Lucem Fero recently published an exclusive email interview with AT THE GATES/THE HAUNTED guitarist Anders Björler, conducted by Welsh interviewer Anthony Morgan. Topics of discussion included how the AT THE GATES reunion became possible, whether erstwhile guitarist Alf Svensson would feature in the group's reunion shows, and why the group originally split. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On the relationship between members immediately following AT THE GATES split:
"It wasn't just the split; it was also during the touring in support of 'Slaughter of the Soul'... Too much alcohol was the biggest factor. We were just kids back then, and were roughly in our early twenties. I guess we couldn't cope with touring that well. Following the split, I think the other guys were shocked about our decision to leave. Today though, I guess they understand why."
"THE HAUNTED felt like a relief, and a break from all the things that had happened in the past. Finally, I was back in the rehearsal room having fun. We never dreamt of taking THE HAUNTED to where we are today."
On the vibe within AT THE GATES compared to the early to mid-Nineties:
"Back in those days, we were close. For years, we rehearsed every day — we almost lived in the rehearsal room. Today, we have our other main groups and families that are our main priority. Actually, we haven't really met that much nowadays; so far this year, we have had one sit down. It's difficult to get everybody together as a result of our touring agenda, and the fact that Adrian (Erlandsson, drums) lives in the UK. When we met though, it was within a very relaxed (but determined) atmosphere."
On whether AT THE GATES have a lot to live up to with the reunion shows:
"After eleven years of silence, it's always difficult when you return. When we split up, AT THE GATES became an entity and continued growing on its own. I'm not worried about the live shows, and think we're pretty relaxed in terms of what we do. We can't control people's expectations (and everybody has different expectations too); we just play in our style, and hope people will appreciate it."
"Well, if you expect pyro technique and a laser light show, then you're on the wrong track. AT THE GATES was never about that; we're a death metal band, and the focus is the music. We'll pick up where we left off — people who saw us performing live in the old days will know what I mean."
On what personal favorite tracks will feature in the group's 2008 setlist:
"We all have different favorites, so we'll have a difficult time composing the setlist. We'll play songs from all the releases, and that's the only thing I know. Some of my favourite tracks are the following: 'The Swarm', 'Windows', and 'Primal Breath'. Every song has something unique, though it's hard to analyze further."
On whether former guitarist Alf Svensson will feature as part of the live shows:
"We all want Alf to be part of the reunion shows. Right now though, I can't talk more about it."
On whether AT THE GATES will play further shows after 2008's summer:
"It's just the initial statement, alongside the Blabbermouth interview, that left that 'uncertainty' vibe. It's definitely going to be the 'last-ever thing' with AT THE GATES."
On how he would like the legacy of AT THE GATES to be remembered:
"Hopefully with respect."
Read the entire interview at www.lucemfero.com.