DARK TRANQUILLITY Frontman Talks About New Album, Upcoming U.S. Tour

George Pacheco of Examiner.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Mikael Stanne of Swedish melodic death metallers DARK TRANQUILLITY. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On how the band's new album, "We Are The Void", compares to the group's previous releases:

Mikael: "I was very happy with 'Fiction'. It really opened things up in lot of territories for us. It was awesome, and a lot of things happened because of it. I think 'We Are The Void' is a bit more 'difficult' in comparison, but for us it's way more interesting and serious, I think. It has a more serious tone to it. It's hard to compare, but we always forget everything about the last album whenever we sit down to write a new one. We just hope that we've learned something, and focus on new material. Whenever something sounds similar to what we've done before, we just throw it away and move on. We try to start fresh from a place where the last album didn't really exist. It's hard to be separate from all the other albums, but we try to put our minds in that place, at least. For this one, we felt that we had a bit of a lineup change, and we celebrated twenty years of the band, so we know we wanted something serious; something which showed that we're not just a twenty year old band, doing the same thing over again. We need to show that we're going to be around for the next twenty years. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that this album sounds relevant and up to date, while also containing everything we decided on twenty years ago that we wanted to do the band. I guess this is as close as we can get to that sound we were talking about as kids when we first had guitars in our hands."

On the band's refusal to delve into typical death metal clichés:

Mikael: "Things we especially said during the period of 'The Gallery' album, where people would cry, 'This is NOT death metal! What are you doing?!' It was our version of it, though. Deal with it. We always tried to be a little outside the core death metal scene, indulging in influences besides the most obvious ones. Of course, we liked all the straight-forward death metal stuff, but we tried to incorporate other things we liked, as well. People shunned us like the plague in those early years. They thought that melody had no place in death metal; that we could play power metal if we wanted to be melodic. We stuck to it, though, and hoped that some people would get it, even though we knew that most wouldn't. It didn't matter, though, because we loved it. Eventually…people did! That's something which I consider our greatest triumph: that it eventually worked!"

On the band's upcoming U.S. tour with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA:

Mikael: "For us, it's still about building a fan base in the States, so if we can have a tour with bigger and more diverse bands, then we'd love to do that; to show our stuff. So we're doing that first this year with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, which means we're exposing our music to a lot of new fans. We're coming back after that, however, to do a proper headlining tour, which is going to be awesome. We're going to bring a full production with us, and do it the same as we do here in Europe."

On the band's staunchly dedicated fanbase, which might not be so keen on buying a ticket to see a mere half-hour set from DARK TRANQUILLITY:

Mikael: "I totally get that. It's just how it works sometimes; you don't want to pay money and see a short set, which I understand. That's why we decided that we really need to come back afterwards. I can't wait to do it, to incorporate all of these new songs, while also bringing back some really old songs in the set, as well."

On the danger of becoming stale within the band's songwriting:

Mikael: "You don't want to be too comfortable. That's why we started out with different ideas and songs which perhaps a few years ago we would have thrown away immediately. We just worked on them anyway, even though they were a bit different. The last song on the album, for example, was written by Niklas [Sundin; guitar] around '95 or '96. We always talked about it and tried to make it work, because we really loved the song, but it just didn't, even though we arranged and re-arranged it over the years. Finally, though, we just made a real emphasis on making it work, and think it did, though it took some time. I think that goes for a lot of songs on the album, to be honest."

On the lyrical themes on "We Are The Void":

Mikael: "It actually does deal with death, and how we handle that. It comments on how we fill our empty lives with stupid ideas and belief systems which don't work. We had the idea when we started the band that we wouldn't sing about death, because it was too obvious; everyone else was doing it. We wanted to be different. On this album, though, we just said, 'It's been twenty years: let's do it!' Most of the songs are really about the fear of death; or different aspects of the end of life as we know it, pretty much. Of course there's a lot of disappointment and anger in there, as well, but that was the core idea I had in mind for a theme, originally."

Read the entire interview from Examiner.com.

DARK TRANQUILLITY performed a new song "Dream Oblivion" for the first time ever on December 19, 2009 at the Tochka club in Moscow, Russia. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be viewed below (courtesy of "neuroastr").

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