INTERVIEW: Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) on Moment, line up changes, touring and more
Hello, you metal pilgrims, and welcome to yet another episode, of our interview, series, our today's guest is going to be the front man of the pioneers. Of melodic, death metal from gothenburg. The legendary, dark tranquility. Mikhail, stana, mikael, and i will be speaking about the event's, upcoming, release, moment which is out on november, 20th. Uh this year, the process behind that the lineup, changes. Touring, and much, much more but as always before we start i'd like to take a moment and invite you to become part of the conversation. And join the metal pilgrim, community, on youtube. Instagram, or any other social media you hang out at to submit, questions for the future guests, to not miss out on more exclusive, interviews, and for more, first-hand, rocking metal news, here you. How are you man go, it's good i was good how about you awesome. Yeah i'm, good just getting started for tonight's. Interviews, oh i have a few to go but this is the first so it's all good oh okay good so i'm lucky you're not tired yet. No. I will get there, that's good that's good to hear man um, are you actually in sweden at the moment. Yeah yeah i'm a dog yeah how is the situation, there with the covet and everything. It's very different from anywhere else. Yeah. It really is like, you know we didn't have any lockdown, at all we didn't have any um. Um. Yeah, no. No, like the restrictions, are on on. You know restaurants. A little bit but it's everything's. Still open. Uh, venues are closed, all that you know any gathering over 50 is, is pretty much screwed, yeah but, um, other than that it's um. Yeah it is different like um. We had like a big spike, early on but then it's kind of. Eased down a little bit now so, and, nobody's wearing any masks, and like the, yeah so it's very different. Um. But i'm yeah it seems to be working it seems to be like a good strategy. Uh who knows. Only time will tell if this was actually a good idea or not but. Um. I'm liking it now because it yeah it affords us the freedom we do stay at home a lot you know and try not to socialize, too much but, you can go out and it's possible to do that and i think that that really helps, that's good good to hear yeah we had a crazy log down here like you were not allowed on the street, you know but uh and then now nobody cares, anymore.
Which Is weird, and the second wave is coming and probably not a good idea but but still like yeah you just yeah it. It's hard to control. A crowd like that and i think. The good part of the strategy, in sweden, at least was that. They just told everybody it's like this is the deal this is what you need to do in order to be safe, and please do, you know so it's kind of under responsibility. And everybody's. Most people, are. Are actually, following. That, guideline, and that kind of recommendation. It's great to hear that actually swedes follow those recommendations. You know i i speak to a lot of people from different countries and including my own country, no one nobody cares what the government says you know they. They simply do what they please. Yeah yeah i and actually the government didn't. Do this it was all kind of doctors, and, epidemiologists. So so like the. Head of state and and like the government said like hey leave it to the experts and then kind of backed off so it's not political. At all it's just, uh, expertise. Nice so, that helps yeah you know otherwise, there will be division, you know depending on who you trust and who you, like and all that stuff so this is a better way to do it i think that is true well good to hear that you guys are doing fine hopefully no second wave is going to be coming, soon. So now that we got the obvious question out of the way. Um, let's talk about. Tranquility, actually, uh you guys are about to release your new album, of the studio one yeah, moment, on november. 20th. Right, yes 20 perfect, yeah congrats on finishing this one, uh. Yeah and uh, this is going to be the first one in four years, which if, i'm not mistaken, oh yeah four years which if i'm not mistaken, it's actually the longest it took you, uh to write one uh before that was three years. It's true, yeah that's true like could you talk a bit about the process behind it you know the creative process especially. How did all of this come together. And you know, how was it working on that. It was um, yeah, long time in the making, but i guess. The reason why it took so long is that, we've been out on the road we've been touring a lot, yeah um. The album yeah album came out in, fall of 16. And, immediately, we're on tour. And, we, and we went on for, almost three years. And um, and then we decided, like early last year that okay let's start collecting material, let's. See what we have you know, and anders had a lot of songs. Martin had some and we started kind of putting the pieces together, see what we could figure out. And then since we had two new guitar players in the band we. You know realized that all right let's how do we do this like how do we bring them in you know in a cool way and, in a good way and and of course it's it's difficult being a band of 30 years, we have our certain way of working. So. Introducing. Our music, or our process. To, someone new was, you know something that we were kind of wary of. But um. But after a few tries, you know of. Songs, um. Being sent back and forth, between us and johan, and chris. Eventually, we we got there you know and we found our kind of way of working together and we found like this uh. Yeah the. Uh the direction, to to go in and uh. And it was smooth but it took a long time so yeah we started. Yeah a year and a half ago almost. Um, at least you know gathering stuff and we were doing shows and festivals, and, and tourists at the same time as well but. We. Early this year we started. Um, and we started recording, in. Late february. And that's when everything kind of hit and then we realized, okay. We're not going to hit a deadline, that, you know that puts the album out before the summer. Because that's something that we wanted so that we can actually play new songs on, during the summer festivals. But there were no summer festivals, so, we could. Extend the deadline a little bit and, and um. And then we extended it further because there were no tours. In america, that was supposed to do so.
