FACT: Half the metal you listen to today wouldn’t sound like it does had Dark Tranquillity not helped pioneer the Swedish death metal of the 1990s. FACT: They still sound great over 20 years into their career. FACT: At the start of their latest European tour, the legendary group’s guitarist Niklas Sundin answered these questions:
Picture: Peter Herneheim
You decided to offer local bands the chance to support you on your tour (which Muchmoremetal is very excited about going to), whose idea was this? Have you heard any of the winning bands yourself yet?
I can’t remember exactly whose initiative it was, but everyone agreed that it’s a good way of showing support to up and coming musicians and the scene as a whole. If something like this existed when we were just starting out, we’d be ecstatic about the chance to play in front of a bigger international band. I’ve heard some of the bands that we’ll be playing with, but it was important for us not to take any active part in selecting them – it was all done by voting (by the public).
Do you think it’s harder or easier for bands to become successful nowadays compared to when you were starting out? (Obviously the internet helps recognition, but maybe it harms sales?)
It’s a very complex issue, and to be perfectly honest I don’t think too much about it. As idealistic as it might sound, we never set out to be a “successful” band, and our history probably reads as a list of what not to do when it comes to promotion and general career building. There are pros and cons to everything.
As a music fan, it’s hard not to enjoy the fact that virtually everything that’s ever recorded now is available at your fingertips. As a musician, times are definitely getting tougher, and I feel that the full impact of this paradigm shift will surprise a lot of people in the next couple of years.
Having done so many over the years do you still find playing gigs special?
Yes and no. Obviously every show can’t be an amazing experience, but it’s definitely the most fun and expressive part of what we’re doing. When touring, one tends to just be passive and do nothing for 23 hours, so the time onstage is where the day comes alive, so to speak.
Do you have a favourite place to play?
Anywhere that’s different from home is usually great – Japan, Australia, South America – but the success of a show is rarely dependent on the place. You can have a fantastic experience playing in a tiny club in some urine smelling Eastern European village, and you can have a “meh” experience on a big festival stage in front of thousands of people. It has more to do with getting into the right vibe and enjoying the performance itself.
Are there any countries you’ve not been to yet that you’d like to play in?
There are a few. We’ve been planning to play in India for a long time, but nothing has happened so far. Apart from that, South Africa, Iceland and Ireland would be fun.
Is it hard to keep up with the Cabin Fever Media (Niklas’ design studio) work when you’re on tour with Dark Tranquillity?
It’s good to have something practical to do on tour, since otherwise one tends to just sit around and wait for things to happen, but at the same time it’s hard to work efficiently on the road. I have my laptop with me, but working my studio with big calibrated monitors and a good Wacom tablet is so much more convenient and effective. Also, it’s kind of hard to find the right inspiration when being in the circus environment that a tour really is, ha ha! But I always try to get some work done.
Do you know how Jesper from In Flames is getting on at the moment?
I don’t comment on people’s private lives in public interviews, but I think he’s starting a new band up and hope to have an album out next year.
Dark Tranquillity’s Where Death is Most Alive Tour part II is moving across Europe right now.
Click here for Muchmoremetal.com’s interview with The Haunted’s Peter Dolving.
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