. The Gothenburg sound is high quality and it is very honest and sincere. Gothenburg have all kind of music and the honesty is there all the time, it doesn’t matter which type of music you play.
You were booked playing at the Sabaton Open Air festival this year but it was cancelled. You will give it another shot next year if the virus will allow you. Do you think it would be a Sabaton Open Air 2021?
-Sabaton Open Air is in August right?
Yes it is.
-It’s extremely difficult to say. The best scenario is that we get a vaccine but it will take six months at least I think and it need to be a vaccine that we could be comfortable, safe and calm with. I have hard to see that it will be festivals next summer and its no use guessing either. The vaccine has to be 100% safe otherwise there will be a lot of people out there refusing to take it.
If there will be a Sabaton Open Air in 2021 (or maybe 2022) I have a suggestion. I would like to meet you there and we sit down and only talking about Rush. What do you think about that?
-It sounds like a wonderful idea. We will solve that problem when we are at place in Falun. We have a Rush connection on the vinyl release of ”Moment”, a tribute so to say.
If we look into the future for Dark Tranquillity. If the lockdown will continue for five more years as an example will you still exists as a band then?
-I think it’s going to be difficult. Just be able to write and produce new music but not be able to travel, I don’t know, I really don’t. Do you want to do that? Is it worth it? Of course you want to be creative but our fans means so much to us and even if they accept the fact that we cant play live is difficult to see us in that situation.
Anathema quit their career and that’s devastating and if I have to answer your question honest I think we will still be around in five years. The Corona virus has a great influence on the music business right now and all we can do is hope for the best. We shall also remember that we don’t need only Dark Tranquillity to keep going, this is a great opportunity to do other projects with other bands out there.
What’s the best memory from your career?
-Oh my god, there’s a lot. Some gigs have been awesome over the years and our first tour in the states back in 2002 was really, really cool. Our first tour in 95/96 we noticed that people really was there to see us on that stage. Those festivals we have been the headliner or just under the headliner is great memories as well of course.
People out there are giving us respect and we are pretty bad to take to us that people really like us. But you have to be humble because it could be over tomorrow, you just don’t know.
Which one of your album are you most satisfied with?
-The last one of course if we talk about what’s happening right now. But if we talk about some old records a few of them really opened up doors for us. If we take ”Damage Done” for example it was really hard to write because we didn’t know what to do at that time. The result was a record that was a rock-hard album.
”Fiction” was the first album that was recorded in our own studio and we had all in our own control. The album went well and we became independent so we get rid of our manager. Those two albums was crucial for Dark Tranquillity and it was the start of something new which was pretty cool.
Okay Mikael, thank you very much for this chat.
-Thank you and I will see you in Falun.