Yeah We spent, way more time in the studio than we had. Planned. But that was a good thing because, it, meant that we could really really. Explore, things. Try out things, and, experiment. Further, and uh, and just perfect things that we, felt we needed so, it was it was a it's a great experience, to to work like this and having like that freedom, so. Like creatively, this year has been really good, you know, uh that sounds great man uh and i i guess you know the announcement, about chris and johan. It was more of a formalization. Kind of, in a way because you guys have been touring for the past three years together, right and, again it has been very dense, but um, do you think they brought something new to the sound, uh and to the, process. For sure i mean they're playing, is is, different of course and and getting to know. Them and having them kind of get to know, us, and, and how to write it's one thing to know all the songs that we play live but it's one thing to kind of um. Interpret some of the can you know the melodies that anders writes or the the risk that uh martin writes so it's like to interpret that to a guitar. Um. Took some getting used to and i think like johan, focused more on, on, the compositional. Side and chris focused more on leads. And it was just a like matter of finding your own. Place you know finding your space in it like in your role, and what you should do and that kind of thing. And um. And of course that has affected, the way that we write and that's affected the sound of the album but, we were very cute like. Um. We took it very like we we really wanted to kind of hold on to what is doctrine quality and we, were, at first we were kind of afraid of losing that you know if you have like two totally, new, guitar players so it was it was important. And i think that's. Something that martin brenstrom, who produced this album really. Needed to focus on and like make sure that. It kind of stays within the, the boundaries, of our sound and all that stuff and. And i think we we succeeded, with that and so it's a refinement, of what we've done before but with new, players, and new influence there's a new, kind of. Fresh takes on there, and that's actually, really interesting to mention that because you know speaking about the sound, you've uh you've released the first single roughly a month ago, uh to the album right and while it uh you know it sounds extremely modern, uh it's very 2020. In a way you know um, it it's, it can be characterized, as a you know, natural, evolution, from what we have heard on uh adama, in a way, yet at the same time um i personally got the vibe and then you know a couple of uh, people mentioned this on the page when i i announced the interview with you as well that you know. In a way, it is um, you know it takes you back, in a vibe, to the days of haven, and you know, this older. Uh dart tranquility. Sound, um has, been done on purpose, or was it just you know, this weird mix, that came together, and just came out like this.
Yeah, Things like, the basic like you know the sense of melody and the sense of kind of like, composition. And um, foundations, of a song is still the same. And we wanted it to be yeah more. We definitely like martin was definitely, focused on on making. Keywords, like a more important, part of of the album so yeah in that respect is. Yeah there's certain vibe. Uh that is similar to what we had on haven. So maybe that's true i don't really. Think of it that way, but you know why not. For it, oh that's uh that's interesting, and any inspirations. If we're talking about the music, uh you know that uh, any bands that you you've, been enjoying for the past three years you know while writing this album. Well, it that that ranges from, from. New, prague to. Grindcore, and death metal and, everything in between. So it's more like um how we. Think about. Music and the kind of. Vocabulary. That we use, when we when we talk about it in the studio. Um, you can bring like an outside influence you can talk about something that you want to try that you heard on on a new album or something like cool that you you, just discovered. But it's just a matter of like incorporating, that idea, into, to what we already have in a way. So. Anything that kind of brings you. Inspiration, that. Makes you want to write makes you want to. Express yourself somehow, or makes you. Think about your music in a different way because. Yeah for the last. Year or so, you know you have these songs in your head, and. When you listen to music you even listen, um, like with a critical, ear in a different way than you normally do like that i kind of just like. Yeah, just get into it that's, kind of. Gone, at least for the time when you're in the studio because it's it's just like this analytical, brain is working, overtime, yeah even when listening to other other bands. Um. So i don't know like what what specifically. Kind of influence here but. It's it's, everything, and, like even, like johan is a like an old, fan of the band so he can go like yeah this sounds like that old song with this, song and then okay then let's change it a little bit you know. And i think yeah the album is very diverse and i think, like phantom days is is it's a song that really. Is a natural progression, whereas. Some of the other songs take bigger leaps forward. Oh that's, good, sounds good and you know since you've uh started working on this album roughly a year and a half ago as you said, right how much did the current actually events of 2020. Shape the lyrics you know or influence them in any way, or not really. I i finished everything last year already, uh or most of it, no changes, so. Yeah so yeah but, but the idea was. Like i wanted to write about. Different paths. You take in life and how, things can lead. To. New exploration, like new explorations. New, ideas, new. Um. Opportunities. And experiences. And. But also. About, like how, what the worst. Instincts, that we have and, and. Uh. What, kind of takes us there you know where, how, the past influence, the future, and the moment where actually. Uh those collide. What happens there. Um. And what is it that. Gets us where we are right now in the world which is pretty, screwed, up you know in many many ways. So. Most of the time like when i try to write i'm just furious. And, confounded. And um, frustrated. And i just want to make sense. Of it in a way. And. So when this kind of happened. And the whole kind of world turned upside, down. All the things that i've been writing about kind of all. All of a sudden like felt more real. You know because, the stuff that i've been writing about like how do you deal with. With loss for instance like loss of your freedoms. Lots of things you take for granted. All of a sudden that was there like all of a sudden like everybody, had, that experience. And. It changes, us, uh, and not always for the better. And it's also. Some of the songs are about, just how. How you deal with information. And how you. Process. New things. Uh based on your belief system based on your previous. Knowledge, based on your experiences. And, um. And how different. Differently, we react to to things that. Shouldn't be that different that we should kind of have a uniform. A response, to things but. Based on on our beliefs. Based on all politics, and all the stuff we react differently, and. That leads to a lot of division. And, uh. Separation. Of, thought and and and action, and uh. Yeah so that, it all started to make sense. Uh as the world stopped making sense you know. And so it was, i didn't need to change that much in order to make it very very current, and that was kind of scary, in a way but. But fascinating, to see to see how, um. Uh. How the world. Really. Showed. Its, worst, sights, you know when when this kind of hit, that's really interesting because i you know with the.
Melancholic. The sound, and you know in the lyrics, i could have placed a bet that you wrote it in 2020. After, you know all the crazy stuff happened. Yeah. Yeah only, yeah a few words here and there were changed but yeah it definitely, i think. Um. Since, the whole atmosphere. Changed, as we were in the studio. It, it, became more profound, and i think like in terms of production, in terms of delivery, and in terms of how we. Approached. The recording. It was very different like we. I think. Uh the song. Turned into like it added like a more somber vibe to it. That maybe we hadn't done otherwise, and uh. Even though, like being in the studio, and being like in the kind of writing mode is it's a isolation, in of itself. You know all of a sudden like we felt that everyone else was living in isolation, as well and that kind of, helped. In a way. Um. But it was um. Yeah, it felt um. It, felt more real, this time because of that. That's interesting, and could you talk a bit about the album artwork, which was also debated, in in again the first video you guys released. Uh whose idea was it and, just what's going on behind there. Oh no it's um. Again like working with, nicholas. Uh who's done, most of the covers, throughout the years, it's. It's always. An amazing, experience, where. I start. Talking to him going like come on how do, um. Do you have any ideas like in terms of um. You know color schemes, you know uh, moods you want to pretend it's like and just like i'll send me the lyrics send me. You know whatever titles you have just so i have something to, to. Get inspiration, inspired, by. Um. And then i told him, what i. Uh, had in mind for, for the title of the album and uh. And the idea for some of the songs. And how. One thing leads to another. Splinters, off into, to another decision, and and, you know all these different realities. That are, um. Shaped because of that one action, this kind of. Butterfly, effect or virus, if you will where things just spread, out you know and i wanted. Something like that and he was like all right cool cool cool and then. Based on the lyrics and and, and. Our conversation, he sent me some. Some pictures, and some photos, and a lot of like just images that he, found that were um. Kind of spoke to him and and, had something to do with with what we were talking about and. Based off of that we just kind of developed this concept of of, some, kind of monolith, slash, light slash, understanding. Slash, revelation. In a. World that is increasingly, strange, around you. And. We wanted it to be, kind of obscure, but also. Very. Colorful. And, different, you know from. From our previous works but also like different. From other death metal albums hopefully. Definitely. I mean so it was it's fascinating, like he's such a. Amazing, artist and, i've known him since i was a kid and you know he really, gets. Like what i want but, and i also totally understand what he wants and it it's. It's it's a great, great way to work and i cannot wait to see like the albums are being pressed now and i want to see that vinyl. Copy in my hands and i i cannot wait it's going to be gorgeous, yeah, yeah i can't wait to have, this one and put this put it put it on the shelf or on one of my, you know record players as well oh nice nice nice, i'm a very much of a vinyl nerd man. Yeah you could probably see some on the back there yeah. Same here same here, is there one song, that you absolutely, cannot wait to play live from this album. We're gonna start like this weekend to start, trying out all these new songs. Um. I'm looking forward to doing. Some of the mobile, stuff there's, one song called romanian, the unknown that i look forward to.
We Made a video, for. A song called uh the dark. Um. That i'm really looking forward to doing. Um. So yeah there are a lot of songs that i think is going to work out and we're going to. Play all of them, um. On stage. As the album comes out so we're going to do, like a proper. Uh live streamed. Release, nice show, basically. And play everything, like the whole thing. So. I'm, kind of yeah nervous and anxious, and excited about that, um, we've never done anything like that before and it's. Gonna be super cool and, a bit scary. All right that's great to hear that you guys gonna be uh playing this and i know that you know she's in a favorite song is like choosing your favorite kid and impossible, yeah yeah. Yeah but you know sometimes. Like you have an expectation, for a song like, in the studio it feels great or before. You record it you feel like this is going to be fantastic, and then it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, and some of them are the opposite where you go like yeah, maybe you know eventually this is going to be good and then that turns into your favorite so, it, it all kind of changes, throughout the process, and uh. But i like them all and i i think we put together like a very very solid. Album overall, i hope. Well, yeah absolutely, um i'm conscious of your time and i know you have you know other things to do, late night so just a couple of more questions man um. Uh the first one, you know and especially. Uh, you know since a lot of the followers. Of this channel are, are us-based. They've been, you know asking this a lot. But uh you know, you you did postpone, the album uh i mean not postponed, but you've, you know released it, a little bit later than you expected. But you still, is still you know this regular. Album release routine of you know promo, release uh, uh turin, is kind of screwed because of the pandemic, yeah right. Uh so. Any. Any, hope for the actual us, show, and uh you know the tour and uh, if so what kind of restrictions, are going to be there, if you, do have any idea about that. Oh i i think like it's an ongoing. Thing right and nobody knows, anything. Um. We're. Like. Yeah we're hoping to do a tour in october, of next year in america. Um, we had one planned and that's been cancelled but it's, maybe it's gonna be picked up in another booking agent and we're gonna. Uh make it even better. Um, the. Yeah, who knows what the situation is going to be like who knows if some of the venues, are going to be around still. I know that a lot of them are struggling. All over the world and it's the same here in in europe and it's the same here in sweden. Um. It's just like nobody, really knows, and, and it would be weird maybe, you know if we we got a, vaccine, that that. Works okay. It's still gonna be restrictions, but maybe we can, if. Everybody's super careful we can still perform, shows. But of course i know like a, like a proper, death metal concert. Is the worst thing that could possibly, happen. You know super sweaty, everybody's. Crowded together everybody's screaming. At each other. And. And i'm there in front, just like. Spewing. Saliva, all over the crowd i mean it's it's it's not a good scene you know. But that's what you know, a lot of things need to happen before that that can be a possibility, sure i mean you can do, you know distance, show you, shows you can do seated shows where people sit very far from each other all that stuff but. That's not really what anyone not really rocky roller medal yeah, no. I'm very much you need to be super secure and safe and and all that stuff before anything can happen i think absolutely, agree man i'm a very much of a live, experienced, guy and i can never say that i enjoy, a band, unless i see them live you know and i go to a lot of shows, i travel a lot you know, um so yeah just let's pray that you and the other bands are gonna be able to hit the road again soon and, i personally will catch you on the road uh somewhere in europe. Oh yeah, that would be awesome, yeah, that would be great, and. You know. Finishing this up um you know a, classic, question, uh for the show. One crazy touring story, uh you know just thinking about those, days when you could actually go on the road uh you know. And uh just one show that's. Gets stuck in your uh in your head or one memory that you actually cherish. During kiev now right, yeah i am in kf yeah. I just i i don't know like for some reason i remember uh. One of the first not first but maybe. Maybe 10 years ago we were in kiev. Um, it was the first time we had. Our current, tour manager, and front of house. Uh, sound guy. Uh one of the best guys in the world and, i remember. Just like it was one of those, like super cold winters. It was just like you know ton of snow everywhere.
The Show was. Insane, and crazy. Um. But we've heard like from the promoter, that you know some of the shows, were. Have been cancelled, in russia, there was you know some turmoil i don't know what it was but it was kind of like it's kind of sketchy. And we were so happy that we got out of russia. And the last show was in, here. And we were kind of going home afterwards and we were like okay we did it you know because there were there have been visa issues all that kind of stuff, that sometimes happens. Um. So after the show we yeah we were super excited, got incredibly, drunk of course. Um. A bunch of friends of ours and then, the next morning and this was in december, like late december. Um. Like, 20th, of december or something like that. And. After we woke up and we went to the airport and everything was screwed up and all the flights were delayed because of the weather like this super snowstorm. And uh, and the promoter guy he was like oh well i there's a kind of like a special, restaurant, area that we can go to that nobody, kind of knows. All right we went there got. Incredibly, drunk again. And. For some reason, like we forgot. Our tour manager. And, like, we just left him we, we didn't like tell him he missed our his flight he, was his. Christmas, eve oh my god. Celebration, with his family. Because of it he had to wait another week, to get out of here. Just because we, yeah we didn't tell him, yeah so that's how our relationship, started he's still with us and we love him but yeah that's, so that's what happens sometimes like in you know. Especially. In unsure. Uh circumstances. Like that where. Shows are you don't really know if it's going to happen but then it does and it kind of turns into something awesome. And then, yeah then you celebrate, and you lose something. That's always weird, that's really funny well as i said i really hope that you guys, will be able to, hit the road again and i'll, i'll i'd love to see you in camera, and, show you around maybe next time not during the winter. But again you're from sweden so it's not. I don't know where youtube. Is. As long as there are flights and trains, and all that stuff, should be okay but again after the pandemic no one knows, what's going to happen to the air travel. Oh yeah that's true yeah, all right man, mikhail, thanks a lot for joining man i really appreciate, it any last message for the fans anything you want to share with them. Just can't wait to get out there listen to the album learn all the songs so you can be in the front row singing with me when uh, yeah when it's safe and sound and not everything is good again, um. And enjoy it we got a new some new videos coming out make sure you you watch the, the live stream uh on 21st. 21st, of november. And uh yeah, because that's as close as we're gonna get. It, perfect thank you very much miguel. Take care man, thanks.